Tom Layberger

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New look pass connections

Friday, March 02, 2012


Robert Griffin to Kendall Wright. Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon. Kirk Cousins to B.J. Cunningham. These and other big-time connections are no more. From Baylor to Oklahoma State to Michigan State and a few other campuses, primary hookups over the past year or two are in for a makeover starting this spring. With that in mind, here is a look at possible connections that could generate headlines in 2012 and perhaps beyond.

Arizona
Disconnected: Nick Foles to Juron Criner

New connection: Matt Scott to Dan Buckner
Scott is no stranger in Tempe as he enters his fifth year with the program. Not wanting to finish his career sitting behind Foles without having a chance to start, Scott redshirted last season and is line to be No. 1 in 2012 under new coach Rich Rodriguez. In 22 games spread over three seasons (2008-10) he has thrown for 1,301 yards and 6 TDs. Scott delivered big time while filling in for an injured Foles in 2010. He better stay healthy because there is no experience behind him. In fact, Scott is the only QB on scholarship…..Buckner was 42-606-2 in his first season with the Wildcats. Some think the former Texas Longhorn can be one of the top receivers in the Pac-12 as a senior. Keep an eye on Austin Hill. The third-year sophomore started one game last season and made the best of it with 8-128-1 at Oklahoma State.

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Arizona State
Disconnected: Brock Osweiler to Gerell Robinson
 
New connection: Mike Bercovici to Alonzo Agwuenu
Well, maybe. First-year coach Todd Graham has a lot to sort out. Sophomores Bercovici and Taylor Kelly along with redshirt freshman Michael Eubank will battle at quarterback. They have a combined seven career pass attempts with Bercovici having served as Osweiler’s primary backup in 2011…. Spreading the field for whoever wins the QB derby could be speedy Rashad Ross (18 rec. in 2011), but first-year coach Todd Graham brought in a couple of JUCO transfers, including Agwuenu. A star in the Arizona high school ranks, Agwuenu needed to go the JC route to get his academics in order.  He went to Mount San Antonio College in California where he was 73-1,125-19 last year. Like Robinson, he is 6-foot-4.

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Baylor
Disconnected: Robert Griffin III to Kendall Wright

New connection: Nick Florence to Terrance Williams
Both players are experienced and have enjoyed some success. Florence started seven games as a freshman in 2009 when Griffin was shelved with a knee injury. He threw for 1,789 yards with 6 TDs and 9 INTs. Florence had only 25 attempts the past two seasons combined, but was 9-of-12 for 151 yards and a pair of TDs after a banged up Griffin was pulled against Texas Tech late last season. One of the scoring passes was to Williams, who posted numbers last season that would have led several teams: 59-957-11. Williams, who will be a senior, has 105 career receptions.

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Boise State
Disconnected: Kellen Moore to Tyler Shoemaker

New connection: Joe Southwick to Matt Miller
Southwick has two seasons remaining in Boise after serving as Moore’s backup the past two years during which he threw for 400 yards on 54 attempts. In Miller, he has an experienced receiver who tied Shoemaker for the team lead with 62 receptions (9 TDs) in 2011. Miller is more the possession type as he averaged less than 11 yards per catch whereas Shoemaker averaged 16. That’s where Dallas Burroughs could come into play after averaging 19.7 on nine receptions. Miller and Burroughs will both be sophomores.

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Houston
Disconnected: Case Keenum to Patrick Edwards

New connection: David Piland to Deontay Greenberry
Piland was a freshman thrown into the fire when Case Keenum was injured early in the 2010 season. He played eight games and, in typical Houston Cougars fashion, posted large numbers: 2,641 yards passing and 24 touchdowns. Piland will not have record-setting receivers Edwards or Tyson Carrier to play catch. In fact, very little returns at the position. That is why Greenberry, a mega-recruit ranked among the nation’s top receivers, could have an immediate impact. It looked like Greenbury was on his way to Notre Dame before and 11th-hour change of heart.

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Michigan State
Disconnected: Kirk Cousins to B.J. Cunningham

New connection: Andrew Maxwell to DeAnthony Arnett
That connection could come to fruition if Arnett can obtain a hardship waiver and play immediately for the Spartans after transferring from Tennessee to be closer to his ailing father. If not, then Maxwell/Arnett could be a very nice connection starting in 2013. We do know Arnett had a year of experience with the Vols (24 rec.), possesses outstanding speed and has three years of eligibility. Regardless of Arnett’s status for 2012, several others will be in the mix including Benny Fowler, Tony Lippett and Monty Madaris. While the Spartans were in good hands with Cunningham, etc, many expected Fowler to have an impact last season. However, a broken foot took care of that and he will not be available until fall practice. Lippett, a very talented athlete who was a corner as a freshman last season, comes to the offensive side of scrimmage where he starred as a receiver in high school. The highly-recruited Madaris, whom coach Mark Dantonio said reminds him of Cunningham, might have a big impact as a true freshman.

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Oklahoma State
Disconnected: Brandon Weedon to Justin Blackmon

New connection: Clint Chelf to Tracy Moore
Chelf is entering his third year in coach Mike Gundy’s system, though he has all of 49 career pass attempts playing behind Weedon. Twenty-one of those came in a blowout against Kansas last season and certainly nothing is guaranteed. Freshman Wes Lunt will also battle to take over for Weedon starting this spring and could ultimately win the job. Moore saw his first extended action last season and caught 45 passes for 672 yards and 4 touchdowns. Moore will be a senior and his experience may be needed to help in the huddle as well as running routes. Josh Stewart has a promising future after catching 19 passes as a freshman.




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