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October 15, 2008
QB Colt McCoy, Texas
PARTICULARS: 6-3/210, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Tuscola (Texas) Jim Ned
BUZZ: After a disappointing sophomore season, McCoy has rebounded in a big way. He has 17 touchdown passes and is completing 79.3 percent of his passes. He also leads the top-ranked Longhorns in rushing with 348 yards.
RB Donald Brown, Connecticut
PARTICULARS: 5-10/210, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Red Bank (N.J.) Red Bank Catholic
BUZZ: He leads the nation in rushing at 177.8 yards per game and has 12 rushing touchdowns. At times, it's as if he's a one-man offense for the Huskies.
RB Javon Ringer, Michigan State
PARTICULARS: 5-9/202, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade-Julienne
BUZZ: He has become a workhorse for the Spartans, with 247 carries in seven games. He's second in the nation in rushing at 158.9 yards per game and leads the country with 14 rushing touchdowns.
WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
PARTICULARS: 6-3/214, Sophomore
HIGH SCHOOL: Dallas Carter
BUZZ: Crabtree is following up his otherworldly freshman season with a sterling sophomore season. He has 43 catches for 653 yards and 10 touchdowns and has three games with at least two TD receptions.
WR Austin Collie, BYU
PARTICULARS: 6-2/208, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Oak Ridge
BUZZ: Collie is quarterback Max Hall's favorite target for the high-powered Cougars. Collie has 47 catches for 683 yards and eight touchdowns; he has at least one TD reception in each of the Cougars' six games. He had 10 catches for 110 yards and two TDs in BYU's 59-0 demolition of UCLA.
TE Chase Coffman, Missouri
HIGH SCHOOL: Peculiar (Mo.) Raymore-Peculiar
BUZZ: He is Chase Daniel's favorite target, with 44 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns. His season-high is 58 catches in 2006 and he should smash that mark.
T Michael Oher, Ole Miss
PARTICULARS: 6-5/318, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Memphis Briarcrest Christian
BUZZ: He toyed with the idea of going pro but decided to return for his senior season. New Rebels coach Houston Nutt certainly is pleased. Ole Miss is playing well on offense, and Oher is a big reason – literally and figuratively.
T Andre Smith, Alabama
PARTICULARS: 6-4/330, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Birmingham (Ala.) Huffman
BUZZ: Smith has been a starter since he set foot on campus, but he and his linemates have been dominant this season. The Tide is averaging 226.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 14th nationally, and has 14 rushing touchdowns.
G Rodney Hudson, Florida State
PARTICULARS: 6-2/290, Sophomore
HIGH SCHOOL: Mobile (Ala.) B.C. Rain
BUZZ: He has been the best lineman for the Seminoles, who had had a surprisingly productive rushing attack. FSU coaches say he has missed only two assignments on more than 300 plays, and he hasn't been called for a penalty this season.
G Herman Johnson, LSU
PARTICULARS: 6-7/386, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Denton (Texas) High
BUZZ: Johnson is mammoth and especially effective as a run-blocker. He is a big reason the Tigers are averaging 181.2 rushing yards per game. Despite his size, he is surprisingly nimble and has good feet.
E Aaron Maybin, Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-4/236, Sophomore
HIGH SCHOOL: Ellicott City (Md.) Mount Hebron
BUZZ: Maybin went into the season as an unknown, but he quickly has eased fears. He has nine sacks, including three games with two each, and has 29 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
E Brian Orakpo, Texas
PARTICULARS: 6-4/260, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Houston Lamar
BUZZ: Orakpo has battled injuries throughout his career but has come into his own under new coordinator Will Muschamp, who loves to be in attack mode. Orakpo has 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 23 tackles. He also has six quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two pass breakups. He has had three two-sack games this season after coming into the season with just one in his career.
T Terrence Cody, Alabama
HIGH SCHOOL: Fort Myers (Fla.) Riverdale
BUZZ: Cody has been an immovable object in the middle of the line for an Alabama defense that has been much better than expected. Cody, who once weighed more than 400 pounds, has slimmed down and become a force. He has 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. But Cody's sheer size and brute strength mean opposing offenses usually have to double-team him.
T Sen'Derrick Marks, Auburn
PARTICULARS: 6-2/296, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Prichard (Ala.) Vigor
BUZZ: Auburn's defense has played well, especially considering the ineptness of the Tigers' offense. Marks moved from end to his more natural position inside this season and has, well, made his mark. He has 26 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and a blocked kick.
LB Rennie Curran, Georgia
PARTICULARS: 5-11/228, Sophomore
HIGH SCHOOL: Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood
BUZZ: Curran doesn't have ideal size, but he has great instincts, good speed and always seems to find the ball. He has 47 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles. His best game may have been the Bulldogs' loss to Alabama, when he had 14 tackles and a forced fumble.
LB Brandon Spikes, Florida
PARTICULARS: 6-3/245, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Shelby (N.C.) Crest
BUZZ: He may not match the 131 tackles he had last season, but he has become a better all-around linebacker. He has 46 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, a pass breakup and two interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown to break open the game against LSU.
LB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
PARTICULARS: 6-1/235, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Jasper (Texas) High
BUZZ: Weatherspoon had a nice first half of the season for the Tigers. He has 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry. He also has answered any questions about his coverage ability by coming up with three interceptions – including two he returned for touchdowns – and three pass breakups.
CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
PARTICULARS: 6-1/210, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Piscataway (N.J.) High
BUZZ: Jenkins is one of the most talented defenders in the nation, and his play has proved that this season. Though most teams avoid throwing in his area, he has three picks this season, along with five pass breakups, 27 tackles, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
PARTICULARS: 5-9/190, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Pahokee (Fla.) High
BUZZ: Watch a Wake game, and chances are Smith will make a big play. He has three interceptions to go along with seven pass breakups. He's also a solid punt returner for the Demon Deacons.
SS Eric Berry, Tennessee
PARTICULARS: 5-11/195, Sophomore
HIGH SCHOOL: Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside
BUZZ: The Vols are having a bad season, but the defense – especially Berry – has played well. Berry is second on the team with 34 tackles and has 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He also has four interceptions and two pass breakups.
FS Ryan Hamilton, Vanderbilt
PARTICULARS: 6-2/210, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North
BUZZ: Vandy has been one of the nation's biggest surprises, and Hamilton has been a standout on an opportunistic defense. He has 45 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, three interceptions, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
K Louie Sakoda, Utah
PARTICULARS: 5-9/178, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: San Jose (Calif.) Branham
BUZZ: Sakoda is following up his All-America performance in 2007 with another sterling season. He is 15-of-17 on field-goal attempts for the Utes, including 6-of-8 from beyond 40 yards. His longest this season is 53 yards, and his misses have come from 48 and 54. He's also averaging 43.4 yards per punt.
P Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
PARTICULARS: 6-1/220, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Cincinnati McNicholas
BUZZ: Huber is fifth nationally in punting at 45.9 yards per kick, and the Bearcats lead the nation in net punting. Eleven of his 28 punts have been downed inside the 20 and he has just one touchback.
KR Derrick Williams, Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-0/194, Senior
HIGH SCHOOL: Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt
BUZZ: Williams finally is starting to live up to his immense prep hype. He always has had good speed but it finally is being harnessed. He has returned two kickoffs and one punt for a touchdown, and also plays a big role in Penn State's revitalized passing attack
PR Brandon James, Florida
PARTICULARS: 5-7/186, Junior
HIGH SCHOOL: St. Augustine (Fla.) High
BUZZ: The little guy makes big plays for the Gators. He has two punt returns for touchdowns and is averaging 20.9 yards per return. He's also averaging 29.3 yards on kickoff returns.