NCAA Football: Best College Football Players You’ve Never Heard Of
Best College Football Players You’ve Never Heard Of
Everyone knows the best players in the country on the major programs, but every year guys from smaller schools turn heads. Here are some guys you have never heard of that could be amongst the best in the country:
Taylor Heinicke, QB, Jr., Old Dominion:
As a sophomore last year Heinicke won the Walter Payton Award, the FCS’s version of the Heisman. He completed 69% of his passes for 5,076 passing yards including a 730-yard performance against New Hampshire. Heinicke also tallied 44 TDs and only 14 INTs with 470 rushing yards. Joe Flacco played in the same conference and only had 4,263 yards and 23 TDs with a 64% completion rate his senior year.
ODU will make the transition to FBS football over the next couple of seasons giving the Monarch’s star a chance to prove himself against a higher level of talent. As a 6’1″ 195 lb FCS quarterback,(extra space was deleted here) Heinicke is looked at as an under sized system stat compiler playing against lowly competition. This season ODU has East Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina on the schedule. If he proves himself against the FBS schools he will see his name towards the top of the 2015 QB draft boards.
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Jr., Utah State:
The dual threat quarterback set school records in TD passes (27), passing yards (3,373) completions (275), and completion percentage (67.6%). He also ran for 619 yards and 8 TDs and was a first team all WAC selection last year as a sophomore. Keeton will get a chance to make a name for himself right away this season, playing Utah on opening Thursday featured on Fox Sports 1.
Kenneth Dixon, HB, So., Louisiana Tech:
Dixon only received 4 FBS scholarship offers coming out of high school, which means 121 teams made a mistake. Dixon’s 1,194 rushing yards and his NCAA freshman rushing TD record (27) was good enough to make him a freshman All-American last season. Dixon is impossible to bring down with one defender. His hard running style is reminiscent of Alabama’s Mark Ingram.
Tim Flanders, HB, Sr., Sam Houston State:
Flanders is the definition of a “scat back.” In SHSU’s wide-open offense he amassed 1642 rushing yards with 17 TDs and a 5.7 yards/carry average. He will get a chance to prove( himself week two against Texas A&M.
Tommy Shuler, WR, Jr. Marshall:
Shuler is small at 5’8″, 185 lbs. but his numbers are massive. The speedy and shifty wide out led the NCAA in receptions per game (9.2) and totaled 1,138 yards in his sophomore season. Against Purdue he caught 19 passes for 200 yards.
Noel Grigsby, WR, Sr. San Jose State:
A lot of people are talking about the Spartan’s quarterback, David Fales, but not a lot of attention is being paid to his favorite target. Grigsby started off last season with an impressive stat line against Stanford (7 catches, 93 yard, 1 TD.) Against BYU, who ranked 9th in the nation in passing yards allowed, Grigsby caught 8 balls for 132 yards and 2 TDs.
Khalil Mack, LB, Sr., Buffalo:
In a MAC dominated by offense, Mack is one of the few players on defense to excite NFL scouts. He holds the school record in tackles for loss with 56, and needs 19 this season to set the NCAA mark. He is fast and athletic and can move down and play DE if the situation calls for it.
Andrew Jackson, LB, Sr., Western Kentucky:
Jackson was 12th in the nation with 78 solo tackles last season. He went to the same high school as future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, and while it is unfair to compare Jackson’s talent to his predecessor, it is fair to say that Jackson plays with the same passion for the game.
Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg:
Webster started his collegiate career on the basketball court but decided to hang up the sneakers and pick up the spikes. He was a division 2 All-American last year and should improve exponentially in his second season of college football.