Big things are in store for Diondre Borel this season.
At least that's what a couple of college fantasy football Web sites are predicting.
CBSSports.com's site had this to say about Utah State's senior quarterback: Borel is one of the nation's best all-around quarterbacks, and the same is true in the fantasy realm. ... Borel should be a top quarterback in college fantasy football this year.
The Web site, collegefootballgeek.com, ranked Borel 12th out of its top 40 quarterbacks in the nation.
According to USU head coach Gary Andersen, Borel is top-10 material.
"He's a great quarterback, very athletic and well-rounded as far as his throwing skills," Andersen said. "Now his leadership ability, I believe that puts him in the elite company in the country."
Andersen is very impressed with the leadership Borel has displayed since the 2009 campaign ended.
"The reason I think he's developed, and time will tell, but what I've seen in spring ball and what I've seen out of him from a leadership role during last offseason and winter conditioning, he's the total package now," the Aggies' second-year coach said. "On the football field, he brings tremendous athleticism, but the game, the mental part of the game, has become very important to him.
"He spends a lot of time in the film room, he spends a lot of time communicating with his receivers. To me, the amount of times that you just simply get out there and throw and catch the ball is a vital part of summer."
Dave Baldwin, USU's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, knows how important Borel's leadership will be to the success of the team in 2010.
"It's his football team," Baldwin said. "Last year he was learning our system and learning how to communicate and be the guy in the no-huddle and all those things. When things get tough, I want that football team to look at him and say that he's going to get it done."
One of Borel's goals for this season is to be more of a vocal leader.
"To step my level play up from last year and previous years, and be more of a vocal leader," said Borel, when asked what he was expecting from himself during his senior year.
Music to Baldwin's ears.
"He's a quiet person," Baldwin said. "You're not going to get a lot out of him, but I think he's learning that he can be a little more vocal with his leadership and that's what we need. It is his football team, and that's important for people to know."
That is especially case this year when you consider the Aggies have already lost running back Robert Turbin (knee) and wide receiver Stanley Morrison (foot) for the season.
Despite that, Andersen is confident Borel can get the job done with the weapons he has surrounding him.
"I expect him to be a great leader and I also expect him to take what comes his way," Andersen said. "I get worried about Diondre thinking he has to do everything. I think he's surrounded by enough people where he doesn't have to do everything. Let the game come to him, let the plays come to him. He's going to make those tremendous plays.
"I expect him to walk in and be a guy that when the opportunity is there, go make that play and just keep the offense on the field, just keep moving down the field. The dynamic plays from Diondre are going to come because special kids have that talent."
Borel led the Western Athletic Conference in total offense and ranked 15th in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) at 278.6 yards per game last season as a junior.
Despite the numbers he put up in 2009, the native of Oakley, Calif., is driven to prove the skeptics and doubters wrong.
Especially in his final season as an Aggie.
"I think one thing that drives Diondre, a lot of people say it and you see a lot of things that he's sometimes the third-, sometimes the fourth-best quarterback in this league," Andersen said. "The only way that's going to improve and people give him respect is by us winning games.
"But he is the key to our offense, there's no doubt about it, especially with not having Robert. He's the driving force of what we're going to do offensively. He deserves that, he wants that now."
Borel admits he's bugged by the fact he doesn't get the recognition he feels he deserves.
"I know that the WAC knows about me, but sometimes it's kind of nerve-racking just hearing both of their names (Boise State's Kellen Moore and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick) every time," Borel said. "I'm tired of being left out when I know I'm capable and have been doing some of the things they do."
His stats don't lie.
Borel amassed 3,343 yards of total offense to set a single-season school record in 2009, breaking Anthony Calvillo's 1993 mark of 3,260 yards.
Borel became the 18th USU quarterback in school history to top the 2,000-yard passing plateau as he threw for 2,885 yards in 2009. He was just shy of becoming the fifth Aggie signal caller to reach 3,000 yards in a season.
On the season, Borel completed 58.5 percent of his passes (214-of-366) with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
"He did some very, very good things," Andersen said. "His touchdown-to-interception ratio was tremendous, his completion percentage was good. He did a lot of things very well, but I expect him to take the next step and most importantly, Diondre expects himself to take the next step."
Baldwin said there are three aspects of Borel's game that need to continue to improve: His feet, his accuracy and his decision making.
"He sometimes has happy feet," Baldwin said. "Even though he's athletic and makes you miss, if you have happy feet, you're not set to throw the ball on time when you need to, so we've worked hard on his feet in making sure the directions with his feet are right.
"... The most important thing a quarterback has is not arm strength, but accuracy. He needs to throw the ball where we have an ability to catch the football, so we're always working on that."
Baldwin was pleased with Borel's decision making last season.
"He was really good on decisions last year and we want to continue that," Baldwin said. "You'd like the high completions, high touchdowns to low interceptions, so those are things we work on all the time."
Borel enters his senior year with a total of three school records in his pocket, including total offense for a single season, rushing yards by a quarterback for a single season (632 in 2008) and rushing yards by a QB for a career (1,098 and still counting).
The 6-foot Borel, who was recently tabbed to the Manning Award Preseason Watch List, gained weight in the offseason and is now about 195 pounds.
"Diondre, even before my time here as the strength coach, has always been a hard-working athlete," said USU strength & conditioning coach Evan Simon. "I just think his body has matured at the right time. I think he's eating better, he understands how to eat better. He understands how to supplement better and just take care of his body better as a whole.
"Diondre has always been a hard worker, that's what he's been about. His body's coming into his own, maturing as an upperclassmen and just taking the extracurricular stuff more seriously from food supplementation and recovery methods, has been the biggest difference in his game as far as adding size."
In his brief time with the Aggies, Baldwin has already noticed a vast improvement in Borel.
"When I first got here and turned on the film, I said, ‘This kid is quite a kid,' but I wasn't sure he was a quarterback," Baldwin said. "He is a quarterback and he's got NFL potential quarterback written on him because of his abilities. Seneca Wallace (of the Cleveland Browns), he is like that kid. I think he's improved immensely.
"The thing that he still needs to improve and is improving on is the mental aspect of watching film and understanding defenses. ... He's improved immensely and still has a long ways to go."
It didn't take long for Baldwin to answer when asked what makes Borel so special.
"His athletic ability, the ability for him to make people miss in the pocket," Baldwin said. "He can side-step and move. That's a special knack that he has. He's very, very athletic.
"I think this last year he learned that instead of just running, he could make people miss with his feet and still throw the football."
The son of Betty and Mark Perez is majoring in sociology, but has aspirations of making it to the next level.
"That's been one of my goals since I came to college," Borel said. "When I was younger, I wanted to make the NFL. ... That's not something I'm going to worry about right now. It's not that time yet, so I'm just gonna try and focus on what I have to do now. When that time comes, it'll all unfold."