2010 Big East Breakout Players
Mike Shanahan, WR, Pittsburgh: Shanahan came on strong at the end of his redshirt freshman season, culminating with five big catches for 83 yards in the Meineke Car Care Bowl win. With Dorin Dickerson and Oderick Turner gone, the sure-handed, 6-foot-5 Shanahan should emerge as the No. 2 option in Pittsburgh's passing game behind Jonathan Baldwin.
Ryan Clarke, RB, West Virginia: Clarke, who is 6 feet tall and weights 230 pounds, gave the Mountaineers the big body they were looking for at fullback last year. But he can also run, as he showed by rumbling for 60 yards on five carries against Cincinnati and scoring eight touchdowns on the season. He could play an even bigger role this season, though touches may be hard to come by with Noel Devine back for his senior year.
Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers: Beauharnais made an impact as a true freshman, recording five sacks -- including two in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Coaches love the 6-2, 230-pounder's athleticism, and he should slide right into a starting role for 2010.
Ryne Giddins, DE, South Florida: An ankle injury limited Giddins to just three games as a freshman. South Florida is seeking a medical redshirt for him. Giddins was the highest-rated recruit in the Big East a year ago, and with Jason Pierre-Paul's and George Selvie's departure, there is an opportunity for him to live up to the billing.
Ryan Griffin, TE, Connecticut: It's been a while since UConn had a top-flight tight end, but Griffin may be that guy. As a freshman, he came on late to make 23 catches for 272 yards and he is an imposing target at 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 240 pounds. The Huskies may look to him more as their passing game develops.
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse: Like all Orange receivers not named Mike Williams, Lemon struggled with drops early in the year. But he responded late in his freshman campaign and ended the season with nine receptions for 140 yards and a score against UConn. Syracuse needs playmakers in the passing game and would love to see Lemon continue to make strides this spring.