20 College Football Studs Who Will Be Even Better in the NFL

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJune 24, 2012

20 College Football Studs Who Will Be Even Better in the NFL

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    There are some very talented college football players who will likely be entering the NFL draft in 2013. As usual, some will be busts, while some will pan out more than some.

    Success at the college level does not always translate to success in the NFL, but it certainly does not hurt.

    While everybody knows players like Matt Barkley and Robert Woods will be picked near the top of the draft, there are names that will not necessarily have the success in the NFL that they have had in college. 

    Other examples of that include Tim Tebow and many former Heisman winners.

    But what about the college studs who are not necessarily All-Americans? There are players who continue to develop and peak upon reaching the NFL.

    Here are 20 players who will be better in the NFL than they are in college.

Eric Reid, LSU

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    Tyrann Mathieu is the most explosive defensive player in the country and the big name on the LSU defense, but when it comes to the next level, safety Eric Reid will be the better of the two.

    He came up huge during the biggest game of the year in the national championship game against Alabama, totaling 11 tackles, nine of which were solo, and a pass defensed.

    Reid will be even better next season. He might just be a Pro Bowler at the next level, too.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

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    Not many people could have expected the season Logan Thomas had last year as a sophomore.

    He passed for 3,013 yards and 19 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, but came on strong toward the end of the year.

    Thomas has a chance to be the second quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL draft, but is not even close to one of the most highly-touted quarterbacks in college right now.

Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee

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    Da'Rick Rogers burst onto the scene last year, particularly when No. 1 receiver Justin Hunter missed action with injury.

    Rogers caught 67 balls for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns.

    He will be entering his junior season, and many people outside of the SEC do not know too much about him.

    He has the potential to be a first-round pick and a No. 1 WR at the next level.

Kawann Short, Purdue

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    Kawann Short is a big defensive tackle who anchors a Purdue defensive line that is one of the best in the B1G.

    He is a 300-pound space-eater that could be a late first-round selection in 2013.

    While he does not get much notoriety at the college level playing for Purdue, Short will be a stud in the NFL.

D.J. Fluker, Alabama

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    While Barrett Jones may be the big name along the offensive line for the Alabama Crimson Tide, tackle D.J. Fluker will be the better of the two at the next level.

    He stands 6'6" and 340 pounds. Fluker will likely be a first-round selection in next year's NFL draft and a staple along any offensive line in the NFL.

    Fluker has "future stud" written all over him.

Keenan Allen, California

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    The Pac-12 is filled with dynamic receivers, but a guy who may just be the best of them all is Keenan Allen.

    Last season as a sophomore, Allen caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns.

    If the Bears can get a little more talent around him, his numbers will be much the same this year.

    Even though he might not be a first-team All-Pac-12 performer, Allen will be a future No. 1 at the next level and could be one of the best receivers in the NFL for years to come.

Jarvis Jones, Georgia

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    Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones had a nine-game stretch last season when he had 13.5 sacks.

    Simply put, he is as good as it gets at his position.

    There is no better player in the nation at getting to the quarterback, and he will do even more at the next level with defensive coordinators being able to put packages in allowing him to get to the passer as much as possible.

Star Lotulelei, Utah

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    Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei may be the least-known name on the list, but he is certainly going to be known at the next level.

    The 6'3", 325-pound big man in the middle will likely be a mid first-round selection next year and has the talent to start immediately in the NFL.

    Look for this kid to continue to develop and become a star in the NFL.

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

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    Tyler Wilson is certainly talented and has the potential to be an All-American. With that being said, he is not one of the bigger stat-stuffers at the quarterback position. 

    While he will not put up the numbers next season that some other talented quarterbacks will, he has a chance to be one of the top two or three quarterbacks to come out in the 2013 NFL draft.

    Wilson could be a guy that puts up better numbers in the NFL than he did in college, similar to Matthew Stafford.

David Amerson, North Carolina State

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    North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson is another junior on this list, and while he does not get the notoriety he deserves, he may just be the best cornerback in the country.

    Amerson had an amazing 12 interceptions last season. Though he will certainly not total that in 2012, he will be a high selection in the 2013 NFL draft.

    This guy has the potential to be an All-Pro for a decade.

Sam Montgomery, LSU

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    Not many college teams produce the talent on defense that LSU does, and Sam Montgomery will likely be the latest top-10 defensive selection from LSU in the 2013 draft.

    Considered one of the best defensive ends in the country, Montgomery may be picked as high as second in the draft, behind Barkley.

    He is 6'4" and 245 pounds, giving him the perfect size to rush the passer. He had nine sacks last season for the Tigers. 

    Montgomery will be in the backfield constantly at the next level.

William Gholston, Michigan State

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    While his cousin Vernon Gholston may have been somewhat of a bust in the NFL, don't expect that to happen with this guy.

    Gholston is a freak and can get to the quarterback like few others in the country can. At 6'7" and 275 pounds, not many people have the physique of Gholston.

    Entering his junior season, he is one of the best defensive players in the B1G. While he may be a late first-round pick in the 2013 draft, Gholston is similar to Quinton Coples from this year's draft.

Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

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    When it comes to cover corners, Johnthan Banks is the best in the SEC.

    He is certain to be a high draft pick in 2013, and at 6'2" and 185 pounds, he has the size to produce in the NFL.

    He has had the opportunity to go against the best of the SEC while playing for Mississippi State, and he will be as prepared as anybody for the next level.

Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

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    The Big 12 is a conference that sometimes allows for inflated offensive stats, but as far as defense is concerned, Texas end Jackson Jeffcoat is as NFL-ready as anybody.

    He is 6'5" and 253 pounds with an uncanny ability to get to the quarterback. He had 7.5 sacks in the last seven games last season.

    This is another guy who is likely to put up even better numbers in the NFL.

Michael Dyer, Arkansas State

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    Many people may know Michael Dyer from his time at Auburn, but he is now with Arkansas State.

    He was always solid at Auburn and went over 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons.

    He will be a stud this season at Arkansas State and very productive in the NFL as well.

Marquess Wilson, Washington State

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    Marquess Wilson is another of the talented receivers found throughout the Pac-12.

    Last year, he caught 82 passes for 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a freshman, he averaged over 18 yards a catch and last year, nearly 17.

    The 6'4", 183-pound junior is as big a deep threat as nearly anybody in the country and will carry that over to the NFL.

Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

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    Brandon Jenkins is a talented defensive end who has not necessarily been able to put everything together.

    With that being said, he still had eight sacks last season and will be one of the best defensive players in the ACC next season.

    While he has shown glimpses in college, his skill set may even be a better fit at the next level, considering his 6'3", 265-pound frame.

Justin Hunter, Tennessee

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    Wide receiver Justin Hunter was hurt for most of last season and only caught 17 passes for 314 yards, but the potential is certainly there. 

    He will likely never put up huge numbers in college because of the injuries, but when he reaches the NFL, look out.

    Last year, he totaled 146 and 156 yards in his only two full games before being lost for the season with an injury.

    He will be a huge deep threat at the next level.

Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

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    Johnathan Hankins is one of those players who not only gets better every game but seemingly improves every snap.

    He will be a junior in 2012, and he stands 6'3" and weighs 335 pounds. With how much he developed from his freshman to sophomore season, expect an even bigger improvement next year. 

    Hankins could be one of those talents who is just scratching the surface.

Barkevious Mingo, LSU

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    Barkevious Mingo is just another of the amazing defensive talents at LSU. He is likely a top-five pick next season. The 6'5", 240-pound defensive end is an excellent pass-rusher.

    Last season he had eight sacks, and he teams up with Sam Montgomery to form the best defensive end combination in the country.

    He will excel at the next level.