Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big East Biletnikoff Watch List

ESPN's Big East Blog released the names of the conference's candidates for the Biletnikoff Award. The award is given annually to the nations best receiver. Let's take a look at the candidates.

Tavon Austin (West Virginia):
The converted RB has taken quite a liking to his new position. Austin blew up in 2010 with 58 receptions and eight touchdowns. He is Geno Smith's favorite returning target, mostly lining up in the slot, but also shows plenty of poise from the outside. Look for Austin's numbers to even get better this season with Dana Holgorsen's passer-friendly system. It could be an epic year for Tavon.
2010 Stats: 58 Rec, 787 Yards, 8 TDs
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 7.2

Van Chew (Syracuse): Obviously has the best name of anyone on the watch list. He "chewed" up yardage last year(see what I did there?), going for over 600 yards on 41 receptions. He also found the endzone five times, in what turned out to be a prolific 2010 year. Chew's numbers should improve with QB, Ryan Nassib steadily maturing. He doesn't get enough credit for his range, but stats don't lie. He averaged over 16 yards per catch.
2010 Stats: 41 Rec, 611 Yards, 5 Tds
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 5.8

Mike Shanahan (Pitt): Ladies and Gentlemen, meet your new Pitt star receiver. Shanahan put up very respectable numbers in 2010. He benefited from Jon Baldwin being double-teamed, and now is the big man in Oakland. Look for Shanahan to be targeted much more in 2011, especially in the redzone, a place he only reached once last season. The stars are aligned for this kid to take over, but will his QB let him down?
2010 Stats: 43 Rec, 589 Yards, 1 TD
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 6.5

D.J. Woods (Cincinnati): Woods benefited from key injuries in 2010 and ended up having a superb season. He went over 100 yards receiving three times, and finished with 10 total touchdowns. He did put the ball on the ground numerous times, but the talent is certainly there. Look for a 1,000-plus yard season for the speedy wideout in 2011, especially with his QB improving in Butch Jones' system.
2010 Stats: 57 Rec, 898 Yards, 10 Total TDs
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 6.8

Michael Smith (UConn): Academically Ineligible for the 2011 season. Not sure why he is on the list.
2010 Stats: 46 Rec, 615 Yards, 2 TDs
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 0.0

Mark Harrison (Rutgers): The dude was a scoring machine last year, with nine touchdowns, including four in one game. Harrison has essentially become the number one threat over Mohamed Sanu, but it is truly a solid one-two combination. Though that combination could harm his chances at winning this award if Sanu stays healthy, and becomes number one again. Either way, it should be another solid season for Harrison.
2010 Stats: 43 Rec, 829 Yards, 9 TDs
Chance of Winning on a Scale of 1-10: 6.5

Big East Mackey Award Watch List

The award watch lists continue to roll out. Today, The Mackey Award names were released. Here is a look at the four Big East candidates.

Ryan Griffin (UConn):
He was third on the team in receiving last year with 31 receptions. Griffin could have an even bigger year this season with more consistency from the QB position. He's known for having very solid technique, which should help him get to the next level. If he wants to win this award, he will have to find the endzone a lot more.
2010 Stats: 31 Rec, 245 Yards, 1 TD

Josh Chichester (Louisville): He ended up having a fairly consistent season for the Cards. Chichester only totaled 22 receptions, but five went for touchdowns. The converted WR has shown lots of promise at the position, and could really break out in 2011.
2010 Stats: 22 Rec, 317 Yards, 5 TDs

D.C. Jefferson (Rutgers): A little surprising Jefferson made the list, though just about every team has a representative. Rutgers fans are still waiting to see the 6'6", 258lb manchild take over. He had only 10 receptions last season, and none past November 3rd. It will take a Herculean effort to pull down this award.
2010 Stats: 10 Rec, 166 Yards, 1 TD

Nick Provo (Syracuse): Just like everyone else on the Orange, Provo busted through in 2010. He ended the season with 33 receptions, with an average of 11 yards-per-catch. He's expected to have an even bigger role in 2011, especially with his QB quickly maturing. Just like Griffin, he will have to light up the endzone a bit more to be considered for the Mackey.
2010 Stats: 33 Rec, 365 Yards, 1 TD

Big East Bednarik Watch List

It's now time to take a look at the Big East players on the Bednarik Watch List. The award is for the best defensive player in the nation.

Bruce Irvin (DE, WVU): The sack specialist blew onto the scene last year. Irvin totaled just 21 tackles, but 14 of them were sacks. He also forced two fumbles in his limited play. His biggest question will be can he play on every down, at a high level. If he can then watch out, it could be an epic season.
2010 Stats: 21 Tackles, 14 Sacks, 2 FF
Made-Up Odds: 50-1

Brandon Lindsey (DE/LB, Pitt): Lindsey was the model of efficiency on the d-line last season. He tallied 51 tackles, 16 for loss, and 10 of them being sacks. The big man moves so well on his feet that many mistake him for a linebacker, which he is actually turning into. If his transition to the more athletic, outside position goes smoothly then watch out for a big season.
2010 Stats: 51 Tackles, 10 Sacks, 16 TFL
Made-Up Odds: 75-1

Kendall Reyes (DT, UConn): The meat in the middle will look to have another influential season in Storrs. The big man finished with 39 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and anchored a solid rush defense. Look for Reyes to continue to improve his stats as he eyes the NFL.
2010 Stats: 39 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 2 INT
Made-Up Odds: 95-1

Keith Tandy (CB, WVU): He has improved remarkably over the past few seasons. Tandy has the ability to shut down a side, but still tends to give up a long ball now and again. He finished a stellar 2010 campaign with six picks, truly showing his ball-hawking ways. Expect Tandy to continue to gain in confidence, and also be a leader for the WVU secondary.
2010 Stats: 54 Tackles, 6 INTS, 1 FF
Made-Up Odds: 90-1