Commentary

New rules changes put premium on kickoffs

Originally Published: August 8, 2007
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.
It didn't take long for the NCAA to admit its mistake in regards to last year's absurd clock rule changes. The Football Rules Committee will revert to traditional clock rules on change of possession and on kickoffs. In an attempt to give plays back but still keep the time of televised games in check, the NCAA had to trim some fat in other areas. One of those areas is on kickoffs, which will now be from the 30-yard line, instead of the 35, in order to cut down on touchbacks that stop the clock.

As a result, never before have kickoff and kickoff return specialists been so valuable. Here's a look at college football's best in both realms:

Top kickoff return specialists


Marcus Thigpen
AJ Mast/Icon SMIMarcus Thigpen led the nation in yards per return last season.
1. Marcus Thigpen, Indiana
Thigpen led the nation with an average of 30.1 yards per kickoff return and three touchdowns in 2006. The diminutive junior won't break many tackles, but he displays excellent vision, burst and elusiveness to avoid contact altogether. Thigpen also has applied those skills on offense, where he emerged as a versatile weapon with 18 receptions for 180 yards and 98 carries for 387 yards last season.