The Labor Day weekend marks the official kickoff to the college football season and Rivals.com has spent the last five days breaking down the rosters of BCS team rosters for former high-profile recruits that need to have a solid season to justify their high school hype.
In the last of the five-part series it is time to look at the Big East as well as other programs around the country that have not gotten the desired result from players that were expected to perform.
STEP IT UP
Rivals.com takes a conference-by-conference look back at former highly rated prospects from each team who need to start justifying their hype.
Big Ten, Pac-12
Of the Big-Six conferences the Big East has the most young players that need to step up with two players from the Class of 2011 and three from the Class of 2010 being represented on the board. There is a measure of that which can be attributed to the constant turnover of the head coaches in the conference which results in a turnover on the roster.
Every coaching staff on this list has undergone a change at the top within the last four seasons and the turnover on the rosters has been steep which has added pressure to the newly recruited players to play immediately.
Below is a look at the other former top prospects who need to step up in the Big
East and other leagues. (Click player's name for a look at his prospect profile coming out of high school
or junior college):
Jameel Poteat, running back. Ranked No. 202 overall in Rivals250
Class of 2011. Buzz: Poteat is far from a bust and certainly
isn't looking to make up for any lost performance opportunities, but he
could use this season to showcase his talent. The Bearcats only have two
former four-star recruits in the program this year and, with Isaiah Pead now
in the NFL, there is an opportunity for Poteat to shine as a feature back.
He is battling with
George Winn and
Ralph David Abernathy
IV and should see time on the field.
Geremy Davis, wide receiver. Three-star wide receiver in Class of
2010. Buzz: Davis, the Huskies' second-highest rated 2010
signee, finds himself in a crowded group of receivers. He had just six
catches for 73 yards last season but now, as a junior, it is time to step
up. Davis is solidly inside the two-deep and will be on the field, but if
the Huskies are going to contend for the Big East title he will need to
continue his development and become a bigger part of the offense.
John Lattimore, defensive end. Three-star JUCO defensive end in
Class of 2011. Buzz: Lattimore was expected to be an instant
impact player for the Pirates in 2011, but a foot injury forced him to miss
his first season in Greenville. Now, on the eve of the 2012 campaign, he is
fully healthy and is looking like he could be a disruptive force on the
Pirates' defensive front.
Radermon Scypion, defensive tackle. No. 27-ranked defensive end in
Class of 2009. Buzz: Entering college Scypion was trending
upward and impressing many analysts along the way. His time at Houston has
been marred by added weight and injuries - including a broken leg in 2010.
He is currently listed as the Cougars' starting defensive tackle and the
hope is that he hasn't added too much weight or sustained too many injuries
to where it has taken away from his natural ability to harass the
Player:Dominique Brown, running back. Ranked No. 193 overall in Rivals250 Class of 2010.
Brown is hardly in a put-up or shut-up position this year but from the Class of 2008 the only players left on the roster are walk-ons and only one player that was ranked in the Class of 2009 remains with the program. Brown was a highly ranked player when he arrived on campus and played some as a true freshman out of the Wildcat. Last season he had 140 carries for 533 yards and four scores out of the backfield. Now, a junior, he is a dedicated running back and could be very productive for the Cardinals.
Theo Riddick, running back. Ranked No. 242 overall in Rivals250
Class of 2009. Buzz: The big-time guys who haven't panned out
for Notre Dame, at least recently, are all sophomores so they really haven't
had much of a chance yet. Riddick was a four-star back that has moved
positions twice, from running back to receiver, now from receiver to running
back. Notre Dame wants to use him all over the field at both positions and
needs him to be good. So far, in three seasons in South Bend, Riddick has 84
catches for 893 yards and 54 carries and 252 yards. The opportunity to shine
is certainly there.
T.J. Clemmings, defensive end. No. 16-ranked defensive end in Class
of 2010. Buzz: Clemmings, a redshirt sophomore, was a major
pick-up for Pitt during the recruiting process. He arrived on campus and
played sparingly during his true freshman season and was redshirted last
year. The defensive end group at Pitt is pretty thin and so the program will
need Clemmings to realize his potential quickly.
D.C. Jefferson, tight end. No. 16-ranked pro-style quarterback in
Class of 2008. Buzz: Initially considered a can't-miss
quarterback that would lead Rutgers to a Big East title, Jefferson was slow
to adjust to the college game and was soon moved to a position where his
size was ideal - tight end. Through three seasons as the team's starting
tight end, Jefferson has only managed to haul in 27 receptions. If Jefferson
is to live up to the hype and take his skills to the next level, this has to
be the year.
George Baker, defensive back. No. 45-ranked athlete in Class of
2008. Buzz: Baker was the second-highest rated player to commit
to the Bulls in the 2008 class and has yet to develop into an impact player.
He is currently leading a wide open position battle to start opposite of
Kayvon Webster in the secondary and this could be his chance to
earn his stripes and blossom.
Kendrick Hardy, running back. No. 18-ranked running back in Class
of 2009. Buzz: Hardy was a four-star running back and U.S. Army
All-American coming out of high school, and headed to Southern Miss with a
lot of hype and expectations. In his first three years in Hattiesburg,
injuries and some stiff competion have kept his contributions to a minimum.
Now, with new head coach Ellis Johnson revamping the offense, many believe
this is the time he breaks out as a true power back.
Marcus Sales, wide receiver. No. 43-ranked wide receiver in Class
of 2008. Buzz: Coming into Syracuse, Sales was one of the
highest rated recruits to pick the Orange out of high school in a few
seasons. Also, being from Syracuse, there were some heavy expectations
placed on him. During Sales' first three seasons, he struggled to see the
field because of his work ethic but still caught 68 passes for 898 yards.
Then heading into his senior season, a legal issue had him out of school for
a year. Sales is back and has a chance to fulfill the hype that he
surrounded him as a high school prospect.
Vaughn Carraway, safety. No. 66-ranked wide receiver in Class of
2008. Buzz: The former three-star recruit had, at one point,
offers from the likes of Michigan and West Virginia. Carraway played in the
annual Big 33 all-star showcase that matches up the top high school players
from Pennsylvania and Ohio, but things simply never worked out for him as a
wide receiver at Temple. He was asked to switch to safety prior to the 2010
season and now things seem to be slowly coming together as he is slated to
start at free safety as the Owls head back into the Big East.
Cody Green, quarterback. Ranked No. 173 overall in Rivals250 Class
of 2009. Buzz: Green originally signed with Nebraska but left
the program after he was jumped on the depth chart by Taylor Martinez.
During his time with the Huskers, Green saw limited action and completed
just 54-percent of his passes. He transferred to Tulsa and sat out last
season due to NCAA transfer rules. The expectation is that Green, who has
already been named the starter, can come in and make a big impact for the