Breaking down the 2014 Aztecs

Discussion in 'Legendary Veterans' started by Oshiomogho, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    (We can move this post if we find a home for these type of posts this weekend)
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    The Aztecs are coming off a 10-3 season and the teams first bowl win under coach Oshiomogho. Unfortunately, the good season is going to be costly one as the team is set to take on a major overhaul this offseason. The team has used only 4 of the 20 available scholarships this offseason along with 3 verbal commits. The team may not choose to use all the scholarships as there are only set to be 10 for next year.
     
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  2. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    QB

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    In 6 years, the Aztecs have only started only 2 QBs in Ryan Lindley and Ryne Clark. The tremendous streaks of staying healthy have been impressive but it also led to backups not seeing the field. As a junior in 2010, Lindley only missed 5 crucial plays all season. In relief, Clark's only pass as a freshman was a 75 yard TD. After Lindley declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, in stepped Clark as the new starter. In 3 years under center, he never missed a start and put in over 10,000 yards and 95 touchdowns. His backup, Jake Bernards, saw limited action over his four years but still managed 16 touchdowns in just 45 completions.

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    Both Clark and Bernards are graduating this year leaving redshirt freshman, Aaron Andrews as the only returning player at the position. In his first year on the active roster, Andrews was not able to see the field. Standing at just 6ft, Andrews may not a lock to be the opening day starter although he will enter the spring two years ahead of the incoming recruits. Top QB recruit Darrell Bradley is the strongest competition as well as Roman Fuqua. None of the three QBs have as strong of an arm as Lindley or Clark did and may not be as accurate but where Bradley seems to stand out is his athleticism. A real sleeper could come in Cameron Coley, an athlete who may end up at QB. The team is still checking other options if they become available through transfers or recruiting.
     
  3. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    HB

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    2014 will be the first year since 2009 that Ronnie Jackson will not return to carry the load at HB. After starting as a true freshman in 2010, Jackson has been a huge part of the offense over his four years on campus. Although he proved he had his moments of being injury prone and fumbling issues, Jackson was still able to put together two 1,000+ yard seasons and over 4,000 career yards as well as 36 touchdowns on the ground. After taking a medical redshirt in 2012, backup Will Kazee will also be graduating this fall. A small versatile back, Kazee has proven to be a solid third down back with his ability to block and catch the ball out of the backfield.

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    With both Jackson and Kazee moving on, the Aztecs best option may not be the obvious one. The only remaining halfbacks on the roster will be RS sophomores Marvin Wilson and Lonnie Vincent. Vincent saw little game time late in this season but only has 1 carry for 2 yards while Wilson has yet to see the field. With Chip Mills ready to step in at FB this year, it may open things for Jovan Hudson to take over full time duty at HB instead of FB this year. Hudson was recruited as a 2 star FB in the 2011 class but possesses tremendous athleticism in his scatback 5-10 frame. As a freshman, Hudson carried the ball 25 times for 177 yards filling in when Kazee was out. With Chad Young converting from FB to TE for his senior year, Hudson stepped in as the starting FB and couldn’t prove he belonged in short yardage sets. Perhaps a transition to full time HB would get him back to his 7+ YPC freshman form. Chip Mills would then take over as the starting FB. The team hasn’t ruled out adding a recruit; however they have not actively pursued anyone during the year.
     
  4. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    WR

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    Similar to QB and HB, the Aztecs top two WRs are also graduating this year. First team All-MWC WRs Osmond Nicholas and Dylan James will both try their hands at the NFL this year. As a freshman in 2010, Nicholas was able to do more then fight for playing time. He managed 17 catches for over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. Every year he saw his production increase before his monster 14 TD season in 2013. Over his career, he totaled over 3000 yards and 34 TDs. James had a tougher road to success. After walking on to the team in 2009, James couldn’t earn a scholarship but was redshirted and worked on the practice squad. After still not earning a scholarship, he returned for his freshman season and was able to see little playing time late in the year and made his first catch go for 47 yards, his only catch of the year. After only 10 receptions each of the next two seasons for just over 400 yards, James exploded for nearly 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns as a starter in 2013. Only teammate Marcus Russell has a higher career yards per catch average then James’ 25.2. The combine 4500 yards and 49 TDs between James and Nicholas will be missed.

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    Junior Marcus Russell will face a decision to stay for his senior season and lead this Aztecs team or join his teammates in their quest to play on Sundays. Russell finished his season in the top 10 in yards as he went off for nearly 1400 as well as hauling in 10 touchdowns while leading the team in catches and yards. However his low production buried on the depth chart for his first two seasons may hurt his chances of being drafted and sway him to stay put. Behind Russell is fellow RS junior Ezell Ruffin who has only 14 catches in three seasons but could take over as the big play threat next season. RS freshman B.J. Banks stepped into a fair amount of playing time this year grabbing 3 TDs on 10 grabs and showed good potential moving forward even with his 5-8 frame. Below them will be freshman Seth Anderson heading off a redshirt season who will battle in the spring to find playing time. The team believes it found a star in Peter Owens coming over from Butte Community College, the same school as Aaron Rodgers. Owens possesses extreme quickness to go with a nice 6-5 athletic build. As a freshman, he put up over 1500 yards and 12 TDs in JUCO. The team is also high on Kenny Bowers, who has yet to declare which school he will be attending.
     
  5. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    TE

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    6-6 Junior Gavin Escobar will reclaim his starting role at TE this year as converted FB Chad Young will be graduating. Young averaged over 23 yards per grab and proved valuable when called upon as well as adding extra support to the running game. Escobar was a more reliable receiver and was used more then Young in his two previous years as starter and should regain the form of his old self. RS sophomore Calvin Hill will look to serve in the TE2 spot after not seeing the field in his first two years on campus. JUCO Junior Andy Berry was set on attending SDSU from day one and will battle for playing time.
     
  6. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    OL

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    Three veteran starters will be graduating this year including both left and right tackles with Nik Embernate, Japheth Gordon, and Jimmy Miller. However, I do not feel the team will take too large of a hit. Big recruit from last years class David Thompson will come out of his redshirt and start on either the right or left side while RS freshman Jeff Merriman will take the other side. Sophomore Mario Martindale will get another year starting at LG and RS sophomore Matthew Billings is in line to take over at RG. RS junior Zack Dilley will lead the group in the middle with RS freshman battling for one of the 3 interior starting spots. Lewis, Hill, and Richard will add depth. The team has set a heavy push on recruiting OLine depth this season and is targeting 7 linemen.
     
  7. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    DL

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    After starting one year at DT, Dontrell Onuahu is the only member of the defensive line to graduate this year after putting up a career and team high 5 sacks. In the new 3-4 scheme that was brought in last year, Onuahu was a nice fit at the nose. RS Juniors Everette Beed and Cody Galea will both return at the two end positions. Coaches feel Beed is set for a breakout year an backup RS Sophomore Aaron Scales is a sleeper to battle for time with his great quickness. Mark Brown will be coming off a redshirt and battle for playing time at end as coaches like his athleticism. RS Sophomore Chase Rodgers is in line to take over at DT but is no lock to win the job. RS freshman Ricky Winston has a definite quickness edge as well as 7in height advantage. The team has brought in Pat Cleveland from a local junior college that may battle for the DT job immediately.
     
  8. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    LBs

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    The linebacker group is set to take on a massive change as senior Starters Jake Bartell, Rob Andrews, and Nick Tanhaeff are all graduating. Bartell was 2nd on the team in tackles and was names to the All-MWC team. Andrews was a team captain and impact player as a senior. The three combine for 7 years of starting experience.

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    However, the team feels LB is one of the strengths on the team. Brandon Penn looked very impressing starting at MLB as a true sophomore and will be the leader of a group of potentially 3 freshman starters coming off redshirt seasons with Kenny Carroll expected to take over at LOLB, Justin Dunbar stepping in at MLB and Blake Holman taking the right side. All three are expected to make instant impacts next year and hold down the LB group for the next 4 seasons. Troy Jude, Joseph Inman, and Brian Roberts will add solid depth. The team has targeted two LB prospects heading into the offseason.
     
  9. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    CB

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    The only member of this deep CB group to graduate this year is converted safety Colin Lockett who found himself a starting role in relief of injury for a few games as a freshman but has been buried on the depth chart since. RS Junior Starters King Holder and Mahbu Keels will return to lock down things outside and true sophomore Kyle Burnett will hold down the nickel corner position for the third season. Behind Burnett is an all out war for playing time. 5 RS freshman corners all working for the 4th CB spot and all coming in with similar skill sets. Ryan Frank has a leg up after holding the position this year but it is still open for contest. The team does think it found a great player in Khalif Fry, another JUCO transfer with 2 years of eligibility remaining. A good spring could bring Fry to a starting role. Another recruit Chris Kelly is a good looking player but the coaches may want to work him out at safety.
     
  10. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    S

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    The defense will lose 2 time Thorpe and Bednarik award winner Shawn Dangerfield this year after stringing together 4 tremendous seasons at SS that included over 300 solo tackles, 8 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 9 fumbles recovered and 6 touchdowns. Though his stat line is large, it is fully credited to a great work ethic as his skillset was never at that elite level. Redshirting freshman, Stewart Vaughn came in last year as an athlete and the team is working him out with the safeties and he may be the frontrunner to replace Dangerfield if Micheal Carter does not step up. Rene Siluano will return as starting FS unless the team can find a better option. Siluano is athletic but is an extreme weakness in coverage. Unfortunately the team may not have any better options unless freshman Claude Clark can impress after redshirting this year or Michael Carter can convert from SS. The team has targeted three physical safeties that will compete for playing time if they are not redshirting.
     
  11. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    K/P

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    The past two seasons have been more then phenomenal for Aztec kicker Obi Thomas but sadly, the fan favorite is taking his big leg to the NFL this year. After an amazing 17/25 on kicks greater then 50 yards and 38/49 overall kicking, Obi will no longer be known as the leagues biggest secret weapon. Not only was he a tremendous kicker, but just as good of a punter, leading the nation in yards per punt. And unfortunately, the team has no one in line to replace him yet. After barely missing out on the nations two best kickers, the team is hoping to land JUCO Kyle Holmes to step in or the kicking question will remain a great mystery.
     
  12. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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    Midseason update!
    QB: Andrews solidified the starting QB position by week 3 after splitting snaps with Bradley. Through 8 games, he has reached 2,000 pass yards with 18 TDs to 11 INTs compared to Bradley with 500 yards and 6 TD to 3 INTs. Both QBs are sitting with a completion % south of 50 and that is unacceptable. With a shot at finishing 3rd in conference still, look for Andrews to finish out the year as the starter and enter a competition in the offseason. Fuqua is not expected to see any playing time and may look into transfer options while Coley elected to redshirt this season.

    HB: The backfield has primarily been a one horse race as Hudson has taken 91.7% of the HB carries with Wilson taking the other 11. Hudson has been ok but is not going to blow anyone away. He has managed over 500 yards and 4 TDs but only avaerages 4.2 YPC. Although Vincent easily has the best hands of the group, he has not seen the field much this year. Expect Vincent to get more work on 3rd downs in the 2nd half of the season whil Hudson keeps the primary back role. Mills has been an average blocker at FB but not used often.
    WR: Russell staying in school proved to be a great decision for him and the school. Through 8 games, he is already at 1000 yards and just 4 more receptions before he reaches his career high in catches. He is averaging nearly 20 YPG more then last year while also averaging 1 TD per game. There is a good possibility Russell can score All-MWC and possibly All-American honors. Ruffin already is nearing twice as many catches and yards this season as his first three years combine as well as 5 touchdowns. In Banks 2nd year on the field, he has nearly doubled his catches and yards from his first season while recording 3 more touchdowns. Freshman Seth Anderson has proven he is more then capable of taking over a starting role next year, already hauling in 14 passes for 240 yards and 4 TDs. True Sophomore Shaun Carroll has also used his 6-6 frame to haul in 8 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. With Peter Owens and Kenny Bowers both deciding to redshirt this season, the team has played with only 4 WRs on the active roster. However recruited athlete Stewart Vaughn has been filling in when needed and has even taken 3 of his 4 receptions in for TDs.

    TE: Escobar regained his starting TE position before being knocked out early in the year on his first reception and missing almost all the season. Hill has played extensively in his place even with his lack of skills. He doesnt add much in the blocking department but has helped out with 10 receptions, averaging nearly 20 yards per. Andy Berry elected to redshirt the year so the team has been running more WR heavy formations while Escobar heals.

    OL: The O-line has looked very shakey all season. Freshman David Thompson has already given up 8 sacks from the LT position but will continue to get better throughout his career. Merriman has played better on the right end, only giving up 4 sacks but does not show the power as Thompson. Junior RG Mario Martindale has given up 4 sacks while Senior LG Zack Dilley has given up 5. The bright spot on the line has been the solid play in the middle by sophomore Will Hollins, only giving up one sack. Matthew Billings was expected to take over at guard instead of Dilley while Dilley was expected to start at C but the preseason play of Hollins changed things up. Billings will take over at gaurd next year when Dilley graduates.

    DL: After an average year last year, the Defensive line has played better then anyone could have expected. With Beed and Galea in their senior seasons at the DE positions, the two have led this defense. Beed was predicted in the preseason for a breakout year, and that is just what he has done. After just 2 sacks in each of the last two years, Beed already has 7 through 8 games. Galea has added two sacks while playing the 3-4 end position has also dropped back and recorded an interception. Transfer student Pat Cleveland has been a stud in the middle as well. Though the stats do not show his presence, he has recorded a sack and interception. Mark Brown has seen the most time of the reserves and as a freshman has shown very promising signs of one day becoming an elite edge rusher. Scales has not made the impact that was expected but is still a part of the teams future.

    LB: In easily the most impressive part of the team this year, the young LBs have been each outplaying expectations. Junior leader MLB Brandon Penn has lead the team in tackles while already nearing his career high. He also recorded his first career interception this year as well as recovering a fumble and scoring. RS Freshman Justin Dunbar has played very solid at the other MLB position, recording an interception of his own and recovering two fumbles. Kenny Carroll has been a nightmare when he comes off the edge and has recorded 4 sacks while Blake Holman has been very solid on the other edge, recording an interception as well as forcing two fumbles and recovering one. The youth of the starters, mixed in with the 3-4 packages have meant the 4 starters have gotten all the work. All four should be solid starters next year.

    CB: the starting 3 CBs have seen the field a lot in this years nickle base and all three have played very well. RS Senior Starters King Holder and Mahbu Keels each have two interceptions and a combine 10 passes defended. Burnett has looked good in the nickle CB even though he only has one INT. He was expected to make more of an impact in blitzes but has been used more in coverage. As expected in the preseason, there was a war for playing time behind Burnett. The team feels confident in 2-4 nickle packages to keep just 3 corners on the field often but when there is a dime or quarter situation, RS sophomores Anthony Bell and Adam Dawson are called on. Ryan Frank was expected to take the 4th spot but proved he wasnt ready in spring and has just one special teams tackle this year. Recruit Chris Kelly has redshirted the year while Khalif Fry has moved to FS.

    S: With Siluano expected to start for the 2nd year in a row, it came as some of a surpise when the team tried out transfer Khalif Fry at the position. It didnt take long for Fry to win the job and make an instant impact recovering a fumble on the first defensive drive of the season. Stewart Vaughn has taken over the prized SS starting job and been extremely inconsistant. In fact, I believe half the teams TDs they have given up this year in the air have come via Vaighn mistakes in coverage. Still, when Vaughn is on, he is on. Leading the team in tackles with 42, also recording 3 sacks, an INT, 3 FF and a FR. If he can lock down his pass defense in the next few years, Vaughn can play his way onto awards lists. Siluano has seen reserve roles at each safety position while Micheal Carter elected to redshirt.

    K: I dont have one. true Freshman QB Darrell Bradley has handled K and P roles but will not win games with his kick power. The team is heavily targetting other options but if they fail to find someone, Bradley will become a permanent K before the new year.
     
  13. Oshiomogho

    Oshiomogho Donnie Darko

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