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The Revolving Door: Northwestern

Ninth in a series examining key players departing, staying and arriving at Big Ten schools in 2010.

Going ...

Mike Kafka, QB: No quarterback in the Big Ten did more for his team than Kafka, who guided Northwestern to eight victories despite getting next to no help from the running game. A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Kafka led the league in passing (263.8 ypg), total offense (286.8 ypg) and completion percentage (64.8).

Sherrick McManis: CB: McManis was as valuable to the Wildcats' defense as Kafka was to the offense. When he stayed healthy and made big plays, Northwestern came away with wins. McManis earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and led the league in both interceptions per game (.5) and passes defended per game (1.2).


Staying ...

Quentin Davie, LB: Davie boasts a ton of starting experience and playmaking ability, and will lead a Wildcats defense that loses several key parts from 2009. The senior has recorded 147 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in the past two seasons, starting 24 of 26 games in that span. He has filled out nicely into his 6-foot-4 frame and will contend for all-conference honors this fall.

Drake Dunsmore, TE: The superback position hasn't been too super at Northwestern, but Dunsmore likely will change that this fall. He's the leading returning pass-catcher among Big Ten tight ends after recording 47 receptions in 2009. Dunsmore, who could be the team's top passing target this fall, comes off of a nine-catch, 120-yard performance in the Outback Bowl that included a spectacular 66-yard touchdown run.


Coming ...

Chance Carter, DE: Northwestern's defensive line loses mainstay Corey Wootton, and Carter might work his way into the rotation early in his career. He has the size and skills to be a hybrid type player for the Wildcats, who could use some versatility in their front seven.

Venric Mark, WR/KR/PR: The return game is an area where freshmen can make an immediate impact, and Mark has built his reputation on special teams. Northwestern has been rather pedestrian in its return game for quite some time, and Mark boasts the speed and quickness to provide a major boost this season. Special teams has cost Northwestern too many games over the years, and Mark could be a difference maker in a positive way.

More revolving door ...