Friday, November 03, 2017

UConn's Myers, Ormsby among local boys make good stories in AAC

In its brief history one of the things I've noticed about football programs in the American Athletic Conference is just how many homegrown prospects make significant impacts.

By my count, there are 125 AAC players who are on teams in the city of their birth. Houston leads the way with 20 players from the city of Houston. South Florida, set to play at UConn tomorrow, has 18 from Tampa, Cincinnati (17), Memphis (16), Tulsa (14) and Temple (13) also feature more than 10 hometown products on their rosters.

We're not talking about marginal prospects either. Anthony Miller of Memphis is second in the conference in receptions and receiving yards, USF's Bruce Hector and Ed Oliver of Houston are two of 11 AAC players with at least nine tackles for loss, Houston's Duke Catalon is 10th in the conference in rushing, Tony Pollard of Memphis is the national leader in yards per kickoff return,  while USF center Cameron Ruff is a candidate for the Rimington Award presented annually to the nation's best center.

Why am I mentioning all of this now? Well, it just so happens to tomorrow is the final game at Rentschler Field for UConn's seniors. While UConn and Navy are the only AAC teams without a player on its roster from the town or city when the university is located, Coventry native Tommy Myers is about as close to a homegrown of a player that the Huskies have ever had.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of the top players by position who grew up less than 20 miles from the university they attend. As you can tell, it's a rather impressive list. City names capitalized are same as where university is located. I cheated a little bit and included UConn defensive end Cole Ormsby even if his hometown of Windsor is closer to 30 miles from the campus than the 20 I said I was using as my parameters.

QB: Zach Abey, Navy (Pasadena, MD) Leads all FBS quarterbacks with 1202 rushing yards
RB: Duke Catalon, Houston (HOUSTON) 519 rushing yards, 7 TDs
RB: Tony Pollard, Memphis (MEMPHIS)  126 rushing yards, 333 yards on 24 receptions
RB: Sherman Badie, Tulane (Metairie, LA) 303 rushing yards this season, 1,470 career rushing yards
WR: Anthony Miller, Memphis (MEMPHIS) 61 catches for 859 yards and 10 TDs as a senior
WR: James Proche, SMU (DALLAS) 466 yards on 23 receptions
TE: Charles Jones, Tulane (NEW ORLEANS) 8 catches for 55 yards
TE: Chris Myarick, Temple (Elkins Park, PA) 6 catches, 46 yards
TE: Tommy Myers, UConn (Coventry) Used primarily for blocking purposes but has 2 catches for 26 yards
OL: Garrett Campbell, Cincinnati (CINCINNATI) Has started all eight games at left guard this season
OL: Jake Hawk, Navy (Severn, MD) Left tackle has seven starts this season
OL: Corey Dublin, Tulane (NEW ORLEANS) True freshman has started all eight games at left guard
OL: David Niehaus, Cincinnati (CINCINNATI) Center has nine career starts, eight coming in 2017
OL: Marcus Oliver, Houston (HOUSTON) Right guard has 23 career starts
OL: Cameron Ruff, USF (TAMPA) Rimington Award candidate as one of nation's top centers has 21 career starts

DL Dan Archibong, Temple (Springfield, PA) 12 tackles
DL Quinlan Carroll, Tulane (Belle Chasse, LA) 16 tackles, 2.5 TFL
DL: Reggie Chevis, Houston (HOUSTON) 30 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5s
DL: Kendell Futrell, East Carolina (Winterville, NC) 9 tackles, 1TFL, 1 sack
DL: Mason Gentry, SMU (Plano) 21 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks
DL: Bruce Hector, USF (TAMPA) 23 tackles, 10 TFL 4 sacks
DL: Ed Oliver, Houston (HOUSTON) 49 tackles, 9 TFL, 2.5 sacks
DL Cole Ormsby, UConn (Windsor) 16 tackles, 6 TFL, 6 sacks
DL: Christian Johnson, Memphis (MEMPHIS) 17 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks
DL: Julian Taylor, Temple (Glenside, PA) 20 tackles, 3.5 TFL
LB: Matthew Adams, Houston (Missouri City, TX) 61 tackles, 4.5 TFL
LB: Josh Blake, USF (TAMPA) 12 tackles 3 TFL
LB: Emeke Egbule Houston (Galena Park, TX) 38 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks
LB: Isaiah Graham-Mobley, Temple (King of Prussia, PA) 19 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks
LB: Zachery Harris, Tulane (NEW ORLEANS) 42 tackles, 1.5 TFL
DB Sean Chandler Temple (Camden NJ) 47 tackles 1 interception, 1.5 TFL
DB: Tyrell Gilbert, Cincinnati (CINCINNATI) 39 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
DB: Alexander Myres, Houston (HOUSTON) 20 tackles, 1.5 TFL
DB: Parry Nickerson Tulane (Algiers, LA) 39 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 TFL
DB: Kahlil Williams, Houston (Missouri City, TX) 47 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 sacks
DB: Jarid Ryan, Navy (Glen Burnie, MD) 26 tackles, 0.5 TFL
DB: Mazzi Wilkins USF (TAMPA) 21 tackles, 3 interceptions

(Had to expand region past 20 miles to find a kicker and punter)
K: Josh Williams, SMU (Rowlett, TX) 11/15 FG 38-42 PATs 13 touchbacks
P: Jonathan Hernandez, South Florida (Bradenton) 43.6 yard average on 47 punts
Kickoff returner: Tony Pollard, Memphis (MEMPHIS) Leads all FBS players with 41.9 yards per kickoff return
Punt returner: Tajee Fullwood, USF (TAMPA) 14.4 yards on 8 returns

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