Phil Steele unveils preseason team
More than anything, this group should serve as a primer for anyone who wants to get to know the new teams in the league, and the new players in the league that have a chance to make a big impact on their respective teams.
Having said that, there were not too many surprises on the first team, populated mostly by players on returning Big East teams. Only four players from incoming teams made either the first-team offense or first-team defense. One of those was Houston running back Charles Sims, who decided to leave the team after Steele's preseason team went to press. Steele had Rutgers' Savon Huggins and UCF's Storm Johnson on the second-team at running back.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
- I am trying to figure out how Louisville receiver Eli Rogers is not listed on any team. We are talking about four teams with three receivers each. Am I missing something here? The Cardinals did get two receivers tabbed -- DeVante Parker on the first team and Damian Copeland on the fourth team. But in my book, Rogers is one of the top 12 receivers in this league. His is the biggest omission I saw.
- USF has the potential to be really good up front defensively. Hard to argue with Ryne Giddins and Aaron Lynch on the first team at defensive end, although Rutgers' Jamil Merrell could make a case. Giddins is due for a bounce-back season, and Lynch turned heads all spring. Tackles Luke Sager (third team) and Todd Chandler (fourth team) also were named. Louisville and USF were the only teams with their entire starting defensive front named.
- UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni moved safety Byron Jones to cornerback to help fill some of the gaps in the secondary. By all accounts, Jones had a great spring. Steele has Jones listed on the first team, along with linebacker Yawin Smallwood. Plenty of defensive talent still left on that team.
- Steele also has a good number of transfers named, and these are definitely players to keep an eye on this fall. Among them -- Cincinnati linebacker Jeff Luc (second team), UConn linebacker Graham Stewart (fourth team), Houston linebacker Trevon Randle (third team), SMU running back Traylon Shead (third team), Louisville tight end Gerald Christian (first team) and Lynch (first team).
- How's this for a flip flop? Rutgers has four offensive players listed on the first team -- receiver Brandon Coleman and offensive linemen Betim Bujari, Antwan Lowery, and Kaleb Johnson. Zero listed on the first-team defense.
- Preseason favorite Louisville led the way with seven first-team selections. Rutgers and Cincinnati were next with four, followed by: Houston (3), Memphis (3), UConn (3), USF (2), Temple (1) and SMU (1).
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