DE Kentarius Caldwell*-6’2, 266
The former NT prospect from last year kicks outside to the DE spot in the Warhawks 34 defensive alignment. This should give Caldwell more opportunities to get after the passer and make plays. His role will change a good bit and that should help him improve on his numbers. Caldwell is a bit undersized for the 5 tech DE spot but he’s a grinder who never gives up a play and makes more plays due to hustle than anything else. If he can hold his own in a 34 alignment he could show some 43 teams enough to take a shot at him in April.
LB Cameron Blake-6’1, 230
Blake will be looking for a bounce back year in 2012 after a disappointing 2011. After racking up double digit tackles for loss in 2010 Blake found himself the focus of teams blocking schemes and struggled to adjust. Blake will have to get better this year at slipping blocks and making plays, if he continues to struggle to get off blocks than his stock will continue to tumble.
Middle Tennessee State
DT Jimmy Staten*-6’4, 300 lbs.
After a stellar Sophomore campaign Jimmy Staten is back with the Blue Raiders and ready to resume his plugging style of play. Staten’s ability to take up space is what allowed top Sun Belt prospect Kendall Dangerfield to be so dangerous. Staten really started to emerge in the middle of the season for the Blue Raiders but seemed to lose his conditioning towards the end of the season. Middle Tennessee State will need Staten to be able to make plays no matter if it’s Week 1 or Week 14.
RB Drayton Calhoun*-5’11, 184 lbs.
When Drayton Calhoun originally committed to LSU out of HS it was thought he could develop into a true homerun threat for the Tigers. Unfortunately for Calhoun things never worked out at LSU and due to a numbers game he left for Middle Tennessee State. With the Blue Raiders should be able to come in and immediate take over the starting job. Calhoun’s ability to come in and produce will be key to development of junior QB Logan Kilgore.
QB Derek Thompson*-6’4,220 lbs.
The junior QB has seen action ever since he was a true freshman with the way the QB position for the Mean Green was hit with injuries and poor play. Thompson entered last year as the starter and despite having his HC distracted by true frosh Andrew McNulty, Thompson was by far UNT’s best QB. He enters 2012 as the unquestioned #1 option at QB. He is a dual threat QB who has the ability to beat teams with both his arm and feet. He’ll need to stay healthy and develop a better repertoire with his WR’s.
DT Tevinn Cantly-6’4, 311 lbs.
With both DT Cantly and Ryan Boutwell back in 2012 the UNT defense should see a marked improvement over last year. Cantly will be asked to control the middle of the field and put pressure on the interior of the opponent’s offensive line. The hope is that this year Cantly can go from a player who was able to hold the point of attack to one who is able to collapse the pocket around the QB and bring plenty of pressure.
LB Randell Johnson*-6’4, 230 lbs.
The athletic Randell Johnson is the biggest playmaker for the Owls defense that will rely on him to rush the passer and be aggressive v. the run. Johnson will need to show a little bit more control and do a better job breaking down the play as it happens. Last year Johnson’s main objective was to get up field and then find the ball, this year he’ll need to learn to locate the ball first and then make the play. Johnson has sideline to sideline speed and could have a lot of upside as a OLB prospect in a 34 scheme.
CB Keith Reaser-6’0, 185
Reaser is the best cover corner on the FAU team and could follow in the footsteps of former Owl CB’s like Tavious Polo and Corey Small. Reaser has better size than either of Polo or Small but has yet to show the knack for making the big play as consistently as either one of those CB’s did. Reaser is also a strong tackling CB on the boundary. He is aggressive in run support and does a good job of wrapping up the ball carrier.
SAF Charles Harris-6’1, 200 lbs.
Charles Harris along with LB Jake Johnson lead the defensive effort for a Jaguars team who will be entering their first year as a FBS team. The learning curve will be very steep for the Jaguars but Charles Harris will be counted how to help flatten out that curve. He is a strong tackling SAF who spends a lot of time in the box helping out in run support. Harris will need to get better in coverage as the Jags enter a high flying and high scoring Sun Belt conference.
OG Darius McKellar*-6’6, 350 lbs.
The former Crimson Tide offensive lineman transferred down in 2010 after taking medical hardship waiver in 2009. He is a massive load who will be asked to help lead a line that is short on experience and a bit undersized. McKellar will also be the main man who the Jags try and focus their running attack behind as UGA transfer RB Demetre Baker is back along with Arkansas State transfer Kendall Houston. Both backs combined last season for 1,045 yards and 17 TD’s.