Every year, the college football season brings an influx of players who emerge as breakout stars. Here are some BIG EAST players who might have been under the radar in the past and could be poised for big seasons in 2011.
Drew Frey, Jr., DB, Cincinnati
With 24 career starts, is the veteran of a defense that has everyone back from last year.
D.J. Shoemate, Sr., RB, Connecticut
Two of the last three starters at running back for Connecticut have led the BIG EAST in rushing (Donald Brown in 2008 and Jordan Todman in 2010).
Sio Moore, Jr., LB, Connecticut
Stepped into the starting lineup midway through last season and emerged as an All-BIG EAST candidate.
Hakeem Smith, So., SS, Louisville
The 2010 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year led the Cardinals in tackles as a freshman.
Antwuan Reed, Sr., CB, Pittsburgh
Made 12 starts and had 40 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception as a junior.
Mike Shanahan, Jr., WR, Pittsburgh
Expected to move into a featured role at wideout following the departure of Jonathan Baldwin; caught 43 passes for 589 yards last year.
Jeremy Deering, So., RB, Rutgers
Rushed for 361 yards and two touchdowns as a wildcat quarterback in his freshman year.
David Rowe, Sr., DB, Rutgers
Versatile veteran who can alternate between cornerback and safety; will be a catalyst in the Scarlet Knight defensive backfield.
Ryne Giddens, So., DE, USF
Highly regarded player who should be an every-down threat at left end. Had 3.5 sacks in 12 games last season.
Terence Mitchell, So., WR, USF
Made his mark by averaging 11.0 yards on punt returns as a freshman and is expected to emerge as a top receiving threat.
Marcus Sales, Sr., WR, Syracuse
Ended the 2010 season with a five-catch, 172-yard, three-touchdown performance against Kansas State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Marquis Spruill, So., LB, Syracuse
Started all 13 games as a true freshman and was second among BIG EAST rookies in tackles per game (3.9).
Shawne Alston, Jr., RB, West Virginia
Saw an enhanced role in 2010 with Noel Devine slowed by injury and could thrive as a starter in 2011.
Najee Goode, Sr., LB, West Virginia
The lone returning starting linebacker from West Virginia’s stingy 2010 defense.