The opening of the Tommy Tuberville era is less than three months away when the Bearcats host Purdue on Aug. 31. An influx of recruits and return of familiar stars leave an excitement of what UC can accomplish in The American.
With mass change in coaching staff comes unknown quantities up and down the roster. After holding a long conversation with Tommy Tuberville I churned out a list of the 10 players whose development will be most crucial to crossing the 10-win mark for the sixth time in seven years.
This won't be about pointing out the top players on the roster, though some stars will make the list, this will be about pointing out those who must take a step forward and spike production in order for this team to be successful. We'll run one player a day every day for the next two work weeks, counting down to No. 1.
Today at No. 7:
Jerrell Jordan/Terrell Hartsfield
Position: Defensive ends
Year: Junior (JuCo transfers)
Height: Jordan -- 6-3, Hartsfield -- 6-3
Weight: Jordan -- 245, Hartsfield -- 235
2012 Stats: Combined for 21.5 sacks and 15 TFL for Copiah-Lincoln JuCo last year.
The Opportunity: Along with No. 10 on our list, Silverberry Mouhon, this junior college duo will be given a chance to seize the spots vacated by Dan Giordano, Walter Stewart and Brandon Mills. By all accounts, they are ready. The two were tracked for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech moving from high school linebackers to JuCo defensive ends. They exploded to lead the team's defense last year. Jordan compiled 13.5 sacks to lead the team with Hartsfield not far behind with eight of his own. Both will be given a chance to reproduce those numbers here.
Why development is crucial: The pressure must come off the edge for this defense to live to the precedent set by last year's group which ranked No. 14 nationally in scoring defense (18.5 ppg). Jordan and Hartsfield excelled in junior college, but the transition to major college football can be difficult. If one of them can evolve quick enough to impact this year's starting rotation close to the way they did at CLJC, it would be a game-changer for UC football.
Tommy T's Take: "We're going to be fine there, these two junior college kids, Hartsfield and Jordan, they are the ace in the hole to see where we are at."
I want to hear from you! Agree, disagree, befuddled? Shoot me an email (email@example.com) or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) with your thoughts on this list or anything else Bearcats football.