1. Tim Green-Lincoln (PA), SR DE: Last year Green finished with 21 TFL and 17 sacks. This undersized Defensive End is explosive and loves to cause havoc in the backfield.
2. Tyron Laughinghouse-St. Augustine’s, R-SR WR: No one will be laughing when it comes to Tyron’s play. I fully expect Tyron to surpass his 27 receptions for 556 yards and 8 TD season from last year.
He is a big play Wide Receiver who defenses will need to account for.
3. Kameron Smith-Winston-Salem St., R-SR QB: This dual threat QB will need to play HUGE in 2012 for the Rams. With the loss of Nic Cooper and several key players Smith will need to step up. Last year he threw for 2706 yards with a 58.6 completion percentage. Smith threw for 33 touchdowns and only 10 ints.
1. Kevin Rodgers-Henderson St., So. QB: Rodgers came on strong at the end of last season. He was named the conference’s POTW for 11/14/2011. Rodgers threw for 1267 yards and 9 touchdowns. Another year of experience will limit his interceptions (10 last season).
2. Hunter Leppert-Arkansas Monticello, So. QB: Hunter is taking over this season full time for the departed Damon Wicker. In spot duty last year Leppert threw for nearly 800 yards and 5 touchdowns. Expect some growing pains with Leppert, but he is a player and will produce.
3. A.J. Steele-Southern Arkansas, SR. LB: Steele is a lunch pail type player who brings it each and every play. He averaged 7 tackles a game last season and anchored the Mulerider defense. I expect more of the same from Steele this upcoming season.
1. Jonathon Jennings-Saginaw Valley St., JR. QB: Jennings is one of the most exciting players to watch in D2. He can do everything and will be the reason why Saginaw Valley St. makes a run at the conference title this season. Last season Jennings threw for 29 touchdowns and 2924 yards while also accounting for 7 scores on the ground.
2. Ed Viverette-Wayne St., R-JR. LB: If Wayne St. wants to sniff the post season again it will have to rely on its defense. Viverette will be the leader of the defense this season. He needs to play bigger than his 83 tackles 15.5 tfl and 7.5 sacks.
3. Tayo Moss-Ferris St., SR. LB: Moss is a rock in the middle of the Ferris St. defense. He accumulated 118 tackles this past season and is due for big things again in 2012.
Great Lakes Valley:
1. Max Davis-Indianapolis, R-SR. LB: Davis is the leader of the Greyhounds’ defense. The offense is going to be explosive again, but the team will only go as far as Davis and the defense allows them. Davis will need another 100 + tackle season for the defense to be solid (102 tackles in 2011).
2. Jon Molzen-William Jewell, SR. WR: Molzen is the main threat for this team. He needs to surpass his 49 receptions 565 yards 5 touchdown 2011 season. He has the talent to do it, but will the surrounding talent be enough to keep defenses honest and single cover Molzen?
3. Chris Emesih-Missouri S&T, Jr. LB: Emesih was terrific last season for the Miners. He accounted for 100 tackles including 8 tfl. The Junior has the talent to continue his success at the linebacker position.
1. Levi Taylor-Central Washington, SO. RB: Spain returns as the go-to-guy in the backfield for Central Washington. Last season the shifty RB accounted for 10 touchdowns with nearly 700 yards rushing. The sophomore slump will not affect Taylor as he tries to outdo his previous season.
2. Cache Morgan-Dixie St., SR. DB/KR: With arguably one of the coolest names in D2, Cache was destined to make this list. He is a dangerous kick returner averaging 23.53 yards per return. He also can cover too. Cache totaled 46 tackles, 2 ints, and 6 passes defended this past season.
3. Devin Wells (JR) and Scotland Foss (R-SR)-Western Oregon, LB’s: These two guys were so productive for Western Oregon that I had to lump them together. Foss was the more productive one in terms of stats totaling 84 tackles with 11 tfl, but Wells was no slouch. Wells accounted for 61 tackles and 4.5 tfl. These 2 LB’s will cause some problems for opposing offenses next season.
1. Denarius Appling-West Georgia, JR. RS: Appling is one of the most electrifying returners in all of college football. Last season Appling tore up the special teams category in only a few games. He ranked 33rd in yards per kick return and 9th in yards per punt return. He scored 3 touchdowns and when West Georgia needed a spark Appling was the one who provided it.
2. Gabe Poe (SR.) and Deon Lacey (SR.)-West Alabama, LB’s: Another duo makes the list as Poe and Lacey dominated for the West Alabama defense. These two stud Linebackers totaled 178 tackles, 17 tfl, 7.5 sacks, 2 ff, and 2 ints. When opposing teams are preparing for West Alabama they have to account for these two All American candidates.
3. Chris Pope-Valdosta St., JR. LB: Pope will be relied on a lot this upcoming season as one of the best Linebackers in the country. He just missed the 100 tackle mark last season (92 total), but this do everything Linebacker should be as productive or more productive in 2012.
1. Idris Anderson-North Greenville, JR. RB: Anderson is the main man in the backfield as he takes over for Teryan Rucker. The two were very productive as a duo last season, but is it possible that Anderson will be better by himself in 2012? The numbers indicate that Anderson is destined to have a breakout season after scoring 14 times on the ground on only 129 carries.
2. Marshall Davis-South Dakota Mines, SR. WR: Davis is the new face of the Hardrockers’ offense. With the departure of RB Jamie Dale, Davis is now the go-to player for the offense. He’ll need to outdo his production from 2011. Davis caught 51 passes for 663 yards and 4 touchdowns.
3. Ronald Seals-Oklahoma Panhandle St., JR. LB: Seals played big on defense accounting for 34 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 6 tfl. Although he missed 2 games last season, Seals has the talent to put up better numbers in 2012.
1. Taylor Gabriel-Abilene Christian, JR. WR: Gabriel was spectacular in ’11. The main target for QB Mitchell Gale entering this season needs to be just as productive as he was last season. This means he needs to account for at least 64 receptions 988 yards and 10 touchdowns.
2. Chaz Pavliska (SR.) and Devin Haywood (Jr.)-Incarnate Word, DB’s: A defensive back duo makes the lists. Pavliska and Haywood are the anchors on the Incarnate Word secondary. The duo combined for 25 passes defended and 9 ints last season. I expect more of the same from these two partners in crime.
3. Sherman Batiste (SR.) and Robert Armstrong (JR.) – Texas A&M Kingsville, WR’s: These two Wide Receiver love to feed off of each other. Armstrong lead the team in receiving touchdowns and yards with (8 and 626), but Batiste wasn’t too far behind (6 td’s and 620 yards). This duo will be at it again for Texas A&M Kingsville, so everyone should expect more of the same.
1. David Bass-Missouri Western, R-SR. DL: Bass was awesome in 2011 if you’re a fan of disruptive defensive lineman. Bass blew up opposing offensive lineman on his way to 55 tackles, 20 tfl, and an impressive 14.5 sacks. This season Bass will see a lot more double teams, so a drop in production is expected, but his impact on the field will allow other teammates to step up. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/dbass91
2. Landon Zerkel-Missouri Southern, SR. WR: Zerkel was one of the best WR, if not the best WR, in all of Division II last season. He caught and eye gouging 77 passes for 1047 yards with 6 touchdowns. It will be fun watching Zerkel have one last go around at Missouri Southern. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/LandonZerkel
3. Richie Schumacher-Truman, SR. DB: Schumacher is by far one of the best tackling defensive backs in all of college football. Last season Schumacher totaled 130 tackles. He was disruptive on many plays stopping them in the backfield. Oh, yea that’s right! He can cover too. Schumacher is a player on defense that fans of football need to see play. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/Bulldog19
1. Isiah Voegeli-Merrimack, SR. WR: Voegeli is another treat for those fans that love the skillful Wide Receivers. Last season, Voegeli caught 59 passes for 1251 yards for 14 touchdowns. The best part is the average yards per catch (21.2)! Isiah is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
2. Bernard Risco-New Haven, SR. DB: Risco will be the #1 corner for the Chargers this upcoming season. Risco needs to duplicate his ’11 season with 79 tackles and 12 passes defended. I’d like to see him accumulate some interceptions, but if he plays as well as he did in ’11 he’ll be just fine.
3. Khalid Pitts-Assumption, SR. DE: Pitts is going to have a breakout year in the Northeast-10 conference. Last year was a great starting point for the DE, but I fully expect more than 27 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Pitts totaled 9 tfl, but I think this is his year to dominate offensive lines.
1. Nate Thienes, Concordia-St. Paul, SR. TE: Why Hello! The first Tight End to make the list is Nate Thienes. Thienes is a solid all around Tight End who last season caught 38 passes for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns. I think this year he will have a bigger role in the offense with the departure of star WR Charles Gilbert.
2. Craig Bagnell-University of Mary, JR. QB: Bragnell is surely not the first QB you think of when you think of all the QB’s in this conference, but there is something I like about how this kid plays. Bragnell will need a huge season for UM to be successful and he is capable of doing so. Last season was a warm up for Bragnell (2407 yards, 19 touchdowns and only 5 ints). In 2012, Bragnell will be more explosive.
3. Tony Leggett-Upper Iowa, SR. LB: Leggett was very productive from his linebacker position. Last season, Leggett totaled 109 total tackles with 4 tfl. He recovered 4 fumbles and also blocked 1 kick. Expect more of the same from Leggett in 2012. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/leggett
1. Eddie Mateo (JR.) and Franklyn Quiteh (JR.) – Bloomsburg, RB’s: Another duo makes the list this time it’s the team of Mateo and Quiteh. These 2 dynamic backs did special things for the Huskies of Bloomsburg. Both Running Backs surpassed the 1000 yard mark (Mateo: 1185 and Quiteh: 1192). The duo combined for 24 touchdowns (12 each). This tandem will wreck havoc on opposing defenses next season.
2. Shippensburg’s Defensive Line: I could not give more credit to one guy over the next, so since this is my rankings I can do what I want. The combination of Kahil Smith, Green, and Metz are a trio that will cause offensive lines a plethora of problems. This trio combined for 100 tackles, 19.5 sacks, and 30 tfl. I only have 2 words for opposing offensive lines this season: Good Luck.
3. Alex DiNolfi-Kutztown, SR. DB: DiNolfi was a special thing to watch last season. Sure, he benefitted from a dominant defensive line, but DiNolfi is a special talent. He totaled 68 tackles, 11 ints, and 21 passes defended. He was the lockdown corner Kutztown needed and he did his job. Look for DiNolfi to be more productice this season because he is losing a bulk of that defensive line.
1. Taylor Accardi-Colorado Mines, SR. P: Yes, that’s right. A punter is on the watch list. Accardi is one of the best punters is DII. Need some Justification? Well Accardi only punted for 2476 yards with an average of 48.5 yards per punt. He booted one 88 yards for his long on the season and had 26 over 50 yards. He has a big leg and is accurate also. Accardi landed 15 inside the 20. When it comes times to punt there is only a select few of other players I would want to see punt the football. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/tayloraccardi
2. Josh Sandoval-Colorado St.-Pueblo, JR. WR/PR: Sandoval, although leading the team in receiving, is on the list for his Punt Return ability. He is a treat to watch when the ball is punted to him. Last season, Sandoval scored twice when he received a punt. He also had 3 games where he surpassed the 100 yard marker in punt return yards.
3. Markis Sumpter-Western New Mexico, SR. WR: Sumpter was the man last season for Western New Mexico. Whenever they needed a timely catch they looked the way of Sumpter. He caught 63 passes for 769 yards and 11 touchdowns. Look for Sumpter to repeat this season’s performance in ’12.
1. Jared Seate-Wingate, R-SR. LB: Seate was a force on the Wingate defense. The Redshirt Senior Linebacker compiled 103 tackles with 9 tackles for loss and 1 sack. Look for more of the same from Seate in ’12.
2. Chris Bowden-Wingate, SR. WR: Bowden was 1 reception away from Landon Zerkel who was mentioned earlier on this list. Bowden was a catalyst for the Wingate offense. It takes a special player to account for 76 receptions 1064 yards and 9 touchdowns.
3. Kevin Johnson- Mars Hill, SR. DL: Johnson was an ultra-productive defensive lineman for Mars Hill. He totaled 93 tackles, 8.5 tfl, 4 sacks and 1 ff. 93 tackles for a lineman is very impressive. I don’t expect Johnson to be as productive in 2012, but it is due to other teammates stepping up which is never a bad thing.
1. David Carter-Morehouse, SR. RB: Carter was another very productive Running Back who could afford to lose some carries to keep him fresher later in the season. Last season, Carter tallied 235 rushes for 1495 yards and 19 touchdowns. Carter will have another dominant season in ’12 and watch out for Morehouse as dark horse to win the conference. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/dcarter32
2. Ronnie Tubbs-Albany St, SR. WR: Tubbs is entering his final year of his collegiate career and is poised to have another solid year. Tubbs surpassed the 800 yard receiving mark with 45 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Look for more of the same from Ronnie Tubbs in ’12.
3. Jeremy Hall-Stillman, JR. DL: Hall is another disruptive lineman on this list. He was a monster last season tallying 48 tackles, 15.5 tfl with 8.5 sacks. Look for opposing teams to double Hall.
1. Jordan Roberts-Charleston, SR. RB: Roberts, a transfer from WVU, has had a pretty good career at Charleston. He saved his best for his Senior season. It will be hard to beat last year’s numbers, but if you speak to Roberts that is one of his goals. Last season, Jordan rushed for 1430 yards 17 touchdowns while also returning kicks. He averaged 25.7 yards a kick return. Roberts will be the workhorse for Charleston as he hopes to lead them to the WVIAC title. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/JordanRoberts28UC
2. Jonas Celian-WV Wesleyan, SR. DE: Add another dominant defensive lineman to this list. Celian accounted for 67 tackles, 19 tfl with 12 sacks. He should anchor the WV Wesleyan defensive line this season and I expect another big season from Jonas. http://college.beyondsportsnetwork.com/profile/jonas20
3. Kenny Williams-Shepherd, R-SO. RB: Williams was the #2 guy last season behind Tommy Addison. However, this season the show is all Williams’. Williams was productive last season (842 yards, 14 touchdowns), but with the departure of Addison it is Williams’ time to step up and be the go-to-guy. Expect bigger numbers from Williams in ’12.
**Nate Montana transferred to WV Wesleyan. The son of Joe Montana is expected to come in and start at QB immediately. It will be interesting to see him take over for the departed Adam Neugebauer.
Look for more updates and lists from the writers at the BSN College Network