monday night football College Football is Back! Here’s Who to Watch

A blog about college football players to watch in the upcoming season.

College Football is Back! Here’s Who to Watch

By: Kyle Bonagura

Jul 24, 2017

The college football season is right around the corner, and ESPN’s team of writers and reporters have you covered with in-depth analysis, observations, opinions and predictions. The College Football Playoff championship rematch between Alabama and Clemson headlines the early slate, while Notre Dame vs. Texas highlights a busy opening weekend. See below for links to all of ESPN’s 2017 college football preview coverage.

Top 25 previews: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-25

Power rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Group of 5

Conference previews: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Heisman Watch: Baker Mayfield leads our experts’ picks

15 games to get you ready for the season| Top games by conference

What they’re saying: Players reflect on 2016 season

College Football is Back! Here’s Who to Watch

Spring training practices are over, and summer is in full swing. With the start of college football season only months away, it’s time to start thinking about who to watch this year. We’ll go over some of the top players of 2019, including a few not-so-obvious picks.

Quarterbacks to Watch

With most teams starting their first-string quarterback from last year, quarterback battles will be sparse this season. However, there are still some key players who have yet to prove themselves:

Brock Purdy (Iowa State)

Purdy started strong last season but ended with a whimper. This year he’ll be looking for redemption. The Iowa State coaching staff has placed their bets on him, and he’ll need to deliver if they want a chance at the Big 12 title game.

Sean Clifford (Penn State)

Clifford is poised to replace Trace McSorley as Penn State’s QB1. Many fans are skeptical that he can live up to McSorley’s legacy, but he performed well in late-season games against Maryland and Rutgers last season. If he continues improving and stays

Forget the NFL — college football is back! Here’s who to watch.

It’s been a long off-season, but college football is finally back. With the 2018 season set to kick off in earnest on Thursday night, this week is the perfect time to get familiar with some of the names you’ll hear over and over again.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa burst on to the scene as a freshman last season, leading the Crimson Tide to a thrilling comeback victory in the National Championship Game. The former five-star recruit will be one of the most exciting players in all of college football this season.

The first running back selected in last year’s NFL draft, Saquon Barkley was an electric talent at Penn State. He was equally impressive as a runner, receiver, and returner during his time in Happy Valley, and he scored 43 touchdowns in three seasons with the Nittany Lions.

A Heisman finalist each of his first two years at Oklahoma, quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and won the Heisman Trophy last year as a senior. He was selected No. 1 overall by Cleveland in this year’s NFL draft.

One of Mayfield

The college football season is back! Here are some of the players to watch in the upcoming season.

After a long and grueling offseason, college football fans can finally rejoice as Saturday is the first full slate of games. The season begins on Thursday night with South Carolina and Vanderbilt squaring off in Nashville, Tennessee. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Mitch Hyatt, Clemson (Senior)

Hyatt, an offensive lineman for the Clemson Tigers, has been a starter since his freshman season in 2015. He has started all 45 games of his career, and he’s one of only two players to achieve this feat in Clemson history.

And the college football season is back! After months of waiting, we’ll finally get to see our favorite players and teams in action. This is going to be a great year for college football, and a lot of that has to do with the players coming back. Here are a few of the athletes you should keep an eye on.

Sam Darnold, Quarterback for USC: Darnold had one of the best freshman seasons ever for a quarterback last year. The hype around him has been building all offseason, but he’s lived up to it so far this spring. He’s bigger, stronger, and more mature than last year, and his play has been even better. He could be the number one pick in next year’s NFL Draft if he puts up numbers like he did last year.

Saquon Barkley, Running Back for Penn State: Barkley was the best running back in college football last season. He’ll be even better this year because of his improved vision and running style. He can take over games by himself, which makes him fun to watch. Expect him to win the Heisman Trophy this season if he stays healthy.

Josh Rosen, Quarterback for UCLA: Rosen didn’t have

College football is back!

The season opens on Thursday, Aug. 30, but the marquee matchups will take place on Monday, Sept. 3. Four games will be broadcast nationally, a prime opportunity for the country to get acquainted with some of the top players in the nation.

Below are 10 players worth your attention:

1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma. Hurts was one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football history at Alabama, but he lost his starting job last year and then transferred to Oklahoma as a graduate student. There isn’t much he hasn’t seen on a football field, and this is his chance to show he can run Lincoln Riley’s famed offense.

2. Tua Tagovailoa/Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama. Tagovailoa is already one of the most famous players in college football history after coming off the bench and leading Alabama to a national title as a freshman two years ago. He came in second behind Oklahomas Kyler Murray for the Heisman Trophy last year and should be among the favorites again this year—if not the favorite—in what will likely be his final season at Alabama before becoming an early pick in next year’s NFL draft

College football is back, and even if it’s only Week 1, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this season.

After a lengthy off-season that saw the sport find itself in an uncomfortable spotlight, it’s time for the players to take center stage.

For those looking for a place to start, we have you covered with a guide to some of the best players to keep an eye on during the first week of action.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

The Tigers begin their quest for a national title against Auburn in Atlanta on Saturday night. If they have any chance at taking down Auburn, Watson will have to be at his best. The sophomore quarterback will be operating behind a rebuilt offensive line and he’ll need more than just that big arm to succeed. Watson threw for over 1,100 yards rushing last year and added 14 touchdowns through the air as well. He’ll need to do both against the Tigers’ front seven if they want any chance at containing Auburn’s offense.

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