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August 29, 2010

Preseason power rankings: Special teams

MORE RANKINGS: RB | WR | TE | C-G | OT | DE | DT | LB | CB | S

Here is part 10 of our preseason power rankings at each position.

We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

Here are the nation's top 25 special-teamers. Next up: the 1-120 rankings of the nation's quarterbacks.

SPECIAL TEAMS POWER RANKINGS

1. K Kai Forbath, UCLA (6-0/191, Sr.)
BUZZ: You could say that Forbath is UCLA's best offensive player and no Bruin would object. Forbath, an All-America and the reigning Groza Award winner, has established himself as the best kicker in the nation. He's hit nine field goals from at least 50 yards and has a career .867 percentage (72-of-83).

2. KR Chris Owusu, Stanford (6-2/200, Jr.)
BUZZ: A lethal kick returner who is a threat to score each time he touches the ball. Owusu earned All-America honors a year ago as a kick returner after averaging 31.5 yards. He had eight kickoff returns of 40 yards or more and took back three for touchdowns. Owusu, who also starts at wide receiver, also set a school single-season record with 1,493 yards on kickoff returns.

3. K Blair Walsh, Georgia (5-10/191, Jr.)
BUZZ: A Groza Award finalist and an All-SEC second-team selection in '09, Walsh is coming off a tremendous season in which he converted 20-of-22 field-goal attempts, including a 53-yarder. He also hit from 52 against Tennessee, 51 against Auburn and 50 against South Carolina.

4. P Drew Butler, Georgia (6-2/207, Jr.)
BUZZ: The son of legendary Georgia kicker Kevin Butler, Drew is making quite a name for himself as a punter. Last season, he won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's premier punter after averaging 48.1 yards per attempt. He had 24 punts that covered at least 50 yards and killed 19 inside the 20. His longest punt covered 75 yards.

5. PR Jeremy Kerley, TCU (5-10/192, Sr.)
BUZZ: One of the nation's most dangerous return men, Kerley has been named All-MWC as a return specialist in each of the past two seasons. He was named to some All-America teams last season, when he averaged 14.4 yards. Kerley scored on returns of 71 yards against Colorado State and 69 yards against SMU. Kerley also is a receiver for the Horned Frogs.

6. KR Tyron Carrier, Houston (5-8/163, Jr.)
BUZZ: Carrier has returned five kickoffs for touchdowns in his career, the most of any active player. Four his touchdowns came last season, and two have come against Tulsa. He averaged 29.0 per return last season, when he also had 91 receptions.

7. K/P Alex Henery, Nebraska (6-2/175, Sr.)
BUZZ: Henery is 50-of-57 in his career on field goals, with five of the misses coming from beyond 50 yards. He is 13-of-14 in his career between 40 and 49 yards. He punted for the Huskers for the first time last season and averaged 41.1 yards per kick; he also dropped 30 inside the 20.

8. K Grant Ressel, Missouri (6-1/190, Jr.)
BUZZ: Ressel made eight field goals in his high school career at Jackson (Mo.) High and walked-on at Mizzou, where he was much busier last season. After starting fall camp as the backup kicker, he ended up winning the job and going 26-of-27 last season, with his only miss coming from 43 yards in the rain against Nebraska. He doesn't have a booming leg -- his longest make was from 46 yards -- but he obviously has great accuracy.

9. K/P Matt Bosher, Miami (6-0/205, Sr.)
BUZZ: Bosher is entering his fourth season as the Hurricanes' punter and the third as their kicker. He is 32-of-36 in his career in field-goal attempts, including 3-of-4 from 50 yards and beyond. He averaged 42.5 yards per punt to rank second in the ACC in that category last season.

10. P Tress Way, Oklahoma (6-1/220, Soph.)
BUZZ: Way averaged 45.7 yards per punt last season as a redshirt freshman, ranking third in the nation. His booming punts were a big reason OU ranked fifth nationally in net punting. One thing he will work on this season is his directional punting, as his 13 touchbacks were the most of any punter in the nation.

11. P Chas Henry, Florida (6-3/215, Sr.)
BUZZ: Henry doesn't punt all that often -- just 104 attempts in his career -- but he is extremely adept at dropping the ball inside the 20 and does a great job getting hang time. Florida has allowed just 121 punt-return yards in the past three seasons.

12. PR/KR Greg Reid, Florida State (5-8/174, Soph.)
BUZZ: Reid, who is expected to start at cornerback this season, led the nation in punt returns as a true freshman last season, averaging 18.4 yards on 21 attempts. He took one back for a score against Wake Forest. Reid also returned kickoffs last season, averaging 25.5 yards on 26 attempts.

13. KR Dwayne Harris, East Carolina (6-0/205, Sr.)
BUZZ: Harris is a burner and used his speed to take back three kicks for touchdowns last season, when he averaged 27.0 yards per return. Harris also is a standout wide receiver.

14. PR LaVon Brazill, Ohio U. (5-11/189, Sr.)
BUZZ: Brazill has four career punt-return touchdowns, the most of any current player. He averaged 13.5 yards on 26 returns last season and took three back for scores. Brazill also should be one of the better wide receivers in the MAC this season.

15. PR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (5-11/183, Jr.)
BUZZ: In addition to being one of the nation's best receivers, Broyles is one of the best punt returners. He averaged 15.9 yards (on 31 attempts) to rank third nationally. He took one back for a touchdown in a rout of Tulsa, giving him two return TDs in his career.

16. KR/PR Tracy Lampley, Southern Miss (5-9/169, Soph.)
BUZZ: Lampley was sixth nationally in punt returns (14.5 yards on 23 attempts) and 15th in kickoff returns (27.6 yards on 17 attempts). Lampley, a backup tailback last season, also took back a punt and a kickoff for a score.

17. KR Warren Norman, Vanderbilt (5-10/192, Soph.)
BUZZ: He was named SEC Freshman of the Year last season, in part because of his excellent return abilities. Norman, who also is Vandy's starting running back, tied an SEC record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns. He averaged 26.3 yards on his 40 returns.

18. K/P Kyle Brotzman, Boise State (5-10/201, Sr.)
BUZZ: A former walk-on, Brotzman paced the WAC in scoring and field goals last season, nailing 63-of-64 extra points and 18-of-25 field-goal attempts. Brotzman also is a good punter, averaging 43.9 yards per boot and downing 15 punts inside the 20. He has hit 51-of-69 career field-goal attempts and has 332 points, the most of any active player. Brotzman also is averaging 44.7 yards per punt in his career.

19. P Jeff Locke, UCLA (6-1/210, Soph.)
BUZZ: He helps form one of the best kicker/punter combos in the nation along with Bruins K Kai Forbath (No. 1 on this list). Locke averaged 43.6 yards per punt and was the only freshman among the 10 finalists for the Ray Guy Award. He dropped 20 inside the 20 and his long punt was 81 yards, one of 12 that was longer than 50 yards.

20. KR D.J. Monroe, Texas (5-9/171, Soph.)
BUZZ: The speedy Monroe -- he won a Texas high school title in the 100 meters -- returned just 16 kickoffs last season but took two back for touchdowns and averaged 33.6 yards per attempt. One of his touchdowns came on his first college touch, against Louisiana-Monroe. Monroe also plays running back.

21. PR Randall Cobb, Kentucky (5-11/186, Jr.)
BUZZ: One of the nation's most versatile and dynamic players, Cobb plays wide receiver, quarterback and returns punts. He averaged 12.8 yards per punt return, including one he took back for a touchdown. As UK's "other" kick returner (running back Derrick Locke gets the bulk of that duty), he averaged 26.5 yards on 13 attempts.

22. KR Brandon Boykin, Georgia (5-10/183, Jr.)
BUZZ: Last season, he became the first player in SEC history to have two 100-yard returns in a season. Boykin, a starting cornerback, turned the trick against South Carolina and Tennessee. He finished the season with three kickoff returns for scores, averaging 26.0 yards per return.

23. PR Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina (6-0/200, Sr.)
BUZZ: Physical and fast, Searcy ranked second in the ACC and fifth in the nation in punt returns in 2009, averaging 14.6 yards and returning one punt for a touchdown. Searcy, who also starts at strong safety, also ran back seven kickoffs for a 23.1-yard average.

24. P Kyle Martens, Rice (6-6/200, Jr.)
BUZZ: Martens averaged 43.6 yards per punt last season, his second as the Owls' punter. He only had four touchbacks -- he has just five in his career -- and helped Rice finish 16th in net punting. He is from Spearfish, S.D., which holds the world record for the fastest temperature change (49 degrees in two minutes -- from minus-4 to 45 above on Jan. 22, 1943).

25. P Michael Such, Tulsa (6-2/209, Sr.)
BUZZ: Such averaged 44.5 yards per punt last season to rank seventh nationally. He began his career as a walk-on at Nebraska before transferring to Tulsa.



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