Wrapping up the college conference series, I will gather together the rest that is left, including the Big East. It was a fun series to do, and I hope some that follow the series will become familiar with the players and their former college conferences.
Today I will cover the rest of the college conferences and the players that use to play in those conferences on Saturdays.
Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) LB
In the ACC post I stated that Julius Peppers was one of the main reasons for the defense resurgence; Brian Urlacher was also one of the main reasons. Urlacher came back from a wrist injury in 2010 and took the Bears to the NFC Championship game. Along with that he was voted to his 7th pro bowl and also voted by his peers to the NFL Top 100 players of 2011. This year Urlacher will be counted on to get the Bears past the NFC Championship game and into a Super Bowl.
Caleb Hanie (Colorado State) QB
After being 3rd string in Mike Martz offense last year, Hanie is now the undisputed back-up to Jay Cutler. Hanie has had a very ugly training camp both in practices and in pre-season games which has lead to Martz playing mind games with the QB. The 4th year QB simply needs to play a lot better these next up-coming games.
Lance Louis (San Diego State) RG
After a very ugly pre-season debut, Louis bounced back last night with an average to above average performance. Louis backed up Tice claims on him as a "
Amobi Okoye (Louisville) DT
The former top 10 pick in 2007 didn't fit in Wade Phillips plans as a 3-4 defensive linemen and was released last month by the Texans. Chicago immediately jumped on the opportunity to sign the athletic DT to a 1-year deal. He will be asked to play the 3 technique position, which will highlight his athleticism and quickness. Those strengths were on full display in the preseason opener against the Bills as he registered 2 sacks and was very disruptive in the interior of the defense.
J.T. Thomas (West Virginia) LB
The rookie LB has missed time in camp, but started off camp performing well with the 1st team when Nick Roach was prohibited to practice because of the new CBA rules for Unrestricted Free Agents. Thomas is expected to back-up Nick Roach at the SAM LB position.
Dom DeCicco (Pittsburgh) LB
The former Pittsburg Safety is trying to follow in the same footsteps as future hall of fame MLB Brian Urlacher which is transition from college safety to MLB. DeCicco had a rough game last night specifically on special teams which if you a back-up LB have to be your calling card to make the Bears roster.
Mike Holmes (Syracuse) CB
Showed off his ball skills in the 1st game and could be a candidate to make the practice squad.
Matt Forte (Tulane) RB
Forte rebounded in 2010 with a 1069 yard and 547 receiving yard season in his 1st year in the Mike Martz offense. There's no doubt 2nd to franchise QB Jay Cutler that Matt Forte is the most important player on the offensive side of the ball. He's one of if not the best receiving back in the game, and he's underrated as a runner. This might be the year where Forte puts up great numbers and reached the Pro Bowl, given the shape he's in and this being year 2 in an offense that totally suits his strengths. There's nothing left to say about Forte except JERRY ANGELO PAY THIS MAN!
Kris Adams (Utep) WR
The 6-3 WR has been in a neck to neck battle with fellow UDFA WR Dan Sanzenbacher for the 6th WR spot. Adams performed well in the preseason opener against the Bills, but failed to capitalize last night against the Giants.
Charles Tillman (Louisiana-Lafayette) CB
Tillman is entering his 9th season with the Bears and is expected to be the leader of the Bears secondary. Tillman will be manning the RCB position in the secondary, but will be asked to cover physical WR's like Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston, etc when the Bears face those respected teams this season.
Chris Harris (Louisiana-Monroe) SS
Harris had a very solid season last year earning an All-Pro 2nd team selection at the FS position. This year Harris is back at SS; a position that best suits his abilities. From a leadership standpoint the Bears are in a good position at Safety. Expect Harris to be a solid mentor to 2nd year player Major Wright similar to how he was to Ex-Bear now Texans SS Danieal Manning.
Mario Addison (Troy) DE
The 6-3 252 pound undrafted DE from Troy has been turning heads in camp with his ability to get to the Quarterback. He had a good showing against the Bills, but not so much against the Giants (Then again most of the 2nd and 3rd string D didn't). Addison is still raw technique and fundamental wise, but he's the type of project DC Rod Marinelli could stash behind Julius Peppers and develop for the future.
Nathan Enderle (Idaho) QB
You can say the highlight of Enderle career thus far was him taking 2nd team reps away from back up QB Caleb Hanie. Enderle has a strong arm and decent accuracy, but needs to improve his throwing release. He will get the time to develop behind starter Jay Cutler and back-up Caleb Hanie this year before moving up the depth chart.
Eddie Williams (Idaho) FB
This is Williams 2nd- year with the team and there's a pretty good chance he makes the team this year. Williams was very impressive in the opener as a lead blocker on some of Marion Barber's runs. He also has pretty good hands out of the backfield.
Div. II Lone Star conference
Roberto Garza (Texas A & M Kingsville) G/C
At 32-years-old, Garza will not only take over for Olin Kreutz role as the leader of the offensive line, but also as the Bears starting C. Garza had a very decent game last night against the Giants and if him and Lance Louis continue to improve on the line you might not see C Chris Spencer in the middle of that line come week 1.
Johnny Knox (Abilene-Christian) WR
The addition of Roy Williams prematurely demoted Knox who was the Bears receiving leader last year down to 2nd string. Knox has put on 10 pounds of muscle this year as he wants to become more physical in the passing game. With the slow start Williams has had, Knox still has more than good opportunity to take back his starting spot.
J'Marcus Webb (West Texas A & M) LT
You had to like Webb performance last night considering his back was against the wall. Webb has gotten a lot of backlash from fans mainly because of how he was anointed to LT, but compared to last year he seems a little more improved from a technique standpoint.