Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Feldman's freaks in 2016

It's time for one of my favorite annual traditions...
Here it is> The 2016 College Football Freaks list on some of the most amazing athletes in the sport:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 27, 2016

Feldman typically lists workout warriors who, in addition to dominating on the gridiron, put up insane numbers in the weight room or on the track field.

Now this isn't actually an exhaustive list of every freakish athlete in college football, there's no Dalvin Cook for instance, but it's still fun to note who's represented in terms of conferences and positions.

Chuck Klosterman has noted the irony that football tends to put many of its best athletes at running back yet the nature of the sport chews up the position such that the stars who play there often can't play for very long.

But that's not really a problem in college football as most elite running backs move on the NFL before their bodies wear down. The lack of quarterbacks on this list is somewhat interesting, but I remember Bryce Petty getting mentioned here back in the day with some truly bogus program numbers so perhaps it's for the best. The trend of teams looking for great athletes at quarterback isn't going away, I can assure you of that.

A quick aside, you can be reasonably confident that some of the 40 times mentioned by Feldman in the article won't hold up to the combine's electric timing next spring. Track times though, those should always catch your eye.

Where are the freaks in the Big 10/12?

You can't help but notice the glaring absence of B1G or B12 athletes on this list, although some of this is explained by Feldman looking to avoid repeats from previous lists.

Texas probably has some freak contestants on the roster now in the underclassman ranks, some of which were added late from the Baylor recruiting class that disintegrated in the wake of the dismissal of Art Briles.

It's less clear why the Big 10 is largely left out but it may be a fluke. At any rate, I struggle to believe that the Big 10 lacks extra strong linemen or explosive ends and backers.

Derrick Willies and Patrick Morris in the Big 12

Morris' freakish strength is one more reason it's hard to be too worried about the Frogs' ability to replace Trevone Boykin, Aaron Green, Josh Doctson, and their departing O-linemen. They're plugging in Morris opposite 6'7", 350 pound guard Matt Pryor for what will undoubtedly be a line that's hard to get around or get through.

I think you can expect to see RBs Kyle Hicks and Derrick Green pounding the ball between the tackles pretty regularly while the new Frog QB looks to replace Boykin's explosiveness on the perimeter by flipping the ball out to Turpin, Deante Gray, and the rest of the talented and speedy TCU receivers.

Again, this offense is going to be fine, it won't be hard for Meacham and Cumbie to put something together that works.

Meanwhile, Derrick Willies is going to join forces with Pat Mahomes to make Texas Tech a pretty interesting team in 2016. Last year Mahomes was deadly when on the move, finding targets in the middle of the field that he could hit with side-arm, off-balance throws he probably learned from playing baseball. You can expect to see more of that but perhaps also some comebacks on the sideline to this big new target and more curl/dig routes within their normal Air Raid playbook.

I've seen Kingsbury weaponize a lot of very different types of receivers ranging from little Jakeem Grant to big Jace Amaro so I've no doubt he'll find some ways to make use of Willies. Hopefully he won't be able to destroy Big 12 blitzes with fade routes like Mike Evans did at Texas A&M back in 2013 or Tech won't be much fun to defend at all next year.

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