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The North in 2010

The 2009 Big 12 North race is, to say the least, intriguing heading into November, but the way my brain works, I can't help but keep an eye on the future as all of this plays out.  And since it's in my head, I might as well type it out too, huh?  As November 2009 begins, let's take a look at...2010.

What we're going to do is simple: we're going to take the most recent two-deeps listed on each team's website, remove the seniors, and see what's left.  Obviously there will be plenty more analysis to come, but this will be a nice, preliminary peek.  I can't help myself.


Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Blaine Gabbert (Jr)
Jimmy Costello (So)
DE Jacquies Smith (Jr)
Marcus Malbrough (So)
RB Derrick Washington (Sr)
De'Vion Moore (So)
DT Dominique Hamilton (Jr)
Marvin Foster (RSFr)
WR Jerrell Jackson (Jr)
Brandon Gerau (Jr)
DT Terrell Resonno (Jr)
Bart Coslet (Sr)
WR T.J. Moe (So)
Rolandis Woodland (So)
DE Aldon Smith (So)
Brad Madison (So)
WR Wes Kemp (Jr)
Michael Egnew (Jr)
WLB Zaviar Gooden (So)
Donovan Bonner (So)
TE Andrew Jones (Jr)
Beau Brinkley (Jr)
MLB Will Ebner (Jr)
Luke Lambert (Sr)
LT Elvis Fisher (Jr)
Justin Britt (RSFr)
SLB Andrew Gachkar (Sr)
Tyler Crane (Jr)
LG Austin Wuebbels (Jr)
Travis Ruth (So)
CB Carl Gettis (Sr)
Trey Hobson (Jr)
C Tim Barnes (Sr)
J.T. Beasley (Jr)
CB Kevin Rutland (Sr)
Robert Steeples (So)
RG Jayson Palmgren (Jr)
Travis Ruth (So)
FS Jasper Simmons (Sr)
Munir Prince (Sr)
RT Dan Hoch (Jr)
Jack Meiners (So)
SS Jarrell Harrison (Sr)
Kenji Jackson (Jr)
K Grant Ressel (Jr) P Matt Grabner (Jr)
PR Carl Gettis (Sr) KR Jasper Simmons (Sr)
  • I've got to say, this is the most complete team heading into 2010.  Blaine Gabbert will be the most accomplished North QB heading into 2010 and Derrick Washington the second-most accomplished RB.  The improved secondary will return just about everybody of importance, and a deep LB corps could be well-positioned to absorb the loss of Sean Weatherspoon with as little drop-off as possible.
  • Two major question marks: a) who replaces Danario Alexander, and b) who replaces Jaron Baston?  Multiple candidates exist to replace Spoon, so that's actually less of a worry, but the WR situation is at least a bit worrisome.  Wes Kemp has shown flashes, and if he continues to grow, he could be the deep threat this team needs, but what is it I always say?  Until you actually prove it, it's a question mark.  Beyond Kemp, guys like Jackson, T.J. Moe (remember him?), Rolandis Woodland, and one of the redshirting freshmen (L'Damian Washington, Jaleel Clark, Kerwin Stricker) will fill out the depth chart, and at least one of them will need to take a step forward.
  • Of course, you know who else could absorb the loss of Danario?  Tight ends.  Novel concept, I know.
  • I really like what I've seen out of Dominique Hamilton recently, but Terrell Resonno seems to have disappeared.  Either he or one of the underclassmen (Marvin Foster, Jimmy Burge, George White) will need to raise their game.  If somebody competent steps up at WR and DT, this team is loaded.


Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Tyler Hansen (Jr)
Cody Hawkins (Sr)
DE Marquez Herrod (Sr)
Josh Hartigan (Jr)
RB Rodney Stewart (Jr)
Darrell Scott (Jr)
DT Curtis Cunningham (Jr)
Nate Bonsu (So)
FB Ryan Deehan (Jr)
DT Will Pericak (So)
Conrad Obi (Jr)
WR Scotty McKnight (Sr)
Jason Espinoza (Jr)
DE Forrest West (So)
Nick Kasa (So)
WR Markques Simas (Jr)
Will Jefferson (So)
WLB Jon Major (So)
Tyler Ahles (Jr)
TE Ryan Deehan? (Jr)
MLB Michael Sipili (Sr)
LT Nate Solder (Sr)
Ryan Dannewitz (So)
SLB B.J. Beatty (Sr)
Doug Rippy (So)
LG Ethan Adkins (Jr)
Blake Behrens (Jr)
CB Jimmy Smith (Sr)
C Keenan Stevens (Sr)
Mike Iltis (Jr)
CB Jalil Brown (Sr)
Arthur Jaffee (Jr)
RG Matthew Bahr (Jr)
Max Tuioti-Mariner? (So)
FS Ray Polk (So)
Anthony Perkins (Jr)
RT Ryan Miller (Jr)
Bryce Givens (So)
SS Travis Sandersfeld (Jr)
K Aric Goodman (Sr) P Aric Goodman (Sr)
PR Jason Espinoza (Jr) KR Brian Lockridge (Jr)
  • I mentioned this past offseason that while Colorado was going to stink in 2009, they might actually be positioning themselves to actually fulfill the role of sleeper that has been foisted upon them for most of the last half-decade.  Ironically, they might actually emerge as a sleeper just as everybody finally gives up on them.
  • Of course, there will still be some major question marks.  You know I'm not at all impressed with Rodney "Another Short Gain By" Stewart, and while Scotty McKnight (how is he still an underclassman???) is a great possession guy, he'd be a helluva lot better as a #2 or #3 threat than a #1.  Unless Markques Simas finally starts to live up to the potential everybody says he has, this team is still severely lacking at WR, and they're losing both of their top tight ends.  (I'm going out of my way not to mention Darrell Scott here, as he...whatever.  I have no expectations whatsoever for him at this point, and I'm going to let him surprise me.)
  • I really like Jimmy Smith at CB, but CU's going to be searching for some replacements in the secondary.  Jalil Brown has potential, and Ray Polk is young, but depth could be an issue.
  • Same can be said for the LB corps.  Luckily for CU, they should have a strong D-line to maybe deflect some of the concerns.
  • If CU really does live up to its annual sleeper reputation, it will be in the trenches, where a struggling O-line will at least have experience on its side, and the D-line could be strong.  Then again, after watching CU's O-line attempt to handle MU's improving-but-not-amazing D-line, maybe returning a bunch of these guys might not be a good thing.

Iowa State

Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Austen Arnaud (Sr)
Jerome Tiller (So)
DE Patrick Neal (Jr)
RB Alexander Robinson (Sr)
Beau Blankenship (So)
DT Bailey Johnson (Jr)
Stephen Ruempolhamer (Jr)
WR Jake Williams (Sr)
DT Austin Alburtis (Sr)
WR Sedrick Johnson (Jr)
DE Roosevelt Maggitt (So)
Cleyon Lang (So)
WR Josh Lenz (So)
Darius Darks (Jr)
SLB Jacob Lattimer (Jr)
TE Collin Franklin (Sr)
MLB Matt Tau'fo'ou (Sr)
A.J. Klein (So)
LT Kelechi Osmele (Jr)
Brayden Burris (So)
WLB Jake Knott (So)
LG Alex Alvarez (Sr)
Mike Bangston (So)
CB Leonard Johnson (Jr)
Jeremy Reeves (So)
C Sean Smith (Sr)
CB Jacques Washington (So)
RG Ben Lamaak (Sr)
Trey Baysinger (Jr)
FS Michael O'Connell (Sr)
RT Scott Haughton (Jr)
Zack Spears (Jr)
SS David Sims (Sr)
Zac Sandvig (Sr)
K Grant Mahoney (Jr) P ?
PR Leonard Johnson (Jr) KR Leonard Johnson (Jr)
  • So Paul Rhoads' second year in Ames will potentially see a downright strong offense and a thin, depleted, inexperienced defense.  I don't want to overstate the offensive potential (the WR situation is iffy, to say the least), but ISU might have the best O-line in the North blocking for what is at least decent skill position talent.
  • Arnaud vs Tiller.  Could be interesting to watch this competition.
  • Really, if ISU returned just a couple more decent playmakers on defense, I could talk myself into them being a darkhorse contender.  But while I do like what Rhoads has done with the talent on hand this year, I just can't figure they'll be that great next year.  They will need another year or two of Rhoads developing his own recruits before I feel a lot more comfortable about the potential of their program.


Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Kale Pick (So)
DE Jake Laptad (Sr)
RB Toben Opurum (So)
DT Jamal Greene (Sr)
WR Dezmon Briscoe?? (Sr)
DT John Williams (So)
Richard Johnson (Jr)
WR Johnathan Wilson (Sr)
Tertavian Ingram (Sr)
DE Quintin Woods (Sr)
WR Bradley McDougald (So)
Chris Omigie (So)
SLB Justin Springer (Sr)
TE Tim Biere (Jr)
Ted McNulty (Jr)
MLB Drew Dudley (Sr)
LT Tanner Hawkinson (So)
Ian Wolfe (Sr)
WLB Huldon Tharp (So)
LG Brad Thorson (Sr)
Carl Wilson (Sr)
CB D.J. Beshears (So)
Daymond Patterson (Jr)
C Jeremiah Hatch (Jr)
Brad Thorson (Sr)
CB Chris Harris (Sr)
Calvin Rubles (Sr)
RG Sal Capra (Sr)
Trevor Marrongelli (So)
FS Lubbock Smith (So)
RT Jeff Spikes (Jr)
Michael Martinovich (Jr)
SS Phil Strozier (Sr)
K Jacob Branstetter (Sr) P Alonso Rojas (Sr)
PR Daymond Patterson (Jr) KR Bradley McDougald (So)
  • So KU's biggest question mark (offensive line) will return completely intact next year, while most of the known skill position talent disappears.  I listed Dez Briscoe on the two-deep above, but I've got to be honest: I'm about 92% sure he's going pro this year.  His stats are ridiculous, he's got decent NFL size, he's been suspended for academic reasons, and supposedly he was tied to those football-vs-basketball brawls earlier in the year.  That's not a recipe for someone who's going to go out of his way to stick around campus for another season.
  • Without Briscoe, I have to figure this is going to be a run-heavy offense next year.  Kale Pick's got a lot to prove, but with Toben Opurum and an experienced line, they might (might) be able to rely on the run.  Then again, they'll still need some sort of passing attack, and...who will be the #1 receiver? Johnathan Wilson, I guess?  Color me unafraid.
  • I'm not even going to try to figure out if KU's D is going to be any good.  They've improved recently, but they lose Darrell Stuckey and two linemen, and the depth from LB corps vanishes.  I assume this will be a decent unit, and really you can start to maybe see the identity KU might be going with--defense first, run-heavy, grind it out.

Kansas State

Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Carson Coffman (Sr)
DE Brandon Harold (Jr)
RB Daniel Thomas (Sr)
DT Prizell Brown (Sr)
FB Braden Wilson (So)
Lucas Hamm (Sr)
DT Raphael Guidry (Jr)
WR Lamark Brown (Sr)
DE Antonio Felder (Sr)
Joseph Kassanavoid (So)
WR Collin Klein (So)
Chris Harper (So)
LB Kevin Rohleder (Sr)
TE Travis Tannahill (So)
LB Alex Hrebec (Jr)
LT Zach Hanson (Jr)
LB Troy Butler (Sr)
Thomas Ferguson (So)
LG Zach Kendall (Sr)
Trevor Viers (Sr)
CB Joshua Moore (Sr)
Darious Thomas (So)
C Wade Weibert (Sr)
CB Stephen Harrison (Sr)
David Garrett (Jr)
RG Kenneth Mayfield (Sr)
Colten Freeze (Jr)
FS Emmanuel Lamur (Jr)
RT Clyde Aufner (Jr)
Ethan Douglas (So)
SS Tysyn Hartman (Jr)
Torrell Miller (So)
K Josh Cherry (Sr) P Ryan Doerr (So)
PR Tysyn Hartman (Jr) KR Daniel Thomas (Sr)
  • Like Kansas, this looks to be a pretty run-heavy, can't-pass-on-them team, with Daniel Thomas running behind a super-experienced line and a well-coached defense that is iffy in the front seven but stout in the secondary.  In other words, this looks like a Bill Snyder team (sans the All-American linebackers).  We've made a big deal out of the fact that they're losing about 35 seniors this year (and that's only a slight exaggeration), and that will absolutely murder their depth, but if they stay reasonably healthy, the Snyder identity might be able to take shape a bit more.
  • Now, I say they'll have a good secondary...I'm still unsure about how good the secondary is now, but returning all four current starters certainly suggests decent improvement for next year.
  • I believe I heard that Chris Harper is moving to WR instead of competing at QB, right?


Projected 2010 Depth Chart
QB Cody Green (So)
Zac Lee (Sr)
DE Cameron Meredith (So)
Josh Williams (So)
RB Roy Helu, Jr. (Sr)
Rex Burkhead (So)
DT Baker Steinkuhler (So)
Terrence Moore (Jr)
FB Tyler Legate (So)
Mike Hays (Jr)
DT Jared Crick (Jr)
WR Niles Paul (Sr)
Antonio Bell (So)
DE Pierre Allen (Sr)
WR Curenski Gilleylen (Jr)
Khiry Cooper (So)
Will Blake Lawrence (Sr)
Matthew May (Jr)
TE Mike McNeill (Sr)
Dreu Young (Sr)
Mike Will Compton (So)
Micah Kreikemeier (So)
LT Mike Smith (Sr)
Buck Sean Fisher (So)
Eric Martin (So)
LG Keith Williams (Sr)
CB Prince Amukamara (Sr)
Dejon Gomes (Sr)
C Mike Caputo (Jr)
CB Anthony West (Sr)
Alfonzo Dennard (Jr)
RG Ricky Henry (Sr)
FS Eric Hagg (Sr)
Austin Cassidy (Jr)
RT Marcel Jones (Jr)
D.J. Jones (Sr)
SS P.J. Smith (So)
Courtney Osborne (So)
K Alex Henery (Sr) P Alex Henery (Sr)
PR Niles Paul (Sr) KR Niles Paul (Sr)
  • How the hell is Pierre Allen still an underclassman?  I was completely convinced that both he and Barry Turner were seniors, but I guess not.
  • Next question: how much of Nebraska's defensive identity is grounded in Ndamukong Suh?  He and Turner depart, but will Allen and the stout Jared Crick be able to keep the great D-line play coming?  And how much of Crick's success is due to offenses' fear of Suh?
  • The shine is quickly wearing off of Roy Helu, Jr., but he does return next year (lord knows he's not going pro), and with yet another experienced O-line, NU should be able to run the ball pretty well.  That will obviously take some pressure off of Cody Green if Green is not, after all, ready to be NU's savior.
  • I really like what NU has returning at CB,  I think I like their second-string CBs more than their first string safeties.  Will be interesting to see if there's some position shifting when all is said and done.

As a Missouri fan, I look at this information and quickly conclude that Missouri will be the 2010 favorite, and really I'd say I have pretty good basis in fact for that opinion.  That said, Nebraska is intriguing, and even though K-State is not a stat-friendly team (I've already accepted that they're better than the stats say--I just can't figure out how much better), Bill Snyder really might get them back into the hunt despite the youth and lack of depth.  Colorado could be interesting depending on who the head coach is (ahem), Kansas has recruited well and will see plenty of talented-but-young players hitting the field, and Iowa State might have the best offensive line in the division.  I'd like to think Missouri might run away with this thing, and I'm sure it could happen (the trip to Lincoln aside), but with five of six North teams (all but Kansas) looking potentially better next year than this year, we might have another fun race on our hands.