College Football's 10 Best Passing Tandems for 2013
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During the 2012 college football season, we got to see plenty of great quarterback-receiver tandems such as USC's Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee, West Virginia's Geno Smith and Tavon Austin and Baylor's Nick Florence and Terrance Williams.
There's a good chance that we could see some even more powerful passing partnerships next season.
Here's a look at college football's 10 best passing tandems for 2013.
Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins
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Clemson will have to replace two of its top playmakers, RB Andre Ellington and WR DeAndre Hopkins, who each accounted for over 1,400 all-purpose yards in 2012.
Still, there's reason to believe that the Tigers' offense could be just as dangerous in 2013 as last year's attack, which ranked in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring offense and total offense.
Because the unit will feature two of the best players in the country, QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins.
Watkins, who was the biggest breakout freshman star of 2011, is coming off a surprising sophomore slump. However, Boyd built up plenty of momentum this past season with an outstanding performance.
The athletic senior signal-caller completed 67 percent of his passes for over 3,800 yards, ran for 514 yards and accounted for 46 total touchdowns.
If Boyd continues to progress and develop, and if Watkins returns to his freshman form, the Clemson passing attack is going to be downright lethal in 2013.
Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans
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Johnny Manziel received all the publicity and credit for Texas A&M's success this past season. However, there's no way Manziel would have been able to win the Heisman Trophy if he didn't have the help of his top receiver, Mike Evans.
In just his first season as a starter, Evans emerged as one of the most dangerous receiving threats in the country, as he hauled in 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns.
The 6'5'', 216-pound sophomore gives Manziel a huge target that he can always rely on.
The two explosive playmakers should continue to create plenty of big plays in Kevin Sumlin's high-octane offensive attack in 2013.
AJ McCarron and Amari Cooper, Alabama
AJ McCarron and Amari Cooper
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AJ McCarron was one of college football's most efficient quarterbacks in 2012, ranking first in the country with a 175 passer rating and finishing the season with an astounding 30-3 touchdown-interception ratio.
After winning back-to-back national championships, McCarron now has to be considered a truly elite signal-caller as well as a tremendous offensive leader.
The question is, can the accomplished senior signal-caller now lead the Tide to a third straight title in 2013?
In order to do that, McCarron will need the help of his best wideout Amari Cooper.
Cooper is coming off a remarkable debut campaign, in which he led the team with 59 catches for 999 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The 6'1'', 198-pound sophomore is clearly one of the most talented receivers in the country. He's got the chance to be a Julio Jones-esque impact player for Alabama in 2013.
Aaron Murray and Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
Aaron Murray and Malcolm Mitchell
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Aaron Murray created plenty of explosive passing plays in 2012. He ranked first in the nation with an average of 10.1 yards per attempt, and he finished the season with over 3,800 passing yards and 36 touchdowns.
Murray bypassed the chance to be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the 2013 NFL draft in order to return to Georgia to chase an elusive SEC championship.
He'll have a great chance to reach that goal, since the Bulldogs will have one of the most loaded offenses in the country in 2013.
Although the team lost two of its top receivers, Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, Georgia does bring back one of the most gifted pass-catchers in the country, Malcolm Mitchell.
Mitchell, who caught 85 passes in his first two seasons, should flourish in his new role as Murray's go-to target.
Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas
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Marcus Mariota proved to be an absolutely perfect fit for Oregon's spread offense in 2012.
In his first season as a starter, Mariota looked like a poised veteran. He completed 68 percent of his passes for over 2,600 yards, rushed for 752 yards and accounted for 38 touchdowns, as he led the Ducks to a 12-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking.
What's so scary is that Mariota will likely be even better in 2013, now that he has a year of experience under his belt.
He'll be helped by the return of explosive do-it-all playmaker De'Anthony Thomas, who is one of the most versatile and valuable players in the country.
Thomas led the team with 45 catches this past season. He'll be an even bigger part of the offense in 2013.
Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker, Louisville
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Teddy Bridgewater proved that he's one of the best quarterbacks in college football with his sensational sophomore performance in 2012.
Bridgewater completed 68 percent of his passes for over 3,700 yards and threw 27 touchdowns, leading the Cardinals to an 11-2 record, a Big East title and an upset victory in the Sugar Bowl.
The highly productive passer will now enter the 2013 season with plenty of Heisman buzz. However, if he wants to make a serious run at the award, Bridgewater will need the help of his top receiver DeVante Parker.
At 6'3'', 205 pounds, Parker has the size and athleticism to cause plenty of matchup problems for opposing cornerbacks. He's also shown a knack for making big plays in the passing game.
This past season, Parker ranked 15th in the nation with an average of 18.6 yards per catch, and he tied for first in the Big East with 10 touchdown receptions.
Derek Carr and Davante Adams, Fresno State
Derek Carr and Davante Adams
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Fresno State made one of the biggest turnarounds in college football in 2012, going from a nine-loss team in 2011 to a nine-win team this past season.
The two players who played the biggest role in the Bulldogs' success were QB Derek Carr and WR Davante Adams.
They were the centerpieces of a passing attack that ranked 12th in the nation, averaging 325 yards through the air per game.
Carr was one of just nine quarterbacks in the country who threw for over 4,000 yards, while Adams was one of just 10 receivers who caught over 100 passes.
The two appear to have great chemistry and cohesion, and they should continue to put up some impressive numbers in 2013.
Taylor Martinez and Kenny Bell, Nebraska
Taylor Martinez and Kenny Bell
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This past season, Taylor Martinez proved that he was more than just a dangerous running quarterback. Martinez made a noticeable improvement as a passer, completing 62 percent of his passes for over 2,700 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Many of those passes were directed at WR Kenny Bell, who finished the season with 50 catches for 863 yards and eight touchdowns.
Bell, who ranked third in the Big Ten with an average of 17.2 yards per catch, is truly one of the most dangerous receiving weapons in college football.
If the Cornhuskers want to compete for a conference title in 2013, they'll need great campaigns from both Martinez and Bell.
David Fales and Noel Grigsby, San Jose State
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David Fales proved that he was one of the best pure passers in college football in 2012.
In just his first year as a starter, the former JUCO transfer led the nation with a 72 percent completion percentage and ranked sixth in the country with 4,193 passing yards.
Fales should continue to put up huge passing numbers in 2013, especially since he'll have his favorite receiver Noel Grigsby back.
Grigsby was on the receiving end of 82 of Fales' passes last year, and nine of those catches resulted in touchdowns.
The supremely talented seniors were two of college football's hidden gems this past season, but both should earn greater national recognition in 2013.
Bryn Renner and Quinshad Davis, UNC
Bryn Renner and Quinshad Davis
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It didn't seem like people paid much attention to North Carolina last season, since the Tar Heels were banned from the postseason.
That's why QB Bryn Renner and WR Quinshad Davis were two of the most underrated players of 2012.
Renner made a major improvement in his second year as a starter, and he turned out to be one of the most efficient and productive passers in the country. The strong-armed signal-caller completed 65 percent of his passes for over 3,300 yards and threw 28 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions.
His favorite target was Davis, who was one of the top-impact freshman in the country, catching 61 passes for 776 yards and five touchdowns.
Although North Carolina is clearly going to miss game-changing RB Giovani Bernard, the Tar Heels still have two terrific offensive pieces to build around in Renner and Davis.
Other Passing Tandems to Watch
Jordan Lynch and Martel Moore
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Jordan Lynch and Martel Moore, Northern Illinois
J.W. Walsh and Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
Braxton Miller and Devin Smith, Ohio State
Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon, Michigan
Keith Price and Kasen Williams, Washington
Zach Mettenberger and Odell Beckham, LSU
Max Browne and Marqise Lee, USC
Blake Bell and Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma
Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler, Marshall
Jameis Winston and Rashad Greene, Florida State
Brett Hundley and Shaquelle Evans, UCLA
David Ash and Jaxon Shipley, Texas
Bo Wallace and Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
Taysom Hill and Cody Hoffman, BYU
Casey Pachall and Brandon Carter, TCU
Michael Brewer and Eric Ward, Texas Tech
Bryce Petty and Tevin Reese, Baylor
Shane Carden and Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Everett Golson and TJ Jones, Notre Dame
Cody Green and Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa