Tulsa, SMU feature strong QB talent

Mel continues his look at the best players in the WAC in part two of his examination of the conference.

Originally Published: August 18, 2004
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
Editor's note:'s Mel Kiper Jr. continues his look at the best players in each conference by examining the top five players on the rosters of five of 11 teams in the Western Athletic Conference (schools listed in alphabetical order). WAC Overview: Part 1

Rice Owls
1. Terry Holley, Rover, sr. -- He's a former quarterback who moved to the rover position as a sophomore. Last season he had 92 tackles, five stops behind the line of scrimmage, three sacks, two picks, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. Needless to say he does it all and he's become a leader of this defense. He's a very underrated player in the WAC.
2. Thomas Lott, RB, jr. -- His father - also Thomas Lott - was the former Oklahoma quarterback. Lott is a small back (5-7, 180), but he's got a lot of speed and can outrace people to the corner. Last season he was second in the nation with 7.3 yards per carry.
3. John Syptak, DE, jr. -- He shows up big at crucial points in games. Last season he contributed 81 tackles with 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He's a little undersized (6-2, 238), but very quick and athletic.
4. Ed Bailey, FB -- Last year he split time with Robbie Beck, but this year Bailey is a key component in the spread offense.
5. Marcus Battle, WR, jr. -- Because the Owls switched to the triple option late in the season, Battle only caught 19 balls. He'll still be a factor because he has a lot of speed and gives secondaries a lot to think about.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.