1) Taurus Johnson- This spring a leader emerged on the offensive side of the ball. Last year it was Pat Julmiste, this year it has been Taurus Johnson. His play on the field is exceptional and he is on the verge of having a stellar upcoming season. However, the reason we list him as number one is what we observed when he was on the sidelines. T.J. talks with everyone, if it's a fellow wideout or lineman that is having a bad day Johnson is there to build them back up. He also stands up for his teammates. After Samuels took what looked like a late hit T.J. was right there to let the defense know that that will not go on as long as he's on the offensive side of the ball. Every team needs a leader and Taurus emerged as one this spring.
2) Mike Ford- We are not giving Mike the number two slot because of his performance this spring. Well maybe partially because of his performance, but also because he brought a buzz to this years spring practices. He has been the most anticipated recruit since Carlton Hill two years ago. We documented that Ford was out of shape and we followed him as he worked his way into shape and finally peaked in the spring game where he got the crowd worked up with a flash of what's to come when he ran for his first touchdown in Raymond James Stadium. It's been a grind this spring for Mike, but the potential looks like it will be fulfilled.
3) Colby Erskin- The kid's got hands! Erskin was noted in nearly every single practice report for making sensational catches on a daily basis. Grant Gregory told us that he and Colby worked throughout the offseason on passing routes and weight training, and it paid off. Although he is undersized, after his performance this spring there is no doubt he will see the field this fall. From what we saw he was most effective in the five receiver set and caused matchup problems for the defense. Erskin will be a go to guy in key situations because of his ability to catch anything thrown his way.
4) Aston Samuels- Coming into spring there were questions about Aston's weight, his durability, his ball carrying skills. He answered those questions when the pads went on. Samuels was one of the most exciting players to watch this spring. He has the Warrick Dunn like ability to not take a direct hit and he has the quickness to make the best defender look silly. Nobody wanted to take a shot at Aston in the open field because chances are they would be on the wrong end of a highlight tape. This season Aston will be a nice change-of-pace back to either Ben Williams or Mike Ford. The staff at USFNation would consider him the breakout offensive player of spring '07.
5) Coach Canales- Coach made the list because he brought a spark to this year's spring practice. He got everyone talking about "The Juice" and it became a competition between the offense and defense to find out who could practice with a higher intensity level. He preached that every drill, every play, every practice and every game needs to be finished with the same speed that it started with. Coach Canales could also be responsible for T.J. stepping up as a leader. His attitude and energy level was infectious, heck there were a couple times the guys from USFNation wanted to get suited up after hearing him talk!
USFNation.com - Get it First, Get it Fast!