Best of the Big East spring

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Like country music, it's always award season around here. Let's dole out some superlatives from the Big East spring.

Best spring game performance: West Virginia's Jarrett Brown looked like a worthy successor to Pat White in completing his first 15 passes and finishing 21-for-28 for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Granted, that came against the second-team defense, but Brown was still impressive for his efficiency.

Best out-of-the-blue performance: Connecticut walk-on receiver Marcus Easley had 10 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns in the Huskies' spring game. Not surprisingly, he's going to be put on scholarship now.

Best performance by a freshman: Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu enrolled in January and played most of the spring in the secondary before a late switch to receiver. He had four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown and impressed everyone with his overall ability and savvy.

Biggest surprise: Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly switching receiver Marcus Barnett to cornerback the day before spring practice, and Barnett claiming the starting job right away.

Biggest surprise II: The Syracuse quarterback situation. Doug Marrone caught everyone off guard by naming Ryan Nassib the starter in the team's fourth practice. And since it's still technically spring, the Greg Paulus story is not one anybody saw coming a couple of months ago.

Best comeback: I was all set to give this to Pitt linebacker Adam Gunn for coming back from a broken neck to win the starting middle linebacker job. That's a tougher sell following this week's news of Gunn's arrest and suspension. So let's go with another middle linebacker, Reed Williams of West Virginia. He missed almost all of last season with shoulder problems but regained his dominant form this spring.

Best quote: "This is our version of 'The Gong Show.' We just line them up and see how they look. If we don't like them, we try another guy. Tomorrow we're going to take a look at Tony Pike at nose guard." -- Cincinnati's Kelly on Barnett's switch.

Best quote II: "If there are any students who can't beat that, then they really need to decide what they want to do in life." -- South Florida coach Jim Leavitt after running a 5.72 40-yard dash to promote the Bulls' spring game.