Every national championship contender needs stars to thrive, but each also needs a secret weapon.
The teams need a player who can seemingly come out of nowhere to rip off a 100-yard rushing game, make an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown or carry a game-changing kick return 99 yards for a touchdown.
If you’re a hardcore college football fan, you know about the nation's best players. You know the stars: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Braxton Miller, Bryce Petty, Todd Gurley and more.
They’re the Heisman Trophy candidates, the players who grab the headlines, shine in the spotlight and are the first names off any color commentator’s lips on a crisp fall Saturday afternoon.
But they can't carry a team alone. They need help.
Every great team has a guy waiting in the wings, in a secondary role that gets outshined by his team's biggest stars. Someone who might not be well-known right now but could become a household name by late November.
Here’s a look at every College Football Playoff contender’s secret weapon for 2014. For this list, we took the Top 10 teams in the Amway Coaches Poll and identified a player who might emerge as a secret weapon this fall. These are players who are entering their first seasons starting this fall or fighting their way up the depth chart, clawing for playing time.
In this look, teams are listed alphabetically, not by their position in the preseason poll.