Cavalcade: Welcome To The New Stars

Cavalcade: Welcome To The New Stars. It's early but who are the rising stars? Who are the top new players?

Cavalcade of Whimsy

September 16, Part 2

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- Part 1 - More Big Ten issues, Jerry & More 

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten players you don't really know now, but are emerging as some of 2014's biggest superstars ...

10. The nation’s leading rusher is … RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana

One of the most underappreciated backs last season, he tore off 958 yards and 12 touchdowns – scoring in every game, before getting hurt late in the year with an ankle problem. So far this season, in two games the 6-1, 210-pound junior is averaging 9.3 yards per carry, tearing up Indiana State for 247 yards and two scores and Bowling Green for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Also a good receiver, he’ll be involved more and more in the passing game. Next up: Missouri.

9. The nation’s leader in completion percentage is … QB Bo Wallace, Ole Miss

Really? The guy great at keeping both teams in the game is hitting his throws? Wallace isn’t just completing 75.5% of his passes, he’s one of just ten quarterbacks who’ve played in two or more games averaging more than ten yards per attempt. If you count the four interceptions, just 19 of his 94 passes have hit the ground so far, completing 23-of-28 throws – to his guys – against Louisiana-Lafayette for his third straight 300-yard day this year and second four touchdown performance. He could’ve done more against a dead Vandy team, but he didn’t need to. Next up: Memphis

8. The nation’s best defensive lineman has been … DT Danny Shelton, Washington

An old-school run stuffer, the 6-2, 332-pound warrior in the middle has dominated behind the line as a more attacking defender under the new coaching staff. Already a good NFL prospect coming into the year, he made 59 tackles with two sacks as a potentially pure nose tackle at the next level. He came up with 12 tackles in each of the first two games against Hawaii and Eastern Washington and three against Illinois, but his real worth has been at getting into the backfield with 7.5 tackles for loss and a nation-leading six sacks. He’s always been tough at clogging up running lanes, but now he’s becoming more disruptive – and he’s going to be making a ton of money because of it. Next up: Georgia State

7. The nation’s best all-around defensive back has been … Josh Hawkins, East Carolina

After coming up with two picks against Virginia Tech, the 5-10, 186-pound junior is tied for the nation’s lead with three interceptions on the year to go along with three other broken up passes. A good spot-starter last season, he was the star of secondary this offseason, and it’s carrying over. He didn’t make a stop in the opener against NC Central, but he came up with four plays in the open field against South Carolina, and was phenomenal against the Hokies with seven solo stops. Next up: LB North Carolina

4. The nation’s second-leading sacker is … DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Washington’s Danny Shelton might be leading the nation with six sacks, but the A&M freshman has been even more explosive and dominant at times with 5.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in all, coming up with steady production on the year so far with 15 tackles and great range. One of the top defensive end prospects coming into the season, he’s a pure pass rusher with a 6-5, 250-pound frame and NFL upside. Fast, fast, fast, he’s the prototype and a great get for the program and more than living up to the hype. He’ll be in The League in a few years, but first he has to get ready to produce as a marked man. Next up: SMU

5. The nation’s leading tackler is … LB Jovon Santos-Knox, UMass

Stanley Andre was supposed to be the team’s defensive star coming into the season, Santos-Knox, a 6-2, 240-pound junior has made the move from part-time starter to big-time thumper making 32 tackles in each of his first two seasons with seven tackles for loss. He’s not blowing up under a new coaching staff, showing tremendous range getting in on everything making 42 tackles with 15 against Boston College – USC could’ve used him – 12 against Colorado with a sack and 15 against Vanderbilt. Next up: Penn State

4. The nation’s leading kickoff returner is … WR Darius Jennings, Virginia

Known for being solid, but not sensational, the senior receiver hasn’t received any help from his quarterbacks catching just 38 passes for 340 yards and a score last year. However, he’s a hard worker and one of the team’s better athletes – now it’s showing. The 5-11, 175-pound veteran just started on kickoff returns making two in each of the last two games, but he’s been a killer averaging 65 yards against Richmond and 20.5 against Louisville. More importantly, he’s improving at his day job, catching eight passes for 149 yards and a score, averaging 18.6 yards per pop. Next up: BYU

3. The nation’s leading scorer is … RB Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan

It was an easy sell – come to Western Michigan, play right away. A good recruit for the program, the 6-0, 220-pounder is turning into one of the nation’s top true freshmen, pounding away with his size while showing off good quickness and speed. On fire, he scored three touchdowns in each of his first two games, running 19 times for 163 yards and three scores against Purdue, and 33 times for 210 yard and three touchdowns against Idaho. This is his offense now, even with other weapons to work with. Next up: Murray State

2. The nation’s leader in receiving yards is … KD Cannon, Baylor

Want proof that Baylor is a red hot program? Cannon is normally the type of recruit who’d be a lock for Texas, Texas A&M or Oklahoma, but is lighting it up as the new superstar for the tremendous offense. Insanely fast and athletic, he has all the next-level tools in a 6-0, 170-pound frame. The coaching staff has figured out how to get the ball to its star, and he’s making the most of it with 14 catches for 471 yards and five scores, averaging 33.6 yards per try. He’ll be a marked man, but he has too much talent to not keep up the pace. Next up: Iowa State

1. The nation’s leader in total offense is … QB Brandon Doughty, WKU

Who gets better after Bobby Petrino leaves an offense? New head coach Jeff Brohm has gotten the most out of his 6-3, 210-pound senior leader, who threw for 2,857 yards and 14 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last season. He hit the 300-yard mark just twice in 12 games. So far this season, he bombed away for 593 yards and six touchdowns against Bowling Green – hitting 82% of his throws – hit Illinois for 297 yards and two touchdowns, and last week, chucked for 593 yards and four touchdowns in the loss to Middle Tennessee. In three games he’s halfway to his record-setting yardage total of last season, and has just two fewer touchdown passes than he did in all of 2013. Next up: Navy

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world 1) Overrated: Getting a first down by a millimeter to beat Georgia … Underrated: Creating a device to finally replace a chain gang
2) Overrated: Kentucky’s performance against Florida … Underrated: Jeff Driskel’s touchdown pass in the first overtime.
3) Overrated: Notre Dame’s uniforms ... Underrated: Notre Dame’s first half struggles against Purdue
4) Overrated: The recruitment of Gunner Kiel ... Underrated: Gunner Kiel vs. Toledo
5) Overrated: Spring football that counts ... Underrated: June Jones at SMU

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in." … There we go ... back to normal. Missed on the Virginia Tech straight up call over East Carolina. Only whiffed on Tennessee, but still .. Last Week: SU 4-1, ATS 4-1 - So Far: SU 11-3, ATS 8-6

1) USF -1.5 over UConn
2) Duke -16.5 over Tulane
3) Maryland +2 over Syracuse
4) South Carolina -21 over Vanderbilt
5) Florida -15.5 over Alabama (Alabama straight up)

Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault … but on the reverse of Iowa State PK Cole Netten, I nailed it when Kirk Ferentz called a time out, and missed badly on my second attempt.

- Part 1 - More Big Ten issues, Jerry & More 

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