No. 4 Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Given the success of the Horned Frogs in 2010, it stands to reason there would be several TCU players in the top 5. Dalton gets the no-brainer spot in the top 5 for leading his team to a perfect regular season and a Rose Bowl championship.
Dalton ended his career with the most wins in TCU history (42), three shy of the NCAA record Colt McCoy set in 2009. But that Rose Bowl win was the most important one because Dalton had, perhaps unfairly, gotten a reputation for not being able to win the big game.
That reputation reared its head after a dismal performance against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last season, when he threw three interceptions. But he was nearly flawless against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, winning offensive MVP honors after going 15-of-23 for 219 yards with a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown -- and no interceptions.
That game capped a terrific senior season in which he won Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards. On the year, Dalton threw for a career-high 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He added 435 yards and six touchdowns on the ground as well. His experience as a four-year starter allowed TCU to finish No. 2 in the nation and become one of the most recognizable non-AQ programs -- until it heads to the Big East in 2012. His is another huge hole TCU will have to fill in the upcoming season.