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Emerging stars from the spring in the Big East

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Who announced themselves as emerging stars this spring in the Big East? Here are a few educated guesses, based on the eyeball test, coaches' comments and other observations. Some you may know about already, and others you'll get to know this fall.

Cincinnati

Offense:
Isaiah Pead, RB, So.:
He's gotten a lot of ink, and all the skills are there. He just has to put it all together.

Defense:
Curtis Young, DE, Sr.:
Some stars have to emerge on a mostly no-name Cincinnati defense. Young will get plenty of opportunity as a hybrid rush end/outside linebacker in the new 3-4 base scheme.

Connecticut

Offense:
Jordan Todman, RB, So.:
Todman showed flashes of his ability in a limited role last year. Now he's the frontrunner to replace Donald Brown as the Huskies' main back.

Defense:
Lindsey Witten, DE, Sr.:
He's been a pass rush specialist in the past and now will get a chance to play a lot more with Cody Brown and Julius Williams gone. Also keep an eye on Marcus Campbell on the other side.

Louisville

Offense:
Darius Ashley, RB, Fr.:
Not sure how many carries he'll get behind Victor Anderson and with Bilal Powell around. But Ashley showed this spring that he can make things happen.

Defense:
Greg Scruggs, DE, So.:
An athletic guy still learning the game, Scruggs should get ample opportunities on Louisville's thin defensive line.

Pittsburgh

Offense:
Chris Jacobson and Lucas Nix, OL, So.:
These two young guys were heralded recruits who look ready to bust their way into the starting lineup this year.

Defense:
Max Gruder, LB, So.:
Could claim a starting spot at outside linebacker and give Pitt another hyper-athletic player there, along with Greg Williams.

Rutgers

Offense:
Joe Martinek, RB, So.:
Looked every bit the part of a featured back this spring while injuries and poor performance hampered other skill players.

Defense:
Mohamed Sanu, S, Fr.:
OK, so there's a good chance Sanu won't even be on the defense after his successful late-spring switcheroo over to receiver, a position of considerable need for the Scarlet Knights. But the fact is Sanu, who enrolled in January, can play and will find his way on the field somewhere. If he's on offense, a defensive player to watch might be junior defensive tackle Charlie Noonan, who was named most improved player on that side of the ball this spring.

South Florida

Offense:
Donatavia Bogan, WR, Jr.:
Bogan broke out as a kick returner last year and may be ready to make a big impact at receiver. Also look out for backup quarterback/receiver Evan Landi.

Defense:
Jon Lejiste, S., Fr.:
The Bulls are hoping Lejiste can help shore up their secondary, either as a nickel back or at one of the starting safety spots.

Syracuse

Offense:
Antwon Bailey, RB, So.:
Bailey produced some highlights at Notre Dame last year and will get a chance to win the starting tailback job now that Curtis Brinkley is gone.

Defense:
Doug Hogue, LB, Jr.:
The former running back was moved to defense in the spring, and the hunch here is he'll put his athleticism to good use as a linebacker.

West Virginia

Offense:
Wes Lyons, WR, Sr.:
The coaching staff absolutely raved about the 6-foot-8 Lyons' performance this spring. Let's see if he can translate that to success in the fall.

Robert Sands, S, So.: He got his feet wet as a true freshman starter, and the 6-foot-5 Sand looked good in his switch from free to strong safety this spring.