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Same-team tandems shooting for lofty statistical milestones

  • By Mike Huguenin
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(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(AP Photo/Beth Hall)
Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams could both break the 1,000-yard barrier in 2014.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is dreaming big this season.

He said he thinks he and fellow Falcons wide receiver Roddy White could have 1,500 receiving yards apiece this season.

Hey, dreaming is free, right, and that got us to thinking about whether any university has two receivers who have shots at 1,000-yard seasons. No way a college team will have two 1,500-yard receivers. But remember that the NFL season is 25 percent longer than a college season (16 games to 12), and 1,500 yards divided by 16 is about 94 yards per game (roughly 1,130 yards in 12 games).

We came up with two possibilities.

But that got us thinking a bit more, too, about some other statistical plateaus: 1,000 rushing yards, 125 tackles and 10 sacks. Does any school have two players who could reach those plateaus?

Read on to find out.

1,000 rushing yards each

Arkansas TBs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams: These guys came close last season, when Collins had 1,026 as a true freshman and Williams had 900 as a sophomore. Arkansas' passing attack scares no one, so these guys are going to get a heavy workload. The flipside? Because the passing attack scares no one, Collins and Williams will be running against a lot of eight-man fronts.


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Auburn QB Nick Marshall and TB Cameron Artis-Payne: Marshall ran for 1,068 yards last season, when teammate Tre Mason led the SEC with 1,816. (Auburn was one of five teams last season to have two players each rush for 1,000 yards. BYU, Northern Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin were the others.) Mason is with the St. Louis Rams now, and Artis-Payne should get the bulk of the carries at tailback. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Marshall lead the Tigers in rushing, but Artis-Payne could get enough opportunities to hit 1,000.

BYU QB Taysom Hill and TB Jamaal Williams: These guys quietly reached 1,000 each last season, when Hill rumbled for 1,344 yards and Williams picked up 1,233. The schedule is easier this season, and though Hill should be more effective as a passer this fall, BYU's offense still is going to be ground-oriented.

Louisiana-Lafayette RBs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire: ULL is the best team in the Sun Belt, and Harris and McGuire are part of a loaded backfield with star QB Terrance Broadway, who has some running skills himself. The 240-pound Harris bulldozed his way to 942 yards last season, while the quicker McGuire had 863. In an effort to reduce some wear-and-tear on Broadway, who had some injury concerns last season, the tailbacks should get more chances this season -- which means each should get to 1,000 yards.

Wisconsin TBs Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement: Gordon is a given to reach 1,000; heck, a legit goal for him might be 1,800. Clement had 547 as Wisconsin's third-string tailback last season. With James White now opening eyes with the New England Patriots, Clement will be the No. 2 guy this season, and his carries total should increase by about 120 (he had 67 last season). That should be enough work to get him to 1,000.

1,000 receiving yards each

Louisville WRs DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers: Neither ever has cracked the 1,000-yard barrier -- and that was with Teddy Bridgewater throwing to them. Then again, neither has played in a Bobby Petrino offense before. Parker is a great athlete who had 885 receiving yards on 55 receptions last season. He should get into the high 70s and maybe even low 80s in terms of catches this season, which means he is going to go over 1,000. Rogers never has caught more than 46 passes in a season nor had more than 536 yards. But he will be targeted vastly more often this fall -- enough to get him to 1,000 yards.

Texas Tech WRs Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez: The question with the Red Raiders is who is going to get all the receptions that Jace Amaro -- now with the New York Jets -- had last season? Amaro had 106 catches for 1,352 yards in 2013. Tech also lost No. 2 receiver Eric Ward, who had 83 receptions for 947 yards. Grant was the No. 3 guy last season, with 65 receptions for 796 yards, and he should be the go-to guy this season -- and Tech's go-to guy seemingly is guaranteed a 1,000-yard season. With the quarterback situation no longer in flux -- Davis Webb is the unquestioned starter -- the passing attack should be better this fall. Marquez should ascend to the No. 2 role and should have enough catches to get to 1,000.

125 tackles each

Colorado State LBs Aaron Davis and Max Morgan: Morgan had 134 tackles and Davis 120 last season. They could be the most productive linebacker duo in the nation this season, and a combined 270 tackles is a legit goal.

Duke LBs Kelby Brown and David Helton: If Davis and Morgan aren't the most productive duo, chances are it will be these guys. Helton led the ACC with 133 tackles last season, while Brown added 114. The only "problem" is that Blue Devils SS Jeremy Cash -- who began his career at Ohio State -- makes a ton of tackles (121 last season), too, which cuts down on the numbers for Brown and Helton.

Houston LBs Derrick Mathews and Efrem Oliphant: These guys are no slouches when it comes to racking up the tackle totals, either. They combined for 250 last season, when Oliphant had 134 and Mathews 116.

Northwestern LBs Chi Chi Ariguzo and Collin Ellis: Ariguzo has a legitimate chance to lead the Big Ten in tackles; he had 106 last season. Ellis is moving to the middle, which is his natural position. But listing them is a leap of faith, in a way, as Ellis' season-high in tackles is 78, set last season.

Toledo LBs Chase Murdock and Junior Sylvestre: Sylvestre should be in the mix for MAC defensive player of the year; he has big-play ability and had 118 stops last season. Murdock had 109 tackles.

Wyoming LBs Mark Nzeocha and Jordan Stanton: Stanton had 133 stops last season, while Nzeocha added 101. Safety Marqueston Huff made 127 tackles, but he was a senior. Look for Nzeocha to take up enough of the slack left by Huff to get to 125.

10 sacks each

Ohio State DEs Joey Bosa and Noah Spence: This is the best end duo in the nation, and they easily could rack up 10 sacks apiece. Spence had eight sacks as a sophomore last season, while Bosa had 7.5 as a true freshman. One issue with Spence is that he is suspended for the first two games of the season for using a banned supplement.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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