Mark over at the Big East Coast Bias asked the eight conference football members to turn in a Preseason All-Big East Team and our first Power Poll of the season. We'll have the Power Poll up tomorrow, but today we wanted to unveil our Preseason All-Big East Team.
QB: Zach Collaros, Cincinnati
While Geno Smith would have been a solid choice here, Collaros is coming off a monster year last season and should only improve in the 2nd season of Coach Butch Jones' offense.
Easily the best two running backs of the conference. Louisville RB Victor Anderson has the chance to regain the form he had in 2009 and follow Bilal Powell's monster season last year. Incoming Rutgers freshman Savon Huggins and Darrell Scott are each coming in with some hype, but both Pead and Graham have sustained success in the Big East and will get the spots until someone takes it away from them.
WR: Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers; WR: D.J. Woods, Cincinnati
Woods was the go to target for Collaros last season, and the stats showed that after his 57 catch/898 yards/8 TD performance last season. With a couple of strong receiving targets coming in along with Pead, it will be difficult for most defenses to focus on him when there are other quality options around him.
Sanu is Rutgers' do everything man, and had a great 2010 even though he was injured most of the year. Sanu caught 44 balls for 418 yards and 2 TD while also running the Wild Knight. Sanu had 59 carries for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns while running the Wild Knight and even passed for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tayvon Austin will be dangerous under new coach Dana Holgorsen's offense, and look for Mike Shanahan at Pitt to pick up where Jonathan Baldwin left off.
TE: Nick Provo, Syracuse
Provo had a great season last year for the Orange, catching 33 balls and creating a match-up nightmare against most defenses. Ryan Griffin from UConn is another solid choice at TE. Without a quality QB for the Huskies, who knows how his stats will fall from last season.
Petrus is on every preseason watch list a lineman can be on and is a possible 1st round selection for next year's NFL Draft. Ryan is the only member of the All-Big East team from last year and should have another strong season this year. We all know about the opera singing Hine, who will do well in his 3rd season at RG. Barclay and Pugh were both 2nd team All-Big East last year and will be the rocks of their units this year.
The defense and special teams after the jump.
DL: Bruce Irvin, WVU; Brandon Lindsey, Pitt; Chandler Jones, Syracuse; Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
Irvin mostly played on passing downs last season and still had the ability to accumulate 22 tackles and 14 sacks last year. With Bruce moving into a starting position I'm scared to think of the stats he might pick up. Lindsey stepped up after Greg Romeus' injury last year and proved to be one of the premier players in the conference, grabbing 51 tackles, 16 TFL, and 10 sacks. Chandler has been dominant on the outside for the Orange and last year was no exception. Jones tallied 57 tackles and 4 sacks last year. Wolfe has been a rock in the middle for the Bearcats, and the stats have poured in for the DT. Last year Wolfe had 48 tackles and 4 sacks from his tackle position.
There was no way I was going to keep Lattimore and Barrington off this list. Gruder was great for the Panthers last year as he registered 84 tackles and an interception. Gruder will be manning one of the ILB spots for the Panthers as they transition to a 3-4 defense. Lattimore and Barrington have quietly become the best linebacker duo in the conference. Lattimore was great in his first year as a starter with 69 tackles, 6.5 TFL, and 2.5 sacks. Barrington had another solid season for the Bulls with 65 tackles, 8.5 TFL, .5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
Tandy had a breakout season for the Mountaineers last year. Tandy had 54 tackles and 6 interceptions last season, and Tandy will be looked at as the shutdown corner in the Big East. Wreh-Wilson was another corner who took the leap last year with 57 tackles and 4 interceptions. Shamarko was one of the big reasons for the Orange's turnaround season, as he grabbed 67 tackles and 2 sacks from the strong safety position. Young took over the free safety role from Nate Allen last year and didn't miss a step, totalling 41 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 PBU.
K: Dave Teggart, UConn
USF fans in particular should know Teggart's ability to kick when the pressure is on. Teggart hit 25 of 31 kicks last year (EDSALL'D), including the game winners against West Virginia and USF where he kicked the Huskies into the Fiesta Bowl with a career high 52-yarder. I can't wait for him to graduate.
P: Pat O'Donnell, Cincinnati
The best leg in the conference. O'Donnell averaged 41.9 YPP last season as a sophomore and should improve in his 2nd season as the Bearcats starter.
KR: Lindsey Lamar, USF
We all know how good Lindsey is returning kicks.
AS: Armando Sanchez, USF
While we don't know much about the rest of the conference's special teams, we know Armando is our Special Teams Ace, and that deserves some recognition.
Anyone we left out? Let us know in the comments.