Obviously, these are my picks as top players in the country for 2015. If you don’t agree, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to debate your opinion versus mine.
1. Joey Bosa – Ohio State DE: Most people think Bosa is the best talent in the country and he is equally tough against both the run and the pass. Bosa has an interesting family which you could read about here: Bosa
2. Nick Chubb – Georgia RB: Maybe the best Running Back in the country and could be the best back at Georgia since the great Herschel Walker. I am not overlooking Todd Gurley who was sensational, but Chubb was a star when Gurley went down in 2014. At 230 pounds, he is a power
back with tremendous speed and is a threat to go the distance anytime he touches the ball. As a true freshman, Nick Chubb finished second in the SEC in rushing behind senior Cameron Artis-Payne of Auburn with 1,547 yards and 14 Touchdowns. Chubb was a sprinter in high school and it clearly shows when he breaks the line of scrimmage. For more on Chubb: chubb
3. Trevone Boykin – TCU QB: I seriously considered placing Boykin at the top of this list. He could be the most exciting player in the country. But, 2015 will tell us whether he is the real deal or was a one hit wonder. The 6-2, 205 senior from Dallas threw for 3,901 yards and 38 Touchdowns in 2014 and he ran for 707 yards and 8 more Touchdowns. Probably only Heisman winner Marcus Mariota had a better season than Boykin as a double threat in 2014. Boykin could propose a threat for the Heisman in 2015.
4. Leonard Fournette – LSU RB: Fournette was the top recruit in the country in the 2014 recruiting class and although some were disappointed in him early last year, Fournette came on strong to rush for over 1,000 yards on the season. Fournette is much like Chubb in that he is a big back at 230 pounds that has tremendous speed. So fast was he, in fact, that he returned kick offs for the LSU Tigers. He is one of the bigger up and coming talents in the country for 2015 and although he did not contend for the Heisman as a true freshman as some expected, he may be right there this season and the following. I wrote about Fournette earlier: Leonard Fournette LSU and here: Fournette
5. Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State RB: By the end of last season, Elliott was as good as anyone in the country. At 6 – 0, 225 or 230, Elliott is clearly another top power back with breakaway speed.
Re-watch their Playoff game against Alabama and watch him take off and leave all Bama defenders. He rushed for 1,878 yards and 18 Touchdowns, but a lot of that came at the end of the year as the Buckeye offense struggled at first after the loss of Braxton Miller. Elliott just shredded the Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon defenses for 696 yards, going for well over 200 yards against each defense.
6. Robert Nkemdiche – Ole Miss DT: Nkemdiche looks scary, but doesn’t play it. He is super athletic for a Defensive Tackle and needs to make his move this year to move back in front on the list. I put him just because he has almost unlimited potential and could be the most dominating player in the country. Will he be? That is up to him, but I still think he can be as good as anyone. Before last season, I blogged about Nkemdiche here: Nkemdiche I am pulling for him.
7. Winner of QB battle at Ohio State: Cardale Jones, JT Barrett, Braxton Miller: This situation has been one of the strangest ever seen in college football. Going into 2014, Braxton Miller was a Heisman candidate, but he was injured before the season ever began. Redshirt freshman JT Barrett took over for Miller and improved as the year progressed. Barrett got injured against Michigan in the last regular season game and Cardale Jones took over and led them to the national championship. Winner of this battle will be an amazing talent at Quarterback for Ohio State.
8. Scooby Wright – Arizona LB: Wright put up the best defensive stats in the country last season, by far and he won most awards available for Linebackers, other than the Butkus which went to UCLA Linebacker Eric Kendricks. Wright won the Lombardi, the Bednarik and the Nagurski Awards in
what was a surprisingly dominating year for him. He’s back for his junior season and he is not the prototypical NFL Linebacker at 6- 1, 245 and probably we will have 2 more college seasons to follow Scooby Wright and I am thrilled about that.
9. Cody Kessler – USC QB: The Trojans disappointed in 2014 with early an early season loss to Boston Colloge and they also lost to Arizona State on a last second reception by Jaelen Strong which immediately became known as Jael Mary. The Trojans were stunned by Utah at home, and then, they were also crushed by rival UCLA. In spite of that. Kessler had an amazing season throwing for 3,826 yards and 38 Touchdowns. USC finished the 2014 with a 9 – 4 record and will be ranked really high in the preseason ranking.
10. Adoree Jackson – USC CB: Super explosive player that could play any number of positions. Could play Cornerback and move over to play Wide Receiver as well. Between playing on both sides of the ball, Jackson will return punts and kicks. Jackson has excellent closing speed when the ball is in the air. Definitely a fun player to watch and a super talent.
11. Laquan Treadwell – Ole Miss WR: Treadwell was the heart and soul of this Ole Miss team last season, in my opinion and they were a different team after the Auburn game when he was severely injured. The Ole Miss Rebels went 2 – 2 with Treadwell out of the lineup. Treadwell is probably not the fastest Wide Receiver in the country, but at 6- 2, 230 he is big and strong and has good enough speed and the hands. Ole Miss lost their 3 year starter at Quarterback, Bo Wallace, but with Treadwell back in the game his replacement should have easier treading.
12. Derrick Henry – Alabama RB: Henry has not quite lived up to the hype that was placed on him because of his high school exploits. But, the reason was he shared duty with another very talented Running Back in TJ Yeldon. Henry did lead the team in rushing in 2014 and like all of the other
backs on this list he is huge at 6 – 3, 240. He does have excellent speed as well as he has proven in past games. Look for Henry to get the bulk of the carries for the Tide running game this season and for him to declare for the NFL.
13. Myles Jack – UCLA LB: This talented 2 way athlete had an outstanding freshman season in 2013 where he was named freshman of the year on both sides of the ball. Not only is he an outstanding Linebacker, but he is a top Running Back as well. Jack is 6 -1, 230 to 235 and is very physical. As a Running Back he doesn’t have the speed of the other backs on this list, but he is a great power back and can run over people. UCLA has a 1,500 yard rusher returning, plus one of the nation’s top high school Running Backs out of Texas, so he probably won’t be called on to play on offense. But, if necessary, Myles Jack can easily play both ways. With the arrival of new Defensive Coordinator look for players like Jack to benefit.
14. Denver Kirkland – Arkansas OT/OG: One of if not the very best Offensive Linemen in the country, Kirkland enters his junior season as a two year starter already. He has been at Right Guard since his first game in college, but the coaches moved him to Left Tackle for his junior year and probably his last in college. Returning Left Tackle, fellow junior Dan Skipper has been moved to Right Tackle. Skipper is a talent in his own right, but Kirkland is pretty special.
15. Justin Thomas – Georgia Tech QB: Thomas is a player that I don’t like to miss. He is like one of the old Oklahoma Wishbone Quarterbacks of their glory days. Just a miracle worker with the ball in his hands, very good runner and passer. He is undersized for a Quarterback and he probably has to play another position if he succeeds past college, but he is a very fluid athlete and fun to watch.
Some other notable candidates:
Jalen Ramsey – Florida State DB
Cam Robinson – Alabama OT
Justin Thomas – Georgia Tech QB
Gunner Kiel – Cincinnati QB
James Conner – Pittsburgh RB
Quin Blanding – Virginia S
Connor Cook – Michigan State QB
Kareem Hunt – Toledo RB
DJ Foster – Arizona State RB
Jared Goff – California QB
Royce Freeman – Oregon RB
Joshua Garnett – Stanford OG
Duke Williams – Auburn WR
Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida CB
John Theus – Georgia OT
Patrick Towles – Kentucky QB
Vadal Alexander – LSU OT
Dak Prescott – Mississippi State QB
Kentrell Brothers – Missouri LB
Joshua Dobbs – Tennessee QB
Roderick Johnson – Florida State OT
Taysom Hill – BYU QB
Paxton Lynch – Memphis QB
Desean Watson – Clemson QB
Kendall Fuller – Virginia Tech CB
Ishmael Adams – UCLA CB
Samaje Perine – Oklahoma RB
Shilique Calhoun – Michigan State DE
Nelson Spruce – Colorado WR
Deforrest Buckner – Oregon DE
Pharoh Cooper – South Carolina WR