The 6' 2", 306-pound left tackle allowed two sacks over the past two seasons and was the foundation for an offense that ranked sixth in Division I-A last season.
DT, Sr. :: Cincinnati
He led the Bearcats with 17 tackles for loss last season, but he has been suspended for the opener against Eastern Kentucky because of a marijuana citation he received last March.
FS, Sr. :: Rutgers
A fourth-year starter who bypassed the NFL draft last spring, the hard-hitting 6' 2", 210-pound safety has led the Scarlet Knights in tackles in two of his first three seasons.
DT, Jr. :: Syracuse
In his first year as a starter, the 6' 4", 291-pound run-stopper, showing a remarkable ability to fight through double teams, was third in the conference with 17 1/2 tackles for loss.
LB, Sr. :: South Florida
A two-time transfer (from Michigan State and Iowa State), he set a Bulls record with 121 tackles last year, his first as a starter. He is moving from the outside to the middle.
Big East Notables
Best Offensive Player
Pat White :: QB :: West Virginia
The conference offensive player of the year in each of the last two seasons, he can beat you with his arm (35 career TD passes) or his legs (3,506 career rushing yards).
Best Defensive Player
George Selvie :: DE :: South Florida
Recruited as a center, the 6' 4" 242-pounder topped the Big East in sacks last year (141/2) and is the anchor for one of the conference's quickest defensive lines.
True Freshman to Watch
Jonathan Baldwin :: WR :: Pitt
The 6' 5", 220-pound gem of a stellar 2008 recruiting class could become the new deep threat, replacing Maurice Williams (academically ineligible).
Coach on the Rise
Brian Kelly :: Cincinnati
In his first season he led the Bearcats to their first 10-win season in 56 years and a No. 17 national ranking.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Greg Robinson :: Syracuse
He has had the worst three-year run in Orange history (7-28) and if there are no signs of progress this fall, he could be gone before the season is over.
With the early departure of running back Ray Rice to the NFL and no clear-cut favorite tofill the void, Rutgers may have to air things out. Senior Mike Teelpassed for 3,147 yards and 20 touchdowns last fall despite playing the finalnine games with a fractured thumb on his throwing hand. And in senior TiquanUnderwood (1,100 yards, seven TDs) and junior Kenny Britt (1,232yards, eight TDs), he has two of the top wideouts in theconference.... Former Michigan defensive coordinator RonEnglish accepted the same position at Louisville, where he faces a majorchallenge: rebuilding a unit that allowed 31.4 points per game. English prefersan attacking 4-3 scheme, but with a dearth of playmakers, he spent last springstressing fundamentals and discipline.... Can UConn improve onits breakthrough 2007 season? Coach Randy Edsall played 17 freshmen lastyear, including linebackers Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson, whostarted all 13 games and combined for 220 tackles. They will be among sixsophomores in the lineup. -- Mark Beech
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