As the college football season kicks off many of these young players will be looking to put the world on notice. Each trying to extend their growing legacy. Some will rise as the season goes on, some will definitely fall.
The players who can weather the storm and handle the pressure will likely succeed. This group of guys has various styles that require different skill sets.
Here’s an early look at some of the candidates who are sure to grab your attention this season.
Cody Kessler – 6-1 215 (USC) – A prototypical quarterback with a decent arm that understands how to protect the football. He flew under the radar with a pretty good receiving core last year. He must now show that same leadership with less talent around him.
Jared Goff – 6-4 210 (Cal) – Considered one of the best quarterbacks in college because he is fundamentally sound. There isn’t a throw he can’t make. He also has a top notch receiving core at his disposal. Probably the most talented guy to watch this season.
Christian Hackenberg – 6-4 236 (Penn St.) – Really good size and great arm strength. He must work on his accuracy but there is potential for him to be really good. This season he will asked to do more with less. If he can show he can be consistent his stock will rise without a doubt.
Cardale Jones – 6-5 250 (Ohio St.) – Physically he has all the tools size and strength especially. He is also very deceptive with his legs. Now he must prove he is not a one trick pony. Having only played three games last year, teams have some film on him and know exactly what he can do.
JT Barrett – 6-2 225 (Ohio St.) – A versatile quarterback who is very smart. What he lacks in size he makes up with his mind. Coming off of ankle surgery he’s ready to show that things haven’t changed. He understands how to run the offense very well. One of the few who has shown he likes pressure in big game situations. A solid and steady guy that won’t blow you away but he does his job. The natural leader you want in your locker room.
Trevone Boykin – 6-1 205 (TCU) – A hungry guy with a major chip on his shoulder. His team was left out the final four last year with only one loss. He has great athleticism and tools you can’t teach. His above average speed helps him extend plays with both his arm and legs. He is easily a Heisman candidate.
Dak Prescott – 6-2 230 (Mississippi St.) – A duel threat who can run the read option. He’s not easy to take down and makes more throws than people give him credit for. Everyone knows he can get it done with his legs. It’s his passing that has improved. Now he must learn how to not stare down receivers and make better decisions with the football. His leadership and toughness are what make him special. Think Tim Tebow.
Connor Cook – 6-4 220 (Michigan St.) – The most mature QB in college. A pocket passer who has been in enough wars this far in his career. He must continue to work on his accuracy. When flushed out the pocket he relies more on his arm strength than his footwork. Think Michael Vick.
Deshaun Watson – 6-2 205 (Clemson) – All potential here. Having just come back from ACL knee surgery he has a lot to prove. He had an impressive freshman campaign. Everyone will be looking to see if the magic is still there. Will he trust his knee and be as explosive as he once was. Only time will tell.
Gunner Kiel – 6-4 215 (Cincinnati) – The college journeymen who has bounced around a lot. He understands his place and has patiently waited for this opportunity. A pure thrower has good touch on the ball. His ability to throw on the run makes him an even bigger threat. He is a very elusive guy for his size.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports