The Most Important Player on Every College Football Team
Not all players are created equal. Every college football team has a player that is more important than others on the roster.
Whether it be a go-to guy, or just a very talented athlete who can do a lot when the ball is in his hands, every team has a player it relies on a little more than others.
With spring practice now hitting full force, it is time to talk about the most important player on every college football team.
Here is the list.
Air Force Falcons: RB Jon Lee
Air Force lost a lot of talent from last season's team, but one guy who will be coming back is running back Jon Lee.
Lee only carried the ball 88 times, but he picked up 557 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards a carry during his sophomore campaign.
With both Connor Dietz and Cody Getz having moved on, this will be the go-top guy on offense for the Falcons in 2013.
Akron Zips: RB Jawon Chisholm
Akron struggled last season under first-year head coach Terry Bowden, but they did show a few improvements from the 2011 season.
One of the few bright spots last season was running back Jawon Chisholm. Last season he rushed for 953 yards and five touchdowns on 180 carries.
If Akron can stay closer in some games, his numbers might go up in 2013 during his junior year.
Alabama Crimson Tide: QB AJ McCarron
There are a few players on the Crimson Tide roster who are better than quarterback A.J. McCarron, but nobody is more important to his team.
Last season he led the team to its second straight national championship while passing for 30 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
He totaled 2,933 yards passing on the season and will likely be in the Heisman conversation this year.
UAB Blazers: RB Darrin Reaves
UAB was downright awful last season, struggling to a 3-9 campaign.
While there was not much to talk about on either side of the ball, particularly defense, one player who shined was running back Darrin Reaves.
Reaves carried the ball 215 times last season for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. Look for even better numbers from him as he enters his junior season in 2013.
Arizona Wildcats: RB Ka'Deem Carey
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey led the country in rushing yards a season ago, and if he duplicates that production in 2013, there is no question that he will be an All-American.
Arizona State Sun Devils: DT Will Sutton
Arkansas Razorbacks: DE Trey Flowers
Arkansas State Red Wolves: WR J.D. McKissic
Wide receiver J.D. McKissic burst onto the scene last year for the Arkansas State Red Wolves catching 103 passes for 1,022 yards and five touchdowns.
Those are certainly not bad numbers for a freshman, and they will likely get better this coming season.
Even though quarterback Ryan Aplin has moved on, this is still a very talented team that will rely heavily on this little man.
Army Black Knights: RB Raymond Maples
Army lost its quarterback and leading rusher from a season ago as Trent Steelman has graduated.
The man who will get the bulk of the carries in 2013 is senior running back Raymond Maples. Maples carried the rock 223 times last season for 1,215 yards and two touchdowns.
Expect his touches to go up slightly in 2013. But expect his touchdown numbers to go up drastically as he will be one of the go-to guys in goal-line situations.
Auburn Tigers: RB Tre Mason
Ball State Cardinals: QB Keith Wenning
Ball State had a solid 2012 season and part of the reason for that was quarterback Keith Wenning.
While there were a few talented players on offense, Wenning is at the top of the list.
Last season he threw for 3,095 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Those are solid numbers and he should improve upon those in 2013.
Expect a huge senior season in basically his fourth year as the starter.
Baylor Bears: RB Lache Seastrunk
There is little doubt who the best player on the Baylor roster is.
Boise State Boncos: QB Joe Southwick
Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick did an admirable job last season replacing Kellen Moore.
The 2013 season will be his senior campaign and he should be even better.
In 2012 he threw 19 touchdowns with only seven interceptions while passing for 2,730 yards. With running back D.J. Harper no longer in the fold, he will be relied on even more this coming season.
Boston College Eagles: LB Steele Divitto
Bowling Green Falcons: RB Anthon Samuel
Even though Bowling Green star running back Anthon Samuel will not be taking classes this semester, he will still be the best player on the Falcons roster when the season begins.
Last season he carried the ball 202 times for 998 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. In 2012 he hauled in 22 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown.
If he can come back ready to play in 2013, he will be one of the best running backs in the MAC.
BYU Cougars: LB Kyle Van Noy
Buffalo Bulls: WR Alex Neutz
Buffalo improved a little bit last season, but the Bulls still have a ways to go if they want to get to even the middle of the pack in the MAC.
One player they will rely on heavily in 2013 is wide receiver Alex Nuetz.
Last season as a junior, Nuetz caught 65 passes for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns. His numbers have risen every season in the program, and they should continue to rise in 2013.
California Golden Bears: WR Chris Harper
California wide receiver Chris Harper may not be a household name, but the sophomore could have a breakout season for the Golden Bears in 2013.
As a true freshman in 2012, Harper caught 41 passes for 544 yards and two touchdowns. With star wideout Keenan Allen moving on to the NFL, Harper will be the go-to guy in an offense that will primarily feature a passing attack under new head coach Sonny Dykes.
With the way he ran the Louisiana Tech offense, Dykes will have the Golden Bears throwing the ball all over the field in 2013.
Central Florida Knights: QB Blake Bortles
Central Michigan Chippewas: RB Zurlon Tipton
Central Michigan was another of the talented MAC teams a season ago, and one reason for its success was running back Zurlon Tipton.
Tipton carried the ball 252 times last season for 1,492 yards with 19 touchdowns.
He was a huge reason why the Chippewas finished so strong at the end of the season, as he went over 100 yards in each of the final seven games of the year.
The Chippewas went 5-2 in those contests.
Cincinnati Bearcats: LB Greg Blair
Cincinnati linebacker Greg Blair emerged last season after the departure of some talented seniors.
He was one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball, and with some key seniors having graduated, he will be the best player on the roster in 2013.
Last season Blair finished the year with 123 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and six passes defensed.
No doubt he is one of the top linebackers in the Big East.
Clemson Tigers: QB Tajh Boyd
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd decided to come back for his senior season, and head coach Dabo Swinney was certainly pleased to hear that news.
Last season as a junior, Boyd passed for 3,896 yards with 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Boyd was also a threat on the ground last season, rushing for 514 yards and 10 touchdowns on 186 carries.
The 2013 campaign will be his senior season, and he will still have wide receiver Sammy Watkins to throw the ball to.
Colorado Buffaloes: FB Christian Powell
Christian Powell is a mixture of a fullback and running back.
During his true freshman season in 2013, he rushed for 691 yards and seven touchdowns on 158 carries while converting from fullback to running back.
Colorado struggled mightily last season, going 1-11 on the year, and it might not get much better in 2013.
No doubt, this is the best player on the entire Buffaloes roster.
Colorado State Rams: WR Charles Lovett
Colorado State was offensively challenged last season, and the defense was not much better either.
There is no question who the most versatile player on the roster is. Wide receiver Charles Lovett caught 35 passes last season for 428 yards and two touchdowns.
He will be a junior in 2013. Expect those numbers to rise drastically.
Whether or not the Rams can win more than the four games they did in 2012, however, remains to be seen.
Connectict Huskies: LB Yawin Smallwood
Duke Blue Devils: WR Jamison Crowder
East Carolina Pirates: WR Justin Hardy
East Carolina had no problem putting points on the board last season, and one reason for that was wide receiver Justin Hardy.
Hardy caught 88 passes for 1,105 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012.
There is some serious talent coming back on offense, including quarterback Shane Carden.
Look for huge offensive numbers from the Pirates in their final season in Conference USA before heading to the Big East.
Eastern Michigan Eagles: RB Bronson Hil
Eastern Michigan was one of the worst teams in the country last season, finishing the year 2-10 overall.
Running back Bronson Hill finished the season with 905 yards and six touchdowns on 140 carries.
As a junior in 2013, he will get more carries, and the win total should go up at least a little bit for the Eagles.
Florida Gators: CB Loucheiz Purifoy
Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has been doing double duty so far this spring as he is also seeing snaps as a wide receiver.
With all the talent Florida has coming back in the secondary, he might need to play wide receiver just to get on the field for some more snaps.
There is no question that he has the talent to play on both sides of the ball.
He has plenty of size at 6'1", 189 pounds. That gives him the ability to cover anybody on the field.
Florida Atlantic Owls: WR William Dukes
Florida Atlantic was awful for the better part of last season, winning only three games the entire year.
One bright spot was wide receiver William Dukes. He caught 63 passes for 979 yards and four touchdowns.
In 2013 he will be a junior, and expect his numbers to rise just like they did between his freshman and sophomores seasons.
Certainly the most explosive player on the roster.
Florida International Panthers: RB Kedrick Rhodes
Even though he missed two games last season and had 12 carries or less in three other games, Florida International senior running back Kedrick Rhodes is prepared to have a huge 2013 season.
On 167 carries last year he rushed for 714 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers were down slightly from his sophomore season where he rushed for 1,149 yards and eight touchdowns on 234 carries.
Look for numbers more like that during his senior season.
Florida State Seminoles: LB Christian Jones
Fresno State Bulldogs: QB Derek Carr
Derek Carr is one of the best quarterbacks in the country last year and should be even better in 2013 for his senior season.
Last year Carr passed for 4,104 yards with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
He will be entering his third season as the stater and could post numbers as good as nearly any quarterback in the country.
No doubt he is the best player on the Fresno State roster.
Georgia Bullogs: QB Aaron Murray
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is back for his fifth season in the program and will be one of the top quarterbacks in the country this year.
Last season, Murray passed for 3,893 yards with 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
There are other talented players on offense, including the running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, but Murray is at the top of the list.
This will be his fourth year as the starter, and he could go over 3,000 yards for the fourth straight season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: LB Jeremiah Attaochu
Georgia State Panthers: WR Albert Wilson
Georgia State is transitioning to the FBS level and this will be the teams first season playing against the big boys.
Last season he was the playmaker on offense for the Panthers. He caught 48 passes for 947 yards and seven touchdowns.
There were fewer big play threats at the FCS level than Wilson last year as he averaged 19.7 yards a carry.
Hawaii Warriors: RB Will Gregory
Despite missing two games last season due to a suspension, Hawaii freshman running back Will Gregory still led the team with 691 yards and three touchdowns on 137 carries.
He averaged five yards an attempt, and while he never went over 100 yards, in any game where he got more than 10 carries he rushed for at least 68 yards.
Look for better things from Gregory in 2013 during his sophomore campaign.
Houston Cougars: RB Charles Sims
Idaho Vandals: WR Najee Lovett
There is not a lot of talent on either side of the ball for Idaho as the Vandals ranked in the bottom five in the country in both points scored and points allowed last season.
Last season wide receiver Najee Lovett was one of the few playmakers on offense. He caught 50 passes for 548 yards and six touchdowns.
Look for him to show some improvements entering his senior season and be one of the playmakers for the Vandals.
Illini Fighting Illini: LB Mason Monheim
Illinois always has some talented players on the defensive side of the ball, and the 2013 season should be no different.
One of the leading returning players is sophomore linebacker Mason Monheim. He starred as a true freshman in 2012.
He totaled 86 tackles last season and was one of the best defensive players on the team.
The Fighting Illini could use all the help they can get as they have struggled the past few seasons.
Indiana Hoosiers: RB Stephen Houston
Indiana showed a little bit of life last season, winning four games on the year, and the Hoosiers might be even better in 2013.
One reason for that is running back Stephen Houston. He is the best player on a roster that is typically overmatched in the Big Ten.
Last season, Houston rushed for 749 yards with 12 touchdowns on 169 carries. He is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten coming into the season.
Iowa Hawkeyes: LB Anthony Hitchens
Iowa was another Big Ten team that struggled to pick up wins last season, but that had nothing to do with their trio of talented linebackers.
The top player in that bunch—and the best returning player on the Iowa squad—is Anthony Hitchens.
Hitchens totaled 124 tackles a year ago, which was tops in the Big Ten.
Look for that number to rise even more in 2013.
Iowa State Cyclones: S Deon Broomfield
Kansas Jayhawks: RB James Sims
In a year that was filled with 11 losses, there was one bright spot on the season, and that was running back James Sims.
Sims did not play in the first three games last season, but over the final nine contests he rushed for 1,013 yards with nine touchdowns on 218 attempts.
He went over 100 yards in six-straight games during the middle of the season, and entering his senior season, he might have a chance to greatly increase those numbers in 2013.
Kansas State Wildcats: WR Tyler Lockett
Collin Klein will no longer be the signal caller for Kansas State, and that might slightly help the receiving game.
One player who could benefit greatly from that is junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
He caught 44 passes a season ago for 687 yards and four touchdowns, but he also doubles as a punt and kick returner.
If the Wildcats decide to throw the ball around a little bit more this season, it could be a huge year for Lockett in Manhattan.
Kent State Golden Flashes: RB Dri Archer
A lot of people might not know too much about Kent State running back Dri Archer, but he is one of the most explosive players in the country and decided to come back for his senior season.
Last year Archer rushed for 1,429 yards and 16 touchdowns on only 159 carries. That was good for an average of 9.0 yards a carry.
He also caught 39 passes out of the backfield for 561 yards and four scores.
This guy has All-American talent without a doubt.
Kentucky Wildcats: LB Avery Williamson
LSU Tigers: DT Anhony Johnson
LSU lost a lot on defense, but one player that will be returning and stepping into a much larger role is defensive tackle Anthony Johnson.
He was very productive last season in a reserve role, even though he was one of the top defensive linemen on the team.
Look for the junior to put together his best season to date and possibly become a first-team All-SEC performer on a defense that desperately needs somebody to step up.
He has a wealth of talent, as do a lot of other youngsters on the LSU defense, and is a key for the Tigers this season.
Louisville Cardinals: QB Teddy Bridgewater
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and he enters his junior year with a shot to be in the Heisman conversation.
Bridgewater put up huge numbers last season by passing for 3,718 yards with 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
He also showed up in some of the biggest games of the season, including an outstanding performance in a 33-23 victory over Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
Bridgewater is the unquestioned leader of the Louisville team.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs: RB Kenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech lost a lot of talent from last season, including its head coach Sonny Dykes, quarterback Colby Cameron and star wide receiver Quniton Patton.
One player the Bulldogs are glad to welcome back is running back Kenneth Dixon.
Dixon starred last season as a freshman, rushing for 1,194 yards and an amazing 27 touchdowns on 200 carries.
Those are outstanding numbers as he averaged six yards a carry. Whether or not he will be able to duplicate that with more pressure on him in 2012 remains to be seen.
Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns: QB Terrance Broadway
Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway can do a little bit of everything with the ball in his hands.
As a sophomore in 2012 he passed for 2,842 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Where he is also a threat is on the ground. Last year he rushed for 769 yards and nine touchdowns in his first season with the program.
The Houston transfer has a chance to be something special for the Rajun' Cajuns over the next two years.
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks: QB Kolton Browning
Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning not only led the team in passing last year, but he was also the top rusher on the Warhawks.
Browning threw for 3,049 yards with 29 touchdowns and 10 picks. He also rushed for 488 yards and seven touchdowns on 146 carries.
Few players in the country mean more to their team than Browning does to the Warhawks.
He will be relied upon heavily during his senior season in 2013.
Marshall Thundering Herd: QB Rakeem Cato
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was one of the most prolific passers in the country last season.
As a sophomore in 2012 he passed for 4,201 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
While he is slightly undersized at only 6'0", the Miami native is one of the best passers in the country and without question the top player on the Thundering Herd heading into the 2013 season.
Maryland Terrapins: WR Stefon Diggs
Massachusetts Minutemen: TE Rob Blanchflower
There is not a lot of talent on Masschusetts, but one player who can get it done is tight end Rob Blanchflower.
Last season he caught 43 passes for 464 yards and two touchdowns from his tight end position.
The Minutemen not only had one of the worst defenses in the country last season, but also an offense that was awful.
Blanchflower was one of the few bright spots.
Memphis Tigers: RB Brandon Hayes
Memphis will be playing its first season in the Big East, and they might not have the talent to even compete at that level.
One player who could use some more carries is running back Brandon Hayes. Hayes only carried the ball 118 times last season, but totaled 576 yards and six touchdowns.
If he can get the bulk of the carries this season, those numbers will certainly go up as he averaged 49 yards a carry last season.
Playing all 12 games will be a key for this guy.
Miami Hurricanes: RB Duke Johnson
Miami Redhawks: WR Nick Harwell
Miami will have to find a way to move on next season without star quarterback Zac Dysert as he has finally graduated.
His go-to receiver will be back as Nick Harwell returns for his senior season.
Last season Harwell caught 68 passes for 870 yards and eight touchdowns. He was outstanding in 2011 as a sophomore, catching 97 passes for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns.
Look for numbers somewhere in between in 2013.
Michigan Wolverines: OT Taylor Lewan
It certainly came as a huge surprise to most when Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan decided to return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft.
He was one of the best offensive lineman in the country a year ago, and not a lot is going to change in 2013.
Lewan proved himself even further when he held his own against Jadeveon Clowney in the Outback Bowl.
He will likely be a high selection in the 2014 NFL draft.
Michigan State Spartans: LB Denicos Allen
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: QB Logan Kilgore
Middle Tennessee had a solid season in 2012 as the Blue Raiders finished the year 8-4.
One reason for the success of the team was quarterback Logan Kilgore. He passed for 2,571 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Entering his senior season in 2013, he will be relied upon even more heavily. Look for this team to be very solid once again in 2013.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: DT Ra'Shede Hageman
Mississippi Rebels: WR Donte Moncrief
Ole Miss hauled in quite a talented recruiting class this year, but it might be a year or two before those players are ready to achieve All-American status.
One player who to watch for this year, though, is Donte Moncrief. Moncrief caught 66 passes last season for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He will be entering his junior season, and could quickly develop into one of the best receivers in the SEC.
The talent is there for Moncrief to emerge.
Mississippi State Bulldogs: DE Preston Smith
Missouri Tigers: DE Kony Ealy
Navy Midshipmen: QB Keenan Reynolds
As with most teams, the most important player on the field is the quarterback. The Navy Midshipmen are no different.
Last season the most important player might have been running back Gee Gee Greene, but he has graduated and the man running the show now is sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
Reynolds is very undersized at 5'9", 170 pounds, but he can do a lot with the ball in his hands. Last season he rushed for 649 yards and 10 touchdowns while passing for 898 and nine more with only two interceptions.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: QB Taylor Martinez
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has seemingly been in Lincoln for the better part of a decade now.
The 2013 season will be his senior campaign and he has the perfect combination of skills to put up All-American numbers this year.
Last season, Martinez passed for 2,871 yards with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,019 yards and 10 scores.
He is as important to his team as almost any player in the country.
Nevada Wolf Pack: QB Cody Fajardo
With star running back Stefphon Jefferson bolting early to the NFL draft, a lot of weight will be on the shoulders of quarterback Cody Fajardo.
As a sophomore in 2012, Fajardo passed for 2,786 yards and 20 touchdowns with only nine picks.
He is also a threat on the ground as he rushed for 1,121 yards and 12 more scores. He is going to have the ball in his hands a lot this season. Do not be surprised if he puts up some huge numbers in 2013.
UNLV Rebels: QB Nick Sherry
UNLV was downright awful last season, but freshman quarterback Nick Sherry showed signs of just how good he can be.
While he only threw 16 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, he did pass for 2,544 yards as a freshman and should be drastically improved in 2013.
The Rebels only won two games last season, and if Sherry can improve a little bit, the win total will at least double this coming year.
New Mexico Lobos: QB Cole Gautsche
With stud running back Kasey Carrier leaving early for the NFL draft, sophomore quarterback Cole Gautsche is the leading returning passer and rusher.
As a freshman in 2012, he passed for 222 yards with two touchdowns and two picks while rushing for 760 yards and seven touchdowns.
Former quarterback B.R. Holbrook is now gone, and Gautsche will be the man the Lobos rely on heavily in 2013.
New Mexico State Aggies: WR Austin Franklin
Not many players come through New Mexico State with the talent level of a guy like Austin Franklin.
Last season as a sophomore he caught 74 passes for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns. At nearly 17 yards a catch, he is a threat deep down the field.
For a team that struggles to put wins on the board, this guy is a player the Aggies will rely on heavily throughout the 2013 season.
He is by far the most talented and important player on the roster.
North Carolina Tar Heels: QB Bryn Renner
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner will be entering his third season as the starter and he is one of the best in the ACC.
Over the past two seasons he has combined for 6,442 yards with 54 touchdowns and only 20 interceptions.
With running back Giovani Bernard leaving early for the NFL draft, Renner is not going to have that proven back to hand the ball off to.
He will be an integral part to the 2013 Tar Heels.
North Carolina State Wolfpack: WR Quintin Payton
North Carolina State will bring back some talented receivers in 2013, and Quintin Payton is right at the top of that list.
He led the team in receiving a year ago with 51 receptions for 798 yards and two scores. He also averaged 15.6 yards per reception.
At 6'4", 210 pounds, Payton has the perfect size to be a threat down the field.
He will be very integral to an offense that is replacing a lot of lost talent.
North Texas Mean Green: QB Derek Thompson
North Texas did not have a good season by any stretch of the imagination last year, but should be better in 2013.
Fifth-year quarterback Derek Thompson now has some experience under his belt and he will be leaned on by head coach Dan McCarney.
Thompson threw for 2,629 yards with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2012. Those numbers will need to improve if this team is going to have more success in 2013.
Northern Illinois Huskies: QB Jordan Lynch
No question who the most important player on Northern Illinois is. We all saw how bad they can be when he struggles like he did against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Last season, the All-American passed for 3,138 yards with 25 touchdowns and six picks. He also did plenty of damage on the ground, rushing for 1,815 yards with 19 more scores.
If the Huskies are going to have a repeat of last season, they are going to need to have a huge year from Lynch once again.
Northwestern Wildcats: RB Venric Mark
Northwestern running back Venric Mark was one of the most underrated players in the country last season.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: DT Louis Nix
While there are plenty of important players on the Fighting Irish, the key to the success last season was the defensive line and the man in the middle was Louis Nix.
He is one of the most intimidating players in college football, particularly with the massive face mask that he wears.
Nix decided to come back for his senior season at Notre Dame and he will be one of the best in the country at his position.
Nix was one of the main reasons why Notre Dame had all of the success it did last season, particularly against the run, as he was one of the best space eaters in the entire country.
Ohio Bobcats: QB Tyler Tettleton
Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton will likely be one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC this season, and even though he did not have huge stats last season, he was solid all year long.
Last season he passed for 2,844 yards with 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
He will be a senior in 2013 and without question will be the leader of the team, particularly with some talented players no longer in the fold.
Ohio State Buckeyes: QB Braxton Miller
Oklahoma Soners: QB Blake Bell
There are plenty of players on Oklahoma that are better than quarterback Blake Bell, and probably even All-Americans, but the success of the season is going to hinge on the junior Bell.
For that reason he is the most important player on the roster.
While he has only seen action in goal-line situations, and mop up duty over the past two seasons, he will carry the burden of the Sooners' season, and a lot is riding on his shoulders.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: WR Josh Stewart
It is still up in the air as to who will be the starting quarterback for Oklahoma State in 2013, and that is one of the main reasons why wide receiver Josh Stewart will be as important as anybody on the roster this season.
Stewart had a huge 2012 season, finishing the year with an outstanding 101 receptions and 1,210 yards to go along with seven touchdowns.
No matter who is throwing him the ball next season, he is going to come up with his fair share of big plays and the Cowboys are going to have one of the best offenses in the nation.
Oregon Ducks: QB Marcus Mariota
Oregon will have its fair share of skill players on the offensive side of the ball, and the man who is the most important is quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Last season as a freshman, Mariota passed for 2,677 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 752 yards and five more touchdowns on 106 carries.
If Oregon has a shot for the national championship, it is going to need another big season from its star quarterback.
Oregon State Beavers: DT Scott Crichton
Penn State Nittany Lions: WR Allen Robinson
Pittsburgh Panthers: RB Rushel Shell
Purdue Boilermakers: CB Ricardo Allen
Ricardo Allen has been a shut-down corner for Purdue over the past few seasons and entering his senior year in 2013, he will continue to be one of the best defensive backs in the Big Ten.
Last season, he had an interception (which he took to the house for a touchdown) and also came up with four passes defensed.
Look for teams to shy away from him this season, particularly with a new starter on the other side of the defense.
No question he is the most important player on the roster.
Rice Owls: QB Taylor McHargue
Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue did not put up astronomical numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but he is certainly the most important player on the Owls roster.
In 2012, he passed for 2,209 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is also a threat with his legs as he rushed for 667 yards and 11 touchdowns on 164 carries.
He was a huge reason for the success Rice had at the end of the 2012 season, leading the Owls to five straight victories to close out the season.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: WR Brandon Coleman
Rutgers might be hurt by the early departure of running back Jawan Jamison to the NFL next season. The defense also lost a few talented players as well.
One guy that will coming back is wide receiver Brandon Coleman. He caught 43 passes for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Those numbers are certain to go up in 2013 with the Scarlet Knights likely to be throwing the ball a little more, since they could also be playing from behind more often than 2012.
San Diego State Aztecs: RB Adam Muema
San Diego State running back Adam Muema was the star of the team last season. He carried the load for the Aztecs and will likely do the same thing in 2013.
He carried the ball 237 times for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.
Statistically speaking he was one of the best running backs in the country, averaging 6.2 yards per attempt.
Look for more of the same from this guy in 2013.
San Jose State Spartans: QB David Fales
San Jose State had quite a season in 2012, and one of the main reasons for that was the success of quarterback David Fales.
Fales passed for 4,193 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions. That helped paved the way for an 11-2 record for the Spartans.
Even though most do not know much about him, he is one of the top quarterbacks in the country heading into the 2013 season.
South Alabama Jaguars: QB Ross Metheny
South Alabama only went 2-10 during its first season at the FBS level, but one of the bright spots was quarterback Ross Metheny.
He passed for 2,148 yards with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. While those are not outstanding numbers, there was not a lot of talent around him.
This year he will be a senior and the Jaguars will be looking to improve on their win total from a season ago.
If he has a good season, they might be able to do just that.
South Carolina Gamecocks: DE Jadeveon Clowney
South Florida Bulls: LB DeDe Lattimore
SMU Mustangs: WR Jeremy Johnson
SMU will be playing its first season in the Big East in 2013 and head coach June Jones might have his hands full with a little more competition.
As a junior last season, Johnson caught 67 passes for 679 yards and three touchdowns.
He has improved mightily during each of his three seasons at SMU, and he should be the go-to guy on offense next season.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles: WR Dominique Sullivan
Southern Miss was downright awful last season and the Golden Eagles were the only winless team at the FBS level, finishing the year 0-12.
There was not much talent on either side of the ball and with both quarterbacks transferring out it might be a long season once again.
One player they will rely on is senior wide receiver Dominique Sullivan. Last season he caught 19 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He was a big play threat, averaging 17.4 yards a catch in 2012.
Stanford Cardinal: QB Kevin Hogan
Stanford has a lot of players better on the roster than quarterback Kevin Hogan, but he is the key to the season.
He showed some signs as a freshman in 2012, passing for 1,096 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
For the most part he had a solid season, but he'll need to be even better with running back Stepfan Taylor no longer in the fold.
No question, he is the key to the season for the Cardinal.
Syracuse Orange: RB Jerome Smith
Syracuse has a pair of talented running backs, and if either one got the bulk of the carries, they could be an All-ACC performer.
TCU Horned Frogs: DE Devonte Fields
TCU has a lot of young talent, particularly on defense, but the best of the bunch is sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields.
As a true freshman last year, Fields came up with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss.
He was one of the best defensive players in the Big 12, and he should be even better over the next few years.
There is a lot of talent on defense for TCU, but Fields getting to the quarterback will be one of the keys to the season for the Horned Frogs.
Temple Owls: WR Jalen Fitzpatrick
Temple does not have a lot of talent on either side of the ball, but one player who could emerge is wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick.
He only caught 30 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns a year ago, but with the top two running backs from last season now gone, Temple might be more inclined to throw the ball around a little bit.
The junior is very explosive with the ball in his hands, and he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
With both running backs having moved on, the Owls might throw the ball around a little more this season, and Fitzpatrick will be the top target.
Tennessee Vols: OT Antonio Richardson
Tennessee is blessed with some talented offensive linemen, particularly at the tackle positions. Both Ja'Wuan James and Anontio "Tiny" Richardson will need to play at a high level to protect the new Vols quarterback.
While both are equally impressive with James possibly being the better of the two, there is no doubt that Richardson is more important.
He will be protecting the blind side of the Vols quarterback.
Texas Longhorns: DE Jackson Jeffcoat
While quarterback may be the most important position for the Longhorns in 2013, it is still not certain who the starting quarterback will be.
That makes defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat the most important player on the roster.
Even though he did not have the 2012 season that he was hoping for, that does not take away from the talent he has.
He missed the final seven games of the season with a torn pectoral muscle and has now returned for his senior season.
Last year, Jeffcoat still managed to pick up four sacks in six games.
Texas A&M Aggies: QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel burst onto the scene in 2012, winning the Heisman trophy as a redshirt freshman.
The SEC defenses were no match for Manziel as he finished the year with 3,706 yards passing and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.
He also rushed for 1,410 yards and a stunning 21 touchdowns.
There is no question he is the best offensive player in the country, and if he can put together the numbers he did a season ago, there is no doubt that he will be in the Heisman trophy conversation once again.
Texas State Bobcats: WR Andy Erickson
Texas State was another team enduring its first season at the FBS level in 2012. The Bobcats finished the season 4-8, and one player who led the way was wide receiver Andy Erickson.
He caught 39 passes for 482 yards and three touchdowns on the season, but with most other skill position players on the roster now gone, he will be relied on even more in 2013.
Erickson will be a senior, so he definitely has the experience to handle the expanded role.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: RB Kenny Williams
If Texas Tech passed the ball a little more often, sophomore running back Kenny Williams would have put up much more respectable numbers.
Last season, he only carried the ball 143 times but picked up 824 yards and five touchdowns.
Williams might get more carries now that Eric Stephens Jr. has graduated.
With quarterback Seth Doege also having graduated, it could be a great year for Williams.
UT-San Antonio Roadrunners: QB Eric Soza
UTSA is a team that had an excellent transition to the FBS level, going 8-4 against low level competition.
One of the reasons for the success was the play of quarterback Eric Soza. Last season he passed for 2,085 yards with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Those are pretty impressive numbers and have made Soza a very recognizable quarterback in the college football landscape.
Toledo Rockets: QB Terrance Owens
Toledo has two very talented skill players on offense in quarterback Terrance Owens and running back David Fluellen.
The man on this list is Owens. Last season he passed for 2,702 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions while also rushing for 395 yards and five touchdowns despite missing the final game of the regular season due to injury.
Look for the Rockets to have an explosive offense once again in 2013.
Troy Trojans: WR Chip Reeves
Troy is another team that did not have the season it was expecting in 2012 and also lost some very talented players.
One of those players was wide receiver Chip Reeves. Last season Reeves caught 65 passes for 1,050 yards and six touchdowns.
He will be a fifth-year senior in 2013, and the go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball for the Trojans.
Tulane Green Wave: WR Ryan Grant
Tulane only won two games last season, but one player who had nothing to do with that was wide receiver Ryan Grant.
The skilled 6'1" Grant hauled in 76 passes for 1,149 yards and six touchdowns. He is another player who will be entering his fifth year in the program, and is clearly the best player on the roster.
Look for another big season from Grant in 2013.
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes: RB Trey Watts
Tulsa had a couple of talented running backs last season and the best of the bunch was Trey Watts.
As a junior in 2012, he rushed for 1,108 yards and three touchdowns on only 186 carries. That was good for an average of 6.0 yards a carry.
In 2013 he will be entering his senior season and will likely get more carries this time around.
UCLA Bruins: QB Brett Hundley
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was another redshirt freshman who burst onto the scene in 2012.
While he will not have star running back Johnathan Franklin to hand the ball to anymore, Hundley is still one of the most talented players at his position in the country.
In 2012, Hundley passed for 3,740 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 picks. He also rushed for 355 yards and nine touchdowns.
If he can improve slightly upon those numbers, UCLA will not miss a beat in 2013.
USC Trojans: WR Marqise Lee
UTEP Miners: RB Nathan Jeffery
UTEP was another team that struggled last season, winning only three games.
One of the bright spots on offense was running back Nathan Jeffery. Jeffery carried the ball 184 times for 897 yards and seven touchdowns during his sophomore season.
He will be relied on much more heavily entering his junior campaign in 2013. Look for UTEP to improve slightly on its record in a weaker Conference USA this season.
Utah Utes: S Brian Blechen
Utah lost plenty of talent from its 2012 defense, but one player coming back is strong safety Brian Blechen.
In 2013, Blechen had 58 tackles, but he is not afraid to hit anybody and is one of those safeties that strikes fear into opposing players going over the middle.
He will be entering his senior season and will be looked upon as one of the true leaders in the Utah program.
Utah State Aggies: QB Chuckie Keeton
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton is one of the best kept secrets in college football and he might be a national name by the end of the 2013 season.
As a sophomore in 2012, he passed for 3,373 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Like a lot of other quarterbacks at the collegiate level, he is also a threat with his feet. Last season he rushed for 619 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Look for those numbers to improve this season and for Utah State to have a big year once again.
Vanderbilt Commodores: WR Jordan Matthews
Vanderbilt lost some talent on its offense. Among those gone are running back Zac Stacy and quarterback Jordan Rodgers.
Now the go-to guy will be wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
During the 2012 season, Matthews emerged as quite the playmaker, catching 94 passes for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns.
There is no question that he was the biggest threat to catch the ball deep down the field for the Commodores in 2012.
He will be the most important player on the roster in 2013 as he has a chance to stretch out those talented SEC secondaries.
Virginia Cavaliers: CB Demetrious Nicholson
Virginia struggled last season on both sides of the ball, but one player who shined on defense was cornerback Demetrious Nicholson.
Nicholson proved to be one of the best cover corners in the ACC, as he broke up 15 passes in 2012, leading the team and finishing second in the conference.
He also finished second on the team in tackles with 56. He will only be a junior in 2013, but this might be his last season at the collegiate level because he appears ready for the next level.
Virginia Tech Hokies: QB Logan Thomas
The struggles of Virginia Tech last season could be traced back to quarterback Logan Thomas.
Thomas passed for 2,976 yards with 18 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
He did not have anywhere close to the season he was looking for, and if he can get it together this season, the Hokies could be one of the surprise teams in 2013.
At 6'6" and 260 pounds, he has all the physical attributes to do just that.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons: QB Tanner Price
Tanner Price is a player who has seemingly been at Wake Forest for quite some time, and he will return for his senior season, trying to forget about the disappointing 5-7 year his team suffered through in 2012.
Price only threw for 2,300 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
While he is not a premier passer, the Demon Deacons are going to need a lot more production out of Price in 2013 in order to get back to a bowl game.
Washington Huskies: QB Keith Price
Keith Price struggled for the better part of last season, and that was part of the reason why the Washington Huskies only finished the year 7-6.
He passed for 2,728 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Those numbers were not anything close to the 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 3,063 yards he put up during his sophomore campaign.
There are some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball for the Huskies this season and Price should have a nice bounce back year.
Washington State Cougars: S Deone Bucannon
The entire 2012 season was a bit of a struggle for Washington State, as the Cougars struggled to a 3-9 finish under first-year head coach Mike Leach.
There were not many bright spots anywhere on the field, but one of the most talented players was strong safety Deone Bucannon.
Bucannon finished the year with 106 tackles and led the team in that category.
Now, if some players around him stepped up, the Huskies could become a factor in 2013. That, however, is a big if.
West Virginia Mountaineers: Andrew Buie
With Dustin Garrison coming back from injury last season, sophomore Andrew Buie emerged as the go-to running back for the Mountaineers.
He will be a junior in 2013, and with the departure of wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey as well as quarterback Geno Smith, he will be the best player on offense.
In 2012, he rushed for 851 yards and seven touchdowns on 179 carries. Expect those numbers to increase with less passing from this offense.
While he will still get competition from Garrison, Buie will likely be the go-to guy for the Mountaineers in 2013.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: RB Antonio Andrews
Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews quietly had one of the best seasons of any player in college football last year.
He rushed for 1,728 yards on 304 carries with 11 touchdowns. The workhorse averaged 5.7 yards a carry and will be one of the top running backs in the country in 2013.
Andrews went over 100 yards in 10 games last season. That will likely be the norm once again this year.
Western Michigan Broncos: QB Tyler Van Tubbergen
Western Michigan quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen stepped in last season and started six straight games when senior Alex Carder went down with an injury.
During that time he passed for 1,825 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
He will be entering his senior season, and a lot will be on his shoulders as the Broncos will look to improve on a 4-8 record from a year ago.
Wisconsin Badgers: RB James White
With Montee Ball now having moved on, running back James White will get the bulk of the carries for the Badgers.
Last season, in a backup role, he carried the ball 125 times for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns.
If his touches double, he has a legitimate shot to be an All-American.
Sophomore Melvin Gordon will likely get some more carries, but expect White to at least get 250 touches.
That alone makes him the most important player on the roster.
Wyoming Cowboys: QB Brett Smith
Wyoming struggled to a 4-8 season in 2012, but one bright spot for the Cowboys was quarterback Brett Smith.
Smith passed for 2,832 yards with 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
In 2013 he will be a junior and the most important player on the roster. He has started each of his first two seasons in the program and improved on his numbers from year to year.
Look for it to happen again in 2013.
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