10 College Football Players Whose Team Is Holding Them Back
Believe it or not, there are plenty of college football players who would thrive if they were on a different team.
Due to players' skill sets, personnel changes and different schemes that coaches bring in, some guys are just a better fit than others. You then have depth being an issue, as some players regardless of talent are forced to ride the bench much longer than they should. The bottom line is that some teams are holding certain players back from taking that next step and taking over the college football landscape.
Some players are playing the wrong position, some would benefit if they were playing at a different spot and then a few guys would just be better off if they were on a completely different team.
Players should make an honest effort to adjust to what the coaching staff wants, but sometimes the reason things aren't working out isn't exactly one guy's fault.
We could probably pick at least one player on every team in the country that should be playing elsewhere, but here are 10 college football players who could become national superstars if a few changes were made.
Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech
Bjoern Werner had 13 sacks last season, and everybody is drooling over him as a potential top pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Vic Beasley had eight sacks in a backup role for the Clemson Tigers and is picking up steam as a top pass-rusher.
Jeremiah Attaochu had 10 sacks for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and not many outside the state of Georgia have even heard of the guy.
The difference between the three players? One guy is on a losing team that also happens to play in a top-heavy conference that very few give a second look.
Attaochu has picked up 19 sacks in three short seasons and should continue to climb up NFL draft boards with yet another productive season this year. Probably talented enough to have bolted a year early, he wanted to truly get enough hype behind him before leaving school.
This is a tremendous athlete that has experience doing a little bit of everything for the Yellow Jackets. He has been asked to get after the quarterback, drop back in coverage and has spent time in both 3-4 and 4-3 looks.
If Attaochu was on the Seminoles or even Virginia Tech, he would have been a household name by now. Instead, he is climbing an uphill battle and just trying to get noticed as he enters his senior season.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas
Texas has a long tradition of producing great running backs. With insane depth at the position once again for the Longhorns, there is a possibility more names could be included on that lengthy list. But with that type of competition fighting for carries, there unfortunately is going to be somebody left behind.
Malcolm Brown was a top recruit from the 2011 class and actually led the team in rushing yards as a true freshman with 742 yards. Looking like the next great back for Texas, he quickly saw his production take a hit as Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron both surpassed him on the depth chart and enter the spring as the front-runners for the position.
Brown has a ridiculous combination of size and speed, and he rarely goes down on initial contact. Not much of a burner, but you don't see guys with his patience and balance very often. This is a complete running back that looks like he is going to be forced to take a backseat due to flashier and younger runners.
Put Brown on any other team and he is tearing it up as the lead runner. On Texas, he looks like he is the change-of-pace back and soon, the forgotten man.
Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida
Jeff Driskel isn't a popular name throughout college football and enters the new season on a short leash after Florida ranked dead last in passing offense.
There were only two games where he had more than 200 passing yards. In the Gators' two losses last year, he didn't help matters by throwing two interceptions in both contests.
You can continue to blame Driskel if you would like, but how about the Gators receivers? This offense isn't under the watchful eye of Urban Meyer any longer and the lack of playmakers shows that. Both Andre Debose and Quinton Dunbar haven't exactly fulfilled expectations.
Also, running a pro-set offense isn't exactly the best bet with somebody as athletic as Driskel. With a physical and athletic offensive line, moving the pocket and allowing Driskel to make plays with his legs sure wouldn't hurt.
Just watch these highlights from the 2011 Under Armour game and tell me this kid doesn't have talent to play the position and become the next great dual-threat quarterback.
Driskel really isn't the problem; he just needs a little bit of help around him.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
If I had just printed the name of Lache Seastrunk and didn't include the school he plays for, would you have known he was the running back for the Baylor Bears?
Seastrunk made his introduction to the college football world with this run, but other than that, most had no idea who the guy was. Forget the fact that he rushed for 1,012 yards and averaged more than seven yards a pop, Baylor was still looked at as a passing school.
The truth is that the Baylor running back could be the first running back taken in next year’s NFL draft. With his explosive running ability and the way he plays much bigger than he actually is, this is somebody who should be high on NFL scouts' radar. The problem is he plays in a spread pass-happy offense and isn't exactly on a team that is shoved down your throat by the national media.
Seastrunk could easily be the starting running back for most teams in the country and should be a bigger name than he is at the moment. It is great to see Baylor still producing star players like this, but unfortunately, he will be a much bigger name after he graduates from the program.
Keith Price, QB, Washington
One of the most underrated quarterbacks in the entire country is Keith Price. This is somebody who completed 67 percent of his passes, threw for more than 3,000 yards and had 33 touchdown passes back in 2011. Those numbers are easily enough to throw him into Heisman conversations and gain NFL scouts' attention.
The problem was that Price was playing behind an offensive line last year that couldn't stop a runny nose. Allowing 38 sacks in 13 games, you can understand why the Huskies not only struggled as a team, but the play and the numbers for Price went down the drain. It doesn't matter how talented you are as a quarterback, or how many weapons your offense has, if you don't have time to even think in the pocket, even Joe Montana isn't going to be very successful.
Price is one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, who throws well on the run and has solid mechanics. It wouldn't be surprising to see his NFL draft stock climb quite a bit during the upcoming season.
That is, if the offensive line can get its act together and block the guy lined up across from them.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Jackson Jeffcoat has racked up 13.5 sacks in three seasons. Keep in mind; he only played in six games last year due to injury.
Now, imagine if he was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, rather than a defensive end in a 4-3 like he is in Texas.
There is little question Jeffcoat is going to get his due to his quickness off the ball, ability to break free and good use of his hands. The problem is that his size at 6'5", 245 pounds makes him ineffective at times and results in him being a non-factor on the play. If his quickness wasn't enough to beat the man in front of him, Jeffcoat can really struggle to make an impact.
This is why the Texas Longhorn defender should be standing up in a 3-4 system full-time. The coaching staff has used his talents in a variety of ways over the years, but he is still listed as a defensive end, and it's where he sees majority of his playing time.
Jeffcoat will be selected high in next year’s NFL draft and will likely shift to the linebacker position. It is better for him if he gets comfortable while he can.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
How many LSU receivers are going to crash and burn in this system?
Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard are two guys that quickly come to mind who weren't able to pan out in Baton Rouge. Jarvis Landry was successful last season, hauling in 56 receptions and five touchdowns, but could be putting up far more impressive numbers if he was playing elsewhere.
The problem really isn't the receivers themselves. The quarterback situation for the Tigers year after year is beyond horrible. The school hasn't had a 3,000-yard passer since JaMarcus Russell back in 2006, and that doesn't look like it is going to change anytime soon. Part of this has to do with the smashmouth running game the Tigers lean towards, but it also has to do with inaccurate passers.
Jones is a speedy receiver with terrific hands and runs crisp routes to boot. In a more pass-happy offense and with a quarterback capable of putting the ball in his hands consistently, he is a receiver who would thrive as one of the nation’s top playmakers.
Instead, we see his numbers from last season and say he had a nice year. Truth is, he is capable of producing much more.
Ishaq Williams, LB, Notre Dame
It may be a little early to begin judging Ishaq Williams as an outside linebacker considering he hasn't spent significant playing time for the team in his first couple of years. His pass-rushing skills should come in handy for the Irish. He could quickly become that difference-maker at outside linebacker that Notre Dame fans have been hoping for.
However, Williams is somebody who should be playing the defensive end spot. With a quick get off and the ability to beat an offensive lineman with his hand usage, he appears to be better with his hand in the dirt at this stage of his career.
Williams brings unbelievable athleticism and a relentless motor to the table that allows him to get into the backfield in a hurry. He also isn't the most polished player in pass coverage and his lengthy frame can result in shaky tackling at times.
The Irish defender is somebody you want to line up on the line and let him get after it. It may only be a matter of time before he makes the switch to defensive end and adds depth to an already loaded Notre Dame front.
Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama
It is hard to argue with head coach Nick Saban. After all, he has all of the hardware and has earned his stripes, while I haven't taken home any coach of the year awards or crystal footballs.
However, Trey DePriest would be a lot more effective as a 3-4 outside linebacker than lining up in the middle.
The good news for Alabama fans is that DePriest finished second on the team with 59 tackles and four tackles for loss. But this is somebody who is athletic enough and has big-play ability to get after the quarterback. With his skill set, he could have been a Jarvis Jones or Damontre Moore-type player in the SEC.
Coming out of high school, DePriest had spent time at running back and showed enough lateral quickness to be that disruptive linebacker breaking through the offensive line. He sheds blocks nicely and played the game like his hair was on fire. That would have translated well as an outside player.
Instead, DePriest is a middle linebacker. While he holds his own in run support, he doesn't make nearly enough game-changing plays.
With the overall production the Tide get from their defense, it is really hard to argue. But you would like to see Alabama get the most out of DePriest and his talent.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas is going to be criticized for fooling us all as being that next elite dual-threat quarterback. Remember, heading into last season, the Virginia Tech starter was being compared to Cam Newton and many expected him to bolt early for the NFL draft.
After throwing 16 interceptions to only 18 touchdowns, Thomas was not only forced to return for his senior season, but is looking like a fraud as far as NFL potential is concerned.
Look, there is no question he makes terrible decisions with the football at times, and his ball placement has seen better days. But with his ability to kill defenses with his legs and his arm strength, there are reasons to consider him as a potential next-level player.
The thing that should bug you with Virginia Tech is that this school can't land any elite players on the offensive side of the ball to save its life.
Besides running back David Wilson from a couple seasons ago, name one gifted offensive player Thomas has played with. Don't worry, I'll wait.
When you combine the lack of talent at the skill positions and a subpar offensive line, Thomas hasn't exactly been put in a great situation to succeed. Of course, he hasn't helped himself, but still.
I'd like to see what the Hokies signal-caller could do if he had just the slightest bit of help.
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