2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 101 UNLV Rebels
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the UNLV Rebels
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No. 101 UNLV Rebels
UNLV Rebels Prespring Status
The Rebels could never find their groove. They were stunningly inefficient on offense, not good enough over the second half of the year on defense, and managed to lose four of their last five games. It’s the third year under head coach Tony Sanchez, and this is the season when it’s all supposed to kick in. The expectations have to be bowl game or bust, especially with Sanchez getting a contract extension, and especially with what’s returning to a team loaded with experience. But the program has showed promise before – now the Rebels have to be winners.
UNLV Rebels Biggest Issue
The back seven needs to replace several guys who made lots and lots of tackles. The top four tacklers, and five of the top six, have to be replaced. LB Tau Lotulelei made 117 stops, and star safety and second-leading tackler Troy Hawthorne is done, too. Considering the defense gave up almost 37 points and 430 yards per game, it might not seem like that big a deal to lose so many players from a defense that didn’t work, but the guys who need to be replaced were, for the most part, the best playmakers.
UNLV Rebels Biggest Positive
Almost all of the offensive production is back. C Will Kreitler is the only starter gone off the line, and TE Andrew Price is done after finishing second on the team with just 16 catches. That’s about it. The Rebels have a few quarterback options, WR Devonte Boyd and eight of the top nine receivers are back, and the top running backs return from an attack that averaged 5.6 yards per carry. The O might not have been all that smooth, but it finished 15th in the nation in rushing and averaged 32 points per game. Now it should be better.
Really, Why Are The UNLV Rebels Ranked Here?
It’s not right to look at it this way, but UNLV was two plays away from being 2-10 and coming into this season still looking to do anything positive. 4-8 isn’t all that much better, but this is still looking like a team with the potential to make a big leap. However, the Rebels have to prove they can play a little D – especially without so many key starters – and the offense has to throw better. UNLV has to show, as a program, that it really can put together a winner.