Players all across Division II will be looking to break records in 2012. Here are some of the most explosive offensive players returning in the nation.
James Franklin led Northwest Missouri State in rushing in his first season with the Bearcats with 1,247 yards. Franklin also led Northwest in scoring with 25 touchdowns, 24 of which were on the ground -- the third best single-season mark in school history. Franklin finished fifth in Division II, scoring 10.7 points per game.
NW Missouri State Athletics
Enters his senior season on the verge of setting every significant passing record in ACU and Lone Star Conference history, if Mitchell Gale throws for at least 2,873 yards in 2012, he will join Billy Malone as the only 12,000-yard career passers at ACU. That would make Abilene Christian only the fifth school in NCAA history to feature two 12,000-yard passers in their record books, joining Hawaii, Texas Tech, Houston and Weber State in that select club. If Gale tops 12,000 yards, he and Malone will have topped that number as back-to-back starting quarterbacks, something only Houston (Kevin Kolb and Case Keenum from 2003 to 2011) and Hawaii (Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan from 2000-2007) have done in NCAA history.
Abilene Christian Athletics
Joe Glendening was tabbed a first-team All-American by every media outlet that covers Division II football, and was one of nine semifinalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy a year ago. He set school single-season records for carries (325), rushing yards (1,604) and rushing touchdowns (27), while tying the GLIAC single-season record with 25 rushing TDs in a season. Glendening scored 31 total touchdowns, also shattering a school record, and had three 200-yard rushing games on the season, with a high of 262 vs. Ohio Dominican.
After spending one season at Eastern Kentucky and then taking a redshirt after arriving at Grand Valley State, Charles Johnson emerged as one of the best wide receivers in Lakers' history in 2011. He caught 56 passes for 1,030 yards and 15 TDs. The 1,030 yards ranks fifth all-time for a single-season at GVSU, while his 15 TD catches is fourth. Johnson caught a touchdown in nine of GVSU's 11 games.
West Texas A&M's Dustin Vaughan was one of the nation's most prolific passers in 2011. He finished fifth in the nation in passing, averaging 301 yards per game while tosisng 25 touchdowns in the offensive-friendly Lone Star Conference.