No. 5 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Making the case: I am sure there are a few of you out there who believe Bridgewater should be even higher on this list. He very well could be when the season ends. But for right now, I have a few questions that leave him here in the No. 5 spot. There is no question he has the potential to be the best player in the Big East, given what we saw last season. Bridgewater was the easy pick to win Big East newcomer of the year honors after taking over the starting job in Week 4 and throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Coaches have praised his maturity and his knowledge of the offense. He acts and plays like a veteran, not somebody who has only been around for a year. Bridgewater also has bulked up, which should help him better withstand some of the hits a scrambling quarterback can take. Now where does he take the next step? He has to be a better decision-maker, as his 12 interceptions in 2011 show. He took some sacks last season where he should have thrown the ball away instead. He looked harried in the bowl game when his protection broke down.
There are a few new elements to the offense that are going to provide a test, most specifically the installation of some hurry-up. He needs playmakers at receiver and running back to emerge, so the entire offense is not squarely on his shoulders. He also needs his offensive line to be better than it was a season ago. But the expectation is there for him to have a huge season. Bridgewater is on the watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback) and Maxwell Award (best overall player) and is easily one of the most talked about players in the league going into the season.
No. 6 Trevardo Williams, DE, UConn
No. 7 Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
No. 8 Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville
No. 9 Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
No. 10 Lyle McCombs, RB, UConn
No. 11 Ryne Giddins, DE, USF
No. 12 Montel Harris, RB, Temple
No. 13 DeDe Lattimore, LB, USF
No. 14 Sio Moore, LB, UConn
No. 15 Walter Stewart, DE, Cincinnati
No. 16 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
No. 17 Mario Benavides, C, Louisville
No. 18 Jarred Holley, S, Pitt
No. 19 Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers
No. 20 Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn
No. 21 Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville
No. 22 Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse
No. 23 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers
No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn
No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse