The first week of the 2015 college football season is in the books. It was exciting, to say the least, to watch perennial powerhouse Alabama take care of business against Wisconsin while No. 1 ranked Ohio State dismantled Virginia Tech, the lone team that defeated the Buckeyes a year ago. Let’s take a look at some of the players you will be seeing on Sundays come next year.
Top 5 Senior Quarterbacks
1. Cody Kessler, USC 19/26, 236 yds. 4 TD’s
2. Dak Prescott, Miss State 22/38, 237 yds. 2 TD’s
There was a point in time last season that Prescott was the runaway Heisman trophy winner. After a dynamic start to his 2014 season, the Dak Aattack couldn’t keep the momentum going for the entirety of the year. Prescott is the most dominating running quarterback since Tim Tebow. Then again, any comparison to Tebow will hurt his stock moving forward. Prescott plays for Dan Mullen who is Tebow’s former college offensive coordinator. Week 1’s game vs Southern Miss offered little challenge to the Dak Attack.
3. Trevone Boykin, TCU 26/42, 246 yds. 1 TD/ 18 carries, 91 yds. 1 TD
The 2nd ranked TCU Horned Frogs survived a scare from unranked Minnesota winning 23-17. Boykin, who is considered a Heisman contender, showed he does not belong in the discussion thus far having an ugly performance in week one. Boykin is likely a big-time project for NFL teams and may have to sit and learn like Tyrod Taylor has done.
4. Carson Wentz, North Dakota State 16/28, 198 yds. 2 TD’s
5. Connor Cook, Michigan State 15/31, 256 yds. 2 TD’s
The more I watch Connor Cook the more I can’t believe that he is being considered a first round pick by many draft experts. Cook, a 5th year senior, threw for under 50% against Western Michigan and looks like nothing more than a future Kirk Cousins/Brian Hoyer. Cook will show his true colors in a big game vs. 7th ranked Oregon next week, a game in which he failed miserably a year ago.
Top 5 Underclassmen Quarterbacks
1. Christian Hackeberg, Penn State 11-25, 103 yds. 1 INT
Hackenberg’s performance in week one can be described in one word, UGLY! The expected first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft was sacked 10 times by Temple as Penn State would go on to lose to Temple for the first time in over 50 years. Was the loss all his fault? No, but his lack of a supporting cast makes it extremely difficult to scout Hackenberg’s eventual transition to the pros. Hackenberg’s freshman season was magical under now Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. The biggest question is was it O’Brien that made him look like a future superstar or is incumbent head man James Franklin failing him?
2. Cardale Jones, Ohio State 9/18, 186 yds. 2 TD’s, 1 INT
Going into this week, it was unclear whether Cardale or J.T. Barrett was going to be the starter, but Urban Meyer decided to go with Jones after he lead them to a National Title a year ago. Jones is the prototypical pro-style quarterback while Barrett is more of a runner. With a frame that resembles Ben Roethlisberger, Jones could be a real difference maker and he is almost impossible to bring down with arm tackles. This season will decide how high Cardale gets picked but so far, so good.
3. Jeff Goff, California
4. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
5. Patrick Towles, Kentucky
Honorable Mention: UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is a player college football fans should have their eyes on the rest of the season. The true freshman went 28/35 with 3 touchdowns. Could he be the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft?
Top 5 Senior Half Backs
1. D.J. Foster, Arizona State (RB/WR)
2. Byron Marshall, Oregon
Pick your poison between Foster and Oregon’s Marshall as they are very similar players. Marshall spent the majority of the 2014 season as a receiver in Oregon’s high tempo spread offense. Marshall was able to rack up over 1,000 receiving yards while rushing for over 1,000 rushing yards in 2013. His versatility will make him a valuable piece to NFL offenses. His size may be the only concerning things to teams as he has trouble staying over 200 lbs. Marshall could be a rich mans version of DeAnthony Thomas should he continue to get stronger.
3. Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
4. Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
5. Devontae Booker, Utah
Top 5 Underclassmen Half Backs
1. Derrick Henry, Alabama
2. Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State
3. Alex Collins, Arkansas
4. James Connor, Pittsburgh
5. Corey Clement, Wisconsin
With Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, and Leonard Fournette all ineligible for next year’s draft there is an abundance of running backs that can impact your fantasy teams in the upcoming years.
Top 5 Senior Wide Receivers
1. D’haquille Williams, Auburn
2. Josh Doctson, TCU
3. Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
4. Shaq Roland, Prairie View A&M
5. Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Top 5 Underclassmen Wide Receivers
1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
I fully expect Treadwell to be the first receiver taken in next year’s draft. The only question is whether he will recover fully from his ugly leg injury last season. Week one didn’t show his full explosion but that will take time following his leg injuries. Treadwell could be the next Dez Bryant/Julio Jones, a player to definitely keep an eye on.
2. Marquez North, Tennessee
3. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
4. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh DNP suspended
Boyd is one of the most talented players in all of college football as he has been completely unstoppable to this point in his collegiate career. Boyd runs like a deer and catches virtually everything. The one question mark to this point was his recent DUI. The Pitt receiver needs to stay out of trouble and continue to put up numbers and he should find himself in the first round of the NFL Draft. Boyd did not play against Youngstown State.
5. Travin Dural, LSU