It was last year around this time I wrote the 2015 edition of this article… I gave you 5 names to know who were probably not as well known to the average, casual CFB fan, but you would be hearing much more about during the season.  I’d like to think I did well with last year’s list (Dalvin Cook, Derrick Barnett, Sterling Sheppard, Cody Kessler, & Eli Apple). So, with that in mind, let me give the 2016 version of who you NEED to know in College Football…

  1. Jake Browning: QB, Washington

Many believe Chris Peterson finally has a Huskies team that can win a PAC-12 title, if that’s the case Browning will play a huge part.  Only a Sophomore, Jake threw for just a tick under 3000 yds with 16 TDs.  While it’s not a great receiving corps, he has a potential 1st Team All-Conference RB & TE and a nasty defense to fall back on which should give him plenty of scoring opportunities.  Josh Rosen may get all the hype, but Browning could emerge with the better season.

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  1. Derwin James: Safety, Florida State

It’s not often a positional group that loses a Top 5 NFL pick is better the next season, but FSU’s Secondary very well may be that exception.  Jalen Ramsey was picked 5th in last year’s draft and yet some say James may be BETTER than he was.  As a Freshman last year he was 3rd Team All-ACC and will not only be a likely 1st Teamer this year, he may be 1st Team All-America.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

  1. Christian Kirk: WR, Texas A&M

Calvin Ridley of Alabama got all the hype last year as a Freshman WR, but Kirk as a Frosh only finished with 9 less catches, 36 less yards, and had the same number of TDs.  Add in 2 Punt Return TDs for Kirk and you realize how dynamic he was.  He’s part of the best, deepest WR corps in the SEC and has a QB who can huck it around.  Don’t be surprised if he finishes as the best WR in the SEC this year.

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  1. Anthony Walker: LB, Northwestern

Simply put I will say Walker is the BEST Defensive player in America you don’t know about.  Don’t believe me?  His Coach who is a 2 time Big10 Def POY, Bednarik, and Nagurski Trophy winner says Walker could be the best Defensive player in school history.  He’s fast, physical, still adding to his frame, and had 20.5 TFL last year… That spells bad news for RBs, TEs, and QBs in the Big 10!

  1. Wayne Gallman: RB, Clemson

It can be easy with Deshaun Watson putting up legendary numbers to be overlooked but Gallman shouldn’t take a backseat to anyone.  In a Conference LOADED with talented RB,  Gallman put up 1500+ yds with 13 TDs and is only 1684 yds from being the school’s All-Time leading rusher.  Considering his team will be the favorite to win the Natl Title, he will have plenty of games to put those numbers up in an offense that could more dynamic than last year with so much returning.

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