Pre-Season MVPs and Players to Watch

In another collaboration with the Pac-10 publishers, we cast our votes for the offensive, defensive and special teams pre-season MVPs for the conference this fall. No surprise on the O or D, but a pleasant one to see Luke Powell emerge as a favorite prime Pac-10 talent in the return game.

MVPs and Players To Watch

Pre-Season Offensive MVP

Ken Simonton

5-9 200 senior


Simonton is looking for his fourth consecutive 1,000 yard rushing season and is a very legitimate Heisman candidate. Last year Simonton gained 1,474 yards on the ground in an offense built around the diminutive tailback that is lethal in the open field and tough to take down.

Pre-Season Defensive MVP

Larry Tripplett

6-1 300 senior


Tripplett is a pre-season all-American and outland award candidate. Tripplett lead the Huskies with 6.5 sacks from his nose tackle position last year. He had 38 tackles including 11 tackles for loss and knocked down three passes. Tripplett set the school squat record this spring by squatting over 750 pounds. Could've been an NFL pick last spring but decided to stay in school for his senior year.

Pre-Season Special Teams MVP

Luke Powell

5-8 165 redshirt sophomore


Powell had 502 yards receiving and averaged 28 yards per reception last year. His explosive speed and elusive moves after the catch have yielded big plays already, including 4 catches better than 60 yards and 6 over 30 yards. He is dangerous on returns and recorded a 51-yard TD punt return. He reminds some of former Cardinal great Troy Walters.

2001 Pac-10 Newcomers To Watch

Matt Ware

6-3 195 true freshman


Considered one of the best prospects in the nation last year and ranked the #1 DB prospect in the country by PrepStar and SuperPrep, Ware could step in as a true freshman and start at either cornerback or free safety.

Brad Brittain

6-5 260 true freshman


The biggest immediate impact for the newest Wildcats could come from Brittain. With no tight ends on the roster that have ever caught a collegiate pass, there could be an opening for Brittain to make an impact.

R.J. Oliver

5-9 168 redshirt freshman


Oliver could have started his freshman year and his play during spring practice validated that notion. He posses excellent cover skills with blazing speed. After a redshirt season he's ready to make his presence known.

Amon Gordon

6-4 280 redshirt freshman


Amon has a freakish frame, speed and hard-hitting knack. Injury forced him to take a medical redshirt last year, and he again was sidelined this past spring. But the moments he has shown on the practice field verify every bit of his hype out of high school. He could unseat some veteran linebackers to play, or possibly start, alongside Coy Wire.

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