Yes that Phil Steele. The same one that accurately predicted the demise of the Jayhawks early last season when we were all still riding the wave of positivity surrounding the "HISTORY AWAITS" marketing campaign. This guy must know something. The only thing that turned out more depressing than Steele being correct about the Jayhawks dim hopes of winning the North in 2009, was the fact that even he overestimated the final standings picking the Jayhawks fourth which we all know didn't happen.
Enough about the past though, this is 2010 and I personally will be lending a little bit more credence to the Phil Steele football preview machine this year. He's been close to dead on with several major leaps and predictions over the last two years so he must know a little something about what's going on out there. That said his 2010 All Big 12 teams were released and somewhat surprisingly 10 Jayhawks made the team. Good news?
Phil Steele’s Magazine 2010 Preseason All-Big 12 Team
LB Huldon Tharp
TE Tim Biere
LB Drew Dudley
CB Chris Harris
DE Jake Laptad
Tanner Hawkinson and Huldon Tharp draw second team nods as just sophomores and both will look to get closer to the potential they obviously showed in 2009. This could prove to be a critical year for Hawkinson as the Jayhawks break in a new quarterback, a new offense and he could really cement himself as a player well positioned for a future at the next level.
Tim Biere on the third team feels low, Drew Dudley on the third team feels high. If Chris Harris is third team caliber that will be a big plus and if the Jayhawks get anything out of the punt return game that warrants a third team nod to Daymond Patterson, I will be ecstatic. Not a knock against Patterson, it's just not an area Kansas has done anything at for sometime.
On the fourth team I think Hatch and Laptad can both do better as could Rojas. The loss of Jamal Greene could hurt Laptad's ability to get free as he might fact extra blockers that might have been sucked into helping the interior, but there is still some optimism that the defensive tackles spot could be a strength and free up the edge despite the dismissal.
As for Hatch, this is his year. Time to step up and lead, time to take over the middle and be the glue guy. He's all conference caliber, time to be that for the Jayhawks.