College Football Players We’re Most Excited to See in 2019
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
Several of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision programs around the nation have already started their spring practices in preparation for the 2019 college football season. With spring practice comes a wealth of excitement not only for coaches and players around the country but also for fans. We are intrigued to see how our teams, and others, are going to look heading into the new season. There are a number of players that college football fans are excited to see in 2019. Here is a sample.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma Hurts was easily the biggest “free agent” in all of college football after last season. The graduate transfer will play his final season at Oklahoma, the home of the last two Heisman Trophy winners. Hurts led Alabama to an SEC title and the national championship game as a freshman. He took them back to the title game as a sophomore but was famously benched in the second half in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. Last season, he came on in relief of Tagovailoa to lead Alabama to another SEC championship. Hurts should fit nicely into Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid offense.
Justin Fields, Ohio State Fields was the top recruit in the country in the Class of 2018 and decided to stay home at the University of Georgia. Jake Fromm, who took over for Jacob Eason during his freshman season, continued to be the starter for the Bulldogs. Fields saw action in nine games, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from exploring a transfer. He found a home at Ohio State where Dwayne Haskins is off to the NFL. The NCAA also approved his waiver meaning he can play right away. He should be the next Ohio State quarterback to put up huge numbers.
The wide receivers, Clemson Defending national champion Clemson has a Heisman Trophy favorite in QB Trevor Lawrence and finished 10th in the nation in rushing last season. Still, we are looking forward to the Tigers wide receiver corps in 2019. Head coach Dabo Swinney returns his top three receivers: Justyn Ross (46 rec., 1,000 yds., 9 TDs), Tee Higgins (59-936-12), and Amari Rodgers (55-575-4). In addition, Lawrence will have the services of incoming freshmen Frank Ladson and Joe Ngata, both of whom were ESPN Top 300 recruits.
State of Washington QBs We mentioned Eason, who started as a true freshman at Georgia, earlier. He transferred back to his home state and will compete to be the new starter at Washington. Jake Browning, who started for four years for the Huskies, is finally off to the NFL. Eason will not be the only new starter in the state of Washington.
Mike Leach at Washington State will welcome his second consecutive graduate transfer quarterback. Gage Gubrud arrives from FCS power Eastern Washington where he threw for 9,984 yards. He got hurt early in the season last year and was able to take a redshirt. Leach and Cougars’ fans are hopeful Gubrud has a year like Minshew, who led the team to a school record 11 wins.
Transfer QBs In addition to guys like Gubrud and Fields, there are a few other transfer quarterbacks that we’re excited to see. Last year, when UCF QB McKenzie Milton went down with an injury, the Knights turned to Darriel Mack Jr. He will have to compete with former Notre Dame starter Brandon Wimbush for the job.
At Northwestern, head coach Pat Fitzgerald gets a replacement for four-year starting quarterback Clayton Thorson. When Lawrence took over the starting job at Clemson, it sent Hunter Johnson packing. Johnson, the top pocket passer prospect in 2017, should start for the Wildcats this coming season.
Freshmen QBs There are also a number of true freshmen quarterbacks that may make an impact like Lawrence did in 2018. Wisconsin rarely gets even three-star quarterbacks, but Graham Mertz comes in as a four-star recruit and looks to be the guy right from the start. The Badgers were 118th in the nation in passing yards last year starter Alex Hornibrook announced his transfer to Florida State.
Bo Nix is the son of Patrick Nix, a former Auburn Tiger quarterback. The younger Nix, who set an Alabama state record with over 12,000 career passing yards, is already enrolled at Auburn where he looks to take over head coach Gus Malzahn’s offense now that Jarrett Stidham has moved on to the NFL.
If Hurts somehow isn’t the guy at Oklahoma, it may be because of Spencer Rattler, the top dual-threat signal caller in the country last season.