Independent Recruiting Class Rankings
#1 Notre Dame
Independent Top Freshman 2012
Davonte' Neal ATH Notre Dame
Elijah St. Hilaire ATH Army
Talon Shumway WR BYU
Toneo Gulley RB Navy
Independent Coaching Rankings
#1 Chip Kelly
#2 Bronco Mendenhall
#3 Ken Niumatalolo
#4 Rich Ellerson
Offensive Player of the Year:
Raymond Maples RB Army
Defensive Player of the Year:
Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame
Coach of the Year
Rich Ellerson Army
Offensive Freshman of the Year
Davonte' Neal WR Notre Dame
Defensive Freshman of the Year
Troy Hinds DE BYU
Independent Football Predictions 2012
Coach: Brian Kelly
Returning Starters: 14; 7 offense, 6 defense, punter
Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795) Largest Independent stadium
Offense: QB competition is in full swing at ND. Four players will be competing for the position Freshman Gunner Kiel, Junior Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, and likely starter Tommy Rees. Cierre Wood returns at RB after rushing for over 1,000 yards last season. TE Tyler Eifert will play a big role in the passing attack. The WR core as a whole needs to be more productive. The offense line should be solid with three returning starters.
Defense: LB Manti Te'o leads a defense that only allowed 20 points a game last season. The d-line is very talented and deep. Look for Stephon Tuitt to make a big impact at DE. The secondary will be led by safeties Jamoris Slaughter and Zeke Motta.
Special Teams: Nick Tausch is back at kicker. Ben Turk is back at punter after a good 2011 season. Look for Davonte' Neal to make a difference returning punts and kicks.
Overview: Defensively the team is deep and talented. The offense will go as far as one of the four quarterbacks take them. The schedule is very tough and another 8 win season could be in store for the Irish.
Coach: Bronco Mendenhall
Returning Starters: 14; 5 offense, 7 defense, kicker, punter
Stadium: LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,045) 2nd largest stadium in the Independent
Offense: The passing game should be at another level this season. QB Riley Nelson is poised for a big senior year. His two favorite WR are back, Cody Hoffman and Russ Apo. Hoffman and Apo combined for 19 TD's last season. The running game will be by committee this season with Alisa as the first team starter. Look for freshman RB Jamaal Williams to make a big impact. The O-line may seem to be a weakness, but with the return of Freshman Ryker Mathews at LT and three other starters the line should be solid.
Defense: The defense was great last year and it should be equally as great if not better this season. The defensive line returns two starters and two players returning from missionaries duties who were once starters. A lot of talent resides at LB with returning starters Uona Kaveinga, Brandon Ogletree, and Kyle Van Noy. A sleeper at the position is Ezekiel Ansah. Preston Hadley and Daniel Sorensen lead the secondary.
Special Teams: BYU has great special teams weapons Kicker Justin Sorensen and Riley Stephenson.
Overview: The defense is taking no steps backwards after having the 13th best total defense a year ago. The passing attack will be at another level this season. Another 10 win season is not out of the question for BYU in 2012.
Coach: Rich Ellerson
Returning Starters: 15; 6 offense, 8 defense, punter
Stadium: Michie Stadium (40,000) 3rd largest stadium in the Independent
Offense: 31 TD's return from Army's backfield. QB Trent Steelman had a good sophomore year and is looking to build off an Armed Forces Bowl victory. If he can improve his passing game to keep the defense honest Army could be very tough to stop. The number one rushing offense in the nation is led by Junior RB Raymond Maples. The best pass catcher on the team is RB Malcolm Brown. Fullback Larry Dixon led RB's with five TD's. The WR position is a weakness with no returning starters and a combined four catches between them. Three interior linemen return which is key to running the triple-option. The offense will have to work on fumbling less as they led the nation with 36.
Defense: The D-line is one of the smallest in the country with only one player at 250 pounds. Jarrett Mackey returns at DE after an injury cut his 2011 season short. LB's Nate Combs and Geoff Bacon are returning starters. The secondary held opponents to 164 passing yards a game last season. Three starters return in the secondary and one is corner Tyler Dickson who played safety last season.
Special Teams: The kicking job will be a three way battle. Punter Chris Boldt had a pretty good 2011 season and will look for an even better 2012 season.
Overview: The size of the defensive line is concerning considering the team gave up 194 rushing yards a game last season. The running game will be tops in the nation again, but fumbling the ball is a big concern after a horrendous 2011 season of holding on to the ball. The schedule isn't too difficult and should put Army over the 6 win mark.
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo
Returning Starters: 12; 5 offense, 6 defense, punter
Stadium: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000) 4th largest stadium in the Independent
Offense: Trey Miller will be under center and he has some experience. He has a pretty good arm and Navy will put in the shotgun formation to favor that. The backfield will be made up of FB Noah Copeland, SB Gee Gee Greene, and SB John Howell. The line will miss three multi-year starters. Look for WR Matt Aiken to play a bigger role in 2012.
Defense: The d-line is thin and inexperienced. No starters return, including DE Jabaree Tuani. LB's Brye French and Matt Warrick combined for 158 tackles last season. The secondary returns 4 starters from last year's team that gave up 226 yards a game last season.
Special Teams: Kicking was the teams weakest link last year. This year the job is up for grabs and will be decided in fall camp. Punter Pablo Beltran returns after a good freshman year.
Overview: The defense looks good outside of the D-line. The O-line will be the key to the offense success this season. The first two games of the season: Notre Dame in Ireland and at Penn State.
Independent-Ten Games To Watch
BYU @ Boise St Thursday, Sept 20
BYU @ Notre Dame Saturday, Oct 20
BYU @ Georgia Tech Saturday, Oct 27
Notre Dame @ Michigan State Saturday, Sept 15
Michigan @ Notre Dame Saturday, Sept 22
Stanford @ Notre Dame Saturday, Oct 13
Notre Dame @ Oklahoma Saturday, Oct 27
Notre Dame @ USC Saturday, Nov 24
Army vs. Navy Saturday, Dec 8
Army @ Wake Forest Saturday, Saturday, Sept 22