When I started looking at the most versatile and exciting playmakers in college football in 2008, this list became much harder to compile than I first anticipated. There are many good players to choose from, and it's even harder when trying to pick and rank the top 20 in the country.
With new offenses being implemented all over the country, wide receivers are now getting carries out of the backfield, running backs are expected to catch out of the backfield and carry the ball, and quarterbacks are running and throwing at an incredible rate.
So here's the list I came up with highlighting the top 20 weapons on offense in 2008.
20. Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State
This pick might be going out on a limb, but I think Robinson will really improve this season and be a legit playmaker. Robinson beat out Bobby Reid last year and solidified himself as the starter and one of the top QBs in the Big 12. Robinson passed for 2,824 yards, rushed for another 847 yards, and accounted for 32 touchdowns (23 passing, nine rushing).
19. Jarrett Dillard, WR, Rice
While Dillard might not be the biggest receiver you will find, he runs great routes and has great quickness. He's been compared to Jerry Rice in the fact that he's not the most physically imposing receiver you might face, but he has great hands and gets the job done. Dillard had 1,057 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns last year.
18. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
The Sooners had a loaded backfield last year, but Murray still produced across the board. Murray did it all, racking up 764 yards rushing and a 30-yard kick return average on special teams. He also was responsible for 15 touchdowns last year, including a five-touchdown performance against North Texas.
17. Matt Grothe, QB, South Florida
Grothe enters his junior season with high hopes and he's looking to continue his success as one of the best two-dimensional quarterbacks in the nation. He had 2,670 yards passing, 872 yards rushing, and accounted 24 touchdowns last year (14 passing, 10 rushing).
16. Kellen Lewis, QB, Indiana
The Hoosiers finally made a bowl game last year, mostly due to Lewis doing everything on offense. Departed receiver James Hardy was the headliner, but Lewis made the offense go. He accounted for 3,043 yards passing, 736 yards rushing, and accounted 37 touchdowns as well (28 passing, nine rushing).
15. Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
This was a tough call on whether or not a tight end should fit into this list with the limited touches they can get. However, Beckum is the best tight end in the nation and he provides the Badgers with a playmaker at a position that can really cause some problems. Beckum led the way for tight ends last year with 982 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
14. Dan Lefevour, QB, Central Michigan
A relatively unknown player, Lefevour has put up incredible numbers while at Central Michigan. If you don't know who this guy is by now, you should be well aware after this season. Lefevour threw for 3,652 yards and rushed for another 1,122 yards last season. He also accounted for 46 touchdowns (27 passing, 19 rushing).
13. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Not many people expected Bradford to come out and have the season he did. He surprised everyone by lighting up the Big 12 and leading the Sooners to the Big 12 championship and the Fiesta Bowl. Bradford was very accurate and threw for 3,121 yards last year and a impressive 36 touchdowns.
12. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
McCoy took a big step from his freshman to his sophomore season. Texas looks to get back to the Big 12 championship and McCoy has all the tools to make that happen. Colt threw for 3,303 yards, rushed for another 492 yards, and racked up 26 touchdowns in the process (22 in the air, four on the ground).
11. Damion Fletcher, RB, Southern Miss
Fletcher is a great back that is still trying to become known playing in Conference USA. He brings quickness and toughness to the position, and with Larry Fedora coming over from Oklahoma State and bringing that spread offense with him, look for Fletcher's numbers to only get better. He rushed for 1,586 yards, had 227 yards receiving, and scored 15 touchdowns last season.
10. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
The big bruiser for the Buckeyes had a great season last year. He's right at the top in terms of best runners in the nation and proved it last year with great numbers. Wells rushed for 1,609 yards and scored 15 touchdowns leading the Buckeyes to a title game appearance.
9. Joe McKnight, RB, USC
Is there any more loaded backfield in the nation than the Trojans'? McKnight was only a freshman last season, but he produced in a variety of ways. He looks to really take it to another level this season and take the pressure off new quarterback Mark Sanchez. McKnight had 540 yards rushing, over 200 yards receiving, and four touchdowns. Look for McKnight to break out this season and be a threat rushing, receiving, and returning kicks.
8. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Knowshon burst onto the scene last season, carrying the Bulldogs to a big finish to the season and a Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii. Moreno is the most exciting back in the country and is definitely the most amped up. He racked up 1,334 rushing yards last year sharing time with other backs and didn't get 20 carries until the seventh game. He also had 253 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns. Moreno will be the man this year and will look to put up even bigger numbers in 2008 and lead the Dawgs to a national title.
7. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Maclin, much like Missouri, came out of nowhere last season to put up huge numbers. As one of the most versatile players in the nation, Maclin does it all. Last season he accounted for 1,055 yards receiving, 375 yards rushing, another 300 yards on punt returns, had a 25-yard kick return average, and scored 12 touchdowns.
6. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
The defending Biletnikoff Award winner looks to have another huge season in 2008. This All-Everything receiver set the NCAA freshman record last season with an incredible 1,962 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns. It doesn't hurt to have Graham Harrell throwing your way either.
5. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Chase Daniel is one of the fiercest competitors in the country and looks to lead Missouri to a Big 12 title. Daniel racked up 4,306 yards passing, another 253 yards rushing, and 37 touchdowns last season (33 passing, four rushing). He will have all kinds of weapons to work with again in 2008.
4. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech
Harrell might be the most prolific quarterback to come through Texas Tech under Mike Leach, and that's saying something. This talented quarterback threw for a ridiculous 5,705 yards and 48 touchdowns. Now he will try and lead Texas Tech to a breakthrough season and knock off Texas and Oklahoma.
3. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
There isn't a more exciting player in the nation than Harvin. He can run and catch with the best of them and is the closest thing we've seen to Reggie Bush in the last few years. It's not too many times your leading receiver is also your second leading rusher. Harvin was dynamic last season with 858 yards receiving, 764 yards rushing at almost 10 yards a carry, and 10 touchdowns.
2. Pat White, QB, West Virginia
There might not be a more important player to his team than White to the Mountaineers. When White went down against Pittsburgh, so did West Virginia's title hopes. White returns, without Slaton, to lead another run to the BCS. While White's passing numbers look modest for a quarterback with 1,724 yards, his rushing yards are incredible, racking up 1,335 yards on the ground. He also accounted for 28 touchdowns last season (14 passing, 14 rushing).
1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
When you are the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, you make this choice an easy one. Tebow is unlike any quarterback we've ever seen with his toughness and stature as a quarterback that rivals a linebacker. Tebow was unreal last season, throwing for 3,286 yards, rushing for another 895 yards, and scoring an amazing 55 touchdowns (32 passing, 23 rushing). He was also the first quarterback to ever throw 20 touchdowns and rush for 20 touchdowns in one season.
So what do you think? Who are the top playmakers in the country and where would you rank them?
Here's a few that were left off the list that were also considered—we'll call it the Honorable Mention list:
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Juice Williams, QB, Illinois
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Max Hall, QB, BYU
Arrellious Benn, WR, Illinois
Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M
Lesean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!