College Football Players Who Won't Live Up to Their Hype in 2013

Danny Flynn@FlynnceptionSenior Analyst IJanuary 31, 2013

College Football Players Who Won't Live Up to Their Hype in 2013

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    At this point last year, players such as Matt Barkley, Denard Robinson, Landry Jones, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins were some of the most talked-about figures in college football.

    They all found their names on numerous preseason Heisman lists, and all of them received plenty of national publicity.

    Ultimately, however, none of them were able to live up to their preseason hype.

    There's no shame in failing to meet high preseason expectations, because there are plenty of players who fall into that category every season.

    Here's a look at some few notable players who may not be able to live up to their preseason hype in 2013.

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

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    This past season, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy.

    Now, he'll face the challenge of trying to become just the second player in history to take home the award in two straight seasons.

    Manziel is one of the most naturally gifted playmakers in the country. However, you have to factor in the reality that it's never easy being the offseason cover boy of college football. Just ask Matt Barkley, Jake Locker, Matt Leinart or Brady Quinn.

    The dynamic dual-threat quarterback seems to love the spotlight, but it remains to be seen if he'll be able to back up all of his offseason hype in 2013.

RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

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    Ka'Deem Carey was one of the biggest breakout stars in college football in 2012, leading the nation with 1,929 rushing yards.

    It seemed as if Carey was on his way to becoming the next Steve Slaton in Rich Rodriguez's offense. However, he's run into some off-field trouble on a few separate occasions, and the offseason isn't even a month old yet.

    Carey could have trouble keeping his focus on the field this offseason. The distractions could certainly have an effect on his performance in 2013.

WR Marqise Lee, USC

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    Roger Goodell should give Marqise Lee a special exemption to enter the 2013 NFL draft.

    It just doesn't seem fair that Lee, who would be the first wide receiver taken and possibly the No. 1 overall pick if he was eligible, has to go back to USC and deal with the nonsense there.

    That nonsense is a quarterback situation that includes a competition between ill-prepared Max Wittek and talented, but completely unproven freshman, Max Browne for the starting job.

    Lee's production will suffer because of the inexperience at quarterback, likely costing him a couple of draft slots and potentially a couple million dollars.

    It's not his fault, though. There's no reason Lee shouldn't be competing against NFL competition next season. He's absolutely ready.

QB Everett Golson, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame loses many of its key offensive skill-position players from 2012, most notably TE Tyler Eifert and running backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick.

    However, QB Everett Golson does return to lead the offense after an up-and-down first season.

    Golson showed some flashes of his potential during his first year as a starter. But when it came time to prove himself on the big stage against a great defense, he got exposed.

    The Notre Dame hype machine will kick into overdrive trying to build the young quarterback into a top Heisman contender. However, Golson's campaign likely won't last very long into the season.

RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

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    For the second year in a row, Oregon will have to replace its star running back.

    First, it was LaMichael James. Now, it's Kenjon Barner, who rushed for over 1,700 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in 2012, who has to be replaced.

    Luckily, the Ducks have one of the most physically gifted players in all of college football, De'Anthony Thomas, to help make up for the loss.

    Thomas is an explosive playmaker who can do major damage as a runner, a receiver or a returner. Nevertheless, at 5'9", 173 pounds, he simply doesn't have the makings of a full-time feature back.

    That's why Thomas will likely end up having to split carries with emerging freshman Byron Marshall, who averaged 5.1 yards on 87 carries in his first season.

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

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    Taylor Lewan could have declared for the 2013 NFL draft and been a first-round pick. Instead, he made the surprising decision to return to Michigan for his senior year.

    Will Lewan end up regretting the decision a year from now?

    Well, maybe he should ask Ricky Wagner, who was projected by many to be a first-round prospect going into the season, yet is now viewed as nothing more than a mid-round option after a mediocre senior campaign at Wisconsin.

    There's no guarantee that Lewan's stock will drop like Wagner's did. But at the very least, the highly touted offensive lineman has to be concerned about other tackles such as Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Iowa's Brandon Scherff, Stanford's David Yankey, Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio and Virginia's Morgan Moses.

    All five tackles could potentially steal the spotlight from Lewan in 2013.

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

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    Logan Thomas was one of the most disappointing players of the 2012 season, and there's really no reason to believe that he'll be any better in 2013.

    Thomas lost his top three receivers from this past season—Marcus Davis, Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller. He'll also have to adapt to new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler's offensive system.

    The big, athletic Ben Roethlisberger clone will once again receive plenty of offseason publicity based on his "potential." However, it won't change the fact that Thomas is just not a top-level passer.

LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin

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    Chris Borland has totaled 247 tackles over the last two seasons, but it remains to be seen how successful he can be now that he won't have Mike Taylor by his side.

    Borland is an undersized 5'11", 245-pound middle linebacker who has overachieved up to this point in his career.

    Although he'll be built up to be one of the Big Ten's best 'backers, it likely won't take long for players like Michigan's Jake Ryan, Iowa's Anthony Hitchens, Michigan State's Max Bullough and Ohio State's Ryan Shazier to prove their superiority over Borland.

QB AJ McCarron, Alabama

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    Say what you will about AJ McCarron. The bottom line is he is 25-2 as a starter, and he's won two consecutive national championships.

    McCarron should now start to get plenty of national attention this offseason. He'll likely enter the 2013 season as one of the top Heisman contenders.

    The problem for McCarron is that he won't have star offensive linemen like Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker to keep him protected next season.

    Increased pressure off the field and the increased pressure he'll face in the pocket could lead to a drop-off in McCarron's consistency in 2013.

WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

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    Malcolm Mitchell is expected to become Aaron Murray's undisputed No. 1 receiving target in 2013.

    Don't be surprised, though, if it's instead Michael Bennett who emerges as the Bulldogs' top receiving threat next season.

    Mitchell is more athletic and an overall more dangerous big-play threat, but Bennett is the type of reliable receiver that Murray knows he'll always be able to count on no matter what the situation.

RB Dri Archer, Kent State

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    Kent State had one of the best seasons in school history in 2012, winning 11 games and a MAC East division title. The main player who led the Golden Flashes to their surprisingly successful campaign was RB Dri Archer.

    Archer was one of the most productive players in the country, ranking fourth in the nation with 2,577 total yards.

    The explosive back will have a tough time matching that production once again, since opposing defenses will be so focused on stopping him in 2013. It also doesn't help that Archer lost his two best blockers, Brian Winters and Josh Kline, who both opened up big holes for him this past season.

QB Keith Price, Washington

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    Keith Price got everyone talking when he outplayed Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in the 2011 Alamo Bowl. It was the type of breakout performance that led to a lot of offseason buzz for Price and the Huskies.

    Ultimately, however, he wasn't able to back up the hype in 2012. Price regressed and led Washington to another mediocre 7-6 record.

    The senior signal-caller will have plenty of talent at his disposal next season, including standouts such as RB Bishop Sankey, WR Kasen Williams and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. However, if he wants to improve, he's going to have to show better poise and pass the ball more effectively.

QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

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    Jordan Lynch sounded pretty confident in interviews during the week leading up to the Orange Bowl. But once game night rolled around, Florida State's defense shut him down and shut him up.

    Before the game, Lynch was considered to be one of the most underrated offensive playmakers in the country, but both he and his team got exposed on the big stage against a quality opponent.

    After leading Northern Illinois to a 12-win season and a MAC championship in 2012, Lynch will have a lot to live up to next season. It won't be easy to recover from such an embarrassing performance in front of a big audience.

RB Malcolm Brown, Texas

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    Malcolm Brown arrived at Texas as the top-rated running back prospect of the 2011 recruiting class. Two years later, he's now third in the Longhorns' rushing pecking order.

    Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron combined to carry the ball 276 times for 1,268 yards and 19 touchdowns this past season, and they proved that they are perfect complements for one another.

    If he can stay healthy for a full season, Brown will see his fair share of carries in 2013, but it's clear that Gray and Bergeron will be the team's two most featured backs.

DE Robert Nkemdiche

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    The No. 1 overall prospect of the 2013 recruiting class, DE Robert Nkemdiche, has generated plenty of headlines in recent months. His recruitment has turned into a true saga.

    After committing to Clemson in the summer, Nkemdiche went back on his word and opened up his recruitment even after the Tigers handed out scholarships to some of his high school teammates.

    Nkemdiche possesses tremendous talent and plenty of potential. However, it'll likely take him more than a year to adapt to SEC-caliber competition. Jadeveon Clowney was the better overall player when he entered the collegiate ranks, and it took Clowney two seasons to become a truly elite edge-rusher.

RB Henry Josey, Missouri

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    Henry Josey enjoyed a breakout season in 2011. However, that year unfortunately ended with Josey experiencing a devastating knee injury, which resulted in multiple torn ligaments.

    Josey sat out the entire 2012 season, rehabbing the injury. Now, he'll try to bounce back in 2013.

    We remember Josey as such a special player during that terrific 2011 performance, but it's likely that he won't look nearly as effective against SEC defenses, especially after experiencing such a serious leg injury.

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

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    There are a few notable redshirt freshman quarterbacks that could potentially be in store for a bit of a sophomore slump in 2013. One of them is UCLA's Brett Hundley.

    Hundley had an outstanding debut season in 2012, totaling over 4,000 yards of offense. But he also benefited from a spectacular performance from RB Johnathan Franklin.

    With Franklin gone, defenses are likely going to key on containing Hundley. It remains to be seen if the dual-threat signal-caller will be able to handle the increased scrutiny from defenses.

DE Ryne Giddins, South Florida

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    It wasn't long ago that DE Ryne Giddins was being hailed as the best overall prospect of South Florida's 2009 recruiting class.

    Now, four years later, all Giddins has to show for himself is 13.5 career sacks, a number that seems considerably low given how highly rated a recruit he was.

    Still, Giddins should still see his name on plenty of preseason All-Big East teams this summer. However, it likely won't take long for Notre Dame transfer Aaron Lynch to rise up and overshadow him in 2013.

RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech

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    Louisiana Tech's offense has lost a lot so far this offseason.

    The Bulldogs lost their offensive architect Sonny Dykes, who bolted to accept the Cal head-coaching job. They also lost QB Colby Cameron and WR Quinton Patton, one of the most productive passing combinations in the country.

    Luckily, the team welcomes back RB Kenneth Dixon, who led the nation with 28 total touchdowns scored in 2012.

    Dixon is a very talented back, but he'll likely have to deal with defenses loading the box and trying to stuff the run much more often next season.

    It also doesn't help that his two best offensive linemen, Jordan Mills and Oscar Johnson, are both gone.

DE Ronald Powell, Florida

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    Ronald Powell arrived at Florida as the gem of the team's 2010 recruiting class. He was considered by some analysts to be the best overall prospect in the class.

    The bottom line is so far, Powell has been a bust.

    Injuries have cost Powell some valuable game experience. But he'll still likely have many supporters touting him as one of the best players in the conference this offseason, even though he missed all of 2012.

    However, the Gators pass-rushers that should actually get the publicity are Dominique Easley and Dante Fowler. Both Easley and Fowler are ready for national stardom. Powell isn't yet.