December 5, 2007

Big East could have new look in coming years

The power may have shifted in the Big East, at least judging by the freshmen.

Pittsburgh, USF and Cincinnati had key freshman contributors, especially at the skill positions, who could challenge West Virginia's and Louisville's grip on star power in the conference.

Pitt tailback LeSean McCoy and Cincinnati wide receiver Marcus Barnett each put themselves in the school record books with Freshman All-American performances. USF had tailback Mike Ford and wide receiver Carlton Mitchell making contributions down the stretch.

McCoy is the Rivals.com offensive freshman of the year in the Big East, while Connecticut linebacker Scott Lutrus takes the defensive honor.

Check out who else made the cut on the Rivals.com Freshman All-Big East team.

Rivals.com Freshman All-Big East Team
QB Pat Bostick, Pittsburgh, 6-3/230
HIGH SCHOOL: Lancaster (Pa.) Manheim Township
BUZZ: Injuries forced Bostick into the starting role in the fourth game of the season. He passed for 1,500 yards, eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
RB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh, 5-11/210
HIGH SCHOOL: Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt
BUZZ: Despite splitting time, McCoy became the third Pitt freshman to top 1,000 rushing yards. McCoy finished the season with 1,328 yards and 14 touchdowns.
RB Mike Ford, USF, 6-2/219
HIGH SCHOOL: Sarasota (Fla.) High
BUZZ: The one-time Alabama signee started out as a short-yardage specialist. He emerged at the end of the season with 337 yards and six touchdowns in the last three games.
WR Marcus Barnett, Cincinnati (RS), 6-1/175
HIGH SCHOOL: Upper Marlboro (Md.) Frederick Douglass
BUZZ: Flourishing as Ben Mauk's top deep threat, Barnett finished the regular season with a school-record 13 touchdown catches to go with 845 receiving yards.
WR Carlton Mitchell, USF (RS), 6-4/200
HIGH SCHOOL: Tampa Gaither
BUZZ: As injuries depleted USF's receiving corps, Mitchell emerged late with 37 receptions for 537 yards and four touchdowns.
WR Jock Sanders, West Virginia, 5-8/185
HIGH SCHOOL: St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic
BUZZ: Sanders was a threat on the ground, in the passing game and on special teams with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go with 11 catches for 96 yards.
OT Jonathan Meldrum, Syracuse, 6-5/325
HIGH SCHOOL: Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown
BUZZ: He enrolled early and become a key contributor in Syracuse's offensive line rotation.
G Eric Rodemoyer, West Virginia (RS), 6-4/300
HIGH SCHOOL: Sharon (Pa.) Kennedy Catholic
BUZZ: Rodemoyer made six starts at right guard early in the season for West Virginia's prolific rushing attack.
G Anthony Davis, Rutgers, 6-6/350
HIGH SCHOOL: Piscataway (N.J.) High
BUZZ: Davis helped re-ignite the Rutgers running game. After he became a starter midway through the season, the Scarlet Knights rushed for more than 230 yards per game.
G Zach Hermann, USF (RS), 6-3/310
HIGH SCHOOL: Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake
BUZZ: Hermann started every game for the Bulls as they found more running options beyond sophomore QB Matt Grothe.
C Jim McKenzie, Syracuse (RS), 6-4/290
HIGH SCHOOL: Springfield (Pa.) St. Joseph's Prep
BUZZ: McKenzie claimed the starting center job in the third game of the season and kept it for the rest of the year.
DE Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh (RS), 6-5/250
HIGH SCHOOL: Coral Springs (Fla.) Coral Glades
BUZZ: Romeus, a backup, made the most of his time with four sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss, which was tied for the team lead.
DE Rodney Gnat, Louisville (RS), 6-3/245
HIGH SCHOOL: Jacksonville Wolfson
BUZZ: Gnat made two starts, recording 3.5 tackles for a loss.
DT Scooter Berry, West Virginia (RS), 6-2/285
HIGH SCHOOL: North Babylon (N.Y.) High
BUZZ: Berry played a part in a vastly improved defense. West Virginia is in the top 10 in total defense and scoring defense this season as Berry has 26 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
DT Chris Neild, West Virginia (RS), 6-3/305
HIGH SCHOOL: Stroudsburg (Pa.) High
BUZZ: Neild started two games and finished with 11 tackles.
LB Scott Lutrus, Connecticut (RS), 6-3/220
HIGH SCHOOL: Brookfield (Conn.) High
BUZZ: Lutrus helped lead Connecticut's turnaround by finishing the regular season with 98 tackles and four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
LB Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut (RS), 6-1/220
HIGH SCHOOL: Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Paul W. Bryant
BUZZ: Along with Lutrus, Wilson made up an outstanding tandem of freshman outside linebackers. Wilson finished the regular season with 106 tackles for the Huskies.
LB Parker Cantey, Syracuse (RS), 6-3/205
HIGH SCHOOL: Brooklyn (N.Y.) South Shore
BUZZ: Cantey played in every game this season, starting twice. He finished with 27 tackles, including nine against Connecticut.
CB Mike Holmes, Syracuse, 5-11/185
HIGH SCHOOL: Jacksonville (Fla.) Mandarin
BUZZ: Holmes made eight starts, four at cornerback, twice at strong safety and twice as a nickel back. He finished with 64 tackles and two tackles for a loss.
CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville (RS), 6-0/186
HIGH SCHOOL: DeLand (Fla.) High
BUZZ: Patrick emerged as a starter near the end of the season and finished with 19 tackles and an interception.
SS Joe Lefeged, Rutgers (RS), 6-1/195
HIGH SCHOOL: Germantown (Md.) Northwest
BUZZ: Lefeged emerged while starter Ron Girault was out with an injury. The hard-hitting safety finished with 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries.
NOTE: No freshman free safety merited consideration.
K Jake Rogers, Cincinnati, 6-3/195
HIGH SCHOOL: Warsaw (Ind.) High

BUZZ: Rogers struggled for most of the year, converting 10-of-18 field-goal attempts; he was just 1-of-6 between 40 and 49 yards. He did kick a 55-yarder against Oregon State, though.
P Rob Long, Syracuse, 6-4/175
HIGH SCHOOL: Downington (Pa.) West
BUZZ: Long got plenty of work with Syracuse's struggling offense, but he averaged 41.9 yards per kick.
KR Max Suter, Syracuse, 5-11/190
HIGH SCHOOL: Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic
BUZZ: Suter averaged 25.5 yards per return and set Big East records for total yards on kickoff returns (1,127) and number of kickoff returns (44).
NOTE: No punt return specialist merited consideration.
ALL-PURPOSE Noel Devine, West Virginia, 5-8/170
HIGH SCHOOL: North Fort Myers (Fla.) High

BUZZ: The explosive Devine averaged 11.9 yards each time he touched the ball. He rushed for 519 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 23.5 yards per kickoff return.

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