10 Game-Changing CFB Athletes Currently Flying Under the Radar

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIAugust 5, 2013

10 Game-Changing CFB Athletes Currently Flying Under the Radar

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    By now, you've heard of the likes of dynamic athletes like Marqise Lee, De'Anthony Thomas and last year's Best College Athlete Award recipient, Johnny Manziel.

    However, some of college football's most important players for the 2013 season are getting no love at all. 

    Here are 10 game-changing athletes in college football who are flying under the radar. 

Mario Edwards, Florida State Seminoles

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    Meet Mario Edwards—aka the next JaDeveon Clowney. 

    In 2012, Edwards watched the majority of the Seminole season from the sidelines while his veteran teammates, Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins, started ahead of him. 

    Come 2013, the Seminoles will desperately need him to explode, as Werner, Jenkins and Carradine all left FSU for the NFL. 

    Edwards is fueled by an incredible combination of size, speed and power that is sure to shock the nation next season. 

Jordan Hicks, Texas Longhorns

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    Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks is poised to have an unbelievable breakthrough for the highly touted 2013 Longhorns.  

    Hicks played just three games last year before suffering a hip injury that sidelined him for the remaining eight games of the season. In those three games, however, he was a dominant defensive force for the Longhorns, recording 17 total tackles while his team outscored the three opponents 148-48.  

    Hicks made headlines at the end of last year, along with Longhorns quarterback Case McCoy, for an alleged sexual assault before the Alamo Bowl. However, neither player was charged, and both have been reinstated for the fall season. 

Taylor Kelly, Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Despite losing five games last year, Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly truly impressed college football fans with his 3,000-yard season, recording 29 touchdowns and only nine interceptions in the process. 

    When not drag racing for "an adrenaline rush," Kelly will be torching the Pac-12 in hopes of running the table and bringing the Sun Devils their first BCS Bowl bid. 

    Luckily for Kelly and all of the Arizona State faithful, the mighty Oregon Ducks are off the schedule for the 2013 season.

    The toughest tests will be the team's second through fifth games of the season, when the Sun Devils take on Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame (played at Cowboys Stadium). 

Chris Black, Roll Tide

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    Perhaps the biggest sleeper on this list is Alabama redshirt freshman Chris Black. 

    As one of the highest-ranked wide receivers in the nation in high school, Black chose to play for Nick Saban's reigning national champion Crimson Tide. 

    His impressive 4.5-second 40-yard dash and 36-inch vertical leap helped land him as the No. 22 overall player on ESPNU's top 150

    An injured shoulder in training camp caused the future NFL wideout to redshirt his freshman season. However, he is still poised to make a major contribution to Alabama's quest for a third straight national title in 2013. 

David Fales, San Jose State Spartans

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    David Fales is a name you will hear in the 2014 NFL draft. 

    After transferring to San Jose State for his junior season in 2012, Fales exploded onto the college football scene by leading the Spartans from outside the top 100 to No. 21 overall by season's end. 

    San Jose State carried one of the most exciting offenses in 2012, and Fales' 4,193 yards and 33 touchdowns were a major part of that. 

    He will get the majority of the 2013 payload, as he will be without head coach Mike MacIntyre, who fled sunny San Jose to join the Pac-12's Colorado Buffaloes, while starters De'Leon Eskridge, David Quessenberry and Ryan Otten all headed to the NFL. 

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Beavers

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    Last season, the surprising Oregon State Beavers boasted one of the most dynamic wide receiver duos in college football in Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. Together, Wheaton and Cooks totaled nearly 2,400 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.

    In 2013, however, Cooks will be all alone, as his counterpart was drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    The Beavers have a fairly easy schedule to start the season and could very well begin the 2013 campaign 7-0, at which point they will have to face Stanford, USC, Arizona State and Oregon to finish off the regular season. 

    With Wheaton gone, the Beavers will need Brandin Cooks to make a major contribution in 2013. 

Brett Hundley, UCLA Bruins

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    Last year, freshman quarterback Brett Hundley took over the UCLA offense and led the Bruins to a remarkable nine-win season. He finished the 2012 campaign with 3,745 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing two-thirds of his passes.

    The Chandler, Arizona, native was so impressive that the Pac-12 media picked the Bruins to finish first in the Southern division, ahead of both USC and Arizona State.

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    2012 First-Team All-Big 12 Josh Stewart is another wide receiver who is set to break out in 2013. 

    The Oklahoma State Cowboy finished his sophomore season with 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns—a major increase from his 291 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. 

    The anticipation is building around Stewart, as he's already been named to the preseason All-Big 12 squad, along with two other Cowboy teammates. 


Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss Rebels

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    Don't sleep on the Ole Miss Rebels in 2013. 

    After a lackluster 6-6 season in 2012, Ole Miss will look to provide college football fans with some major upsets early in the 2013 season in matchups with highly ranked squads like Texas, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. 

    But that won't be possible without sensational wide receiver Donte Moncrief. 

    Moncrief will enter his junior year as one of the nation's top wide receivers after finishing his sophomore season with 979 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 66 catches. 

Lache Seastrunk, Baylor Bears

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    Meet your 2013 Heisman Trophy winner: Baylor Bears running back Lache Seastrunk. 

    At least, that's what Seastrunk believes, per Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News

    The future Heisman winner posted impressive numbers last season, including 1,012 yards on 131 carries in just six starts. 

    Scoring just seven touchdowns all season kept his name out of the Heisman race for the entirety of the 2012 season. However, Seastrunk is itching to make a major name for himself in 2013.