James Conner- Pittsburgh Running Back: Conner was recruited by Pittsburgh as an Outside Linebacker or Defensive End. Conner surprised everyone by bursting onto the scene as a true freshman in 2013 and rushing for 799 yards and 8 Touchdowns.
Conner has been on a tear for most of this season as a sophomore terrorizing defenses through 9 games for 1,342 yards and 17 Touchdowns, so far.
On Saturday, in a losing effort against Duke, Conner rushed for a career best 263 yards on 38 carries and 3 Touchdowns.
Cody Kessler- USC Quarterback: Kessler is a repeat on this list. The 6-1, 210 junior out of Bakersfield, California is quietly having a big season throwing for 2,548 yards and 25 Touchdowns
with only 2 interceptions. Against the Washington State Cougars on Saturday Cody Kessler threw for 400 yards on 21 completions in 32 attempts. Kessler threw for 5 Touchdowns which was a couple of short of the career high 7 he tossed against Colorado a couple of weeks ago.
Nelson Agholer- USC Wide Receiver: Nelson Agholer is considered one of the top Wide Receivers in the 2016 NFL draft class, but I would guess that he is going to declare this year and come out a year early. Agholer is one of the more explosive players in the country and originally from Tampa, Florida. He has 66 receptions on the season for 863 yards and 8 Touchdowns.
Agholer and his quarterback Cody Kessler had outstanding days in Pullman, Washington as they manhandled the Cougars, 44-17. Agholer had 8 receptions which totaled 220 yards and a Touchdown. His longest catch of the night was for 87 yards.
Agholer reminds me of Alabama’s Amari Cooper. Both are about 6-1, 190 and super quick with outstanding top end speed and moves.
Agholer’s night was made even more impressive by 2 punt returns with 1 of them going for a 65 yard Touchdown.
Joshua Dobbs – QB Tennessee: Tennessee is now one of my teams to watch for next season since they suddenly found a good Quarterback. Dobbs has been right under their noses all along, but maybe was not quite ready for prime time. He is ready now.
The 6-3, 205 Quarterback from Alpharetta, Georgia led the Volunteers to a 45-42 comeback Overtime win over the South Carolina Gamecocks. He led them back in impressive fashion as well.
Dobbs hit 23 out of 40 passing attempts for 301 yards and 2 Touchdowns.
He also ran for 166 yards on 24 carries which produced 3 more Touchdowns.
The Tennessee Volunteers are one of the youngest if not the very youngest teams in the entire country. My concern for the Vols was that they had a senior starting Quarterback. But, now, with Joshua Dobbs they look like a legitimate contender in the SEC East for next season and will be an exciting team to follow for the future.
Kentucky and Tennessee should be the up and coming teams in the SEC for the next few seasons. The Vols are sitting at 4-5 on the year with 3 games remaining against Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. If the Vols can win just 2 of those games, they will be bowl eligible which could do wonders for their program with all of the extra practices.
Trevor Knight- Oklahoma Quarterback: Trevor Knight shocked the world in last season’s Sugar Bowl leading his Oklahoma Sooners to a 45-31 win over the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. Because of that win, everybody had the Sooners ranked really high coming into this season. For whatever reason, the Sooners and Knight have not lived up to the hype this season. Even in a win over their fiercest rival, the Texas Longhorns, the Sooners didn’t look good at all. Knight also hasn’t lived up to expectations this season.
Finally, on Saturday against the Iowa State Cyclones, Knight looked like most people predicted. I do realize he was playing Iowa State, but he played like he deserved player of the week mention.
Knight connected on 22 out of 35 passes good for 230 yards and 3 Touchdowns. He also ran for 146 yards on 16 carries and scored another 3 Touchdowns.
Next week the Sooners face Baylor in Norman and we will see if Knight is for real.
Pharoh Cooper- South Carolina Wide Receiver: To say the Havelock, North Carolina sophomore big play man for the South Carolina Gamecocks is a mild understatement.
Cooper caught 11 passes from Gamecock Quarterback Dylan Thompson for 233 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Cooper also threw 2 passes completing 1 which went to Running Back Brandon Wilds for 30 yards and a Touchdown.
He also ran 3 times for 23 yards and another Touchdown. Pharoh Cooper caught 2 Touchdown passes, ran for 1 and then passed for another.
Cooper also recovered an onside kick for the Gamecocks which should have saved the game for them.
Cooper has 51 catches for 786 yards and 8 Touchdowns in the 2014 season.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Gamecocks going 4-5 but Cooper has been a bright spot in a dismal year.