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.
For Duke, their “standout senior” should be obvious. The unquestioned leader of the Blue Devils, now in his third and final season at the helm, quarterback Sean Renfree is anxious to play in his first bowl game.
And while we all know the story — Duke hasn’t played in the postseason at all since 1994 — it’s worth mentioning again for a little extra weight. Some fanbases throw fits for missing a bowl game just once, but now 17 straight seasons? Should Renfree guide the Devils through what promises to be another challenging slate and make the postseason, he’ll be rewriting the legacies of his school, the football program and his head coach, David Cutcliffe, who’s been so instrumental in rebuilding the team during his tenure. Renfree would also be guaranteeing himself a permanent place in Duke lore. Plus, I actually think he can pull it off, too.
Considering the limitations of being the Blue Devils quarterback, Renfree’s actually done quite well for himself. He’s thrown for over 6,300 yards, tossed 31 touchdowns and throws the ball at a pretty accurate clip of well over 62-percent. Not only that, but he actively works to improve each season — cutting down on mistakes (sacks and interceptions) drastically in the last two years. And though he’s not a “running quarterback” by any means, Renfree, to his credit, also tacked on four rushing scores last season. to his 13 TD passes. So as all this “culture change” talk does rightfully point to Coach Cutcliffe, let’s not forget the other major player, Renfree. Even with talk of a three-QB attack looming large for 2012, the senior is still poised to thrive in the pro-style set, and who knows, maybe he’ll even excel in these alternate formations as well. If Duke wants to do well, both by themselves and Renfree, the more opportunities they give him to prove himself the better off they’ll be.
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