While we won’t be naive (and/or like Rick Reilly/Peter King/insert-your-own-cliched-columnist) and claim there’s some sort of pristine or pure honor in playing out your four years that other players just don’t get to experience, we’d still like to point out the senior players that are likely to stand out in 2012. These players have put in the time during their college careers, and now serve as the cornerstones of their respective teams’ potential success this season.
We’ll be going team-by-team to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his team, and why. Have a different thought on the matter? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.
First up, for Boston College, it’s fifth-year senior running back Montel Harris, who’s hoping to come back strong from 2011’s injury-plagued season, and a spring practice session that ended far too early for anyone (coaches or fans) to get a true look at him in his final season of eligibility.
For a team that struggled to put points on the board in 2011 (averaged just 18.2 per game), improvement and progress start with the running game. In his one full go of it last year, Harris racked up 108 yards on just 22 carries against Wake Forest. Looking back at his three complete seasons prior to ’11, the Florida native collected 3,600 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Most impressive was his 2009 campaign in which he collected 1,457 yards as a workhorse back on 308 carries, while also scoring 14 times (plus a 15th time via the passing game). Needless to say, he’s proven distinctively in the past that not only can he be effective in the offense, but can punish opponents as a lead rusher, and has shown extended durability.
Though the team doesn’t necessarily need him to carry the ball with the frequency he did back in ’09, especially with experienced back Rolandon Finch ready to fight it out for the starting gig, BC needs Harris to come back at full strength and regain the dynamic presence he’s continuously displayed. What lacked for the Eagles offense in 2011 was the putrid passing game, sure, but the pressure lets up with an effective run-game, and allows QB Chase Rettig to actually make some decisions back there. Harris will be called upon, and expected, to carry the ball around 15 times per game, and deliver between four-and-a-half and five YPC, amounting to 800-900 yards on the year. Add in between seven and 10 scores, and Harris successfully completes his comeback and gives the Eagles a hand in winning a couple more games.
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