From Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson to Michigan's Michael Hart and Chad Henne to Tennessee's Erik Ainge and Ohio State's Ted Ginn, the young kids gave us so much we couldn't get enough. Although the potential is there for a repeat with the 2005 recruiting class — which fell into place last week on national signing day — can we expect more of the same next season?
Well, no. We can't expect it. But we can hope.
Lucky and good: Marlon Lucky, RB, Nebraska
It's usually for one of two reasons that a school cleans up in recruiting: a big season or a big flop. At Nebraska, it was the latter — the first season without a bowl appearance in 36 years. So, naturally, the current Huskers can't be too thrilled about the new Huskers rejuvenating the program, right?
"Jealousy won't be a problem," says coach Bill Callahan. "Everybody wants good players around them."
Here's the one who will make the biggest impact in Lincoln — and maybe the rest of the nation: 202-pound tailback Marlon Lucky, plucked from the backyard of two-time defending national champion Southern California. Lucky was a star at North Hollywood High, rushed for 46 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards as a senior and will compete for a starting position at the deepest spot of the Nebraska depth chart.
Yeah, big deal. Oklahoma's tailback spot was fairly comfortable last fall, too. Then some dude named Peterson entered the mix.
"He's not Adrian Peterson," says one Big 12 offensive coordinator of Lucky, "but he's not that far off, either."
So let's put on hold concerns about Lucky learning Callahan's complicated system. Will Lucky, unlike so many freshmen, be able to hold on to the ball? Any head coach or offensive coordinator will live with a player's lack of knowledge of the offense; a coach can't, however, live with ball-protection issues.
Lucky will have to beat out underrated I-back Cory Ross and backups David Horne and Brandon Jackson for the starting spot. No offense to anyone, but that's not his toughest obstacle.
Hold on to the ball, Marlon. And hold on for a wild ride, Big Red.
Burn, baby, burn: Fred Rouse, WR, Florida State
We all saw it the past four years. FSU's sleek offensive machine sputtered around like your father's Ford Falcon. Rouse saw it, too. And it nearly forced him to give up his childhood dream of playing for his hometown school.
Then Jeff Bowden — the most criticized offensive coordinator this side of the Pentagon — sat down with Rouse the Sunday before signing day and drew up about 15 plays to show him how the Seminoles would use the nation's No. 1 wide receiver recruit.
"He made me feel a lot better about what was going on," Rouse says. "I felt relieved."
Now, the quarterback situation at FSU ... well, that's another story. But that's where the staff believes Rouse can help -- by giving whomever wins the job a deep threat who can go after the ball in the air. Rouse is strong off the line of scrimmage and has fantastic body control. "And with his hands," Bowden says, "he's going to grab anything you throw his way. He's going to give us that extra dimension."
There are plenty of talented receivers on the roster — Chris Davis, Lorne Sam, Willie Reid — but none with the speed of Rouse. If your receivers can't stretch the field, your quarterback must be accurate on short and intermediate passes. That's where FSU has had problems, and that's why there is hope Rouse can open up the offense and allow quarterback Wyatt Sexton — or either of two redshirt freshmen, Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee — to make throws downfield and loosen defenses.
Rouse is convinced, so that's a start. All it took was a few plays scratched out on Bowden's legal pad. If only it would be that easy in the fall.
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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