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July 12, 2010

Monday with Mike: Dandy duos by position

A few weeks ago, we talked about the terrific trios on both sides of the ball. Today, we're going to look at dandy duos at each position.

Here's the list of the top national duos, followed by the best duos by position in each league.

RUNNING BACKS
DUO: Virginia Tech, with Darren Evans and Ryan Williams
BUZZ: It's not often a team can count on two 1,000-yard rushers, but Virginia Tech can. Evans ran for 1,265 yards and 11 TDs as a freshman in 2008. But he blew out his knee and missed the 2009 season. No matter -- that just opened the door for Williams, who ran for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns. Williams had 10 100-yard games and had a carry of at least 30 yards in nine games and at least 40 yards in six games. Evans is expected to be 100 percent this fall, giving the Hokies one of the nation's best backfields.

RECEIVERS
DUO: Boise State, with Austin Pettis and Titus Young
BUZZ: Pettis has great size (6-3/201) and knows how to get open. He had 63 receptions last season, with 14 going for touchdowns; he has 29 TDs in his career. Young is one of the most explosive players in the nation. He had 79 receptions, with 10 going for scores. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and also had three rushing TDs. He had a catch of at least 20 yards in 10 games and of at least 40 yards in seven games.

Best WR/TE DUO: Notre Dame, with WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph

OFFENSIVE LINE
DUO: Wisconsin, with G John Moffitt and T Gabe Carimi
BUZZ: Carimi might be the best offensive lineman in the nation. He's huge (6-7/315) and plows over opponents in the running game. He's also surprisingly nimble on the outside and is a solid pass blocker. Moffitt, who also can play center, is a mauler in the middle.

DEFENSIVE LINE
DUO: North Carolina, with T Marvin Austin and E Robert Quinn
BUZZ: Austin was highly touted out of high school and generally has lived up to the hype. He's a man in the middle of the line and had 42 tackles and four sacks last season. Quinn is an incredibly inspirational story. He had a brain tumor as a high school senior and for a while, whether he would walk again -- much less play football -- was in the balance. He possesses a big-time motor and is relentless off the edge. Look for him to amass 12-plus sacks this season.

LINEBACKERS
DUO: North Carolina, with Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant
BUZZ: Look at this -- another Tar Heels duo. As with Austin and Quinn, both these guys could be first-round picks. Carter is a big-play guy for the Heels. He was a special-teams demon before becoming a solid every-down 'backer. He has great size (6-3/230) and can fly. Sturdivant, meanwhile, might be the most productive defender for the Heels. He has made a combined 201 tackles the past two seasons and had 12 tackles for loss last season. Sturdivant can play in the middle and on the outside, giving UNC coaches a lot of freedom to mix their alignments.

CORNERBACKS
DUO: Texas, with Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams
BUZZ: Williams has big-time size (6-1/192), can run and should be one of the nation's best corners this season. He had three picks and eight pass breakups last season as a sophomore, his first season as a starter. Brown, whose nickname is "Turkey," is a senior who also is heading into his second season as a full-time starter. He is solid in run support (53 tackles) and also has good ball skills (15 pass breakups). He also might be Texas' best special teams performer.

SAFETIES
DUO: Florida, with FS Will Hill and SS Ahmad Black
BUZZ: Black is a bit undersized for the spot (5-9/189), but he has great instincts and a nose for the ball (eight interceptions and 10 pass breakups in the past two seasons). He also is a solid tackler. Hill, a junior, will be a full-time starter for the first time, but he has seen a ton of action the past two seasons for one of the better defenses in the nation. He has good size (6-1/204), great speed and delivers a blow (90 total tackles the past two seasons). Florida's free safety last season was Major Wright, who was a third-round pick of the Chicago Bears. Hill has a much higher ceiling, and if all goes well, he should contend for All-America honors.

KICKER/PUNTER
DUO: UCLA, with K Kai Forbath and P Jeff Locke
BUZZ: Forbath has a cannon for a leg. He led UCLA with 108 points last season, 72 more than any teammate. He was 28-of-31 on field-goal attempts, and all three misses were from beyond 50 yards. He has hit nine field goals from at least 50 in his career, the most of any active kicker. Locke isn't as good as Forbath, but he's still one of the best six or seven punters in the nation. He averaged 43.6 yards per boot last season and dropped 20 of his 70 inside the opponents' 20.

BEST DUOS BY POSITION IN EACH LEAGUE

ACC
Running backs: Virginia Tech, with Ryan Williams and Darren Evans
Receivers: Miami, with Travis Benjamin and Leonard Hankerson
Offensive linemen: Boston College, with G Thomas Claiborne and T Anthony Castonzo
Defensive linemen: North Carolina, with T Marvin Austin and E Robert Quinn
Linebackers: North Carolina, with Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant
Cornerbacks: North Carolina, with Charles Brown and Kendric Burney
Safeties: Clemson, with FS Rashard Hall and SS DeAndre McDaniel
Kicker/punter: Miami, with K/P Matt Bosher

BIG EAST
Running backs: Pittsburgh, with Dion Lewis and Ray Graham
Receivers: Cincinnati, with Armon Binns and D.J. Woods
Offensive linemen: Pittsburgh, with Ts Louis Nix and Jason Pinkston
Defensive linemen: Pittsburgh, with Es Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard
Linebackers: Connecticut, with Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson
Cornerbacks: West Virginia, with Brandon Hogan and Keith Tandy
Safeties: West Virginia, with FS Robert Sands and SS Sidney Glover
Kicker/punter: Syracuse, with K Ryan Lichtenstein and P Rob Long

BIG TEN
Running backs: Ohio State, with Brandon Saine and Dan Herron
Receivers: Ohio State, with Devier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher
Offensive linemen: Wisconsin, with G John Moffitt and T Gabe Carimi
Defensive linemen: Iowa, with T Christian Ballard and E Adrian Clayborn
Linebackers: Michigan State, with Eric Gordon and Greg Jones
Cornerbacks: Ohio State, with Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence
Safeties: Iowa, with FS Brett Greenwood and SS Tyler Sash
Kicker/punter: Wisconsin, with K Philip Welch and P Brad Nortman

BIG 12
Running backs: Nebraska, with Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead
Receivers: Texas A&M, with Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu
Offensive linemen: Colorado, with G Ryan Miller and T Nate Solder
Defensive linemen: Nebraska, with T Jared Crick and E Pierre Allen
Linebackers: Oklahoma, with Travis Lewis and Ronnell Lewis
Cornerbacks: Texas, with Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams
Safeties: Oklahoma, with FS Quinton Carter and SS Sam Proctor
Kicker/punter: Nebraska, with K/P Alex Henery

CONFERENCE USA
Running backs: Rice, with Sam McGuffie and Charles Ross
Receivers: Houston, with Tyron Carrier and James Cleveland
Offensive linemen: East Carolina, with G D.J. Scott and T Willie Smith
Defensive linemen: Marshall, with T Michael Janac and E Vinny Curry
Linebackers: Southern Miss, with Ronnie Thornton and Korey Williams
Cornerbacks: East Carolina, with Emanuel Davis and Travis Simmons
Safeties: Tulsa, with FS Dexter McCoil and SS DeAundre Brown
Kicker/punter: Tulsa, with K Kevin Fitzpatrick and P Michael Such

MID-AMERICAN
Running backs: Temple, with Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown
Receivers: Miami, with Armand Robinson and Jamal Rogers
Offensive linemen: Temple, with G Colin Madison and T Darius Morris
Defensive linemen: Temple, with T Muhammad Wilkerson and E Adrian Robinson
Linebackers: Central Michigan, with Nick Bellore and Matt Berning
Cornerbacks: Buffalo, with Domonic Cook and Josh Thomas
Safeties: Ohio, with FS Steven Jackson and SS Gerald Moore
Kicker/punter: Ball State, with K Ian McGarvey and P Scott Kovanda

MOUNTAIN WEST
Running backs: TCU, with Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley
Receivers: San Diego State, with Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson
Offensive linemen: TCU, with C Jake Kirkpatrick and T Marcus Cannon
Defensive linemen: TCU, with T Kelly Griffin and E Wayne Daniels
Linebackers: Colorado State, with Ricky Brewer and Mychal Sisson
Cornerbacks: Air Force, with Reggie Rembert and Anthony Wright
Safeties: TCU, with FS Tejay Johnson and S Alex Ibiloye
Kicker/punter: Utah, with K Joe Phillips and P Sean Sellwood

PAC-10
Running backs: Arizona, with Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin
Receivers: Washington, with Devin Aguilar and Jermaine Kearse
Offensive linemen: Arizona, with C Colin Baxter and T Adam Grant
Defensive linemen: Oregon, with T Brandon Bair and E Kenny Rowe
Linebackers: Oregon, with Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger
Cornerbacks: Oregon State, with James Dockery and Brandon Hardin
Safeties: UCLA, with FS Rahim Moore and SS Tony Dye
Kicker/punter: UCLA, with K Kai Forbath and P Jeff Locke

SEC
Running backs: Alabama, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson
Receivers: Arkansas, with Greg Childs and Jarius Wright
Offensive linemen: Auburn, with G Mike Berry and T Lee Ziemba
Defensive linemen: Ole Miss, with E Kentrell Lockett and T Jerrell Powe
Linebackers: Auburn, with Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens
Cornerbacks: South Carolina, with Chris Culliver and Stephon Gilmore
Safeties: Florida, with FS Will Hill and SS Ahmad Black
Kicker/punter: Georgia, with K Blair Walsh and P Drew Butler

SUN BELT
Running backs: Middle Tennessee, with Phillip Tanner and D.D. Kyles
Receivers: Troy, with Jerrel Jernigan and Tebiarus Gill
Offensive linemen: North Texas, with G Kelvin Drake and T Esteban Santiago
Defensive linemen: Florida Atlantic, with T Dino Cox and E Kevin Cyrille
Linebackers: Arkansas State, with Demario Davis and Javon McKinnon
Cornerbacks: Louisiana-Lafayette, with Orkeys Auriene and Dwight Bentley
Safeties: Middle Tennessee, with FS Jeremy Kellem and SS Kevin Brown
Kicker/punter: Troy, with K Michael Taylor and P Will Goggans

WESTERN ATHLETIC
Running backs: Boise State, with Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper
Receivers: Boise State, with Austin Pettis and Titus Young
Offensive linemen: Fresno State, with G Andrew Jackson and T Kenny Wiggins
Defensive linemen: Boise State, with E Ryan Winterswyk and T Billy Winn
Linebackers: Fresno State, with Ben Jacobs and Kyle Knox
Cornerbacks: New Mexico State, with Jonte Green and Davon House
Safeties: Boise State, with FS George Iloka and SS Jeron Johnson
Kicker/punter: Boise State, with K/P Kyle Brotzman

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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