These are most of the best young players coming up that were members of the 2015 recruiting class but redshirted their first seasons.
QB: Deondre Francois – Florida State: Francois took a beating much of the season, but still managed to lead the Seminoles to a 9-3 record while throwing for over 3,000 yards and 18 Touchdowns. Francois has a strong arm and he is more than a capable runner even though they chose not to run him often.
QB: Sam Darnold – USC: The Trojans improved drastically when Darnold became the starter.
There’s just something about Darnold that uplifted the entire team. He threw for over 2,600 yards and 26 Touchdowns. The Trojans started off 1-3 and then won the rest of their games and the previous starter has announced he is transferring.
RB: Mike Weber – Ohio State: Weber cracked the magical 1,000 yard barrier with 1,072 yards at over 6 yards per carry. Replacing Ezekiel Elliott was no easy task, but Weber and junior Curtis Samuel combined for well over 1,700 rushing yards.
WR: Van Jefferson – Ole Miss: Some people needed to step up at Ole Miss and replace their best player from a year ago on offense, Laquon Treadwell. Jefferson was one that did move to the forefront with 49 receptions for 543 yards and 3 Touchdowns.
TE: Carl Tucker – North Carolina: Seldom used in the passing game, but Tucker still hauled in 9 receptions during his redshirt season.
OT: Austin Haigler – Colorado: The Right Tackle for the most improved college football team in the nation this season. Everything has changed in Colorado and Haigler is a big part of that.
OT: Ryan Bates – Penn State: Bates was a young and key member of an improving Offensive Line that helped the Nittany Lions win the Big 10 Conference. Bates is 6-4, 305 with a blossoming career ahead of him. Penn State has 2 redshirt freshmen and a true freshman starting in the Offensive Line.
OG: Tommy Hatton – North Carolina: Slightly undersized but quick young Offensive Guard.
Hatton should be the leader of a potent offense
OG: Tim Lynott – Colorado: Another good young Offensive Lineman for the Buffs and their solid young team.
OG: Jon Dietzen – Wisconsin: The Badgers have a fairly young line, and they should be a force next season.
OC: Nathan Eldridge – Arizona: Rich Rodriguez and his Wildcats had a horrible year. Eldridge at Center has a ways to go, but they should bounce back.
DE: Clelin Ferrell – Clemson: The Clemson front 4 started two freshmen this season, but Ferrell took a redshirt first.
DE: Reggie Walker – Kansas State: Super quick Defensive End with 11 tackles for loss and 6 and 1/2 Quarterback sacks.
DT: Tim Settle – Virginia Tech: Formerly highly recruited star that is still trying to live up to outstanding potential. But, he will get there and he is tough against the run with excellent size.
DT: Raequan Williams – Michigan State: It was not a great year for the Spartans, but young talent like Williams assures that they will bounce back. Williams plays well against run or pass.
DT: Aaron Crawford – North Carolina: A promising young run stopper at 6-1, 310 which is exactly what the Tar Heels defense needed. He finished with 38 total tackles and a Quarterback sack. Right now, he is much better against the run, than rushing the passer.
LB: DJ Beavers – Washington: The Huskies have some talented older players, but they also have
some youth. Beavers is all about speed totaling 35 tackles as a redshirt freshman.
LB: Joe Giles-Harris – Duke: An unusual freshman leading the Blue Devils in tackles during is irst season as a starter.
LB: Leo Lewis – Mississippi State: Lewis is an aggressive young Linebacker who was second on the Bulldogs in tackles.
LB: David Long- West Virginia: The Mountaineers are not known for great defense, but Long is a promising redshirt that totaled 53 tackles in his first season as a starter.
CB: Jalen Julius – Ole Miss: Talented young Defensive Back from the state of Florida. He was a back up this past season.
CB: Trae Williams – Northwestern: Ohio native Williams started at Corner for the Wildcats and he totaled 34 tackles, had a pick and broke up 7 more passes.
CB: Bryce Hall – Virginia: Hall is one of those tall young Cornerback at 6-3, 200 with a bright future. He picked off 2 passes and registered 25 total tackles.
DB: Patrick Nelson – Illinois: Coming out of Chicago, Nelson is a tough young kid that was one of the leading tacklers.
DB: Ronnel Perkins – Missouri: It was not a great season for the Tigers, but Perkins at Safety was a bright spot.
DB: Justin Tranquill – Western Michigan: One of the top tacklers for the Broncos and the younger brother of Notre Dame’s Drew Tranquill.
DB: Jessie Bates III – Wake Forest: Outstanding redshirt freshman Safety that was second on the team in tackles and Wake Forest has a good defense.