College Football Trades We Wish Could Be Made in 2015
The MLB trade deadline is just about a week away as franchises prepare moves that could make or break their playoff pushes.
In the past year, both the NFL and the NBA were sent in respective frenzies with flurries of blockbuster trade activity. Basketball fans will definitely remember the zaniness of the last trade deadline, when one of the league's best insiders was astounded.
College football has plenty of aspects that make it extremely entertaining, but it doesn't have the hand-wringing drama of trades like the professional leagues. (It definitely has free-agent signings thanks to the wild world of recruiting and the rise of graduate transfers.)
As the long offseason continues to drag along toward the fall, let's look at some possible and completely hypothetical trades that would be great to see in college football.
First, here are some ground rules: Teams can't trade for scholarship slots, which would be like pro teams trading for draft picks. There must be an exchange of players for both sides. Also, the deals should be fairly even—we're not in the business of trade robbery here with this offseason exercise.
In the words of Bleacher Report's Ben Kercheval, who did a similar piece last season, remember that "all trades are completely fabricated and shouldn't be attempted by anyone, ever."
Temple LB Tyler Matakevich for TCU WR Package
College football has tackle machines, and then it has Tyler Matakevich. The Temple linebacker has recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons and is a commanding presence in the middle of a defense.
TCU has all the makings of a national title contender this season, but it could suffer in the long run from a lack of experience in the middle of its 4-2-5 defense. According to SB Nation's Bill Connelly, "In [TCU's] post-spring depth chart, three of the top four linebackers were either true or redshirt freshmen."
The Horned Frogs would make a move for Matakevich and his years of tackling prowess, making him a key figure in the heart of Gary Patterson's defense. In order to make this trade work, they offer the Owls a package of young, explosive receivers from their deep corps, as Temple lost its top two pass-catchers from a season ago.
The addition of Matakevich gives TCU more stability on defense, and he becomes a star in the Big 12. Temple fills a gap on its experienced depth chart and makes a bowl while contending for the AAC title.
Oklahoma RB Alex Ross for Georgia Tech DT Adam Gotsis
Alex Ross averaged an outstanding 6.8 yards per carry last season for Oklahoma, but he's behind the younger Samaje Perine on the depth chart heading into 2015. With the Sooners adjusting to Lincoln Riley's Air Raid offense, it's time to flip Ross for immediate help on defense.
Ross' big-play style of running would fit right in Paul Johnson's option attack at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets lost their top four running backs from last season and would love to add a proven weapon in the backfield this year.
Oklahoma's defense, which struggled last season, returns only one starter on its defensive line—top end Charles Tapper. In order to land Ross, Georgia Tech trades second-team All-ACC defensive tackle Adam Gotsis, an experienced body on the inside who would thrive alongside Tapper.
In this trade, Georgia Tech gets a go-to running back who could torment defenses alongside quarterback Justin Thomas, while Oklahoma addresses a position of need with a veteran who has already excelled in a Power Five conference.
Colorado State WR Rashard Higgins for Georgia RB A.J. Turman and a QB
New Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo inherited the nation's top receiver from a year ago in Rashard Higgins. The star wideout would have serious Heisman potential if he were at another school—like, let's say, the one Bobo just left.
Georgia's offense in 2015 will be led by its deep stable of former blue-chip running backs. But behind the likes of Nick Chubb, Keith Marshall and Sony Michel is sophomore A.J. Turman, who Charles Odum of the Associated Press, via Yahoo Sports, called "one to watch" after his standout spring scrimmage performances.
While the Bulldogs have three contenders to choose from at quarterback, they don't have a top receiver outside of Malcolm Mitchell. Adding Higgins would make the Georgia offense extremely dangerous and give the standout receiver a better chance of winning awards and improving his draft stock.
By trading the Rams' star receiver, Bobo would pick up SEC-caliber players in Turman and one of Georgia's backup quarterbacks—most likely Faton Bauta or Greyson Lambert. Colorado State would get multiple seasons out of these new additions and immediately have one of the best offenses in the Mountain West.
Penn State DT Anthony Zettel for Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Stanford returns a ton of offensive talent from last season, but the team's hallmark of strong defensive line play is a question mark heading into 2015. While senior Aziz Shittu and redshirt freshman Solomon Thomas are intriguing options at defensive end, the team needs a leader at tackle.
Penn State's excellent defense last season was led up front by Anthony Zettel, who excelled after moving from end to tackle. He was a first-team All-Big Ten performer and could be in for another monster season.
The Nittany Lions need help offensively following quarterback Christian Hackenberg's down 2014 campaign. Adding a go-to running back—one that would play in State College for more than one season—would lighten Hackenberg's load and improve a lackluster offense, and Stanford has several options in its backfield.
Trading a high-potential sophomore in Christian McCaffrey, who also is a special teams weapon, for a can't-miss defensive tackle would be a great move for Stanford's chances in the Pac-12 North. McCaffrey's trade would also open up more Cardinal carries for leading rusher Remound Wright and Barry Sanders Jr.
Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah for Notre Dame RB/WR C.J. Prosise
As Bleacher Report's Mike Monaco wrote in April, Notre Dame needs "a proven and dominant pass-rusher" in order for its defense to contend for the big one this fall. The Irish had a sacks-by-committee approach last season, when a linebacker and a defensive back tied for the team lead in that category.
Enter Emmanuel Ogbah, an All-Big 12 performer who had 11 sacks last season for Oklahoma State and decided to come back to school this year. Ogbah would give Notre Dame that instant impact in the pass rush and become a force under defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
But what would Oklahoma State want in return? Immediate help on the offensive side of the ball after a lackluster 2014. The Cowboys have preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Chris Carson at running back, and the addition of Notre Dame's versatile C.J. Prosise would help the Cowboys return to their explosive ways in a number of ways—the running game, the passing game and (potentially) special teams.
Both players address big-time needs for their respective new schools, which have the depth to fill in the gaps behind their departures.
Pittsburgh RB James Conner for 2 Michigan State Starters
Much like the Georgia trade for Higgins, this is a move between two coaching staffs that know each other quite well.
One of Michigan State's biggest question marks heading into the 2015 season is that the Spartans don't have any established running backs for their ground-based offense. True freshman LJ Scott has a ton of potential but can't do it alone this year, and that's why the Spartans would break the bank for one of the nation's best running backs.
The powerful James Conner would be a perfect fit for Michigan State's scheme and would take the Connor Cook-led offense to another level. In return, new Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi would pick up a pair of starters—perhaps Darien Harris or Lawrence Thomas—from a deep Spartan defense he helped build as Michigan State's excellent coordinator.
Narduzzi would fill some gaps in Pittsburgh's defensive depth chart and lay the foundation for great Panther defenses for seasons to come. Mark Dantonio, his former boss, would get a hard-working superstar for its backfield and lead a more complete title contender into the fall schedule.
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo for USC Defensive Package
Another great receiver in a program that won't challenge for any national titles soon is Rutgers' Leonte Carroo, who had 55 catches for an incredible 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
Carroo put up those stats with up-and-down quarterback Gary Nova last season. Imagine his potential with an efficient signal-caller such as USC's Cody Kessler. The Trojans quarterback is one of the nation's best at the position heading into the season, but with the exception of JuJu Smith he doesn't have a proven weapon out wide.
With only 10 returning starters this season, Kyle Flood and Rutgers could be in for a rebuilding year with the Scarlet Knights. But in order to get Carroo to come out west, USC helps out a young and thin Rutgers defense with a package of some former blue-chip recruits—it pays to finally have some depth in Los Angeles.
As a result of this trade, Rutgers gets a much-needed infusion of talent for the upcoming year, and Kessler gains a major big-play receiver to line up next to the likes of Smith, Adoree' Jackson and Darreus Rogers.
Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III for USC QB Ricky Town and OL Toa Lobendahn
Let's say USC gets aggressive in the trade market this offseason. The fans are clamoring for a return to national prominence, so the Trojans go after an All-American in Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III.
Perhaps the nation's best cornerback, Hargreaves III would be an immediate boost to a USC pass defense that ranked 118th nationally last season. His draft stock would continue to rise under the bright lights of Los Angeles while he plays for a national championship contender instead of a rebuilding Florida.
Florida would flip its prized defensive back for long-term help on offense, which was its downfall under former head coach Will Muschamp. USC trades Florida true freshman quarterback Ricky Town, a high 4-star recruit from the class of 2015, with the talented Max Browne waiting in the wings. And with two left tackles with starting experience on the depth chart, they also trade sophomore Toa Lobendahn.
USC makes the Hollywood, blockbuster-style move of gaining Hargreaves III, and Florida gets a huge head start in its offensive rebuild with a talented young quarterback and offensive tackle.
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller for Alabama DE Jonathan Allen
It's hard to imagine two Sugar Bowl foes from last season's College Football Playoff helping each other out, but this trade would be perfect for both sides.
Say Braxton Miller doesn't get the starting quarterback job for Ohio State this fall and is behind both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett on the depth chart. Instead of keeping him there or moving him to another position, the Buckeyes flip the senior quarterback for immediate help opposite star defensive end Joey Bosa.
Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod wrote in April that one of the defending champions' biggest needs was a star presence on the other side of Bosa. In former SEC first-teamer Jonathan Allen, Ohio State will get one of Alabama's best pass-rushers and a player it recruited in the same class that netted Bosa, according to Drew Champlin of AL.com.
This is a blockbuster trade. Miller would solve Alabama's quarterback situation and give offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin an even better dual-threat weapon than the one he used last season. Ohio State would improve its defensive line and push for another national title.
Justin Ferguson is an on-call college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.