Kansas State coaches knew LB Terry Pierce had a bright future even before he was named Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2000. Still, they didn't expect the 19-year-old to become the team's leader so soon. Pierce (6'3", 252) has shed 8 pounds, cut his 40 time (4.67), set LB records in about every lift and matured so much that the Wildcats coaches have moved him to the middle. But he's just one of the players around the country rising helmet and shoulder pads above the comp this spring.
Phillip Buchanon, CB, Miami
Larry Johnson, TB, Penn State
Bernard Riley, DT, USC
Wilson Thomas, WR, Nebraska
Jason Witten, TE, Tennessee
This article appears in the April 30 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
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