Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Grading my Big 12 sack projections
By ESPN.com staff
We've taken a look at the projections from 2011 for the league's best, and it's time to continue:
So, what about the defense?
Last April, we projected three Big 12 players to notch double-digit sack totals in 2011. Here's how it shook out:
1. Brad Madison, DE, Missouri -- Madison had, believe it or not, the most sacks of any player returning to the Big 12 next season. Most impressive? He did it as a sophomore reserve. Madison came to Missouri as an offensive lineman and has only been on the line for a year. He figures to make a big jump in 2011 as a full-time starter. The Tigers strength inside with Terrell Resonno, Dominique Hamilton and Sheldon Richardson (?) should make teams at least think before double-teaming him.
Total 2011 sacks: 4.5
Thoughts: Madison's total wasn't entirely fair. He suffered a shoulder injury, and played through pain all season. The former offensive lineman came out of nowhere in 2010 alongside Aldon Smith, but Madison could be due for a big 2012 if he stays healthy.
2. Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M -- Moore is the rawest player on the list, showing his potential in spot duty for the Big 12's sack king the past two seasons: Von Miller. He's likely to assume Miller's Joker role as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. As his technique gets better, as he learns the game and gets stronger, the sophomore, who played as a true freshman in 2010, will get better and better.
Total 2011 sacks: 8.5
Thoughts: Moore didn't reach double digits, but he ranked second in the Big 12 with his total. Texas A&M struggled to defend the pass, but the Aggies led the nation in sacks, with 51. Moore was a big part of that total, but his teammate, Sean Porter, led the Big 12 with 9.5 sacks.
4. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas -- Jeffcoat was one of the nation's top prospects in the 2010 class. He looked like a budding star early in the season by dominating Texas Tech and had a great game in his first Red River Rivalry. He was sidelined and slowed by an ankle injury last season, but once he's back on the field and full strength, he'll show why he could develop into one of the best defensive ends in college football.
Total 2011 sacks: 8.0
Thoughts: Jeffcoat had the same story as Moore, basically. A great season, but not a huge season. I'd be shocked if Jeffcoat didn't hit double digits as a junior in 2011, though. Jeffcoat finished fourth in the Big 12 in 2011, and led the Longhorns as a sophomore.
By the end of the season, exactly zero Big 12 defenders had double digit sacks.
Only nine players around the nation hit double digits, led by Whitney Mercilus at Illinois. One Big 12 player had double digit sacks in 2010, but five players hit the mark in 2009?
What will 2012 hold?
Before we project that, grade my 2011 projections.