The 2010 college football season is right around the corner and the anticipation is starting to reach epic proportions.
To get you ready for all the non-stop action it seems like the perfect time to break down the top 100 players in the game.
All of these guys are leaders on their team and exceptional athletes. They perform at a higher level than anyone and are the difference makers on any given week. It's not just about the numbers, it's about leadership, the clutch, taking over a game and everything that doesn't show up in the stat column as well.
The rankings are based on projections for the 2010 season, not on past performances.
Here are the top 100 players to watch out for this season.
Northwestern doesn't have too many players that were up for consideration this year, but one that can't be overlooked is senior linebacker Quentin Davie. He's the anchor of their defense and a player that's starting to draw a lot more attention from NFL scouts as he heads into his final year of eligibility.
Davie is a solid tackler and pass-rusher with better than you'd think coverage skills and a whole lot of athleticism and speed. He came out the gates last season much bigger and stronger than he'd ever been, but every bit as fast as well.
Expect him to build off that in 2010.
Rolle isn't the most athletic player or one that makes the most plays, but he's a veteran leader on Ohio State's defense and a smart player that does a lot of great things on the field.
He was ninth in the Big Ten in tackles last season, but you'll likely remember him mostly for his interception against Navy on a two-point conversion in which he took it 100 yards the other way for the score.
Expect him to have his best year yet in 2010.
Sash led the Big Ten in interceptions last season with six, but it's equally impressive what he does after he gets his hands on the ball. He's Iowa's career leader in interception return yards and just has a knack for big plays.
Sash knows how to sniff out the ball and when it's in the air, he switches from a defender to a receiver and trying to go up and get it with that mentality. He's also good in run support, which makes him one of the most well-rounded safeties in all of college football.
The top tight end in the SEC, D.J. Williams has a great combination of size, speed, and athleticism that makes him a dangerous weapon in the passing game.
His numbers dropped from his sophomore season to his junior year, but that was more a case of the system than a personal knock on him.
He's a force and has developed as a solid blocker as well; he and Ryan Mallet should be playing a lot of catch this season.
As a freshman in 2008, Brown was one of the most prolific receivers in the nation and looked poised to develop into a truly special talent. However, a brutal leg injury in Southern Mississippi's bowl game set him back.
Brown missed two games in 2009 and didn't appear fully healed for much of the season. He's healthy now though, and should bounce back in a huge way to become the wideout everyone once expected him to be.
Sturdivant will be entering his fourth year as a starter in 2010 and is the undeniable leader of the Tar Heels' linebacker corps. He doesn't get the attention that Bruce Carter or Marvin Austin get, but the production is there.
Sturdivant led the team in tackles with 77 and was second on the team with 12 tackles for a loss. He's a fast, instinctive player who can lineup at middle linebacker or on the outside, but it's his leadership skills that make him invaluable.
Gilbert comes into the year with a lot of very high expectations considering he was the Gatorade and Parade National Player of the Year in 2008 and has the chance to be the next great quarterback at UT.
The problem is his production on the field hasn't been that great so far, but there really haven't been a whole lot of opportunities to show what he can do anyway. If it starts to click next season, he could explode on the scene.
At 6'7" and 310 lbs, Carimi has the size and skill of an elite tackle and could well be on his way to being one of the top offensive lineman taken in the 2011 NFL draft. Many experts believe he'll have a shot at being a First-Team All-American next season after earning First-Team Big Ten honors last year.
He's got great footwork and technique, uses his hands about as well as anyone in the nation and is an incredibly smart football player who does an excellent job of breaking down defensive schemes.
Williams won't wow you with his numbers, but that's because he's the best cover corner in the Big 12 and teams rarely throw the ball his way. That should tell you more than his three interceptions in 2009 do. He's only started for one season, but is already making an impression.
NFL scouts have their eye on Williams who not only presents ideal size for a corner, he's the type of player who steps up in big games. The Longhorns will need that in 2010.
It's not that he hasn't been good, because he has, but when you're as talented as Jefferson is and display the type of potential, bigger things are expected. Jefferson is expected to not only be great, but to be the best. He has all the tools and at times has shown flashes of just how good he can be, but it's yet to come all together.
He'll have a ton of weapons to play with in 2010 and the passing game should be better than it was a year ago. If he can continue to grow and get his accuracy in order, Jefferson has the chance to not just be the best quarterback in the SEC, but the best quarterback in the country.
It all depends on how much he wants it.
The 6'1" 311-lb Paea is probably the strongest player in the country and a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-10. He'll be entering his senior year in 2010 and although he's already become the most dominant defensive tackle in the conference, he's still learning the game.
Paea is an ex-rugby player and when you watch him play you can tell that he's still figuring out how to best-utilize his body and progressing with his technique each year. When you're as strong as he is though, it's hard to argue with the results on the field.
Hosman is a linebacker that tends to get overlooked on the national scene, but there's no denying that he's a key member of the Buckeyes' defense and one of the top coverage linebackers in the country. If it wasn't for Greg Jones at Michigan State, he'd be up for consideration as the top linebacker in the conference.
Hosman led Ohio State with five interceptions while adding 10 passes defended and blanketing opposing tight ends and slot receivers. Add in the fact that he's also pretty good in run support and had over 100 tackles in 2009 and it's kind of a shame he didn't make First-Team All Big Ten.
Arguably the top tight end in the nation, Rudolph should be one of Dayne Crist's prime targets next season in Brian Kelly's new spread offense. Rudolph has a great combination of size and strength and is deceptively fast.
He's got a superb set of hands and really has a knack for getting up and snatching the ball out of the air. He's the only John Mackey Award semifinalist from 2009 that's returning this season and should be in line to significantly improve off of last season's 364 yards and three touchdowns.
Lewis would be much higher up the list if he was coming of the type of performance he had as a freshman in 2008 in which he recored 144 tackles to lead the Big 12. His 104 tackles from 2009 were still good enough for fourth-best in the conference, but not quite as eye-popping.
Still, when a 100-tackle season is below par for you, it means you're a solid football player. Lewis is one of the leaders of the Sooners' defense and should at least match his production totals from a year ago; it wouldn't be surprising to see him crush them though.
Mauti is a name that most fans outside of Penn State will not be too familiar with as he missed all of last season due to a torn ACL suffered in mid August. As a true freshman in 2008 though, he appeared in every game for the Nittany Lions while contributing on defense and playing a key role on special teams.
He was projected as a starter last season before suffering his knee injury, but should regain that role now that he's healthy again. Mauti was a highly-touted recruit out of high school and lived up to those expectations as a freshman; this year he'll get back on track and could have the breakout season people anticipated in 2009.
Sands emerged as one of the best defensive players of the Big East in 2009 mainly because of his ability to light-up ball-carriers and make the big hits for highlight reels.
At 6'5", he's much taller than your average defensive back and his conference-leading five interceptions were the result. Sands has two years under his belt now and should be in line for his best season yet. It will be quite a ride to watch him roam the field looking for his next target in 2010.
Dayne Crist will have the mammoth task of being the next Jimmy Clausen for the Irish, but also has the added pressure that comes with being at the reigns of Brian Kelly's new system.
Crist is coming off a torn ACL and barely sniffed the field as a backup last season, but Kelly has a lot of faith in him and expects big things from the junior quarterback.
Doss had 77 receptions for 962 yards and five touchdowns last season, good enough for ninth nationally among underclassmen. He's an under-the-radar player who had one of the best breakout seasons in the country in 2009 after going for just 186 yards and one touchdown as a freshman.
Indiana loves to air out the ball and Doss should be the team's main target next season, but with distinction will come a giant bull's eye on his back.
Will he build off of his impressive sophomore campaign? The good money says yes.
Posey had 60 receptions for 828 yards and eight touchdowns last season, which aren't eye popping numbers by any means, but he's a candidate for a breakout season as the Buckeyes' passing game continues to improve.
Terrelle Pryor will only get better in 2010 and with him the offense as a whole should see improvement. Just look at Posey's performance in the Rose Bowl win against Oregon. He had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown and was one of the most impressive players on the field.
Cousins passed for 2,680 yards as a sophomore with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing over 60 percent of his passes with a quarterback rating of 142.63. He led the Spartans toward the second-rated passing attack in the conference and proved to be a leader on and off the field for his team.
With a great group of receivers at his disposal and what should be an improved running game, Cousins could be in line for a breakout season in 2010 and might find himself right up at the top of this list in 2011.
If Smart had managed to bring in more than six touchdowns to go with his 90 receptions and 1,100 yards, he might have drawn more consideration nationally. But being the top receiver in the Big Ten is a pretty good consultation prize.
He led the conference in reception and yards and should be in line for an even better season in 2010 with former Miami quarterback Robert Marve at the helm.
Nate Solder doesn't get a lot of credit because frankly Colorado's offensive line isn't very good, but without him it would have been one of the worst units in the country.
Solder isn't just the best offensive tackle in the Big 12, he's the best offensive tackle in the nation and from his left tackle position he brings an invaluable amount of support to the table.
Whether it's the run or the pass, he's dominating his opponent practically every play.
Zach Collaros is the front runner to start next season at Cincinnati. He's shown flashes of his potential and could be in line for a monster season. Tony Pike, Marty Gilyard, and Brian Kelly might be gone, but the Bearcats offense is expected to be very similar.
If Collaros nails down the starting job, he's got a very good chance of being among the top quarterbacks in the country.
Wisniewski was a consensus First-Team Big Ten selection and a Third-Team All-American in his first season as Penn State's starting center. The scary part is that he's better suited for guard, where he's played the majority of his career, so you can probably see the type of versatility we're dealing with when he examine this guy.
He should be making a return to guard next season and could be in line for a First-Team All-American year. He's a powerful blocker who really hits hard at the point of attack and drives endlessly against his opponents. That makes him the best offensive lineman in the conference.
John Brantley has bigger shoes to fill next season that probably any player in college football. Fortunately for Gators fans, he just might be the man for the job. Brantley will be starting in place of Tim Tebow next season for Florida and, from what he's shown so far, seems more than up to the task.
Obviously he isn't going to step in and do exactly what Tebow did, but Brantley is somewhat underrated and people will be surprised just how good this kid is when he gets unleashed in August.
Borland was one of the best freshman in the country last season and could be in line for a monster year in 2010 if he's able to build off of his success in 2009. He's a playmaker who does everything you like to see from a linebacker, from coverage to penetrating the backfield and bring ball carriers down behind the line of scrimmage to forcing turnovers.
He was far and away the Big Ten Freshman of the year last season and, depending on how he heals from offseason shoulder surgery, he should be lining up as a starter for Game One.
One of the best pass-rushers in all of college football, Kerrigan might play for lowly Purdue, but he still managed to lead the Big Ten in sacks with 13. He's also got an uncanny ability to force turnovers, tying a school record with seven forced fumbles in 2009.
Some would argue that his stats are inflated by a weaker non-conference schedule than players from Big Ten powerhouses, but look no further than his performance against Ohio State to see that he's legit. Kerrigan had three sacks, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in that contest.
Mohamed led the Pac-10 in tackles with 112 in 2009 and should be in line for repeat performance in 2010. He does a little bit of everything as a linebacker and is the most productive returning player at his position in the conference.
That's gotten him on quite a few watchlists and preseason All-American lists, but either way he's one of the the top two or three linebackers in the Pac-10.
Cliff Matthews is a playmaker with an endless motor. That's a great combination for any player, but at defensive end it makes him a force in the pass-rushing game and one of the best edge-setters in run support.
He's got great technique and sheds blockers like few players in the nation.
If he can stay healthy, he's got the chance to finish the year much higher on lists like this.
Cam Newton went from Florida to JUCO and now has landed the starting quarterback gig at Auburn. He comes with baggage, but his alleged theft charges are long removed and all that's visible to the naked eye is a ton of talent and potential.
He's a big, athletic passer who should do great in Auburn's up-tempo offense. Don't be surprised if his stats are off the charts in 2010 because he's more than capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
Chris Marve is the heart and soul of Vanderbilt's defense. He's one of the top linebackers in the SEC and can put up numbers comparable to practically anyone in the nation.
He's got great speed and athleticism, covers the field well, and tackles with near flawless form.
It must be admitted that Ayers is somewhat of a forgotten man in the national picture and may very well prove to be one of the top 25 players in the country by the end of the year; he's that good.
Ayers recorded 75 tackles with 14.5 coming for a loss in 2009. He also had six sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. There are very few players who can deliver such a diverse stat line and that's the main reason he's showing up on preseason All-American lists.
If not for a late-season ankle injury to Stanzi, it might have been Iowa instead of Ohio State that won the Big Ten in 2009. When he went down against Northwestern, the Hawkeyes ended up losing that game. Two weeks later, the Iowa lost to the Buckeyes without their starting quarterback.
That's the type of difference and his 18-4 record as the starter can't be ignored. Yes, Stanzi is turnover prone, can make some huge mistakes to put his team in a hole, but he's also a born leader and a winner. Just think of all the fourth quarter comebacks he's had.
Alshon Jeffery was First-Team All-Freshman in 2009 while leading South Carolina in receiving yards.
The scary part about this kid is that he didn't really hit his stride as a playmaker until about the midway point of the season. Down the stretch, he put up numbers that were comparable to almost anyone's.
He's so explosive getting down field and is a big play just waiting to happen
He's been a starter for the Gators since he was a true freshman. Next season, he will have to prove he can be a leader in the secondary, because now it truly belongs to him.
He is a lock-down corner who can blanket his man, but he's also a very good tackler and a solid contributor in run support.
The only question about his game is just how good will he be without Joe Haden.
Darvin Adams was the go-to guy for Auburn last year.
There might be other receivers in the SEC with more talent and athleticism, but he's a model of consistency and you can't ask for too much more than that.
For some reason, he hasn't been given the respect he deserves, but that should change in 2010.
Randle was the No. 1 receiver in the country out of high school, and at 6'3" and 200 pounds, has the ideal build you look for in a top wideout.
Last year, he got lost in Brandon LaFell's shadow, but still managed to average over 15 YPC, without really getting too many opportunities to get his hands on the ball.
In 2010, he may prove to be an even better receiver than his former mentor.
Washburn Ealey had enough rushing yards as a freshman to make himself the second-leading returning rusher in the SEC for 2010.
He's a tough, physical player who's about as hard to bring down as any player in the conference. He hits the hole hard, explodes through tacklers, and drives his legs all the way to the whistle.
Considering he didn't even play until the fifth game of the season and then closed the season out averaging over 100 yards per game in Georgia's last five contests, expect big things from him in 2010.
Nesbit will be entering his senior year in 2010 and will go down as one of the most offensively-productive players in Georgia Tech history. Last season he recorded over 1,000 yards rushing with over 1,700 yards passing.
All in all, Nesbit scored 108 points in 2009 and nearly broke the ACC record for points scored by a junior. He's the best player on the Yellow Jackets roster and the pressure will be on him like never before to produce in 2010.
Randall Cobb does it all for the Wildcats: receiver, running back, return man, and even quarterback.
He's a jack of all trades and a "get the football in his hands" type of player. He was First-Team All SEC last season as an all purpose player and was far and away the best weapon on Kentucky's team.
There are few players with his type of versatility on offense, nor the ability to transition their game to whatever situation presents itself
As far as nose tackles go, they don't get a whole lot better than Jerrell Powe. He's the top interior defensive lineman in the SEC and just might be the best defensive tackle in the entire country.
He has such amazing strength and penetration ability and often times last season simply blew up a play by bulldozing offensive lineman straight into the backfield.
At nearly 330 lbs, if you don't double on him, you've lost that play.
The less-heralded of the Rodgers brothers, James led the Pac-10 in all purpose yards in 2009 with 179.1 ypg. He's an electric receiver who recorded over 1,000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season and is clearly the top returning wideout in the conference.
There aren't many receivers who can deliver more production, but at 5'7" there's probably no one who could do it at Rodgers' size. He's going to go down as the best receiver in Oregon State history.
Kevin Sheppard had a 110 tackles last season to lead his team and if not for the high number of star linebackers in the SEC he might have gotten more recognition.
He's a tackling machine, a model of consistency, and an instinctive player who pursues ball carriers like a mad man, covering the field from sideline to sideline about as well as anyone in the country.
He is the leader of LSU's defense alongside Patrick Peterson; they are truly irreplaceable talents.
Pemell McPhee led the team in tackles for loss and has a chance to be the best defensive end in the SEC his senior season.
Every year he's gotten bigger and stronger, and his explosiveness, speed, and athleticism haven't suffered at all.
He punishes ball carriers, relishes the opportunity to bring the quarterback down, sets the edge, pursues like an animal, has a great motor, and has sound technique.
Wilson, who also starts for the Wolfpack's baseball team, has been surrounded by speculation as everyone wonders whether he will bypass his junior year to opt for a chance to play professional baseball.
NC State's head coach, Tom O'Brien, insisted that Wilson would definitely be back next season as the team's starting quarterback. If that's the case, he'll be one of the top signal callers in the nation.
Debose missed the 2009 season due to a serious hamstring injury, but he returns healthy in 2010 ready to assume the role as Florida's next Percy Harvin at least that's the hope of Gators fans.
He is very fast, about as agile as they come and has natural football abiltity that really stands out. When this kid gets loose in the open field he is truly special to watch.
2010 will be his chance to prove the hype was real.
Carter is one of the most athletic linebackers in the country and that makes him a prime candidate to blow up next season and possibly emerge as the best linebacker in all of college football.
He's fast, agile, strong, instinctive, and disciplined. The scary part is he hasn't even come close to reaching his full potential yet and will likely emerge as a true force once he reaches the NFL in a couple years.
With 11 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss, Quinn was in the backfield about as much as any player in the country in 2009. With the troubles surrounding teammate Marivn Austin, there will be a lot more pressure on Quinn this time around.
He sort of flew under the radar last season, but he won't get that courtesy in 2010, especially if Austin is forced to sit out the year. The real question is how good will Quinn be when he's the focus of the offensive line.
As a true freshman last season he had only 47 carries but turned them into over 300 yards on a 6.5 YPC average.
He's a bruiser with soft hands and should be a huge part of the passing game, as well as the main running back for the Razorbacks.
Bobby Petrino has made it clear that Ronnie Wingo Jr., is going to get the lion's share out of the backfield duties in 2010. He very well may be the next great running back to come out of Arkansas.
He's one of the best safeties in the country and will play a huge role in Alabama's secondary in 2010.
He led the SEC in interceptions last season and was one of the leading tacklers on Alabama's roster. He can pretty much do everything you want from the safety position.
He's dangerous in run support, plays the deep ball well, doesn't take too many gambles, and is the undeniable leader of the Crimson Tide's secondary.
Gilmore was one of the highly-touted recruits of South Carolina's 2009 recruiting class, coming to the school early and securing a starting spot in the secondary almost immediately. He's an extremely talented young man with great instincts and cover skills.
He became a difference maker from day one and should only expand on that as he gets more comfortable in coverage now that he's got a year under his belt.
Kuechly was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 as well making First-Team All-ACC; he was a Second-Team All-American selection by SI.com. His 12.5 tackles per game were the most by any freshman in NCAA history.
Kuechly is already one of the top linebackers in the country and is only getting better. It's scary to think about what he'll be doing in a couple years.
In 2009 Thomas led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns while also adding another 257 yards receiving. The most impressive part about his first season in the league was that team's focused all their attention on him and he still dominated.
Kansas State had very little to offer offensively and that left Thomas will a huge target on his back, but he still was the most productive running back in the conference. It'll be interesting to see if he can do it again in 2010.
McDaniel did it all for the Tigers in 2009 in his first season making the switch from linebacker to safety. He was third in the nation in interceptions with eight and recorded over 100 tackles, the first player in Clemson history to do both in a single season.
He's a playmaker, its as simple as that. McDaniel always seems to be around the ball and saves his best for the top competition. Whether it's making a sack, picking off a pass, or laying out the the ball-carrier, McDaniel is doing it.
Royster was one of the most productive backs in the country in 2008, but his production dipped off slightly last season, especially in the touchdown category, where he went from 12 to six.
After his breakout campaign, last season was a bit disappointing. He'll be sharing carries with Stephfon Green in 2010, which will cut into his production again, but Royster is still a solid running back.
Johnson is already one of the best quarterbacks in Aggies history—if not the outright best. He holds several single-season records on top of throwing the most career touchdowns in school history.
After his breakout performance against Texas last year, Johnson has proven he's capable of playing with just about anyone. He's the leader of an A&M team that's better than their 6-7 record in 2009 indicates.
As a freshman, Burfict was second on the Sun Devils in tackles and was arguably the most productive all-around linebacker on the team. He's a solid tackler with great instincts and playmaking ability.
Furthermore, there aren't many backers with his level of coverage skills.
Burfict should be in line for a breakout season in 2010, and could be close to developing into one of the elite linebackers in the country.
Gabbert will be starting his second season as the Tigers quarterback and should continue leading their high-powered offense to a production campaign in 2010.
Gabbert is a solid pocket-passer with great accuracy on most of his throws. He's a also deceptively fast when forced to scramble. As the season progresses, he'll be on watch lists for a lot of national awards.
In 2009, Masoli led the Ducks to the Pac-10 championship, capping his year with a 26-17 near-upset loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
He was considered to be one of the top dual-threat QBs in the country and many experts put him on 2010 Heisman watchlists entering the offseason.
But his off the field troubles quickly derailed any chances of continuing his successful career uninterrupted. That led to his dismissal from Oregon, but Masoli is getting a fresh start at Ole Miss and it's expected he'll take advantage of if during his last year of eligibility.
A very quick and agile player for his size with one of the best motors in the game, Heyward is a very difficult player to block and the cause of many headaches for offensive line coaches.
He had only six sacks last season, but his production is limited by examining statistics alone. Heyward does a great job of collapsing the pocket, taking on double teams and filtering ball-carriers over to his linebackers. He's a key cog in Ohio State's defense and a contributor who can't be overstated.
Galippo was the Trojans' starting middle linebacker for all 13 games last season as a sophomore, and really came into his own as a player and leader on the field.
He developed into the anchor of the linebacker unit and will look to expand on that role in his junior year. Many expect this to be his last college season as he's a candidate to be drafted very early in the 2011 NFL draft.
As a sophomore, Broyles was by far the most productive member of the Sooners receiving core. He set a school record with 89 receptions in 2009 and his season overall ranked as one of the most productive for a receiver in school history.
A dangerous punt returner as well, Broyles brings a lot to the table and finds ways to make big plays. He's lightning fast and can be deadly in open space.
Dareus is best known for the hit he laid on Colt McCoy in the 2009 BSC Championship game that ended McCoy's collegiate career and helped Alabama cruise to the title.
He's the best pass-rusher on the Tide's roster. Now that he's entering his junior year, he will be getting a lot more playing time and that could make him super productive. The problem is he's under scrutiny during an NCAA investigation and could become ineligible.
Moore might be the best returning safety in the nation and could be in line for even more success his junior year. He's a staple of consistency, starting all 25 games of his career to this point.
A sure handed ball hawk, Moore's 10 interceptions last season were the most by any player since 1993.
Baldwin is a huge target who's capable of getting the ball deep or catching it in traffic. His production has grown tremendously each year he's been at the collegiate level and should only continue to sky-rocket as he enters his junior year.
His 19.5 ypc were among the best in the country last season and are a great indicator of Baldwin's big-play ability. There are few players capable of breaking a game open the way he can.
Clay was voted Big Ten Player of the Year in 2009 to highlight a very successful season. His 1,517 rushing yards were eighth in the country, an impressive feat for someone so young.
Clay's numbers were good enough to put him among the best single-season performances in school history; and he was only a sophomore. This season, the bruising 248-pound wrecking ball is expected to put on an even more impressive show.
As a freshman, Te'o appeared in all 12 games for the Irish, starting 10 of them. Once he got into his rhythm, he emerged as one of the top players on the defense and a tackling machine down the stretch.
Te'o's stats from 2009 won't wow you, but this is a guy who really came into his own around the midway point last season when things started to click. There are big things in store for his sophomore year.
Ponder had a disappointing season in 2009 compared to his breakout year in 2008. Normally one to make a lot of plays with his feet, as well as provide sound passing from the pocket and on bootlegs and scrambles, Ponder was limited to just over 100 yards rushing last year.
He's still one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC though, and there's no doubt he's the leader of the Seminoles offense. They'll go as far as No. 7 takes them this season.
Greg McElroy won't wow you and, in fact, most Crimson Tide fans are just waiting for Philip Sims to take over as the starting quarterback in 2011. But don't forget that he quarterbacked this team to a National Championship last season.
Is he a caretaker of the offense, yes. Is he easily replaceable? No.
McElroy is a leader, an accurate passer, a solid decision-maker, and an overall underrated quarterback. There are more talented quarterbacks in the SEC, that's not up for debate, but its hard to say that too many more are more meaningful to their respective teams.
Landry Jones was forced into a starting role much sooner than expected for the Sooners because of the nagging shoulder injury problems of Sam Bradford. While Oklahoma had a disappointing season, the freshman actually held his own out there and got a ton of valuable game experience.
That experience is going to come into play in 2010 when Jones takes over sole control of the starting quarterback position. He has the tools to be very successful leading the Sooners.
Von Miller was voted First-Team All American by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. He was the first Aggie since 1999 to year such accolades. His 17 sacks were tops in the country and his nearly 20 tackles for loss were good enough for fifth.
Miller can line up at linebacker or defensive end; it really doesn't matter with this guy. Wherever you put him on the field, he's going to cause havoc for opposing quarterbacks.
Murray is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the country and has a great combination of size and speed. He's able to hit the holes between the tackles, break it outside or run crisp routes to the flats or downfield.
His production suffered last season, but the Sooners as a whole tanked and you have to give them the benefit of the the doubt that a rebound is in order.
Dont'a Hightower was a devastating knee injury away from being one of the top linebackers in the country a year ago and the word out of Alabama is that he's looking better than ever after a long and strenuous rehab.
Coming out of high school, he was highly touted and the hype proved to be real when he lined up as a starter on opening day as a true freshman and then finished the year a First-Team All-Freshman selection.
The Tide's new middle linebacker might be even better than Rolondo McLain.
Barkley is another quarterback with a lot to prove in 2010. At the heart of a disappointing season for the Trojans, he was a young and talented quarterback who at times made a lot of mistakes and at others looked brilliant.
Barkley needs to work on his consistency, but with a year at the helm, he seems ready to do that. He's got a ton of potential and a handful of new weapons to throw this year. USC fans are hoping he makes the most of it. There's no reason to think he won't.
Jared Crick began the 2009 season as the body that occupied space beside Ndamukong Suh and took up some additional space. By the end of the year, he'd earned his own reputation as an exceptional defensive tackle.
Crick was named First-Team All-Big 12 as a sophomore and now in his junior year is primed to become one of the leaders of the Cornhuskers' defense and a serious force in the middle.
Richardson was one of the most sought after prospects in the country coming out of high school a couple years ago and proved to be worth the hype with a strong freshman campaign.
He's a rare combination of size, speed, and elusiveness and, although he plays behind Mark Ingram, Richardson still gets on the field a lot and takes full advantage of his opportunities.
Adrian Clayborn is arguably the top playmaker in the Big Ten. He's a great pass-rusher, solid in run support, and the leader of Iowa's defense. Last season, he capped a campaign that ranked him as one of the league-leaders in sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles with an MVP performance against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
He's a dominating force and only got better as the season went along. While Greg Jones might be the most nationally-recognized defender in the Big Ten, Clayborne is just as important to the Hawkeyes and another monster year could make him the best in the conference.
Herzlich is one of the best all-around defenders in the country and a playmaker who always finds a way to make a difference. He's a sure-handed tackler, solid in pass-coverage, a turnover machine, and a decent pass-rusher. You won't find many defenders who do more than him.
Herzlich is the heart and soul of BC's defense and should continue in that role as he enters his senior season with very high expectations.
Luck led the Pac-10 in passer efficiency last season and led the Cardinals to a respectable 8-5 season. There's not much not to like about this young man's game at this point, or his natural ability and stature.
He's got an NFL arm, NFL size, and has displayed great intelligence and decision-making. Figure in the fact that he's only got one season under his belt and you have to believe Luck is ready to explode all over the college football scene.
If Stanford does any damage this season, it'll be because of him.
Keenum is the the leader of the nation's most prolific offense, one that has put up astounding numbers the last two seasons with one of the best passing attacks in all of college football.
None of that is possible without Keenum, who is entering his senior year and apparently is looking for one last chance to lead the Cougars onto the field and into the record books.
He makes that offensive machine tick.
Sophomore running back LaMichael James is one of the most anticipated players for the 2010 season. Not only was he one of the most productive backs in the country last season, but as a freshman, the accomplishment was all the more impressive.
James is fast and agile, difficult to bring down, and very dangerous in the open field. He's a home run waiting to happen and a legitimate candidate for postseason honors
Peterson is one of the best cover cornerbacks in the country, consistently taking on an opponents best receiver and often times shutting them down. He's held some of the best wide outs in the country in check, including star players like A.J. Green.
Peterson is also capable of making big plays when he gets his hands on the ball. He might not make too many interceptions, but that is due mostly to the fact that no one throws the ball near him.
Last year, Harris led the Hurricanes to their most productive season since 2005. While at times he plays sporadically, when Harris is rolling on all cylinders, he makes it look easy out there.
Harris has a soft touch on his passes and great pocket presence. In his second full season as the starting quarterback, there should be a lot of improvement from him this year.
Romeus has emerged as the top defender in the Big East and possesses the ideal combination of size, speed, quickness and strength you look for in a defensive end. He moves very well and has a good array of moves to shed blockers.
Romeus is also a a versatile player who can play anywhere along the D-line and be a success. He's a lock to be an All-American in 2010 and should be a huge part of Pitt's defense.
The second of the Rodgers brothers, Jacquizz will begin the year on quite a few Heisman lists in 2010 and for good reason. He's the only two-time First-Team All-Pac-10 player returning this season and brings about as much to the table as any offensive player in the country.
At 5'7" he might be the pound-for-pound toughest football player in the country. He will slice through a defense with cuts very few players can make and can light up the scoreboard and highlight reels with the best of them.
Greg Jones was a consensus All-American in 2009 and the defensive MVP of the Big Ten. He was also the top linebacker in the country with an impressive number of tackles and sacks.
Jones sniffs out the ball and blows up plays so quickly that opponents often don't even have time to react. He's so quick to track down ball carriers and is very good at rushing the quarterback. MSU's best weapon shouldn't have any drop off in 2010.
Austin is the best defensive tackle in the country. He's a brick wall that demands a constant double team and clogs up a ton of space up front for others to take advantage of. His strength and balance are very impressive, as is his ability to penetrate into the backfield.
The Tar Heels defensive hinges on his success in the middle to free up the linebackers and defensive ends to make plays.
Austin is in serious danger of missing next season due to an NCAA investigation. It remains to be seen how that will play out.
Devine has drawn comparisons to the likes of Barry Sanders, a feat not often accomplished. He's got incredible balance and vision and is exceedingly difficult to tackle. There really hasn't been a back in a very long time who's as elusive and slippery when it comes to staying on his feet and gaining extra yards.
The Mountaineers' offensive lives and dies by his hand and that'll only increase in his senior year.
Floyd is one of the top receivers in college football and is expected to emerge as a near unstoppable force in 2010. He's got a huge frame and is already a difficult cover, but as he gains more and more confidence, his hands and route running have become very strong over the last year or two.
This season, Floyd is polished and ready to show off his skills to the NFL scouts. The question is how ready will Dayne Crist be to throw him the ball?
Griffin emerged as a dangerous weapon as an 18-year-old dual-threat quarterback with exceptional athleticism. Unfortunately, a torn ACL sidelined him for much of last year and ruined Baylor's season.
He's back this year healthy and ready to resume where he left off as a freshman. As long as that knee holds up, he could be one of the best college football players in the country, period.
Williams exploded onto the stage as a freshman last season to become one of the top running backs in the country with a record-setting year.
Voted the Rookie of the Year in the ACC and First-Team All-ACC, WIlliams is a touchdown machine who is very difficult to slow down. He runs with amazing power and quickness, bulldozing tacklers and carrying defenders two or three yards on numerous occasions.
Considering he did all this as a freshman, there's really no telling what he's capable of down the line
One of the most efficient and productive quarterbacks in the country, Moore's touchdown to interception ratio is off the charts and there aren't many quarterbacks who read the field better.
The Broncos will be leaning on him to get it done for them for another season and there's no reason to believe he won't. He's got a solid arm and throws the ball so accurately he rarely makes mistakes.
Jones is expected to be one of the top receiving threats in the country in 2010. After playing in only eight games last season do to a knee injury that kept him out for a portion of the year, Jones is finally fully healthy and ready to do some serious damage.
He looked a step slow for a good portion of last season and while he played through pain, there was something missing. He's just way too talented to not breakout for a fantastic year in 2010. Injuries might be the only thing standing in his way.
Lewis might be as important to his team as any player in the country. The Panthers rely on him so much and really don't have anyone who can fill the void that would be created without him.
Lewis is a powerful, straight-line runner who does a great job of hitting the holes hard, with purpose. There are few who can take him down on first contact and even fewer who can deal with him in open space.
A.J. Green is arguably the best receiver in the country and a deadly weapon for the Bulldogs. He possesses great size and speed, and plays with a physical style that wears down corners throughout a game.
Green missed three games due to injury last season, but is healthy now and should be in line for a massive 2010 campaign.
Taylor is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country and a very difficult matchup for any opposing defense. He's a smart player that rarely makes mistakes and will constantly capitalize on the mistakes of his opponents.
He and Ryan Williams combine to provide a very potent one-two punch that will help the Hokies have one of the best offenses in the country next season.
Pryor really came into his own late last season and by the end of the year looked like the quarterback he was hyped up to be coming out of high school a couple years ago.
He's the best dual-threat QB in the country and based on the way he closed out his 2009 campaign, he just might be the best player in the country in 2010. There really aren't many candidates to have a better season than him.
Locker is considered to be one of the best all-around quarterbacks in the country this season and depending on how well he plays, has a very real possibility of being the top pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
He has all the tools a solid pro quarterback needs: size, arm strength, accuracy, vision, intelligence, etc.
Locker is the heart and soul of the Huskies and his play could lead them further than anyone would think next season.
The reigning Heisman trophy winner, Ingram is one of the best players in the country and a force to be reckoned with at running back. He's powerful, elusive, breaks tackles, has great top-end speed, and has off the charts athleticism.
There's a good reason he won the Heisman a year ago and there's no reason at all to think he won't be a serious part of the discussion again this season.
Ryan Mallet is the top quarterback in the country and, if he meets expectations, will be the top player in all of college football in 2010, which should earn him a Heisman.
He's a very accurate passer and a great leader on the field. He commands the respect of his teammates and leads by example with stellar play and a near-flawless work ethic.
Mallet is another player with all the tools the NFL is looking for and currently is in a tight race with Jake Locker to be the first pick in the 2011 draft.