Countdown to Football

58 Days

Watch Lists.

What exactly is the criteria for making these lists of players to watch in terms of winning awards?

Last year’s experience?

Or is it just hype?

And why would we not wait until the 2011 season has started to start discussing awards for best performances of the 2011 season?

But if we must get the hype train going, allow me to provide a few more players to watch in 2011.

Craig Sanders – Rumors are that he’s pushing 280 pounds.  What was once considered a cast-off recruit by Alabama, Sanders made a serious impact on the national championship team as a kickoff specialist.  He was known for delivering big hits after sprinting down the field shedding blockers like they were nothing.  That was 30 pounds ago.  Sanders has tremendous speed for a big guy, and if he’s really up to that weight, he should be pivotal in stopping the run.

Dee Ford – Speed.  Pure speed from a smaller defensive end who has also bulked up since arriving on campus.  He was unblockable in the A-Day game on third downs, and he’ll vastly improve our pass rush.  While Sanders’s size may anchor the run defense, Ford’s speed may be an X factor in the pass defense.

Onterio McCalebb – Speaking of X factors, O-Mac is the unsung hero of Auburn’s offensive production.  Blanketed by the highlight reels of Cam Newton and Michael Dyer, McCalebb went on to set an Auburn record for yards per carry (min 75 carries) at 8.5 yards every time he touched the ball.  810 yards rushing along with 8 touchdowns came behind Cam Newton’s gaudy numbers along with Dyer’s numbers that broke Bo Jackson’s record.  He was crucial in victories against Miss State (led team in rushing), Arkansas (99 yard kickoff return), LSU (134 total yards including 70 yard game winning touchdown run), Ole Miss (68 yard touchdown run to take lead), and Georgia (3 touchdowns).  Combine his rushing ability with the fact that he is pure lightning on kickoff returns, and this guy should be on every watch list out there.

58 days.

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