Here is the third grouping in Yahoo! Sports' top 100 player countdown. We're unveiling the top players in groups of 10 each Sunday for 10 weeks.
It's a long way until the first game on Aug. 30. We're trying to make the long wait bearable.
80. LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Particulars: 6-1/228, Sr.; transfer from Miami, preceded by Wichita (Kan.) East
Buzz: Brown was one of the nation's top recruits as a high school senior but didn't do much in two seasons at Miami. After he sat out the 2010 season following his transfer, Brown started to live up to the hype last season. He led K-State with 101 tackles, flashing the athleticism that made him such a lauded recruit. He added 9.5 tackles for loss and had one interception, against Baylor's Robert Griffin.
79. QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
Particulars: 6-5/238, Sr.; Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
Buzz: He redshirted in 2008, then started four times in 2009 and twice in '10 before becoming the full-time starter last season. He is a good all-around athlete but has been a bit injury-prone. He threw for 2,666 yards and 18 TDs last season, and 3,000 yards and at least 20 TDs this season is a legitimate goal. He can make some poor decisions at times (witness his 18 career picks, to 24 career TD passes), but he also has the ability and mobility to make a ton of big plays.
78. CB Micah Hyde, Iowa
Particulars: 6-1/190, Sr.; Fostoria (Ohio) High
Buzz: Hyde, who also has played free safety for the Hawkeyes, is heading into his third season as a starter. He has played in every game in his Iowa career and has seven interceptions and 15 pass breakups. He has made 154 tackles in the past two seasons, and his size makes him effective against the run. He was an all-state quarterback in high school, and also played cornerback and kicker for Fostoria.
77. LB Dion Bailey, USC
Particulars: 6-0/200, Soph.; Lakewood (Calif.) High
Buzz: Bailey was a highly regarded high school safety and redshirted at that position in 2010. He didn't move to linebacker until spring practice of 2011 and was a revelation at the position last fall, using his speed and lateral quickness to make a team-high 81 tackles. He had three games with double-figure tackles, and also made two interceptions last season. He was the Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year.
76. LB Chase Thomas, Stanford
Particulars: 6-4/245, Sr.; Marietta (Ga.) Walton
Buzz: Thomas will be a four-year starter for the Cardinal. He led Stanford with five forced fumbles, 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss last season, and added four quarterback hurries. He has 20 sacks and eight forced fumbles in his career. Thomas toyed with the idea of turning pro after last season but decided to remain in school for his senior season. While he is listed as an outside linebacker, he often lines up at end for the Cardinal. He and Shayne Skov could be the nation's best linebacker duo this fall.
75. LB Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Particulars: 5-11/232, Jr.; Hamilton (Ohio) High
Buzz: Allen needed to make the jump from little-known backup to top-flight starter last season, and did so in a big way. He was second on the Spartans in tackles with 83, and led them in sacks with 11 (second-most in the Big Ten) and tackles for loss (18.5, fourth-most in the Big Ten). He lacks ideal size, but has good speed and is a big hitter. Allen also lettered in wrestling and track (4-x-400 relay) in high school.
74. WR Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee
Particulars: 6-3/208, Jr.; Calhoun (Ga.) High
Buzz: Rogers has a ton of talent. He is big and physical but also possesses good speed. Alas, he also has a knack for ticking off his coaches, and spends a lot of time in coach Derek Dooley's doghouse. Rogers came on strong in the second half of the 2010 season as a true freshman, then became the Vols' go-to guy last season; he finished with 67 receptions for 1,040 yards and nine TDs. This season, he and Justin Hunter, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, should be one of the nation's most potent receiving tandems.
73. CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
Particulars: 6-0/190, Sr.; Astoria (Ore.) High
Buzz: Poyer is headed into his third season as a starter and already has been named a team captain for this season by coach Mike Riley. Poyer has excellent size and good speed, and had four interceptions and 12 pass breakups last season. He also is aggressive in run support and made 57 tackles in 2011. Poyer has six picks and 16 pass breakups in his career. He was the state of Oregon's offensive and defensive player of the year as a high school senior.
72. QB Casey Pachall, TCU
Particulars: 6-5/226, Jr.; Brownwood (Texas) High
Buzz: Andy Dalton left TCU after the 2010 season with almost all of the school's key passing marks; if last season is any indication, Pachall could surpass all those marks. After playing sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2010, Pachall threw for 2,921 yards and 25 TDs last season, including five (which tied a school single-game record) in a victory over Boise State. He also ran for four touchdowns. Pachall, who is mobile despite his size, set school single-season records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards (2,921).
71. RB Silas Redd, Penn State
Particulars: 5-10/200, Jr.; Stamford (Conn.) King Low Heywood Thomas School
Buzz: After being a productive backup as a true freshman in 2010, Redd became a productive starter for the Nittany Lions last season. On a team with shaky quarterback play and a mediocre passing attack, Redd ran for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns. He had six 100-yard games last fall, giving him seven in his career. In two games against Northwestern, Redd has rushed for 295 yards and two TDs on 29 carries.
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