The college football season is drawing ever closer and that means we’ll finally get a look at how teams will fare this season. With a new head coach and coming off the heels of a 9-3 season, we look at five players today who may make a big impact this year for the Houston Cougars.
DL Ed Oliver (Sophomore, Spring Westfield)
As of this moment, there is not a soul in the NCAA that can do what Ed Oliver does at his position. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder is by and large an athletic freak, having played running back at times in his high school days due to his shear strength and deceptive speed. Oliver finesses opposing offensive lineman with his physical attributes, as he finished second in the nation last year for tackles for loss (23) … and he was only a freshman.
On top of that, Oliver was named a First Team All-American by seven national outlets and currently racking up the preseason award watch lists as well. There is no doubt that his sophomore campaign should be one for the books.
QB Kyle Allen (Junior, Texas A&M, Desert Mountain (AZ))
From five-star quarterback to riding the pine at two FBS institutions, Kyle Allen’s adventures as field general have been all but exciting. However, the days of old are just that. This is in many ways a new era at Houston. With the departing of former head coach Tom Herman and his staff, as well as Greg Ward Jr. at QB, the face of the Cougars has begun to change.
Could Allen be the solution? Possibly. It all comes down to whether he can rid himself of the memories of failure and strive on with one thing in mind—winning. Allen is someone to look out for not only for his positive impact on the team, but also for the accidental woes he may bring.
WR Linell Bonner (Senior, Spring Dekaney)
A sigh of relief came about when Linell Bonner opted to stay for his senior season. Not only the most productive catch-grabber last season, he also managed to help pull off a serious upset against then No. 3 Louisville as he threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Chance Allen and tallied eight receptions for 67 yards in that game. If the situation at QB is solved, the former Dekaney star should be the go-to guy again this season.
SAF Khalil Williams (Senior, Fort Bend Hightower)
At 6-foot, 200 pounds, one would rather expect to see Williams at running back instead of the defensive backfield. Ironically, he saw a lot of time at running back while in high school at Fort Bend Hightower. To get to the point, Williams is a large-framed DB with offensive skills speed. His ability to cover and make plays behind the line of scrimmage is impeccable. Being a senior as well, he should be the most important member of the secondary this season.
WR Steven Dunbar (Senior, Rummel (LA))
Steven Dunbar is a playmaker. Nothing more, nothing less. He finished third on the team last season for receptions with 53 catches and 692 yards. However, Bonner has never really made a name for himself and has been overshadowed by the former and fellow reciever Chance Allen the last few seasons. But with Allen out of the picture, and a reformed offensive backfield, Dunbar has the chance to shine and dominate secondaries in the AAC.
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