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10 Most Irreplaceable Players in College Football

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2013

10 Most Irreplaceable Players in College Football

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    One player can take a team a long way. When it comes to college football, there are plenty of irreplaceable players. While every team has its most important member, there are 10 players today in college football who are a little more irreplaceable than the rest.

    Like any other sport, one player can make a huge difference, but right now in the college football landscape, that has never been more true.

    While quarterback is the most important position, there is no doubt that other spots on the field are integral.

    While it is mostly quarterbacks on the list, there are a few other guys who cracked the top 10, even though they do not touch the ball on every play.

    This is not necessarily the top 10 players in the country, but those who would be hard to replace on their team whether it be lack of backups or the sheer talent of the player.

    Here are the 10 most irreplaceable players in college football heading into the 2013 season.

Honorable Mentions

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    Here are a few players who did not quite make the list, but still mean an awful lot to the programs they represent.

    Taylor Lewan: Michigan, Offensive Tackle

    AJ McCarron: Alabama, Quarterback

    Casey Pachall: TCU, Quarterback

    Brett Hundley, UCLA, Quarterback


10. Braxton Miller: Ohio State, Quarterback

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    Braxton Miller would be higher on the list if not for the talent of senior backup Kenny Guiton.

    Miller is certainly one of the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy in 2013 as he finished fifth a year ago.

    He is one of the most explosive players in the country, and his ability to beat teams with not only his arm, but his legs, makes him very valuable to the Ohio State offense.

    There is no doubt that he excelled during his first season in the Urban Meyer offense and has the potential to be even better in 2013.

9. Tajh Boyd: Clemson, Quarterback

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    There is no question that Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was thrilled to hear quarterback Tajh Boyd would be returning to campus for his senior season.

    Boyd is the main reason for the success of the Clemson offense in recent years, and he has as much poise in the pocket as any quarterback in the nation.

    There are some very talented backups on the Clemson roster, so Boyd is not as high on the list as some players he might be a little better than.

    Still, there are few players in the nation who mean as much to their team as Boyd does to the Tigers.

8. Aaron Murray: Georgia, Quarterback

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    Aaron Murray is returning for his fifth season in the Georgia program. It seems like he has been there forever. That is a good thing for the Bulldogs and not so good for the rest of the SEC.

    Murray is one of the most complete quarterbacks in the nation, and there is not a lot of talent behind him on the Georgia depth chart.

    While it is not known who the quarterback will be when Murray finally leaves Athens, it looks like senior Hutson Mason will serve as his backup.

    It might not be good news for the Bulldogs if Murray goes down. He is the most valuable player they have had in quite some time.

7. Jadeveon Clowney: South Carolina, Defensive End

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    No question who the best and most feared defensive player in college football will be heading into the 2013 season.

    Clowney is an absolute monster and can be a game-changer from his defensive end position.

    He will certainly be in the Heisman conversation when the year begins, and he is one of those players that commands a double-team on every play.

    Without him, the South Carolina defense would be much easier to put points on the board against.

6. Marqise Lee: USC, Wide Receiver

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    Marqise Lee is not only the best wide receiver in the country, but he also just might be the most talented on the offensive side of the ball.

    Lee is going to be without Robert Woods who left early for the NFL draft, but the junior can do a little bit of everything.

    Even though his numbers will likely not be as good as the 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns on 118 receptions from a year ago, Lee is the most valuable wide receiver in the country.

    He will be able to help take some of the pressure off of sophomore Max Wittek as he is the most likely to assume the starting role at quarterback.

    Lee warrants double coverage, which should help open up some things for other receivers, and help out his new quarterback.

    There is no player outside of the quarterback position that is more valuable to his team than Lee at USC.

5. Marcus Mariota: Oregon, Quarterback

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    Marcus Mariota would not have been anywhere near this list had it not been for the recent news that backup Bryan Bennett has decided to leave the program and transfer to Southeastern Louisiana. 

    Last season Mariota and Bennett were the only players to throw a pass for the Ducks, and there is not much as far as experience is concerned.

    The likely backup will be Jeff Lockie. Lockie will be entering his second year in the program and he will get competition from Jake Rodrigues.

    One thing is certain, if Mariota Goes down, this team could be in a world of hurt, particularly without Chip Kelly running the show.

4. Joradan Lynch: Northern Illinois, Quarterback

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    Even though Jordan Lynch did not have the type of game he was expecting in the Orange Bowl, that does not take away from one of the best seasons any player in college football had.

    He did a little bit of everything, and like a lot of other quarterbacks in college football, he can beat teams not only with his arm, but also with his legs.

    Lynch rushed for 1,815 yards on the year with 19 touchdowns. He also passed for 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns.

    He single-handedly helped put Northern Illinois into the national spotlight, and it would be nowhere close to where it finished in 2012 without him.

3. Taylor Martinez: Nebraska, Quarterback

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    Taylor Martinez is certainly an excellent quarterback, but he is so high on the list because there is simply nobody behind him that could take over and do anywhere close to what he does.

    As it stands right now redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong has the potential to be a standout, but he has not played a snap at the collegiate level, and will be challenged for that position by incumbent Ron Kellogg III.

    Kellogg III, is a former walk-on and is certainly not the answer.

    If Armstrong develops like he is capable of, Martinez could drop down the list, but it is definitely too early to tell.

2. Johnny Manziel: Texas A&M, Quarterback

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    Johnny Manziel is so important to his football team, that it is hard to imagine him not being on the top of the list.

    With that being said, however, there are a few very capable backups behind him, and head coach Kevin Sumlin is a genius when it comes to producing talented signal-callers.

    That is the only reason why Manziel is not at the top of the list.

    While backup Jameill Showers could graduate and leave for a program where he could play immediately, at this point he is still with the team.

    There are also very capable backups as well in Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis.

1. Teddy Bridgewater: Louisville, Quarterback

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    Topping the list is Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

    Bridgewater put himself in the Heisman conversation with an excellent performance in the 33-23 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida.

    There is no doubt that Louisville would be nowhere close to where it finished without Bridgewater running the show.

    What makes Bridgewater so high on this list is the fact that there is simply nobody behind him.

    As it looks right now, Jerry Arlinghaus will serve as the backup, but a lot could change between now and the start of the season in August.

    If Bridgewater is missing from the lineup, the Cardinals might not be much better than a .500 team.

     

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