Recently, we were asked by The Ralphie Report to compile a preseason all-conference team. Specifically...
from each of your respective rosters on the following tabs, highlight the following number of players at each position whom you wish to nominate for the Big 12 team- (1) qb (2) rb (2) wr (1) te (3) ol (3) dl (2) lb (3) db (1) k (1) p
As usual, I'm very late to this party thanks to a busy (and partially Internet-less) week last week. But I really wanted to participate in this, and to open the forum to the BOTC readers. Please make your own picks in either the comments or a FanPost.
Quarterback (1): Josh Freeman
Given that Carson Coffman has thrown a grand total of five passes for the Cats, Freeman is the man for this pick. Freeman is coming off a season in which he completed 63 percent of his passes for 3300+ yards. He threw for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, which was a big improvement over his freshman year, but not quite what was expected of the young man from Grandview who has a howitzer implanted in his right arm. Continued improvement this season will be an important aspect of K-State's success.
Running Backs (2): Leon Patton, Keithen Valentine
Patton found himself stuck behind James Johnson on the depth chart last year, and may have been hampered by other problems that were kept in house. He gained 409 yards on 83 attempts last season, but will be asked to do much more this year.
Valentine may be an odd choice here as a walk-on, but he had a big showing in a spring game that was otherwise a real yawner. We'll see how his performance in a contrived spring scrimmage translates to this fall, but it's one reason to hope.
Wide Receivers (2): Deon Murphy, Lamark Brown
Murphy showed last season he has speed to burn and is a real weapon on special teams and end-arounds. This season we'll have to see how he steps into a bigger role and whether he can catch the ball more consistently.
It's difficult to pick a second guy here, because our production dropped off so sharply after Jordy Nelson last year. However, Brown is an athlete who could play a much bigger role if he puts his time in.
Tight End (1): Jeron Mastrud
It must be noted that Mastrud was more productive receiving the ball than my second pick for wide receiver, which may be an ominous sign. However, the tight end has played a prominent role in the K-State offense since Ron Prince has been in town, and Mastrud has shown he is a player upon whom we can rely.
Offensive Line (3): Jordan Bedore, Alesana Alesana, Gerard Spexarth
Bedore was the anchor of the line last year at center, as the line play (along with everything else) went to hell after his injury. His health would go a long way toward an improved rushing game and protection for Freeman.
Some K-State faithful trashed Alesana for his performance in the season opener at Auburn last season, but those who did clearly didn't realize he was lined up opposite all-SEC defensive lineman Quentin Groves. Alesana progressed quickly throughout the season and will be a top contributor this fall.
Spexarth didn't receive nearly as much recognition as Bedore or Alesana, but he managed to stay healthy the entire season and was a top performer for the Cats. Another year of that in 2008 would be much appreciated out of the big man from Colwich.
Defensive Linemen (3): Ian Campbell, Xzavier Stewart, Chidubamu Abana
Campbell needs no explanation as the senior will look to return to his sophomore-year form after a move back to defensive end, his natural position.
Stewart was a true freshman who probably should have redshirted last season, as he was not used until the Missouri game. At that point, the season was lost, and I doubt his play against Missouri and Fresno State really went very far toward preparing him for this year. Nevertheless, Stewart is a large body in the middle, which is something K-State needs desperately to slow opposing rushing attacks.
Despite what the K-State athletic department Web site says, Abana is a bit undersized as a defensive tackle, but he was a solid performer in somewhat limited duty last year. Yet another player who will asked to play a bigger role this year.
Linebacker (2): Antwon Moore, Reggie Walker
Moore is currently listed at defensive back on the athletic department Web site. I had not heard he was being moved to DB, a move I would consider akin to putting Ian Campbell at linebacker last year (in other words, not well-considered). Either way, he looked like a promising player at LB before being injured against San Jose State last year. If he's healthy this season, Moore could be the best player on this defense.
Walker managed to stay healthy all year and recorded 65 tackles, fourth on the team. He performed solidly in all aspects, picking up 5.0 tackles for loss (3.0 sacks), picking off a pass, and forcing two fumbles.
Defensive Back (3): Gary Chandler, Joshua Moore, Chris Carney
At safety, Gary Chandler is not afraid of a little contact. Chandler finished with 54 tackles last season, including 4.5 for loss. He was the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year last season.
After being sidelined all of last season with academic issues (of which he was eventually cleared), Joshua Moore should be the team's top cover-corner this season. In 2006, he was named to the Big 12 all-freshman team.
Chris Carney was another solid performer in the K-State defensive backfield last season, actually picking up more tackles (64) than did Chandler. (Side Note: It's more than a little disconcerting that our defensive backs picked up so many tackles last season. That needs to change.) Carney also intercepted four passes in 2007.
Kicker: Brooks Rossman
Rossman received various levels of all-conference honors for his work last season, which included 1.83 field goals per game. Overall, he made almost 79 percent of his attempts on the season.
Punter: D.J. Fulhage
If you haven't heard of him, you're not alone. There will be a lot of religious people in purple when the Cats are punting this year.
There you have it. Feel free to disagree.