Next in line for our preseason award predictions/selections is the category where we all get to flex our collective hopes and dreams. The newcomer of the year is an award the covers the freshman and redshirt freshman.
These are the players that have yet to see a down of football at the division one level. As fans, we know them on paper and as potential. Some have a buzz about them, others are flying completely below the radar. Either way, there is sure to be a surprise newcomer or two on this years Jayhawk team.
The nominees and a prediction for offensive newcomer of the year are:
- The running game figures to be more of a factor in 2010 than it was a year ago. Coach Gill and Chuck Long might still skew toward the spread, but they certainly want to be more balanced than the Jayhawks were a year ago. Bourbon is a physical specimen 6'1" 210 and clocking in at around a 4.4 forty time. He's your classic combine workout warrior and if that translates to the field he'll be ready to make an impact.
- Sims is somewhat the opposite of Bourbon. Yes he still has good speed and he's physically prepared for the position, but his measurables don't tell the whole story. What does tell the story? His numbers and success on the field against high level competition in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.
- If he wins the starting job, Webb should be the frontrunner for this spot. The staff has stated he has the better arm and throws a better ball between the two. From that standpoint it just depends what route the staff chooses to focus on offensively. Versatility or potentially sticking to what this team was built for.
Christian Mattews/Chris Omigie/Erick McGriff/Keeston Terry/Brian Maura/Andrew Turzilli/Ricki Herod
- Take your pick, there are a host of wideouts that weren't on the field a year ago. Omigie came very close, but with Briscoe and Meier seeing most of the balls, there is plenty of opportunity for someone to come in as a new player and make an impact. For my money I'll go with Matthews, Omigie and an outside shot at Maura.
- If the Jayhawk staff wants to show a double tight end set at times, Smiley might be the best option. Ian Wolfe and Nick Plato are gone. Bradley Dedeaux and Ted McNulty are the two upperclassman options, but Smiley has a higher upside than both if he's ready. If he can beat our those two and AJ Steward end up in the split role then Smiley could be the guy to see minutes behind Biere. Will it be enough?
Preseason Pick: Christian Matthews
A lot of positive conversation coming out of the summer surrounding Matthews. A running back might be the safer pick, but there are going to be plenty of opportunities for a new reciever to emerge in the Kansas offense.
A year ago it was Meier and Briscoe, this year it's a clean slate and there wouldn't appear to be any early favorites in the minds of the quarterbacks. Matthews has that experience as a quarterback, a strong work ethic, and has made a pretty smooth transition to wideout.
Darkhorse Candidates: Jimmay Mundine, Deshaun Sands, Gavin Howard, Riley Spencer