20 Players Most Likely to Grace the Cover of NCAA 2015

Alex CallosCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2013

20 Players Most Likely to Grace the Cover of NCAA 2015

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    It was recently announced that Denard Robinson would be on the cover of NCAA Football 2014.

    Robinson was one of eight finalists for the honor, and will now get the distinction of being on the cover of one of the best sporting games out there.

    That got us to thinking, what about the cover for the 2015 game.

    The only major requirement is the player can no longer be playing at the collegiate level. It is not necessarily the best player in the country, but somebody who stands out and made a name for himself during his time in college. 

    There are plenty of candidates who could be on the cover in 2015, so why not rank them?

    Here are the 20 players most likely to grace the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

Honorable Mentions

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    Here are some players who just missed out on the list. However, do not rule these players out just yet.

    Taylor Lewan, Michigan: Lewan came back for his senior season and is one of the best offensive linemen in the country.

    Blake Bell, Oklahoma: Bell will be entering his first season as the starter, but it is not a guarantee he will come out after next season.

    Brett Hundley, UCLA: Hundley was one of the best quarterbacks in the country during the 2012 season as a redshirt freshman.

    Jake Matthews, Texas A&M: Matthews could be one of the best offensive linemen in the country in 2012 and he has the bloodlines.

    Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: If healthy he could be one of the best defensive ends in the nation.

No. 20 Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt developed into one of the best players on a talented Notre Dame defense in 2012.

    He will only be a junior in 2013 and it is still uncertain whether or not he will come out.

    If he progresses like he did over the past few seasons, there is no question that he would consider it. After a successful freshman season, he emerged with 12 sacks last year and was one of the best defensive ends in the country.

    Playing for a team like the Fighting Irish is certainly an advantage for Tuitt as he will get a lot of recognition.

No. 19 Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

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    Ryan Shazier is another junior who might not come out next season, but there is no question that he has the talent to do so.

    Statistically speaking, he was one of the best linebackers in the country last season and could be an All-American in 2013.

    Another thing working for Shazier is the fact that he plays on a talented Ohio State team that always has a big following.

    That will certainly not hurt when it comes time to selecting somebody for the cover of NCAA Football 2014.

No. 18 Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

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    Loucheiz Purifoy is one of the best cornerbacks in the country and as he enters his junior season, it appears likely he will jump to the NFL draft after this season.

    In 2012, he emerged onto the scene for a Florida defense that was one of the best in the country for most of the year.

    The cover of NCAA Football is never afraid to put a defensive player on its cover, and Purifoy could be the next one.

No. 17 De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

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    Oregon star running back De'Anthony Thomas might be much higher on the list if this was for the 2016 cover, but odds are not very good that he will come out after his junior season.

    If he does, his chances would be almost as good as anybody.

    Thomas is quite possibly the most explosive player in the nation and is as fun to watch as any offensive player in the country. 

    He would be the perfect selection for the cover of NCAA Football 2014. No question about that.

No. 16 Louis Nix, Notre Dame

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    No player in the country would take up more of the cover than massive Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix.

    Nix decided to come back for his senior season in 2013 and Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly is certainly happy about that.

    There is no doubt that he is an absolute space-eater and one of the most valuable players in the country at his position.

    Nix would be the perfect fit for this distinction.

No. 15 Kyle Van Noy, BYU

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    BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy might be the least known player on the list, but he is one of the most talented linebackers in the country.

    Van Noy came back for his senior season and is a tackling machine.

    While it might take a little campaigning for a player from BYU to get on the cover, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.

    He might be a wild card, but do not count out the possibility of a player from outside the power-six conferences.

No. 14 Marcus Mariota, Oregon

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    Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is one of those players who redshirted as a freshman and might not even stick around for his final two seasons.

    He had quite a season in 2012 and if he follows that up with the same success in 2013, he might be on his way out of Eugene and onto the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    Even with former head coach Chip Kelly moving on to the NFL, the Oregon offense will almost certainly not miss a beat.

    Look for a Heisman-type year out of Mariota in 2013.

No. 13 Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

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    Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has a chance to go over 2,000 yards in 2013. If that happens, expect him to jump early to the NFL draft and make a push at the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    What would benefit Carey is staying out of trouble, as he has had some recent off-the-field issues.

    Head coach Rich Rodriguez is not afraid to give him the ball as many times a game as he can handle it.

    That could greatly benefit his chances to end up on the cover in 2015 or possibly 2016 if he returns for his senior season.

No. 12 C.J. Mosley, Alabama

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    Alabama lost a lot of talent on defense, but one player coming back is linebacker C.J. Mosley.

    Mosley is probably the most talented player on the Alabama roster, and if the Crimson Tide contend for the national title like everyone expects them to, he should have no problem finding himself in the running for the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    Some considered it a surprise that Mosley came back for his senior season. He will now be the leader on what should be another very talented Nick Saban defense.

No. 11 Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

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    Imagine if Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk had not transferred from Oregon.

    The Ducks would have one of the most explosive running back groups in the history of college football.

    This guy could be in the Heisman race if he can stay healthy and the Bears can pick up enough wins. There are few players in the country who have the big-play capability that Seastrunk does.

    Look for him to have one of the best statistical seasons of any player in college football.

No. 10 Sammy Watkins, Clemson

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    Sammy Watkins will be one of the best wide receivers in the country this coming season and would be the perfect fit for the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    He has the long hair that seems to help get a player on the cover. See Denard Robinson for example.

    Watkins also has the perfect quarterback in Tajh Boyd to get him the ball in key situations.

    The Clemson offense should be explosive once again and if that is the case, Watkins' name will be in the mix for a spot on the cover.

No. 9 Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

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    Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez spent a lot of time running away from defenses last season and a picture like that would be perfect for the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    It seems like Martinez has been at Nebraska for an eternity, and 2013 will be his senior season.

    The Cornhuskers offense should be one of the most explosive in the Big Ten.

    If the defense can give him a little help and get him the ball, he will put up huge numbers this coming season.

No. 8 Braxton Miller, Ohio State

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    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller showed just what he could do in Urban Meyer's offense in 2012 and will likely put up even better numbers in 2013 during his junior season.

    Miller can beat teams with both his arm and his legs, making him one of the favorites to contend for the Heisman trophy.

    It would likely take a big season for Miller to come out after his junior year and qualify to be on the cover, but if he came out, there are few players who would be considered over him.

No. 7 Aaron Murray, Georgia

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    Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is another guy who seems like he has been in college for the better part of a decade.

    Murray is not only one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, but also one of the best in the country.

    He might have the best offense he has since he arrived in Athens, and if the Bulldogs can put together a national championship-type season, Murray will stake his claim for the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    Getting over the Alabama hump will be his first task, however.

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, Clemson

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    Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd could put up astronomical numbers in 2013. If he does that, Clemson will be in contention for the ACC title and Boyd will be in the running for the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    There are plenty of weapons on the Clemson offense for Boyd to work with, including wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

    Boyd is another guy that fits the mold as somebody worthy of being on the cover, and he is a very strong possibility.

No. 5 Marqise Lee, USC

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    Without question, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is the best in the country at his position, and is a guy similar to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in that both should already be playing on Sundays.

    With that being said, he might be a little higher on the list if he still had a quarterback like Matt Barkley throwing him the ball.

    It will be hard to put together the astronomical numbers he did a season ago with a new, young quarterback taking over the starting job.

    Still, another huge season and he will make a strong case.

No. 4 Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

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    Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made a name for himself in the Sugar Bowl this past season as the Cardinals dominated the Florida Gators.

    That was not only a great start to his Heisman campaign in 2013, but also a great way to begin a campaign to be on the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    Bridgewater is one of the most complete quarterbacks in the country and as talented as almost any player in the nation.

    He should be able to dominate what is left of the Big East and put up even better stats than he did a season ago.

No. 3 A.J. McCarron, Alabama

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    Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is the closest thing college football has to a 'Golden Boy' and that bodes well for his case to be on the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

    McCarron is the quarterback of the best team in the nation and is one of the poster boys for college football.

    If the Crimson Tide win another national title, giving McCarron four during his five seasons in the program, it would be hard to imagine him not gracing the cover.

    No senior in the country has better odds than McCarron.

No. 2 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

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    Even though Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will only be entering his sophomore season, he will be eligible for the 2014 NFL draft due to a redshirt season.

    The reigning Heisman trophy winner is perhaps more fun to watch than any other player in the nation.

    If he lives up to the hype and wins his second straight Heisman trophy, it would be almost unimaginable to think he would not be a lock for the cover.

    Even if he does not win the Heisman, if this guy turns pro, he is the favorite to be on the cover of NCAA Football 2015.

No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

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    Without question, the man who is the favorite to become the cover boy for NCAA Football 2015 is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

    Clowney is the best player in the country and would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft had he been eligible.

    There is no doubt that he is going to be the top pick in next year's draft and that makes his chances to be on the cover very high.

    If Manziel does not come out, Clowney will be the likely choice.