The Bears' switch to a 3-4 base defense will turn him into a speed rusher off the edge, the perfect spot for the 6' 1" 238-pounder's big-play instincts.
WR, Sr. :: Washington St.
Clearly the Cougars' best offensive weapon, Gibson was the only wideout in the conference to average more than 100 yards receiving per game.
QB, Soph. :: Washington
Equally dangerous as a passer or runner, Locker is the top returning rusher in the conference (986 yards). He's big (6' 3", 225) and fast.
S, Jr. :: Stanford
He's a tackling machine, but the Cardinal is hoping an improved run defense will keep him from having to make as many touchdown savers as he did last season.
QB, Sr. :: Arizona
He broke school records with 28 TDs and 3,683 passing yards in his first season in the spread -- and could break them again with his top four receivers back.
Best Offensive Player
Rudy Carpenter :: QB :: Arizona State
Slowed by a thumb injury in '07, he's healthy, experienced (31 straight starts) and capable of improving on last year's 25 TDs.
Best Defensive Player
Rey Maualuga :: LB :: USC
His bone-crushing hits overshadow his pass-coverage skills and ability to make tackles from sideline to sideline.
True Freshman to Watch
Jacquizz Rodgers :: RB :: Oregon State
At 5' 7", 185, he's small, strong and fast, drawing comparisons with former UCLA star Maurice Jones-Drew. Rodgers could make an immediate impact as a situational back and kick returner.
Coach on the Rise
Jim Harbaugh :: Stanford
If he improves on the four wins he squeezed out of the talent-thin Cardinal in his first season, including an upset at USC, higher-profile programs may start calling.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Mike Stoops :: Arizona
The Wildcats have gone 17-29 without a winning season in his four years. It may take a bowl bid to save his job.
The major concern for UCLA is the offensive line, which is short on depth andexperience. Left guard Darius Savage is a converted defensive tackle, and rightguard Scott Glicksberg moves over from tight end. Neither has started a game onthe offensive line. The Bruins were counting on tackle Donovan Edwards, but theJ.C. transfer chose Cal after verbally committing to UCLA.... Caltook a big hit when running back James Montgomery, listed No. 1 on thespring depth chart, decided to transfer. The Bears are hoping that Jahvid Best,a speedy but somewhat slender sophomore, can be an every-down back because theranks are thin behind him.... First-year Washington Statecoach Paul Wulff may have bigger problems to clean up off the field than on it.During the past two years at least 25 Cougars have been arrested or charged withoffenses that carry possible jail time, and in May the NCAA took away eightscholarships over two years because of the program's failure to meet academicstandards. -- Phil Taylor
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