The thrill of college football thrives off the unexpected. The surprise teams, upsets, and breakout players compose the perfect package to real excitement. The always present “anything can happen” factor has become a motto for college football. Also, we love to cheer on players who have achieved great things. It’s hard not to applaud achievements by the likes of a Tim Tebow or a Sam Bradford. Each year you know there is going to be another group of athletes to make their mark among the top players in the nation. We give those players their respected spotlight and applaud their performances. On the other side of the story lines, there are just as many disappointment stories with each season of football. Those players who fail to reach the high expectations put forth by fans and the media. Often times these players are just forgotten and fall out of the limelight. However, we are going to change that as we bring some of those disappointment stories center stage. Take a look as we break down the Top 5 biggest letdown players for the 2009 season from the offensive side of the ball.
#5. RB C.J Spiller (Clemson Tigers)
C.J Spiller shared carries during his first 3 years at Clemson with the talented power rushing back of James Davis. However, heading into the 2009 season Spiller was going to be the guy that got the work load which had Tigers fans with a ton of anticipation given Spiller game changing ability. The buzz out of the ACC and Clemson had built up a Heisman Campaign for Spiller in expectations of his big senior season. However, thus far in the season Spiller has yet to prove he has what it takes to be an every down running back. Spiller has made a bunch of big plays this year, but most of those have been from the kick and punt returns. Spiller has produced just 360 yards through 5 games and has failed to reach the century mark in all 3 ACC conference games. Actually most of the early success from the Clemson offense has come from the arm of freshman quarterback Kyle Parker, in result to Spiller’s struggles. The Tigers rushing attack has been just average after being advertised as one of the best the ACC has to offer. More importantly with Spiller receiving all the carries, it has really hurt him in the eyes of the NFL. He has yet to prove he can be an affective every down back and the only true danger he has presented to opposing teams this season has been as a return specialist. Spiller’s lack of productivity has just added to a growing list of disappointments coming out of Clemson in the last few years.
#4. QB Juice Williams (Illinois Illini)
Juice Williams had a breakout senior campaign for the Illini. The Illinois quarterback threw for 3,173 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2008 while rushing for another 719 additional yards. The big year gave many fans the indication that Williams would be an unstoppable force in his senior year. Those expectations had Illinois listed as one of the best offenses in the Big Ten entering 2009 with Williams at quarterback and WR Arrelious Benn. However, the Illini have been anything but explosive this season during their disappointing 1-4 start and the problem has been where they least expected on the offensive side of the ball. Outside of the Illini’s thrashing over an inferior Illinois State team 45-17, the team is 0-4. Williams has been a big disappointment completing just 54% on the season and only 628 yards after 5 games. After throwing for 3,000 plus yards a season ago, the Illini quarterback is on track to throw for less than 1,500 yards. Williams has 4 interceptions on the season to just 2 touchdowns and the Illinois offense has averaged just 10 points per game in their 4 losses on the season. The questionable performance by Williams has even caused the Illini to explore options with quarterback Eddie McGee as they continue to try to find some solutions for an offense that was suppose to be carried by Williams this season.
#3. RB Charles Scott (LSU Tigers)
The LSU Tigers were predicted to be among the top teams in the SEC this season and so far they have lived up to those expectations despite falling short to Florida in a big battle Saturday night. However, the main expectations on offense relied on the certainty of running back Charles Scott. The Tigers struggled offensively in 2008, but Scott was the lone bright spot on the team. Scott carried the offense racking up nearly 1,200 yards on the ground. Entering the season, LSU was expected to be among the best rushing teams in the SEC behind Scott in his senior season along with the help of Keiland Williams. However, the Tigers have failed to run the ball ranking near the very bottom of the SEC. Scott has produced just 276 yards in 6 games. The senior tailback had minimal expectations of reaching the 1,000 yard plateau again and there were many who predicted him to lead the SEC in rushing for 2009. However, Scott is on track to barely break the 500 yard mark. Outside of a big play to beat Georgia, Scott has provided absolutely nothing for the LSU offense to be cheerful about. Also if that does not change down the stretch, there is no way LSU will stay in the hunt for an SEC Championship because you have to be able run the ball in the SEC to contend.
#2.RB LaGarrette Blount (Oregon Ducks)
It did not take long for LaGarrette Blount to become one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Blount was poised to be a big threat to the Ducks rushing offense this season along side QB Jeremiah Masoli. However, in the Ducks opener to Boise State everything went wrong. Not only was Blount shutdown completely getting 8 carries for negative 5 yards, but the Ducks running back would never get a chance to redeem himself. The Ducks offense was embarrassed in their opener on the big stage falling to the Broncos 19-8. However, it was not till after the game till things really got out of hand. After being taunted in the post game celebration, Blount let his emotions get the best of him throwing a punch that landed on Byron Hout of Boise State. Blount then went on a rampage even making move towards fans on the exit ramps which was a completely embarrassing reflection on the Ducks organization. The outrage cost Blount his last year of eligibility considering he was suspended one day later for the rest of the season. Good news for Oregon fans is the Ducks have really come on strong since the shameful opener, but Blount still remains a huge disappointment.
#1. QB Jevan Snead (Mississippi Rebels)
Jevan Snead led the Mississippi Rebels on a scoring rampage to end the 2008 season displaying pinpoint accuracy while proving he had the talent to make all the throws on the field. The late season performance was so strong that it had the media and fans in Oxford raving over their new found superstar at quarterback. Snead was labeled as “the best pure quarterback in the SEC.” The media and college experts predicted great things and another big year from the Rebels quarterback in 2009. Snead’s praises even had him on preseason Heisman ballots and NFL scouts were already making plans to watch games live and get an up close encounter with possibly the next top quarterback to come out of the college ranks. However, things have been quite different in 2009. Not only has the Rebels offense struggled as a whole, but Snead has been anything but a leader behind center.
The Rebels quarterback got off to a mediocre start before SEC play got underway. However in Snead’s first big game of the year with all NFL scouts on hand, the Rebels star had the worse performance of his career going 7 of 21 for just 107 yards in a loss to South Carolina. The lackluster performance was though to just be a fluke, but since Snead has thrown 7 interceptions in the last 2 games including 4 yesterday against Alabama. In the Rebels two losses to quality SEC teams, Snead has thrown 18 for 55 and 247 yards. The Rebels who were once ranked as high as number 4 in the country have fallen outside the Top 25 with an offense that just can not move the ball. It is safe to say that Snead has easily been the biggest letdown of any single player in college football this season as the Rebels have went from an SEC offensive powerhouse a team that is averaging just 6.6 points per game in their first 3 SEC match-ups.