During spring practice, head coach Tommy Tuberville stated that he wanted to find 25 players on defense that he thought could play. With the season just around the corner, it's time to speculate who those 25 players might be (for offense and defense) and how they might fit into the grand scheme of things. This is not a top 25 list and the players are not listed in any particular order other than they're the top 25 players who I think will make an impact on each side of the ball. We'll alternate between offense and defense.
Defense: 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1
Offense: 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1
#25 | Cornelius Douglas | 5-9/192 | SO | IR
Rationale: Douglas was touted as a guy that was making plays all spring, and during the spring game he didn't disappoint. Just to take you back a bit, remember last year, at the beginning of the year, and Douglas was receiving snaps as the quarterback in the "Wildcat" formation (when Eric Morris ran this formation, it was called the "Elf Formation"). I'm guessing that Leach saw this play-making ability and the new staff sees the same thing. For me, Douglas makes this list as I think he's one of just a handful of players that I think can make a simple 5-yard pass into a 60-yard touchdown. This offense needs all of the playmakers that it can get, not that there's anything wrong with the receivers, but having a guy that can be explosive is worth something to this team and can be a headache for opposing defenses.
#24 | Bo Whitney | 6-4/230 | FR | TE
Rationale: For those of you who don't know, Whitney is the tight end that played quarterback in high school, but ended up playing tight end for Hargrave Military Academy. Right now, there's only two tight ends on the roster, Ryan Haliburton and Nancy James. The only film I could find on Whitney is when he played quarterback, but I think he's athletic enough and has enough size to be somewhat effective at tight end. I'm not expecting 20 catches or anything like that, but if this offense needs a couple of tight ends to block inside the 5 yard line, then give me Haliburton and Whitney.
23 through 21 after the jump.
#23 | Deveric Gallington | 6-3/325 | SO | RG
Rationale: I love the fact that Gallington, Okafor, and Waddle all lost weight during the spring. For those of your keeping track, Gallington was over 350 last year and now he's at a svelte 325. Personally, I think this bodes well for Gallington and the rest of this group as they were too big to be effective and I'd guess that they may regain some quickness they didn't have. Gallington has had a couple of years under the tutelege ofand if he's not ready to start now, then I don't know if he'll ever be. There aren't a ton of guard options, which means that Gallington better be ready to play and start at right guard from the outset, otherwise, you could see some shifting of players.
#22 | Steven Sheffield | 6-5/190 | SR | QB
Rationale: Of course. I think that Sheffield is fantastic and what he did, albeit on a very limited basis, was impressive. The only thing that wasn't impressive was the fact that Sheffield he threw 3 interceptions inside his own 20 yard line. I'm also concerned about Sheffield's ability to heal. He's had an ankle injury for what seems like 8 or 9 months. Like a lot of you, I tend to think Sheffield should get the nod, but I'd be lying if I wasn't a little concerned about Sheffield being able to take a beating over the course of the entire Big 12 season. Add to the fact that one of the best facets of Sheffield's game is that he's mobile, which means that he's willing to take off out of the pocket and take a few more hits while using his legs. I don't think that Sheffield is a china-doll, but as I said last week, I think that Sheffield and Potts will both see time this year.
#21 | Justin Keown | 6-4/302 | SR | C
Rationale: Keown is came out of the spring as the first-string center. I was a bit down on Keown early in his career, but he's been pretty darned servicable as a backup and to be honest, I've been really impressed with what Keown does on the field. If it were me, I'd rather have Keown start at center, which would then free up Chris Olson to play at a handful of positions, if necessary. If Keown starts at center, then I like this group of offensive linemen much, much better. Having Olson as a back-up to every position helps indefinitely. But back to Keown, I've grown to like Keown's demeanor on the field, plays with some attitude on the field, and he's got plenty of strength to play inside.
Thoughts, comments, agreements and disagreements are welcome.