AP NEWS
Related topics

College Football ’90

August 25, 1990

Undated (AP) _ Lose a star, gain a star.

Sure, Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, Jeff George and Keith McCants left a year early. But Rocket Ismail, Curvin Richards and Ty Detmer are back.

So are Todd Marinovich, Craig Erickson and Chuck Weatherspoon.

College football loses stars every year. Last year it lost some of the new stars who would replace them as well. So this year, there’s likely to be more new faces than usual.

Seven of the Top 10 Heisman Trophy finishers of ’89 are gone, including juniors Ware, Major Harris and Emmitt Smith. Only Darian Hagan, Detmer and Ismail return.

But there are the dozens of others ready to fill the jobs left behind by some of the 38 players who gave up a final year of eligibility.

For excitement and unpredictability, don’t blink when Notre Dame’s Ismail, Colorado’s Hagan and Brigham Young’s Detmer touch the ball, which will happen often.

Ismail, the 5-10, 175-pound rocket, had 1,628 all-purpose yards, including two kickoff returns for scores, a punt return for another and two rushing touchdowns.

″He may be the most dangerous player around with the ball,″ Bo Schembechler, the retired Michigan coach, said after Ismail burned the Wolverines last season with his electrifying kickoff returns.

Hagan, at 5-10, 185 pounds, is a shrimp of a quarterback but as dangerous as any dropback passer in the country. The durable Hagan rushed for 1,004 yards in leading ther Buffaloes within a victory of their first national championship. And his passing is improving.

″He’s throwing it with a lot more confidence, a lot more zip,″ teammate Mike Pritchard said. ″Every day, he’s looking more and more like a complete quarterback.″

And then there’s Detmer, a scrambler who capped his ’89 season by throwing for 576 yards against Penn State in a 50-39 victory at the Holiday Bowl.

″He had me running around like a chicken with my head cut off,″ former Penn State linebacker Andre Collins said of Detmer, who passed for 4,560 yards and 32 touchdowns and broke or tied 13 NCAA records last year. ″He knew all of the options, all of the outs. We didn’t play that bad. Detmer is that good.″

In the pure passing category, look for Southern Cal’s Marinovich, Miami’s Erickson, San Diego State’s Dan McGwire and Virginia’s Shawn Moore to make weekly highlight films.

Marinovich, a sophomore, could be the early Heisman favorite if the Trojans get off to a quick start. The left-hander threw for 2,400 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading USC to the Rose Bowl.

″The sky’s the limit for Todd,″ USC coach Larry Smith says. ″His touch and accuracy are uncanny. If he has the kind of year we think he can have, he can complete 70 percent. If he does, it would put him in a class all by himself.″

Erickson missed three games with a broken knuckle on his throwing hand, but still passed for 2,007 yards and 16 touchdowns.

McGwire, brother of Oakland A’s slugger Mark McGwire, threw for 3,651 yards as the Aztecs averaged 30.7 points per game. UCLA coach Terry Donahue doesn’t look forward to this year’s matchup against McGwire.

″I wish he’d have gone on to the NFL so we didn’t have to line up against him,″ he said. ″He’s the best pure passer we’ve played against.″

Moore could be the sleeper of the bunch and the most versatile. He was the only I-A quarterback last season to pass for at least 2,000 yards and rush for 500 or more.

There won’t be a shortage of running backs. Among those to watch are Pittsburgh’s Curvin Richards (1,282 yards), Iowa State’s Blaise Bryant (1,516 yards, the nation’s leading returning rusher), Texas A&M’s Darren Lewis (961 yards and 11 TDs) and Tennessee’s Chuck Webb (1,236 yards).

For speed, try Carl Pickens of Tennessee, Herman Moore of Virginia and Manny Hazard of Houston.

Pickens, who plays wide receiver, free safety and returns punts and kickoffs, is I-A’s most versatile star. He led the Vols with four interceptions last season, caught seven passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns and added a 93-yard kickoff return for another score.

Moore, who set a school record with 10 touchdown catches, again will team with quarterback Moore to form one of the best pass-catch combinations in the country.

Hazard, with Ware throwing on nearly every down, caught an NCAA record 142 passes for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns, another record.

In the power department, there’s Houston’s Weatherspoon, Notre Dame’s Derek Brown and Chris Zorich and Illinois’ Moe Gardner.

Weatherspoon got lost in the Cougars’ pass-happy offense. The 5-7, 210- pound fullback rushed for 1,146 yards and caught 58 passes for 735 yards.

In Brown, 6-7, 243 pounds, the Irish have the top-rated tight end. Although used sparingly (13 catches, 204 yards), Brown is a powerful blocker who is often responsible for springing Irish backs into the open.

The 6-1, 266-pound Zorich, with arms like legs, may be the strongest noseguard in the country. If he isn’t, then Gardner (6-2, 250), might be.

The defense will have its share of stars, led by a fearsome trio of hitters in Notre Dame cornerback Todd Lyght, Michigan safety Tripp Welborne and Georgia Tech safety Ken Swilling. At linebacker, Colorado may have a corner on the market with Alfred Williams and Kanavis McGhee, while the best of the defensive linemen include Florida’s Huey Richardson, Ohio State’s Alonzo Spellman and Miami’s Russell Maryland.

End Adv Weekend Editions Aug 25-26

AP RADIO
Update hourly