The Five I'm Watching: Part V
In these hard times, I want to provide more value for your $0 investment here. One guy who is immensely intriguing fell into the sixth slot and he deserves a moment in the HABOTN sun.
So you'll get a BONUS player on Saturday. Consider it a summer miracle.
And now ... on with the countdown. Number Five.
- Age: 20
- Class: Sophomore (three seasons of eligibility remaining)
- Size: 5-10, approximately 175 pounds
- Previous roles: Second-choice tailback and kickoff return man. Then he became an injured tailback and return man.
- Theme song: ``Break," Three Days Grace
- Relevant lyric: "If you can't stand the way this place is ... take yourself to higher places."
THE GOOD: Our own Sensi asked me one day last year why I liked McCalebb so much. My response: He's fast as hell. That's why many people here refer to McCalebb simply as FAH. And he is quite fast. He's fast side to side. He's fast in a straight line. Despite a smallish frame, McCalebb runs like he's Brandon Jacobs. He has no problem challenging larger guys in one-on-one situations. McCalebb is like Carnell Williams in that sense. Both guys are fearless. McCalebb has some receiving instincts. He doesn't seem prone to fumbles. He made several critical assignment problems early last season, but seemed to be making progress before suffering his ankle injury became a deal-breaker in October. He grew up under remarkably difficult circumstances, which could have condemned him to a life of poverty. McCalebb instead used the situation as motivation to seek a better life. That element cannot be understated. McCalebb is running from his past and he knows it.
THE BAD: He doesn't look like a football player. He's rail thin. Though McCalebb seems completely rehabilitated from the high-ankle sprain that undermined him in October and November, there is concern that his lack of size puts him at increased risk for injury. He works hard in the weight room to add bulk. Still, he may never crack the 190-pound barrier. McCalebb missed too many pass-block assignments last season, which prevented offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn from using the freshman in one-back sets for the most part. He'll never be the rah-rah kind of player who prompts improvements in his teammates. McCalebb keeps to himself and rarely criticizes anyone -- even privately.
THE REALITY: He would have been the primary breakout guy last season (supplanting Darvin Adams) had he not injured his left ankle against Ball State. McCalebb was among league leaders in total yards at the time. Can he be a No. 1 tailback? That's still unknown, but the point is moot this year. McCalebb will be sharing the ball with Mario Fannin. McCalebb could emerge as an option at the Wildcat position, too, which adds plenty of touchdown opportunities. I'm forecasting 175 carries, 900 yards, 12 rushing touchdowns.
What do you think? Speak your mind!
Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
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