Notable CFB Players Sitting Out of 2022 Bowl Games

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2022

Notable CFB Players Sitting Out of 2022 Bowl Games

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    Anthony Richardson
    Anthony RichardsonDavid Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Although bowl season remains a celebrated part of college football, rosters tend to look a little different these days.

    Over the last half-decade, the trend of skipping a bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft has only grown. Dozens of players have already announced they will not be playing in 2022 bowl season.

    That means we'll be missing some big-name talents.

    To date, the list of opt-outs includes Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, Texas running back Bijan Robinson and Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., among others. Ahead is a selection of key players who will be watching from the sideline this bowl season.

Quarterbacks

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    Will Levis
    Will LevisAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Malik Cunningham, Louisville

    After an electric 2021 campaign, Cunningham had a rougher season in 2022 and dealt with a few injuries along the way. He isn't viewed as an early-round NFL draft pick, but a physical taxing year combined with head coach Scott Satterfield leaving for Cincinnati is reason enough for Cunningham to focus on preparing for his leap to the pros.


    Will Levis, Kentucky

    Every year, certain prospects get hyped based on stature and tools. Levis is the textbook example in the 2023 draft cycle. Anonymous scouts will praise his potential, though he's more a long-term project than an immediate-impact quarterback after throwing 23 interceptions in the last two seasons.


    Anthony Richardson, Florida

    Richardson fits a similar mold, showing off dynamic mobility and a powerful arm in a 6'4", 232-pound frame. On paper, he's exactly what you want in a quarterback. During his first year as a starter, though, Richardson posted an ugly 53.8 completion percentage with a modest 7.8 yards per attempt. He's a developmental option, too.

Top NFL Prospects

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    Bijan Robinson
    Bijan RobinsonTim Warner/Getty Images

    Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

    A three-year contributor at Clemson, Murphy wrapped his collegiate career with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks this season. He totaled 117 tackles, including 36.5 behind the line of scrimmage, and 17.5 sacks overall. B/R's Scouting Department has Murphy rated as the third-best prospect in the class.


    Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    One spot behind Murphy and ahead of the next player on the B/R Scouting Department's latest big board is Robinson, one of the nation's most exciting players. He rushed for 1,580 yards and caught 19 passes for 314 yards while scoring 20 total touchdowns this season. Robinson also tallied 1,422 yards from scrimmage and 15 scores last season.


    Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

    Counting stats cannot accurately show Porter's dominance. It may seem unimpressive that he mustered only 27 tackles and didn't intercept a pass this season, but Porter allowed only 15 receptions all year, per Pro Football Focus.


    BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU

    The brother of New York Giants 2021 second-round pick Azeez Ojulari, BJ had a productive three-year run at LSU. Ojulari registered 24.5 tackles for loss with 16 sacks throughout his college career. He checked in 12th on the B/R Scouting Department's latest big board.


    Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

    Foskey had an opportunity to turn pro following the 2021 season, but he returned to Notre Dame and excelled again. The edge-rusher matched his 11 sacks from last season while , going from 12.5 tackles for loss to 14 this year. Foskey, who recorded 45 stops overall, also blocked two kicks in 2022. Foskey landed 16th on the B/R big board.

Top Offensive Players

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    Josh Downs
    Josh DownsDavid Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

    Downs emerged as UNC's top target in 2021, securing 101 passes for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns. He retained the high-volume workload this season with 1,029 yards and 11 scores on 94 receptions.


    Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

    Best known for his five-touchdown explosion against Alabama, Hyatt enjoyed a stellar year for the Vols. He averaged an outstanding 18.9 yards per catch on 67 receptions, holding top-five marks nationally in both yards (1,267; fourth) and touchdowns (15; tie-first).


    Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

    After an injury-plagued year, Kincaid is prioritizing a well-deserved rehab above the Rose Bowl. Utah's key pass-catcher paced all tight ends in the country with 70 receptions and 890 days. (Although the latter is dependent on acknowledging that Syracuse star Oronde Gadsden II basically always aligns out wide despite his formal listing.)


    Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    Mayer, meanwhile, led his position with nine touchdown catches for the season. Similar to Kincaid, Mayer served as the primary receiver for Notre Dame. He reeled in 67 passes for 809 yards, both of which more than doubled the totals of ND's top wide receiver.


    Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas

    The first of two notable SEC offensive linemen who have opted out of bowl games, Stromberg was a four-year starter at Arkansas. The linchpin of the Razorbacks' blocking group capped his career with first-team All-SEC recognition in 2022.


    O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

    Torrence followed head coach Billy Napier from Louisiana, where the lineman earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2021. That strong play carried over to his lone season with Florida, and Torrence solidified his pursuit of an NFL future as a first-team All-SEC selection.

Top Defensive Players

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    Christian Gonzalez
    Christian GonzalezDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

    Forbes put together a brilliant year, highlighted by returning three of his six interceptions for touchdowns. The most incredible part is that he'd done it before, too. He also scored three times on five picks as a freshman in 2020. Forbes racked up 14 interceptions in three years.


    Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

    Yet another highly rated cornerback, Gonzalez notched 50 tackles and four interceptions in 2022 to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Last year, he provided 53 stops, with 5.5 for loss.


    Drew Sanders, Edge, Arkansas

    The transfer from Alabama enjoyed a long-awaited breakout year, leading the Razorbacks with 103 tackles ahead of veteran linebacker Bumper Pool (92). Sanders was a menace in opposing backfields, posting 13.5 stops for loss with 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.


    Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

    Along with teammate Zacch Pickens, Smith won't be suiting up for South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. The lockdown corner generated six interceptions and 18 pass breakups over the last three years.


    All stats are from cfbstats.com.

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