Non-AQ Players to Watch

May, 11, 2011
5/11/11
4:30
PM ET
I featured three non-AQ players to watch in one of my spring wrap videos: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman and BYU quarterback Jake Heaps.

But there are plenty other non-AQ players to watch. Here is a brief list of other players I think could have big seasons in 2011:

Tank Carder, LB, TCU. He should be a first-team All-American this season as one of the top linebackers in the nation.

Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State. Crawford had a good season in 2010 as a reserve, but he is poised for a breakout season, leaving many confident he will step right in for the departed Ryan Winterswyk at defensive end.

Dominique Davis, QB, East Carolina. Davis won the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year award in 2010 after setting school single-season records in touchdown passes (36), attempts (552), completions (358) and passing yards (3,699). He loses his top playmaker in Dwayne Harris, but he will be expected to carry the team once again while the defense undergoes a makeover.

Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois. He can run, and he can throw, and chances are he is going to be the preseason pick for MAC Offensive Player of the Year. How he does in Dave Doeren's system will be fun to watch.

Logan Harrell, DT, Fresno State. Harrell had 10.5 sacks last season as the Bulldogs really improved their pass rush. With Chris Carter gone, can Harrell duplicate the same results in 2011?

Tim Jefferson, QB, Air Force. There are some who think Air Force could be a dark horse in the Mountain West because of Jefferson, perhaps the most improved player in the Mountain West last season.

Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Could another 5,000-yard season be in the works for Keenum? The big question is how he looks one season removed from ACL surgery. Some quarterbacks have a harder time with their mobility. It took two seasons for Tom Brady to get back to his former self.

G.J. Kinne, QB, Tulsa. You have read ad nauseum on here that he has his third offensive coordinator in three seasons with the Golden Hurricane. But 2010 was his best season yet, and coach Bill Blankenship was promoted from assistant to head coach and knows what works well for Kinne.

Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky. Rainey led all rushers in the country with 340 carries and ranked No. 4 among running backs with 1,649 yards. Can he do that agian?

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