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Players to Watch During Spring Practice: AAC East

Lots of quarterbacks to watch, but they’re worth your time.

It’s almost too much of a tease to have spring football. It begins, we get excited, but then it ends and we have to face the reality of no football for months. For now, let’s enjoy what we’ve got. The AAC East has a lot of talent to watch this spring. Each team also has new players to watch, and some serious competitions. If you need a player (or players) to watch, take a look at these guys.

UCF: QB Brandon Wimbush/Darriel Mack

If you don’t want to watch the quarterback battle, you could watch players like Otis Anderson, Adrian Killins or even Nate Evans. However, these two will garner the most attention. Everyone’s been talking about the quarterback battle for the Knights, and it could go a long way in determining how long the winning streak goes (in the regular season). This is yet another loaded team, but this position determines how good the team can be.

USF: QB Blake Barnett

There’s a reason why Alabama recruited him out of high school. Barnett can play, but he needs talent around him to help him out. He can’t do everything on his own. We’re not worried that he’s going to lose his spot, but we are interested to see how he gels in a new offense. USF struggled mightily down the stretch last year, putting head coach Charlie Strong in a hot seat coming into this year. A new offensive scheme gives fans hope, and a bounce back seems inevitable with Barnett running the offense.

SMU v Cincinnati
Doaks was a star in the making before injuries limited him.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Cincinnati: RB Gerrid Doaks

Injuries derailed his season last year, and Michael Warren’s emergence lessened the effects of his absence. Two years ago, Doaks previewed what he can do for the Bearcats offense, but didn’t get a chance to follow up on that performance. Now, he joins Warren in the backfield to give Cincinnati two great options. If he can return to 2017 form, it won’t matter who’s in the backfield with Desmond Ridder.

ECU: QB Holton Ahlers

He’s shown tremendous potential in his time starting last year. Not only can he pass (1,785 yards, 12 touchdowns), but he’s shown that he is a threat running the ball as well (582 yards, six touchdowns). If he can improve his accuracy (48.3%), the Pirates offense will also improve.

Temple: LB Shaun Bradley

Put Chapelle Russell here too. Both finished Top 5 on the team in tackles last year, and should be the leaders of this defense in 2019. With a new coaching staff taking over, Bradley and Russell give them two leaders defensively. Temple’s been tough on defense the last few years, and they have the experience to do so again this year.

UConn: RB Kevin Mensah

If we’re being honest, you should watch the defense. If you don’t want to wait to watch good football, then watch Mensah. With David Pindell gone, Mensah becomes the Huskies biggest threat offensively. While UConn looks to find Pindell’s replacement, he may have to carry the load early in the season.

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