Every season there are a few players that have their coming out party early in the year and really make a name for themselves with some big games. This puts them on the radar with NFL Scouts and really drives the casual fan to follow their respective team for the remainder of the season. Based on what I have been hearing and in some instances what I have already witnessed on the field last year, here are five players that are on their way to being a household name.
1 – Cam Akers – RB/Florida State – Akers is a true freshman from the state of Mississippi who had 87 yards on 10 carries in FSU’s spring game. He is the highest-rated offensive recruit in Florida State history. He played QB in high school, so there will be an adjustment period. While it’s already obvious he is going to make a great impact running the ball for the Seminoles, he seems to have a knack for being a receiver out of the backfield, as well. This, along with his kick returning skills, will make him an all-purpose star in the ACC.
2 – Jaylen Samuels – AP/NC State – They had to create a new category for Samuels. Last year he was listed as a Tight End. I agree, the new tag of All-Purpose player is a better fit (NC State calls him an H-Back). The 5’11, 223-pound workhorse can be used in multiple ways. He can run the ball, catch the ball and even threw a TD pass last year. This guy can do it all. The touchdown machine had three scores against Vanderbilt in their bowl game last year. It is hard for teams to key on him when he has a similar playmaker on the field at the same time in Nyheim Hines.
3 – Shaq Quaterman – LB/Miami – Lead all Power 5 Freshman last year with 44 stops. This young man is the next great Miami Linebacker. He is a beast who will take Miami to the top of the Coastal Division of the ACC this year. He has been working in the off-season on getting in better shape and slimming down, so this will mean even more trouble for opposing offenses.
4 – Dexter Lawrence – DT/Clemson – The 6’5, 340-pound Defensive Tackle is an odds-on favorite to be the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a true freshman last year, Lawrence had 79 tackles and 7 sacks. He has freakish athleticism for his mammoth size. He will be a one-man wrecking crew this year.
5 – Harold Landry – DE/Boston College – Last year, Landry led the nation in sacks with 16.5 and 7 forced fumbles despite consistently being double teamed. The 6’3, 250-pound senior should have a monster year for Steve Addazio.
Kelvin Harmon – WR/NC State – Harmon is a sophomore that is ready to explode. He is 6’3, 196 lbs. – certainly an NFL body. In his freshman season, he had 5 TD’s, 27 receptions and 462 yards, despite starting just 4 games. With Matt Dayes headed to the NFL and State’s backfield by committee, Harmon will get plenty of looks from QB Ryan Finley. The Wolfpack is a team on the rise and will put up a lot of points this year. They have a lot of weapons, so Harmon will get a lot of single coverage to make some big plays.
Derwin James – S/Florida State – James only appeared in two games last year due to a knee injury. In his freshman season, he had 91 tackles. The 6’3, 211-pound redshirt sophomore is the self-proclaimed “best player in college football”. By the end of the season, many may agree. If FSU upends Alabama and James makes a few special plays early in the season, don’t be surprised to hear his name mentioned in contention for the Heisman trophy.
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