This is not the list for the best players coming back for the 2016 season, but a list of players with huge potential and high possibilities. Some of these guys won’t pan out, but these are the guys that I will be looking for with interest in 2016.
Lamar Jackson – Louisville QB: I sometimes have a problem with player comparisons, but if you are a Quarterback with a canon for an arm, you run like a track sprinter from Jamaica and you happen to be African-American then the comparisons to Michael Vick are most likely.
One difference between Vick and Jackson is that Vick got a redshirt season which is huge for a Quarterback. He had a season to watch and learn the system before being thrown out there. Jackson was just a few month removed from high school when he was playing against Auburn of the SEC.
Vick was also built like a Running Back at 6-0, 215 while Jackson is built like a Quarterback at 6-3, 195.
If you haven’t seen Lamar Jackson play, you really need to tune into a Louisville game next season. His stats from his true freshman year will not blow your mind, they won’t make you think of Mike Leach at Washington State. But, he did miss the most of 3 games and he was, again, just out of high school learning a new system and playing against college players.
He threw for 1,840 yards and 12 Touchdowns. Plus, he ran for 960 yards and 11 Touchdowns. Last year, the Cardinals brought in freshman Quarterback Reggie Bonnafin. He looked like a possible Quarterback of the future for the Cardinals.
But, when Jackson came along, Bonnafin made the move to Running Back. Jackson is just that good.
Beau Bisharat – Colorado: The Colorado Buffaloes have been a mess for a few years now. But, I really believe that they have a good coach in Mike MacIntyre. Fans are impatient, but they may want to do some research before running MacIntyre out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered. It took Colorado coach Bill McCartney 7 seasons to have the Buffaloes really playing at a high level. It just takes time to build a program in a situation like the one in Boulder. I wrote about Bill McCartney and his success story here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/colorado-buffaloes/
Like Jackson of Louisville, Beau Bisharat is going to have a hard time escaping the Christian McCaffrey
Bisharat committed to Stanford and they know a thing or two about Running Backs. At this stage of the game, Bisharat may not be quite as quick as Christian McCaffrey. But, he is bigger and probably a bit stronger than McCaffrey was.
He is walking into the ideal situation at Colorado, possibly, because they don’t have a really outstanding Running Back. Their returning starter ran for 653 yards last year. Bisharat was recruited by a lot of schools including, supposedly, Alabama. If he is as good as these coaches think he is, he might be an instant hit at Colorado and maybe they will be back as a competitive football team. Tune in next season to find out.
Gerhard De Beer – Arizona: De Beer was an addition to the football team at Arizona after arriving in the United States to throw the weights in Track and Field. He knew absolutely nothing about American football, but he is 6-7, 290 and is a former rugby player that grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. In a way, De Beer is similar to Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Margus Hunt who was originally from Estonia but wound up at SMU to throw the weights only to see the Track and Field program dropped. Because of his outstanding physical qualities, Hunt was able to land a football scholarship.
Hunt is a freak of nature standing 6’8″ and running a 4.6 40 at the Combine while doing a 36″ vertical.
De Beer may not be at that level as far as athletic ability, but he is currently battling for playing time at Offensive Tackle. He did play some at Offensive Guard last season.
Nate Wozniak – Minnesota TE: I wrote about Wozniak on my blog before: Nate Wozniak
When you are 6-10, 270 people tend to take notice. Wozniak is running out of time to fulfill his enormous potential as he is going into his junior season.
Chase Litton – Marshall QB: Everybody knows about last year’s big name freshmen Quarterbacks led by Josh Rosen from UCLA. Probably not that many know about Chase Litton from Marshall, but he could be the best of them all by the time he is finished playing football.
Litton is 6-6, 210 and from Tampa, Florida. I am sure it was not Marshall head coach Doc Holliday’s most appealing idea to play a true freshman at Quarterback in 2015. But, Litton was the best option he had at Quarterback. The strong armed Litton threw for 2,605 yards and 23 Touchdowns.
Messiah DeWeaver – Michigan State QB: The Spartans lost 3 year starter Connor Cook at The Chosen One
Quarterback and probably one of last year’s back ups take over the job. But, don’t rule out true freshman Messiah DeWeaver. He is another guy that I have already blogged about:
He is a talented 4 star Quarterback recruit from Huber Heights, Ohio that could be the future of the Michigan State program. But, will he play as a freshman? Or, will returning Quarterbacks Tyler O’Connor or Damion Terry win the job?
Probably, O’Connor will Quarterback the team with Terry as his back up and DeWeaver redshirts, but you never know. If DeWeaver is as good as people think he is, then he may be hard to keep out of the lineup.
Thomas Schaffer – Stanford: I also blogged about Schaffer before. the terminator If De Beer is like Margus Hunt, then Schaffer is like Hjalte Froholdt from Denmark that signed with Arkansas last year. I also wrote about Froholdt here: hjalte froholdt
My biggest question about Schaffer is where he will play at Stanford. He could be an Offensive Tackle, but he will need to pack on a few pounds. At Defensive End, Stanford literally has no depth at all and they haven’t for the past couple of seasons. He could play right away on the Defensive Line. But, where would he better long term? He has the athletic ability to play on either side, but he could be an NFL Offensive Tackle one day.
Kendall Jones – Alabama: Jones is supposedly 6-5, 360 which is why a lot of people just call him the ‘Hulk’. It’s not little Hulk or baby Hulk, but just plain Hulk. The Hulk went to high school at Killeen Shoemaker, but he moved to Texas because of Hurricane Katrina so he was never really a native of the state of Texas.
Obviously, the Hulk is huge. But, he can move, also, and not many will be able to handle him one on one. The rich get richer in Alabama all of the time and even though this team is loaded, they probably won’t be able to keep the Hulk off the field for very long.
Chidi Okonya – Duke: I wrote about the best recruiting class in the history of Duke football here: Duke recruiting
Okonja is either 6’5″ or 6’7″ depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to. Either way, he’s a talented Defensive End prospect and he could be a great player for the Duke Blue Devils.
Interesting that Duke is starting to attract more than just top notch basketball players. But, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe has started building a program there. Why not? Cutcliffe tutored Peyton and Eli Manning at Tennessee and Ole Miss respectively.
Chidi Okonya will be one Duke football player to keep an eye on.
Virginia Tech Quarterback situation: New Hokie football coach Justin Fuente proved he can develop Quarterbacks at Memphis when he brought in a player that nobody wanted in Paxton Lynch and helped him into first round NFL Draft pick status.
At Virginia Tech, Fuente inherited Dwayne Lawson who is a 6-6, 230 former 4 star Quarterback recruit from Tampa, Florida. Lawson played a little last season, but just enough to show that he has a ways to go before he’s a top college Quarterback. But, still, the skills are there.
In Fuente’s first recruiting class, he brought in Dual Threat Junior College Quarterback Jerod Evans from Trinity Valley Community College which is located in Texas.
Fuente also signed 4 star high school Quarterback prospect Joshua Jackson out of Saline, Michigan.
Parker Boudreaux – Notre Dame OG: Is that Parker Boudreaux or wrestling super star Brock Lesnar?
Both know how to put on a show. Boudreaux pulled a 16,000 pound truck to announce he was committing to Notre Dame.
Boudreaux is a 6-4, 290 Offensive Guard recruit from Orlando, Florida. Boudreaux is one of the top recruits at his position in the country, but at Notre Dame he will likely wait his turn to play.
It remains to be seen whether he can wrestle.
Lorenzo Featherston – Florida State: Featherston would have made this list, but his knee injury will likely force him out of football. That’s really a shame because Featherston could have been a force.
There will probably be another post like this before the season starts as new players come to light.