Athlon Ranks 50 Best Players In The Big East

Posted on Jul 27 2012 - 10:35am by Brent Lepping

DeVante Parker was the 4th highest ranked WR on the list has ranked the 50 best players in the Big East and 6 Cardinals made the list. Teddy Bridgewater, Hakeem Smith, Mario Benavides, Adrian Bushell, Preston Brown, DeVante Parker and Roy Philon were the Louisville players listed and the top spot belongs to Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene. Hard to argue with any of their picks but I have a sneaking suspicion that the list might look a bit different after this season For example, I can see any one of Louisville’s defensive ends – whether it’s BJ Butler, BJ Dubose or Marcus Smith – have a breakout year and rake in the post-season accolades. Same can probably be said for Philon’s next door neighbor on the defensive line, Brandon Dunn. Or perhaps it will be a guy like Eli Rogers or Dominique Brown? Suffice to say, this Louisville team finally has a ton of weapons and absolutely no shortage of top-notch talent. Here’s the excerpts on the Louisville players and you can read the entire thing here.

4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
As expected, Bridgewater experienced ups and downs as a freshman last season. He threw an interception in his only pass attempt in the opener against Murray State but finished the year with five touchdown tosses over the final two games. Bridgewater’s play was crucial to keeping Louisville in the Big East title hunt last season and will only get better as a sophomore. With plenty of weapons at his disposal and a talented offensive line, Bridgewater should finish 2012 ranked among the top five players in the Big East.

8. Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville
After a Big East Rookie of the Year award back in 2010, Smith turned in a first-team All-Big East season as only a sophomore last fall. The Jonesboro, Ga., native has quickly supplanted himself as one of the most versatile safeties in the country. The junior has posted back-to-back 80-tackle seasons and has a chance to enter the NFL Draft in 2013 with another great campaign this year. Especially, if he can lead the Cardinals defense to a Big East Championship.

11. Mario Benavides, C, Louisville
Benavides was hobbled early last season due to a knee injury and his leadership and presence on the offensive line was clearly missed. In his absence, Louisville managed only one rushing score and managed 83 rushing yards against FIU. The Cardinals line improved once Benavides returned to the lineup, recording at least 100 rushing yards in eight of the last nine games. The senior should be the Big East’s top center and has been selected to the Rimington Award watch list.

23. Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville
Bushell joined Louisville just before the start of last season and finished as a first-team All-Big East selection. Despite not having much time to get acquainted with his new surroundings, he recorded 50 tackles, one interception and blocked two kicks. Bushell should be Louisville’s top corner and build upon a promising 2011 season.

31. Preston Brown, LB, Louisville
Replacing middle linebacker Dexter Heyman is the biggest concern for coordinator Vance Bedford this fall. However, Bedford and Charlie Strong hope shifting Brown from the outside to the interior will keep Louisville’s defense ranked among the top 10 nationally in rush defense. Brown recorded 84 stops last year.

38. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
With Teddy Bridgewater’s development comes opportunity for Parker. As only a sophomore, six of his 18 total catches last fall went for touchdowns.

50. Roy Philon, DT, Louisville
Philon was a key cog in Louisville’s run defense last season and should only get better as a junior in 2012. He recorded 36 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2011.

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