Dallas Colleges: under the radar 2012

Under the radar: Texas Tech Red Raiders

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
12:38
PM CT
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 school who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. Click here for more players under the radar.

Next up: the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Under the radar: Linebacker Terrance Bullitt

Bullitt, an All-Name teamer among All-Name teamers, played strong safety last season in Chad Glasgow's 4-2-5, but did so close to the line of scrimmage.

Now, he's moving to linebacker, and it's a great move that fits exactly what's needed for Big 12 defenses. Bullitt has good size, and is putting some weight on his 206-pound frame. Texas Tech's defense struggled last season, but Bullitt showed a penchant to make big plays, and he just may be the most talented player on the Red Raiders' defense this year.

He made 56 tackles (fourth-most on the team) and made 9.5 tackles for loss, 11th most in the Big 12.. He broke up four passes, forced a fumble and also blocked a kick. He earned just honorable mention from the coaches on last year's All-Big 12 team, and didn't receive any recognition from the media, but that may change in 2012. Tech's defense under Art Kaufman this year needs playmakers to emerge.

Bullitt, a versatile, experienced defender with two years of experience on the field, fits the bill as the most likely to become one of the league's breakout playmakers.
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. Click here for more players under the radar.

Next up: the TCU Horned Frogs.

Under the radar: DE Stansly Maponga

It's time to redefine "under the radar" for TCU, a Big 12 newcomer. You don't need to tell anyone from Fort Worth about Maponga, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound beast on the defensive line for the Frogs. But in the Big 12? Maponga may be a first-team All-Big 12 talent and I'd bet 95 percent of the league's fans have never even seen the guy play.

Mistake.

Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor may be the league's top two defensive linemen by the time the season's done, but if anybody's going to crash the league's burnt-orange monopoly at the position, it's going to be Maponga.

The Carrollton, Texas, native will only be a junior in 2011, but as a sophomore, he was one of just four players in college football to rank in the top 20 in sacks and in the top 10 in forced fumbles. He made nine sacks (which would have ranked second in the Big 12 and that's the most of any returning defender in the league. Those five forced fumbles were one more than any player in the Big 12 last season, too.

He recovered two fumbles and made 13.5 tackles for loss, which would have tied for sixth in the Big 12.

Yes, we know, he did it in the Mountain West. Count me as one more vote who doesn't care. He's one productive beast you do not want to mess with. Ignore him at your own peril. When your team plays TCU and that annoying No. 90 keeps driving you nuts, don't say you weren't warned.

Under the radar: Texas Longhorns

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
10:30
PM CT
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. Click here for more players under the radar.

Next up: the Texas Longhorns.

Under the radar: RB Joe Bergeron

Texas' identity is clear heading into 2012. They're going to play absolutely stingy defense, and run the ball until you prove you can stop it. Will Big 12 defenses be able to stop it in 2012?

Texas had only moderate success running the ball in 2011, but an older offensive line, an older backfield and a better quarterback to relieve some pressure may make life harder on those trying to defend Texas this fall.

In that backfield, though, the Longhorns have a pair of headline-makers. Malcolm Brown was the nation's No. 2 running back in the 2011 class before leading Texas in rushing as a true freshman. The nation's No. 1 running back in the 2012 class, Johnathan Gray, arrived on campus this summer and coach Mack Brown already made it clear that he didn't sign with Texas to redshirt. He's going to play.

Those two soak up all the attention, but Joe Bergeron very well may be better than both of them this season. Even if he's not, he's still solid, and maybe the most underrated running back in the entire Big 12. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back rumbles with an absolute mean streak, and is a bit more explosive than Brown. What will Gray bring to the table? We'll find out. For now, Bergeron's shown his worth, running for 463 yards and five touchdowns on just 72 carries. That's an average of 6.43 yards a touch. Only two running backs in the Big 12 were better last year: Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith and Mizzou's Henry Josey.

Those five scores were ninth-most by a freshman in school history, and three came in a romp over Texas Tech, tying a freshman school record. His freshman season was marred by injuries that kept him and Brown both shuffling in and out of the lineup, but Bergeron rolled through Texas Tech for 191 yards on 29 carries, just a week after rushing for 136 yards on just 13 carries against Kansas.

Bergeron doesn't have to carry the load. If he did, though, he'd be able to handle it. Even still, he's way, way under the radar in the Big 12.

Under the radar: Oklahoma State

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
1:15
PM CT
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. Click here for more players under the radar.

Next up: the Oklahoma State Cowboys

Under the radar: LB Caleb Lavey

Shaun Lewis is the superstar recruit turned Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Alex Elkins is the scrappy linebacker with the amazing story that began on an open call for walk-ons at a junior college. Lavey? Well, he seems to be the forgotten man in Oklahoma State's linebacking corps.

As a first-year starter following a quiet freshman season, Lavey was all over the place for the Cowboys, making 74 tackles to tie for third on the team, with senior safety Markelle Martin in that stat. He intercepted a pass, and made five tackles for loss. One of those came in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford. He also made a sack and forced a fumble last season.

Lavey, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound Celina, Texas native, makes up the forgotten third of a very talented, very experienced set of linebackers for the Cowboys who should emerge as the leaders of a solid defense in 2012. He started every game as a sophomore, making a career-high 12 tackles in the road win over Texas and 10 more in the season-changing, comeback win at Texas A&M.

Look for him to have plenty more double-digit tackle performances in 2012 and land on the radar of plenty of offenses by the time conference play comes around.

Under the radar: Oklahoma Sooners

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
12:45
PM CT
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar.

Next up: the Oklahoma Sooners.

Under the radar: CB Demontre Hurst

Sooners fans know Hurst well after he burst on the scene during spot duty in his freshman year in 2009. The rest of the league, though? Most are painfully in the dark on what Hurst has to offer.

Other corners like Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs at Texas, Brodrick Brown at Oklahoma State and Nigel Malone at Kansas State get a whole lot more press, but Hurst very well could prove he's better than all of them during his senior campaign in 2012.

Jamell Fleming took his talents to the NFL, but Hurst will be the team's top cornerback, with loads of experience to pass down to the team's younger players.

Hurst led the Sooners with 11 pass breakups last season, but earned just second-team All-Big 12 honors, his first appearance on the All-Big 12 squad. He returned his only interception of the season for a touchdown against Texas, but also recovered two fumbles. Hurst has all the pieces to be a shutdown corner in this league, and spent two seasons going head to head in practice against Ryan Broyles, one of the toughest players to cover in the history of the Big 12. He'll be teaching the Sooners' receivers a thing or two this summer and in fall camp, but Hurst is fast, and he's shown the instincts necessary to be a star since he stepped on campus. The Lancaster, Texas, native is under the radar a bit for now, but that'll change quickly for fans of the Big 12 as 2012 kicks off. If you think Hurst is under the radar among the league's wide receivers, you're sorely mistaken.

Under the radar: Baylor Bears

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
8:03
PM CT
Today, we'll kick off a new series on the Big 12 examining one player who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match their worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar.

First up, the Baylor Bears.

Under the radar: CB K.J. Morton

Baylor is starved for a true defensive star, and while it may not have one yet, Morton could be due for a breakout year in 2012. His name doesn't come up on anyone's short list for the conference's best corner, but he proved he has an ability to be a playmaker late in the season.

He became the starter in the Bears' third game of the season, and by season's end, had earned honorable mention All-Big 12 status. In the regular season's final three games, he intercepted four passes, moving him to fourth in the conference. That included interceptions against Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Texas Tech's Seth Doege. Both of his interceptions against Texas in the season finale gave Baylor's offense the ball in the red zone.

What's the biggest reason he could make a jump in Year 2? The opportunity for offseason growth. Morton didn't transfer to Baylor until late August, and had to rush to learn the new defense under Phil Bennett. Bennett's system is in its second year, and Morton should have a much greater understanding of the position by now. Additionally, he faces top-tier talent at receiver in practice every day against an offense that puts a lot of stress on defensive backs.

Morton doesn't command the same respect as guys like OSU's Brodrick Brown, Texas' Carrington Byndom or Oklahoma's Demontre Hurst.

Don't be shocked if that has changed by December.

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