If you remember from the start of College Football season, I predicted offensively who are some players to watch this College Football season in Wahl's College Football Preview. I've went back to my drawing board of the players to watch and wanted to give you a mid season synopsis of how they are doing. Enjoy!
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins has had an already outstanding year with throwing for 2800 yards passing, 30 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions to his resume thus far. Already showing he was a much better athlete than his former teammate JT Barrett, and gives Ohio State a usual winning resume going into deciding who will be going to the College Football playoff this year. His career at Ohio State is bright and he may have a Heisman Trophy to his campaign before his NFL career starts.
Well, Tua has had near a perfect season with a passer rating at almost 240. Going into Week 10, he has thrown ZERO interceptions and 25 touchdowns to his name. A Heisman favorite, he'll get his first test of the year against LSU this Saturday in Death Valley. This could seal his Heisman campaign in a win against the Tigers. Tua 4 Heisman, book it right now!
Tyler Huntley, Utah
Huntley has the Utes in Top 25 at #16 and has 15 total touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions. Best game I've seen was the win over USC last week, where he threw for over 300 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Has improved on his passing percentage compared to last year connecting on 65% of his passes. Leading Utah to a January bowl game will seal his resume of having an outstanding season for the Utes of Utah!
Riley Neal, Ball State
Although his completion percentage is down at 57%, Riley still leads all Quarterbacks in the MAC in overall completions and total yards (Rushing and Passing combined). Definitely has improved on on limiting his interceptions, with 11 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions on the year against teams a quality Notre Dame team and Indiana, who stands in the middle of the Big Ten at the moment. His best games against Kent State and a win over Central Michigan. The Cardinals will need to win out, in order to get into a December bowl game this year. Riley has great size, and has a shot at making an NFL practice squad next year.
Andrew is the only one on this Quarterback list that I can say hasn't lived up to the hype of his previous years. An MCL tear has ended his season with the Minutemen, and his projected touchdown count is down from the last two years. Last year only threw 4 interceptions in the whole season. This year was different, through 7 games he already had 5 interceptions, to 9 touchdowns. QB rating is slightly better than in previous years, however I'm not seeing a scenario where the Minutemen even get into a bowl game this year. Ford's season is done.
Taryn Christion, South Dakota State
Christion is having a similar year to last year for the Jackrabbits. Projected to hit right around 3500 yards passing, which is similar to last year. He has improved on his lack of interceptions this year (4), which should put him at season end, about half of the interceptions he had last year (14). I'm been impressed, as I was a critic to his lack of experienced receivers this year with losing Goedert and Weineke to the NFL. He has proven to have a better year despite the numbers his main two receivers last year put up. I can see SDSU making a strong run in the FCS playoff, and Taryn has the potential to get drafted in the late rounds of next year's NFL Draft.
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
When Benny was asked who the best running back in the SEC at SEC Media Day, and said himself that gave me a competitive edge to look up his highlights a little more. He's having an outstanding year with over 62% of his games have gone for 100+yards. The touchdown count should be relatively close to last year, but I think winning key games like Mississippi State, Florida, and Missouri boost his exposure to be a winner for the Doak Walker Award. With the year Snell is having and the exposure Benny has received with a Kentucky team who is #9 in the first College Football playoff ranking, he has really helped his draft stock and should be a 1st or 2nd round pick in next year's NFL Draft.
Cam Akers, Florida State
Akers is one of my biggest letdowns on this list. Has yet to have a 100 yard rushing game, has only 3 touchdowns to his record thru 8 games. You cannot struggle against MAC teams like Northern Illinois and average less than 3 yards per carry, that is no no in College Football. Willie Taggart will be on the hot seat at the end of the year, Florida State is turning into an armpit program in the new armpit conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Akers will have to have a better next year, or he may vanish from the Seminole's tailback rotation.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
I can say that I'm not surprised that Taylor is 1st in the Big Ten in rushing yards, as I've never seen a team like Wisconsin that takes their quarterback out of the game like they do. Although he has had good numbers this year, his fumbles are frustrating to watch. I thought Paul Chryst would make this his main focus from last season to fix, and the way Wisconsin has been trending downwards, it's a down year in my mind for Taylor and the Badgers, who were once #4 in the country to start the year and are now out of the Top 25.
Spencer Brown, UAB
In the touchdown department, thru 8 games Brown has more touchdowns already this year than all of last year. 50% of his games have gone for 100+yards rushing. His yards per carry number however, is down almost a whole yard from last year which doesn't concern me all that much as I've always seen Brown as a power back. UAB is having an outstanding year this year at 7-1 at this point. Will be able to cash in a good December bowl game if Brown and Blazers can win out in Conference USA.
Devin "Motor" Singletary, Florida Atlantic
A somewhat down year for Singletary and the Owl's offense. The loss of Kendall Briles is proving to be a very large loss for the Owls poor 3-5 start. I'm not sure if it's the poor judgement by Lane Kiffin to try and unleash boy prodigy Offensive Coordinator, Charlie Weis Jr. too early, or if we saw a one year high note with his team. Singletary's touchdowns are down, his yards per carry is down a yard and half (substantial if you ask me), and on pace for about 400 rushing yards less than last year. There are more negatives than positives I can come up with regarding Singletary. He's still having an ok year, but in my opinion is trending downwards from last year. He will have to have a dominant Senior season if he wants a path to the NFL.
Bruce Anderson, North Dakota State
Anderson is trending downwards this year as he is 2nd on the Bison in rushing. Only averaging about 87 yards per game, however the Bison have been their typical winning selves, as the Bison are 8-0 this season. His yards per rush is up 2 yards per carry, which is a positive number to look at in the running game. If we are looking at the projected, he should be near 1200 rushing yards again, but will only have half the touchdowns he did last year, which if NDSU scores like they have been, may not be a factor in the FCS playoffs. I look for Anderson to make an NFL roster as a Return Man, not a Running Back.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
Jaylen Smith, Louisville
Louisville has had a terrible season this year, and to start with my receivers, Jaylen Smith has had a terrible year as well with only one single touchdown. This is a player that was close to having 1000 receiving yards last year, but is on pace for 700 receiving yards. I never saw Lamar Jackson as a great passer, but obviously did enough to win a Heisman Trophy. Smith is drowning in his draft stock. If he goes in the 4th round in the NFL Draft I would be shocked, I see him as a 5th or 6th rounder.
JD Spielman, Nebraska
Spielman's touchdown production is definitely up from last year (2) as he has 7 touchdowns in 8 games thus far. Also has recorded 53 receptions only 2 off his year long mark from last year. I would say JD has been the lone spark of this Cornhuskers offense. Two games over 100 yards receiving, this Minnesota native is adjusting quite well to a true freshman quarterback and should improve even more as the year goes on as he closes in on possibly a 1000 receiving yards season year end. Only a Sophomore, this kid could be a star in the making in the Big Ten.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Compared to last year, Albert was used in more longer yardage packages. Based on his start this year, he's averaging almost 4 yards less per catch but already has 10 more receptions than all of last year as he is being targeted more and more by Drew Lock to get first downs vs. connecting on longer plays. Huge game against Memphis with 159 receiving yards and three touchdowns He already has gone over his yardage total from last year already this year and is on pace for about 650-700 receiving yards to end the year, which is very productive for a SEC tight end.
Dax Raymond, Utah State
You have to hand it to the Aggies, they have been having a great year and have cracked the Top 25 this week. I haven't seen much that stands out about Raymond, other than he has doubled his touchdown total from last year from 1 to 2 so far thru 8 games. His best game was against top competition in Michigan State, where the Aggies only lost by a lone touchdown. He's had three 1 catch games but has increased his yards per catch average almost 3 yards. Will be interested to watch the Aggies play in a December bowl game. I can see Raymond on special teams in the NFL and as a potential 3rd string tight end.
Penny Hart, Georgia State
With the Panthers off to a 2-6 start, this team hasn't been clicking anywhere on offense and that includes with Penny Hart's numbers as well. He had 4 games last year going that went for over 100 yards receiving, and this year he has 1 to his name. Touchdown numbers are down, yards per catch are down, receiving yards are down, it hasn't been a great year for Penny despite having 2 seasons of 1100 yard receiving campaigns, you expected more out of him this year. I don't see a scenario where Georgia State gets into a bowl game, but I think Penny will be drafted somewhere in the 5th-7th round of next years NFL Draft.
Davion Davis, Sam Houston State
Coming off of a Southland Conference Player of the Year campaign, we haven't seen as much production from Davis as I would have liked. Although he's on track to be near his touchdown total from last year, I'm starting to think the best year we've seen out of him was his Junior year and the NFL scouts will definitely take note of that. It will come down to how far the Bearkats can make it in the FCS Playoffs to see how similar Davion's numbers will be from last year, that is his chance to shine.
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