1. B.J. Dubose, 6-5, 273, So., DE
As a true freshman, Dubose tied for third among the defensive lineman last season with 22 tackles. He did that in limited playing time but this year has moved into the starting lineup and should be a leader and fixture on defense. He has NFL size and speed for a defensive end and should make a lot of stops.
Quote: Vance Bedford: "His weight is down and he just looks great out there. He's going out there and doing it."
2. Charles Gaines, 5-11, 187, Fr., WR
Gaines was redshirted last season and was a defensive back. But he was moved to offense and had a stellar spring and fall camp, winning the starting job at the Z position. Gaines runs good routes, is very intense and talkative and just has speed, speed, speed. He should be a major threat opposite DeVante Parker.
Quote: Charlie Strong: "When you add a player to any position, if he can make everyone else around him better, which Gaines has done, then you feel very comfortable about that position. He's a guy who runs well and we can throw the ball up too. He's adjusted very well to the position."
3. Ryan Hubbell, 6-5, 225, So., TE
Nate Nord is the starting tight end, but Hubbell is listed as the No. 2 guy and will get plenty of playing time for the offense. A junior-college transfer, Hubbell enrolled in January and has picked up the offense. He's a big target with great hands and the coaches were surprised at how much better he was blocking than they expected. He should make a different at his position.
Quote: TE coach Sherrone Moore: "He's better than we thought," Moore said. "We didn't know he was as good of a blocker as he is. He's long and lean and packs some pop that you wouldn't expect.",/p>
4. Deiontrez Mount, 6-5, 245, So., DE-LB
Mount is listed as the second-team DE behind Marcus Smith but will get plenty of reps at defensive end and also at linebacker. He's the hybrid guy the coaches enjoy having on the field because they can move him around so much. Mount is big and physical but can also move around with his speed and has great field awareness. I may be in the minority here but I think he's headed for a huge season.
Quote: Bedford: "(Mount) is going to play up, down, all over the place."
5. Kai Dominguez, 6-0, 189, So., WR-PR
I'm going to take a stab at this one because we've heard great things about Dominguez as a punt returner. He won the starting job over Charles Gaines, DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers and Scott Radcliff. Dominguez possess the speed and has the steady hands to be a dangerous weapon back there on punts. Will be interesting to see how he does in the first game without much game experience.
Quote: Scott Radcliff: "We have a lot of guys who can be back there returning punts. Kai is one of those for sure."