How did Celtic Pride not win an Oscar?
Peter from Burnt Orange nation had a great post about a week ago in which he selected the five players in the Big 12 that he thought could be the biggest boon to his Longhorns. Since the Big East appears to be loaded with talent in 2007, and I am a man who has never shied away from stealing something he found interesting (or shiny), I figured I'd try the exercise out myself and see what happened.
Here are the five Big East players I would add to the Louisville roster if I had the chance.
1. Ray Rice, RB Rutgers
U of L already has the best quarterback and receiving corps in the conference, so the most logical place to look with the first selection is the running back position where the options are a pair of Heisman Trophy candidates. I like Steve Slaon as much as the next guy, but when you look at what Rice did a year ago against defenses that had no reason to respect the pass, it makes you wonder just how good he could be playing alongside an air attack like the one at Louisville. Plus, I hear Slaton has a hard time holding onto the ball in big games.
2. Mike Mickens, CB Cincinnati
Picking a running back was the sexy move, and since I'm a Lions fan I naturally went for it, but in reality the cornerback position is the place where Louisville could use the most help. Many Cardinal fans, including myself, are banking heavily on a stellar season from Woodny Turenne, but if the No. 1 JuCo player in the country doesn't pan out then U of L is going to be left with Rod Council, a couple of guys with moderate experience, and a lot of guys with very limited experience manning the edges.
In my opinion, Mickens is undoubtably the best pure cover corner in the league, and his presence would increase the stength of Louisville's secondary exponentially. A Second Team All-Big East performer a year ago, Mickens is one of only two players in the country to rank in the top ten nationally in passes defended in each of the past two seasons, the other being Cal's All-Everything corner Daymeion Hughes.
3. Jeremy Zuttah, OL Rutgers
A strong offensive line is a major key to the success of any national champion, and adding arguably the best returning tackle in the conference certainly would enhance Louisville's chances to hoist the crystal football. Zuttah is one of only two returning offensive lineman who were named to the First Team All-Big East squad a year ago. The other is U of L's own George Bussey who, along with Greg Schiano's top big guy, would be part of one of the best offensive tackle duos in the country if this fiction were reality.
4. Eric Wicks, S West Virginia
The safety position at Louisville is pretty solid with the likes of Latarrius Thomas, Jon Russell, Richard Raglin, Bandon Heath and C.J. Peake (among others) on the roster, but it'd still be hard to pass on arguably the best defensive player in the conference. Along with Amobi Okoye, Wicks was one of two unanimous selections to the First Team All-Conference defense a season ago, racking up 67 tackles and three interceptions. He was listed as a senior last year, but was granted an extra season by the NCAA and chose to return to Morgantown. I'd just as soon have him in the Derby City.
5. Derek Kinder, WR Pittsburgh
With Mario Urrutia, Harry Douglas and a slew of other eligible ball catchers, Cardinal fans can already lay claim to having the best set of receivers in the country, but still, adding Kinder would be too good to pass up. The speedy senior was Tyler Palko's favorite target in 2006, hauling in 57 catches for 847 yards and six touchdowns. He capped off the season by beating out Urrutia for the second receiver spot on the All-Big East First Team. Kinder's presence on the roster would eliminate all offseason debate over who Steve Kragthorpe and Jeff Brohm should peg as Biran Brohm's #3 receiver.
Considered but not mentioned
Pat White, QB West Virginia (No idea where we'd put him, but he's really cool)
Ben moffitt, LB South Florida
Danny Lansanah, LB Connecticut
Eric Foster, DL Rutgers
Ryan Stanchek, OL West Virginia
Trae Williams, CB South Florida
Feel free to give me your five, or simply call me a moron in the comments section, either will bring me great joy.