NCF Nation: Ryne Giddens

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Some familiar names in the Big East are gone, and they're not coming back. It's time to get to know some new names.

The two newcomers in the league who will probably get the most attention are a pair of quarterbacks: Tom Savage at Rutgers and Eugene Smith at West Virginia. But it's tough to pick up the finer points of quarterback play early on, so expecting too much out of them right away might be unrealistic. Here are five other newcomers to watch in 2009 (for purposes of this discussion, we define newcomers as incoming freshmen, transfers, redshirts and even coaches):

Antwan Lowery, DT, Rutgers: Interior linemen are usually not big or strong enough to play right away as true freshman. But very little is usual about Lowery, who's massive at 6-foot-3 and 335 pounds. Greg Schiano has never had a tackle with Lowery's size and speed, and he could change the way the Scarlet Knights play defense. Lowery will likely force his way onto the field sooner rather than later.

• Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: Ryne Giddens was the Bulls' highest-ranked recruit, but as a true freshman he'll probably be slow to pick things up. Pierre-Paul, on the other hand, is a junior-college transfer who has the talent to start right away. And with defenses focusing on George Selvie at the other end spot, he'll have opportunities to make plays.

Logan Heastie, WR, West Virginia: There are several incoming recruits who could make an immediate impact for the Mountaineers, including Smith, running back Tavon Austin and junior-college lineman Tavita Finau. But Heastie is getting a head start by enrolling early so he can participate in spring drills, and receiver is a spot where it's easier for a newcomer to play right away. The Mountaineers will need more targets in their ramped-up passing game.

Adam Froman, QB, Louisville: It's no secret that Louisville hopes Froman is its next starting quarterback. The junior-college quarterback is on campus and will be ready to throw his first passes in a Cardinal uniform on March 8. Spring practice observers will be watching him closely to see how he handles himself and what his arm strength is like.
 
Doug Marrone, Syracuse: He's not a player, of course, but the new Orange head coach will be someone to watch all through spring and fall. He's brought a buzz back to Syracuse, but he's still never been a head coach at any level. How will he run practice? What kind of offensive overhaul will he and offensive coordinator Rob Spence install? Orange fans are eager to find out.

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