Distilling a 100-man roster down to three persons is ridiculous. So let’s do it. These aren’t necessarily the most important guys on the team, but they are people that you’ll likely see Yours Truly tweet about often on game days. All three are coming off tremendous seasons and figure to play a large role in 2014.
Antoinne Jimmerson | HB
Some people (me) like to call North Texas Running Back U. Sure, there aren’t any NFL Hall of Famers in the list but there are some damn good backs that NT finds a way to churn out despite the recruiting disadvantages. The last decade has produced the likes of Patrick Cobbs, Jamario Thomas, and current Dallas Cowboy Lance Dunbar. In case you didn’t notice, that trio includes two NFLers and the fastest freshman to 1000 yards (on his way to leading the nation in rushing in 2004).
Continuing the streak is one Jim Jim.
He wasn’t quite as explosive in 2013 as he was in 2012 but unfortunately was a tad bit more fumble-prone. However, The Jim Jim Show was on full display in the second half of the year, where he scored eight of his nine combined touchdowns in the last six games.
That was largely because of the injury to Reggie Pegram, who was lead backup to Brandin Byrd and had six scores of his own before going out for the year against Southern Miss in late October.
He is shifty, fast, and can break tackles. I checked around and those are some things you need to be a running back in this world. Did I mention he is shifty?
Lairamie Lee | FS / SS
Whereas (future Chicago Bear?) Marcus Trice was the ball-hawk, Lee was the Hit Stick.
Sure, the defensive line was replaced entirely, and Trice and all-conference LB Zach Orr aren’t running around wreaking havoc but if the new guys can approximate the production the departed seniors put up, we should see Lee putting up more highlight hits. The best part is that he isn’t a one-dimensional Roy Williams-type (OU version). He grabbed three picks last year, too.
Kenny Buyers | CB
You likely won’t hear much about Kenny Buyers outside of how great a tackler he is. That’s fine, because that is what the Mean Green secondary needs. DC Skladany likes to play it safe and keep most everything in front of his secondary, and that means short passes are available. This is college football in CUSA in 2014. Everyone can throw short passes. Defensively, you need players that can keep a three-yard pass a three-yard pass. In one of his and North Texas’ best games of the year, he racked up ten-tackles against Rice in the bowl-eligibility-clinching Halloween win. In one of his and the team’s worst games, he couldn’t make those same tackles he is known for as UTSA chewed up clock and yardage at Apogee, killing any CUSA title hopes.
He tackling on the edges is vital to the scheme. It is the kind of thing that turned the former walk-on into a starter on last year’s best CUSA defense.
All I have for you is a gif from the Halloween highlight reel.