QB: Trevone Boykin – TCU: Nobody mentioned Boykin at the beginning of last season, but Boykin came out of nowhere to shock the nation. Trevone Boykin threw for 3,901 total yards in 2014 and 33 Touchdown passes. Boykin also ran for 707 yards and 8 Touchdowns. The former Wide Receiver also caught 2 passes on trick plays taking one of them for a Touchdown. Boykin will not take anyone by surprise this season. He’s one of the more exciting players in the country.
QB: JT Barrett – Ohio State: Back in the day, most great Quarterbacks came from Eastern Pennsylvania or California. But, both of my All American Quarterbacks are strangely from Texas. Barrett’s story has been well documented already, but the redshirt freshman had to play right away last season. After throwing for 2,834 yards and 33 Touchdowns and running for 938 and another 11 Touchdowns, Barrett was injured against Michigan and had to miss the Big 10 Championship Game and the first playoff system games which would have had him clearly surpassing 3,000 yards passing and possibly 40 Touchdowns and over 1,000 yards rushing and possibly 15 Touchdowns. Barrett was simply amazing last season and he may have a fight on his hands to even start for the Buckeyes again in 2015.
RB: James Conner – Pittsburgh: A Running Back in a Fullback’s body at 6-2, 250. Conner arrived on the scene in 2013 as a true freshman and had a good year. But, in 2014, Conner just went wild and ran for 1,765 and 26 Touchdowns. The Pitt Panthers have a new coach coming in this year and it will be interesting to see what changes are made with the offense and if Conner has another great season as a junior.
RB: Samaje Perine – Oklahoma: Huge true freshman Running Back that shattered Melvin Gordon’s week old NCAA single game rushing record. Perine is 5-11, 245 and has really good speed for his size. Oklahoma signed another Running Back last February that was rated much higher, but I predicted Perine would be better on this very blog last Spring. Perine led all freshmen Running Backs with 1,713 yards and 21 Touchdowns. The problem Perine may have in 2015 is that Oklahoma lost a lot of Offensive Linemen from 2014 and it could be a struggle. Plus, the Quarterback situation may continue to be a problem.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State: Elliott was a good Running Back during the season, but he just exploded in the Big 10 Championship Game and the playoffs and he more than helped lead the Buckeyes to the national title. All the Running Backs on my All American team are big, with Elliott measuring in at 6-0, 225. Elliott ran for 1,878 yards and 18 Touchdowns and he demonstrated his speed with an 85 yard run against Alabama in the first round of playoff games.
RB: Nick Chubb – Georgia: Another sensational true freshman last season that helped ease the pain of losing the great Todd Gurley. Chubb is a track star and good sized at 5-10, 230. Chubb finished second in the SEC in rushing with 1,547 yards and 14 Touchdowns while averaging over 7 yards per carry. Next season, the Georgia Bulldogs return Chubb, Sony Michel, Keith Marshall and Brendan Douglas at Running Back but Chubb should still get his carries.
WR: William Fuller – Notre Dame: Speedster that led Notre Dame in receiving in 2014 as a sophomore. The 6-0, 180 burner out of Philadelphia, William Fuller, had 76 receptions for 1,094 yards and 15 Touchdowns. Before the Fighting Irish fell apart last season the Everett Golson to William Fuller connection was fun to watch.
WR: Pharoh Cooper – South Carolina: Big play guy for the Gamecocks. Cooper did it all for the Gamecocks last season catching 69 passes for 1,136 yards and 9 Touchdowns. Cooper also ran for 200 yards on 27 carries producing 2 more Touchdowns. He returned punts, and he threw 8 passes completing 5 of them good for yet 2 more scores. After exploding out to an 11-3 record for 3 straight seasons, the South Carolina Gamecocks finished a very pedestrian 7-6 in 2014. Cooper was one of their few bright spots.
WR: Tyler Boyd – Pittsburgh: Boyd is another big play guy for the Pitt Panthers, complementing James Conner. He led the Panthers in receiving last season with 78 receptions for 1,261 yards and 8 Touchdowns. The 6-2, 190 Boyd is from Clairton, Pennsylvania and is entering his junior season which will more than likely be his last in college football. Like Cooper, Boyd returned punts for his team.
WR: Mike Williams – Clemson: Williams is a big target for Clemson Quarterbacks at 6-4, 210. He finished his sophomore season with 57 catches for 1,030 yards and 6 Touchdowns. Williams and last year’s freshman sensation Artavis Scott will team up this season to give another true freshman of last year sensation Deshaun Watson a very dangerous receiver combination. Look for Williams, Scott and Watson to have big seasons in 2014 even if they did lose their Offensive Coordinator to the SMU
head coaching job.
TE: Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech: Hodges is a huge Tight End that came to Virginia Tech as a Quarterback, but quickly moved to Tight End. As a freshman in 2014, Hodges caught 45 passes for 525 yards and 7 Touchdowns. Hodges is very athletic and at 6-6, 245 a good blocker as well, but it could use some work. The Hokies still use the Tight End and Hodges should have a really nice 2015 season.
TE: Hunter Henry – Arkansas: Henry has been a star at Arkansas since day one last season as a true freshman. The Hogs still love to use the Tight End and Henry is a talented 6-5, 250 junior out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Henry caught 37 passes for a couple of scores while sharing time with AJ
Derby who should make an NFL squad next season. Henry is an excellent blocker and has to be in the
OT: Cam Robinson – Alabama: Robinson may have been the best true freshmen in the country at any position. Huge at 6-6, 325, the awesome Left Tackle out of West Monroe, Louisiana started from the Spring Game and every game after. In the recruiting does matter category, Robinson was the 3rd ranked player in the nation overall by ESPN.
OT: John Theus – Georgia: Coming out of high school, Theus was the 5th rated Offensive Tackle in the nation out of Jacksonville, Florida and he has not disappointed at all. Theus has been a 4 year starter for the Bulldogs at first he played Right Tackle but moved to the Left Tackle position last season.
OT: Jack Conklin – Michigan State: The opposite of Robinson and Theus, Conklin was not even rated coming out of high school. 6-6, 305 junior to be has great feet and moves well laterally. Conklin will be a 3 year starter next season at Left Tackle.
OG: Denver Kirkland – Arkansas: One of the leaders of the nation’s largest and possibly best Offensive Lines. Kirkland is gigantic at 6-5, 335 and clearly a talent. Denver Kirkland and Left Tackle Dan Skipper started as true freshmen and have done nothing but get better and better in the Hills of Arkansas. Kirkland is another talented guy out of the city of Miami, Florida. Expect Kirkland to declare for the NFL after the 2015 season.
OG: Vadal Alexander – LSU: La’el Collins sidekick at LSU at Left Guard. Another road grader like Collins, Alexander is huge at 6-6, 320 and he returns for his senior season for the Tigers. Alexander will be a 4 year starter at Baton Rouge and is obviously a great run blocker but also excels in pass protection. Originally from Buford, Georgia where he was ranked as one of the top Offensive Linemen in the country coming out of high school.
OG: Joshua Garnett – Stanford: Garnett is really solidly put together and like Alexander and Collins, Garnett was Andrus Peat’s sidekick a year ago. The Left Guard, Garnett, is 6-5, 325 and an excellent run blocker. The senior from Puyallup, Washington was the top recruit out of that state in 2012.
OC: Jack Allen – Michigan State: Returning All American Center in one of the nation’s better Offensive Lines. Will be a 4 year starter in 2015 and played some Offensive Guard as a redshirt freshman. The 6-2, 300 senior is not the type of player to leave early, but is a great player, a great student and a model citizen.
DE: Joey Bosa – Ohio State: The man is a beast against the run or the pass as testified by his 55 total tackles and 21 tackles for loss. He also had 13.5 sacks and 4 fumbles forced. His father and uncle were both first round draft picks and we might should expect Bosa to declare early for the NFL after this season. Bosa is solid at 6-5, 280.
DE: Shilique Calhoun – Michigan State: The Spartan defense had something of a disappointing season in 2014 after being ranked as highly as in the top 5 early on. They lost to Oregon and the Ohio State, the 2 teams that played in the national championship game.
DE: Shawn Oakman – Baylor: Oakman is a physical freak at 6-9, 280 and he can move. Baylor doesn’t seem to care about defense, but Oakman is one of the best players in the country. As a junior, the one time Penn State player managed 51 total tackles with an impressive 19.5 tackles for loss and 11 Quarterback sacks including one against Michigan State Offensive tackle Jack Conklin who just doesn’t give up sacks.
DT: Robert Nkemdiche – Ole Miss: One of the nation’s most feared Defensive Linemen. Nkemdiche didn’t put up big numbers last season, but you have to figure on where he will be lined up if you are trying to run a successful offense. Nkemdiche is 6-4, 280 and reportedly runs the 40 yard dash in 4.7 and this will definitely be his last season in college football.
DT: Jarran Reed – Alabama: Junior College transfer for the Crimson Tide actually outplayed several other highly recruited Defensive Linemen. Reed is a 6-4, 315 beast from Goldsboro, North Carolina that chose to return for his senior season and he could be popular with NFL scouts next season. Teams with A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen to form a really solid defensive front.
DT: Austin Johnson – Penn State: The Nittany Lions had one of the best defenses in the country ranked #2 nationally in total yards only behind Clemson. The Penn State defense was hard to run the ball on. Johnson had 49 tackles a year ago and 6 tackles for loss, plus 1 Quarterback sack. Johnson is a 6-4, 315 junior Defensive Tackle from Galloway, New Jersey.
LB: Scooby Wright – Arizona: Scooby Wright dominated college football last season and took home the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Lombardi Award, and the Bronko Nagurski Award. The 6-1, 245 junior from Windsor, California led the entire nation in tackles with 163 plus an incredible 29 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. He also forced 6 fumbles on the season. Wright could be the top defensive player in the nation in 2015.
LB: Joshua Perry – Ohio State: Leader of the Buckeye defense in 2014 and returns for his senior season. Perry is a 6-4, 255 MLB from Galena, Ohio who led the defense with 124 tackles last season. Perry also had 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 Quarterback sacks. He also picked off a pass, broke up 2 others, and forced a fumble.
LB: Reggie Ragland -Alabama: Devastating Linebacker for the Crimson Tide and somewhat surprisingly returned for his senior season. Ragland is a 6-2, 255 Linebacker from Madison, Alabama was second on the team in tackles in 2014 with 93 total. He had 10.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 Quarterback sacks. The Crimson Tide will be one of the best teams in the country yet again and Ragland will be one of their leaders and top players.
CB: Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida: Shut down type of corner. Florida has had issues the last couple of years, but that hasn’t been on defense. Hargreaves Intercepted 3 passes and broke up 13 more passes. He has started since he was a true freshman and coming into his junior season he could be as good as any Cornerback in the country. Hargreaves did have a struggle with Amari Cooper of Alabama, but everyone else did as well. The 5-11, 195 Hargreaves is from Tampa, Florida.
CB: Adoree Jackson – USC: This is one of the top young up and coming players in the country. Jackson played both ways for the Trojans and on special teams as a return man. Jackson had 10 catches as a Wide Receiver with 3 of those going for Touchdowns and 2 Kickoff returns for
Touchdowns. The 5-11, 185 sophomore Jackson had 49 tackles on defense with 4 tackles for loss and he broke up another 9 passes. Jackson is just explosive and has excellent recovery speed. He kind of reminds of a young Deion Sanders.
CB: Ishmael Adams – UCLA: Adams returns for his junior season as one of the top Cornerbacks and return men in the USA. Adams had 41 tackles in 2014. He also picked off 2 passes and took both back for Touchdowns. Adams had 1 kickoff return for a score and several long punt returns and is really explosive with the ball in his hands.
DB: Quin Blanding – Virginia: One of the more impressive freshmen in the nation last season. The nation’s top rated safety recruit a year ago and the 10th rated prospect overall out of Virginia Beach elected to stay home and play for the home state Cavaliers. Blanding had an incredible season as a freshman leading the team in tackles with 123 and 3 Interceptions. Keep your eyes on Blanding if he doesn’t outgrow the safety position he could be a great one.
DB: Jalen Ramsey – Florida State: Ramsey is a sprinter and long jumper for the Seminole track team so he has excellent speed. The 6-1, 205 Ramsey had 80 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss and 3 Quarterback sacks. He picked off 2 passes and also broke up 12 passes, forced 3 fumbles and blocked a kick. The Florida State Seminoles of 2014 were not on the level as the 2013 team, but their secondary was excellent and Ramsey will be good again in 2015.
DB: Budda Baker – Washington: Baker is just one of those guys that started from day one as a true freshman. He was one of the team’s leading tacklers with 80 total with 2 tackles for loss and another Quarterback sack. Budda Baker has a bright future ahead of him. The only drawback is that he is a bit on the smaller side.
Kicker: Roberto Aguayo – Florida State: Mr Reliable for the Seminoles.
Punter: JK Scott – Alabama – Alabama: Led the nation in punting average.