Alex Szarejko

Not-So-Household-Names

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The All-Brennan Team

Thursday, December 08, 2011


With only the Army-Navy game on tap for this weekend, we will be taking a look back upon the best of the best of the Not-So-Household-Names around the country this season.  We'll be calling this the All-Brennan Team, in honor of one of the best examples of a relatively unknown guy who put up huge numbers during his career, former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.  Brennan, of course, holds multiple NCAA passing records, including most touchdowns in a season (58) and highest career completion percentage (70.4%), but was never given too much attention playing in Hawaii and for being the beneficiary of their pass-heavy Run-N-Shoot offense.  With one of the great unsung heroes leading the way, we now turn to some of the best guys who didn't totally capture the country's attention this season, but still had great statistical years:


Quarterbacks

Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois—Harnish was pretty much the only offensive option the Huskies had all year, and the senior was able to guide the team to a MAC championship and a bid in the GoDaddy.com bowl.  Though Northern Illinois got down 20-0 at the half, Harnish was able to guide his team three second-half touchdowns and was able to complete the comeback with a game-winning field goal as time expired.  Harnish was a great dual-threat quarterback all season, amassing 36 total touchdowns (26 pass, 10 rush), only two behind Kansas State QB Collin Klein.  Harnish and the Huskies will take on an Arkansas State team who was able to beat up on Sun Belt teams all season, which means the prospect of one more big game for Harnish.

Honorable Mention: Nick Foles, Arizona—Foles had an average second-half of the season after playing the first four games without an interception, mainly due to the fact that opponents sat back in coverage defending the pass.  The telling stat is that the quarterback threw an average of 46.7 passes per game, but only failed to complete at least 64 percent of them in two contests all year.  The senior was down often and had to throw in order to compensate, and even though he had a so-so final month, Foles still finished 4,334 yards and 28 touchdowns. 

Running Backs

Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State—Randle may be the MVP of the All-Brennan Team, having been overshadowed by QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon all season.  But it was Randle who was a big part of the explosive Cowboy offense that averaged 49.3 points per game this season.  The sophomore scored multiple touchdowns in eight out of the team’s 12 games, ending up with 25 total scores.  Making that stat more impressive is the fact that Randle only received an average of 16.5 rushes per game.  To put that in perspective, Randle’s 198 attempts is one LESS than Missouri QB James Franklin had during this season.  So the fact that he was able to go over 1,100 yards for the season while receiving so few opportunities is just an awesome feat. 

Honorable Mention: Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky—Rainey was the Hilltoppers’ workhorse all season, leading the nation in carries with 369, which is 40 more than the next closest back.  Though the senior only scored 13 rushing touchdowns for the year, he more than made up for it in yardage.  Rainey went over the 100-yard mark in 10 out of his 12 games, including three 200-yard efforts.  The 5’8 back helped out of the back field a bit as well, grabbing 36 catches and four receiving scores for the year. 

Wide Receivers

Jordan White, Western Michigan—White was the best receiver in the country as a relative unknown playing out of the MAC.  The senior led the nation in both receptions (127) and yards (1,646) while winding up ranked second in touchdowns caught (16).  He had double-digit catches in seven out of the team’s 12 games, including an incredible streak of five straight weeks of at least 12 grabs.  Since he had more than double the team’s number two receiver’s 59 grabs, most teams knew the ball was going White’s way and could still do nothing about it.  Though a shame he was not more well known for his efforts this season, White might be able to make a name for himself at the next level.  
 

Honorable Mention: Sammy Watkins, Clemson—Watkins came out of the gate like gangbusters during his first season on campus, grabbing six of his 11 touchdowns in the month of September and another four during October.  Unfortunately after that, he was slowed a bit by injuries and his numbers dropped off, even missing their game against NC State in November.  However, Watkins was still quite electrifying this season as only a freshman in both the receiving and return game, and figures to only improve upon his 77-reception, 1,153-yard, 11-touchdown season with a bigger one next fall.  

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen, Clemson—Watkins is joined by another Tiger on the list, one of the best tight ends in the nation in Allen.  The junior hauled in 48 receptions and eight touchdowns which were good for fifth and second among tight ends, respectively.  Allen was rewarded for his efforts on the field this year by being named to the All-American second team, and has discussed entering the NFL Draft next year.  No matter what he decides to do, the 6’4, 255-pound prospect should be out on the field making a bigger name for himself.  


Honorable Mention: LaDarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette—Green led the Ragin’ Cajuns in the touchdown grabs this season with seven, and hauled in 46 catches total for 485 yards, one of the better seasons for a tight end.  Green went crazy on Nov. 5 with a 13-catch, 136-yard, two-touchdown game against Louisiana-Monroe.  The 6’6 senior is the third-ranked tight end prospect according to nfldraftscout.com, but will be in line for one more big day during his final game, the New Orleans Bowl against San Diego State on Dec. 17. 

 




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