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April 29, 2012

As a follow up to the post “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star” which looked at the Top 60 college producers in three offensive and three defensive categories, I compiled a listing of the Big East’s 2012 All-Conference 1st and 2nd teams.

I feel the true worth of a college player is actually how he plays in college and not how he gets drafted or is a free agent in the NFL. One of the points commenter’s on the other article made was that the Top 10 guys may have excelled against lesser competition than did some others (SEC players for instance).

I’m not sure I buy that but in light of that I wanted to see how players stacked up against their own level of competition and what opposing coaches thought of their talents. This is perhaps the best measure – how does one do against his peer group.

Again, I used Scout.com for the number of stars assigned to these players as HS seniors. If Scout had the player unranked (UR) then I checked Rivals.com. To make it as fair as possible I used any numerical quantity between Scout & Rivals for the averages. 0/0 scores are walk-ons who weren’t rated at all.

ALL-BIG EAST CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM 2012

OFFENSE

WR   Mohamed Sanu *   3
WR   Tavon Austin   5
OT   Justin Pugh   UR/2
OT   Don Barclay   3
OG   Randy Martinez   UR/2
OG   Art Forst   4
OG   Andrew Tiller   3
C     Moe Petrus   UR/2
TE   Nick Provo   3
QB   Geno Smith   4
RB   Isaiah Pead *   3
RB   Ray Graham   4
RB   Antwon Bailey   2
K     Dave Teggart   2
RS   Tavon Austin   (Repeat)

3.0 Average  (2.4 Scout.com only)

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I’m not saying that if Pitt had stuck to the 4-3 defense and the pro-style offense, that Pitt players would not have been shut out of the NFL Draft for the first time since 1999. I’m thinking it, but I’m not saying it.

Brandon Lindsey went from being a break-out player at the defensive end in 2010 to no-mans land with a change in defensive schemes. Playing in a hybrid linebacker/DE position that had him in no-mans land too many times.

Lucas Nix also suffered from the change in schemes with the O-line that made him look less productive. More importantly he suffered from injury that kept him out for over half the season. When you factor in the fact that Fraud Graham started questioning Nix’s toughness for not coming back from the injury as quickly as hoped, that probably raised flags for the NFL teams.

No doubt if Ray Graham had stayed healthy, he would have come out as a junior. The running back was putting up huge numbers and surely would have been a pick in the first 3 rounds.

Instead Pitt players will have to go the undrafted free agency (UFA) route to be on NFL squads. The conventional wisdom, being that it is better to be a UFA than a 7th round pick since you can pick the team and have a better chance/situation.

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