Jeremy Johnson, Jalyn Holmes among under-the-radar players set for breakout 2015 season; more #DearAndy reader mailbag.
We’re changing up the format here at #DearAndy. Instead of recording one long video in which I answer three or four questions, each video will be dedicated to just one. That way, you don’t have to listen to me prattle on before I get to the question about your team.
Here are the questions covered in the videos:
• Who is leading the Ohio State quarterback race?
• Which coach will be the first on the hot seat in 2015? (The question asker guesses Charlie Strong.)
• Would I rather fight 300 duck-sized horses or three horse-sized ducks?
Read on for more questions and answers …
From @Ryon_Register: Who will be the player who no one has heard of that everyone will be talking about after Week 2?
Ryon is an Auburn fan, and probably knew that the first player who would spring to mind is on the Tigers. This is because that Auburn player looks like the safest bet to become a breakout star. But he is not alone. (Before we get started, remember that “player that no one has heard of” refers to fans outside that player’s team’s fan base. Of course you know who Jeremy Johnson is if you’re an Auburn fan.)
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn
Johnson has started two games already—he subbed for an injured Nick Marshall against Western Carolina in 2013 and for a suspended Marshall in the first half against Arkansas last season—and appears to be the favorite to take the keys to Gus Malzahn’s offense. The 6’5”, 240-pounder from Montgomery, Ala., played in an attack similar to Malzahn’s at Carver High, and Malzahn began recruiting Johnson when the latter was an eighth-grader.
Though Johnson’s dimensions are similar to Cam Newton’s, Johnson will probably run the ball less. The offense, which Malzahn and coordinator Rhett Lashlee turned into a modified option scheme to suit Marshall’s talents, will likely return to its pass-happy roots because Johnson can spin it much better than Marshall could. That doesn't mean Auburn won’t attack opponents between the tackles. That’s also a trademark of Malzahn’s teams. Most of those carries will likely go to backs. Those backs include Jovon Robinson, who I highlighted in a list of early-impact juco transfers last week.
Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State
Holmes already looks the part at 6’4” and 262 pounds. Now the sophomore needs to show he can set the edge and pressure the quarterback. If he can, the attention opposing offenses must devote to fellow end Joey Bosa and tackle Adolphus Washington should allow Holmes to make plays.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield might not qualify for this category since he started for Texas Tech as a true freshman walk-on in 2013, but awareness of him probably sank while he sat out last fall after transferring to Norman. Mayfield still has to win the Oklahoma starting job, but his time playing in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense should give him an edge as coordinator Lincoln Riley—like Kingsbury, a Mike Leach disciple—takes over the Sooners’ attack.
Joseph Yearby, RB, Miami
How will the Hurricanes replace Duke Johnson? With another homegrown star. The former Miami Central High standout averaged 5.9 yards a carry as a freshman with the Canes. If quarterback Brad Kaaya keeps developing after a promising freshman campaign, Yearby shouldn’t ever have to deal with an eight-man box.
From @ste_betts: How will the NCAA's hatred/ban of abs impact Ezekiel Elliott? Could this be Samson and a haircut?
While I understand the reasoning behind a rule banning bare skin in an area that could be exposed to violent physical contact, I’m not sure such concerns are valid with regard to the two highest-profile crop-top wearers. Ohio State tailback Elliott and Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman have the abs most of us could only get by sticking our heads through one of those beach boardwalk photo stands. Perhaps the football rules committee was more concerned that opponents would dent their helmets and facemasks—rendering the equipment unusable—if they collided with Elliott or Oakman’s midsections.
As for Elliott, if a broken wrist suffered in preseason camp couldn’t stop him from rushing for 1,878 yards, a little extra jersey coverage shouldn’t slow him down.
From @brentbielefeldt: I go to grad school at a school in the same division as my alma mater. How much of a fan can/should I be for my new school?
College experiences are easy to fall in love with, so it stands to reason that you might develop an affinity for the school providing your Master’s degree. This is especially true if you meet your spouse or have your first child in that second college town. Such events only deepen the connection. But the appropriateness of split fandom must be decided on a case-by-case basis.
According to his Twitter bio, Brent graduated from Alabama. He is now in grad school at Texas A&M. Bama fans from the 15 percent—FOX Sports analyst Clay Travis’s term for the Crimson Tide fans who actually attended Alabama—tend to be more reasonable than those from the 85 percent, but they are also less likely to be college football bigamists because of their fondness for the time they spent in Tuscaloosa. Alabama football fandom is more akin to a religion. One can’t really worship two at a time. (Though Brent is momentarily excused if, after a surplus of Fuego tacos, he can’t stop giving random passers-by the Gig ’Em signal.)
From @eric_hise: Can we get the age minimum for president lowered for that fourth-grade kid in Tallahassee?
I am all for that particular constitutional amendment. This kid was born to lead. Just listen to the wisdom pour out of him.