College Football is right around the corner, which means it’s time for one of the more important offseason events to take place…No, not any kickoff luncheon…it’s time for Year 3 of the “5 Names You Need To Know” this upcoming college football season.
Remember, these aren’t necessarily the top players in college football or names everybody knows, but rather players who will have big impacts the casual fan may not know.
5. Shaun Dion Hamilton: LB – Alabama
Hamilton tore his ACL in the SEC championship game last year but is expected to be ready Game 1, which is bad news for SEC offenses. On a program known for stellar linebacker play, Hamilton, who did start last year, should continue his upward path.
4. Quadree Henderson: WR – Pittsburgh
Most people probably don’t realize Henderson was the All-Purpose First-Team All-America last year. Accounting for over 2,000 all-purpose yards. He may need to give Pitt even more this year given their losses on offense from last year.
3. Quinton Flowers: QB – South Florida
The reigning AAC Offensive Player of the Year dazzled last year with 42 total touchdowns and 1,530 rush yards. He’s on a team that may make a serious run as the non-Power 5 representative. Don’t be surprised if Flowers ends up with a New York invite come Heisman time.
2. Ronald Jones II: RB – Southern Cal
Quarterback Sam Darnold may be the babe, the boy for USC, but Jones is who will make the offense go. He finished fifth in both rush yards and rushing touchdowns in the PAC-12 last year. In a conference with a lot of great offensive personnel, Jones may end up as the best running in the PAC-12.
1. Mason Rudolph: QB – Oklahoma State
Rudolph is my dark horse Heisman candidate this year. The senior came back after a 4,100 yard, 28 touchdown to only four interception effort season last year. He has the best wide receiver in college football and you know they can light it up offensively, but can they beat Oklahoma in Stillwater on Nov. 4?
I did want to give Honorable Mention to a couple of other names to remember this upcoming season: Dexter Lawrence, DT Clemson; and Harold Landry, LB – Boston College (My pick for ACC Def POY last year and trying to become the first player in college football history with back-to-back 15 sack seasons).