Thursday, June 20, 2013
Future stars of college football in the Big 12
By David Ubben
Colleague Tom Luginbill tabbed 10 players who will be the next big stars in college football. Some have already started their careers. Some are about to. Some haven't even committed to a school yet.
Two players on the list are from the Big 12, though, and I couldn't agree more.
Baylor receiver Robbie Rhodes is No. 5 according to Luginbill, who credits Rhodes' track background and Baylor's strong receiver tradition for his spot on the list. Rhodes will have opportunities to contribute early on as a freshman, and when I visited Waco this offseason, there was already a lot of excitement about Rhodes' arrival. As the nation's No. 3 receiver, he's one of the most highly ranked recruits to ever come to Baylor, and over the next few years, having Bryce Petty throw him the ball won't hurt, either.
You don't have to look further than Terrance Williams or Kendall Wright to see the kind of opportunity that awaits players who emerge as go-to guys in this offense. Williams led the nation with 1,832 receiving yards in 2012, and Kendall Wright helped Robert Griffin III win the Heisman Trophy with a Big 12-high 1,663 receiving yards in 2011.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Rhodes' name associated closely with the Biletnikoff Award in a few years.
Luginbill's other future star in Big 12 comes in at No. 9: TCU defensive end Devonte Fields. He's had a rocky offseason and his production slowed at the end of 2012, but Luginbill says if he sticks to coach Gary Patterson's standards of excellence, he'll become one of the game's most feared pass-rushers in the next two seasons.
No doubt about that, but I'm also intrigued by how low Fields' profile remains, despite winning the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year Award as a true freshman. He's far from a household name and he lost an opportunity to make himself one when he got suspended for TCU's opener against LSU that should be the biggest game of college football's opening weekend.
The future's definitely bright for both Rhodes and Fields, and watching them work to reach it should be fun.