Caleb Williams at No. 1, two FSU players in the top 10: Ranking CFB’s best 100 players for 2023


Everyone wants to be known as the best at something. Anything. Being the best grill master at your house. Being the best among your friends at singing Taylor Swift karaoke at 2 a.m. Being the best player in all of college football. And when it comes to us who cover college football for a living, we want to be the best at determining who those best players are!

It was with that goal in mind that we here in the college sports corner of once again spent a large chunk of our summer discussing, debating, voting and, in this age of ever-evolving AI, even leaning on an algorithm to help us determine the best of the college football best. And as far as you know, none of us did that while standing over the grill singing Taylor Swift karaoke at 2 a.m.

So, as the season bears down on us like Washington’s Bralen Trice chasing Caleb Williams, you decide whether we are the best or the worst at separating the truly best from the merely great as you read our 2023 ESPN Preseason Top 100 College Football Player Rankings.

— Ryan McGee

Methodology: Voters were presented with a series of one-on-one votes. For example, “Who should be ranked higher for the 2023 season: Blake Corum or Caleb Williams?” Think of it as an Oklahoma drill of statistical reasoning. More than 10,000 votes later, these were the results.

Jump to: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

QB, USC, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 52 TDs (42 pass, 10 rush), 4,537 yards
2022 end-of-season ranking: 1

In his first year at USC and second year in college, Williams took the sport by storm. He threw for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and only eight interceptions on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. He draws Patrick Mahomes comparisons and has more or less secured the No. 1 overall draft pick for next season barring some unforeseen circumstances. What can he do for an encore?

TE, Georgia, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 790 rec yards, 9 total TDs
2022 ranking: 14

Bowers has been a fixture at tight end since the day he arrived on Georgia’s campus. He catches everything thrown his way, blocks with the same efficiency and runs like a running back both after the catch and when he’s taking a handoff. He has scored 24 touchdowns in his first two seasons (20 receiving and four rushing).

WR, Ohio State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,263 yards, 14 TDs
2022 ranking: 9

Harrison was an unanimous All-American in 2022 — Ohio State’s first — and was named the Big Ten’s Wide Receiver of the Year. He caught 77 passes for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. He went over the 100-yard receiving mark in seven games last season.

LB, LSU, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 8.5 sacks, 3 FF, 1 INT
2022 ranking: 54

Perkins — who can play linebacker or edge rusher — is an impact defender wherever he lines up. He was learning the ropes in the SEC a year ago as a true freshman but still led LSU in tackles for loss (13), sacks (7.5 sacks), quarterback hurries (14) and forced fumbles (three).

QB, North Carolina, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 38 TDs, 4,321 passing yards
2022 ranking: 18

A year ago, Maye entered fall camp unsure whether he’d land UNC’s starting job. This year, he opens the season as one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. In between, he threw for 4,321 yards, ran for 698 more, accounted for 45 touchdowns and led North Carolina to an ACC Coastal Division title.

QB, Washington, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 31 TDs, 4,641 yards
2022 ranking: 17

After transferring to Washington from Indiana to be reunited with coach Kalen DeBoer, the former Hoosiers offensive coordinator, Penix was a revelation in Seattle. He led FBS in passing yards per game (357), tossed 21 touchdown passes and turned down the opportunity to enter the NFL draft to return to UW.

RB, Michigan, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 18 TDs, 1,463 rush yards
2022 ranking: 10

Corum, a driving force for Michigan’s drive to a second straight Big Ten title and CFP berth, was a Doak Walker finalist, unanimous All-American and Big Ten Running Back of the Year in 2022 (1,463 rushing yards and 18 TDs). He had eight straight 100-yard rushing games from Sept. 24 through Nov. 19 last season.

QB, Florida State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 32 total TDs (24 pass, 7 rush, 1 rec)
2022 ranking: 29

Three years ago, Travis approached Florida State’s new coaching staff with an offer to swap positions to tailback or receiver. Mike Norvell & Co. declined. Their decision was wise. Last year, Travis blossomed into one of the most prolific QBs in the nation, accounting for more than 3,600 yards of offense, 32 touchdowns and a Total QBR of 85.8, seventh best nationally.

DL, Florida State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 9 sacks, 22 solo tackles
Preseason ranking: 56

In his first season playing at the FBS level, Verse — an Albany transfer — proved to be among the top pass-rushers in the country. Despite battling injuries most of the year, Verse finished with nine sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 31 QB pressures. His pressure rate of 17.1% ranked fourth among FBS D-linemen.

DE/Edge, Georgia, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 31 QB pressures, 6.5 TFLs
2022 rankings: NR

Williams was one of the top freshman defenders in college football last season. He tied Jalen Carter with a team-leading 31 quarterback hurries and played especially well in the College Football Playoff for the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs. His six sacks tied for the national lead among true freshmen.

OL, Notre Dame, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1 sack allowed, 3 pressures allowed
2022 ranking: 19

He’s the latest in Notre Dame’s run of premier offensive linemen and projects as an NFL first-round draft pick in 2024 who could possibly go in the top 10. The 6-foot-8, 322-pound Alt earned first-team AP All-America honors in 2022 and enters his third season with 21 consecutive starts. Alt will protect the blind side of new quarterback Sam Hartman.

DB, Alabama, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 15 PBUs, first-team All-SEC honors
2022 ranking: 64

McKinstry has been a starter in Alabama’s secondary since the second game of his college career. He provides the kind of skill and experience that Nick Saban has had at cornerback on some of his more dominant defenses. McKinstry doubles as one of college football’s most dangerous punt returners.

WR, Ohio State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,151 yards, 10 TDs
2022 ranking: 32

Egbuka was a Paul Hornung finalist last season after hauling in 74 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns. A second-team All-Big Ten pick, he finished third in the conference in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Along with Harrison, Egbuka will cause opposing defenses fits as the Buckeyes’ offense figures to keep humming along.

QB, Oregon, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 285.1 QBR, 3,593 yards, 29 TD passes
2022 ranking: 46

Nix’s change of scenery paid off as he moved from Auburn to Eugene and seemed to fit in the Ducks’ offense well. His 2022 campaign resulted in 3,593 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While there was plenty of talk about him using last year as a jump-off to the NFL, Nix decided to run it back for one more year.

QB, LSU, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,798 total yards, 28 total TDs
2022 ranking: 97

Daniels blossomed into one of the nation’s best dual threats at quarterback last season. The 6-4, 210-pound senior was the only FBS player to pass for more than 2,900 yards (2,913) and rush for more than 800 yards (885) in leading the Tigers to the SEC championship game. His 11 rushing touchdowns were a career high after he played his first three seasons at Arizona State.

OL, Penn State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: didn’t allow 1 sack in 8 games started
2022 ranking: 98

Fashanu passed up potentially being a first-round NFL draft selection to return for another season. He was a big part of an offensive line that allowed Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen to enjoy such early success last season. The Nittany Lions averaged 181.1 yards on the ground — fourth in the Big Ten.

RB, Michigan, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 991 rushing yards and 7 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Edwards had 991 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 2022. He established a career-high 216 rushing yards in Michigan’s 45-23 victory at Ohio State last year. He rushed for over 100 yards five times last season.

RB, Arkansas, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,443 yards, 10 TDs
2022 ranking: 84

Sanders, aka Rocket, was the main cog last season in an Arkansas running game that finished seventh nationally (236.5 yards per game). Not only does Sanders carve up defenses as a runner, but he’s also an excellent receiver. He’s the only returning FBS player who rushed for more than 1,400 yards (1,443) and had more than 250 receiving yards (271).

OL, Michigan, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 0.5% pressure pct allowed; 4th in Big Ten
2022 rankings: NR

A member of Michigan’s offensive line that won a second straight Joe Moore Award (best offensive line in the country), Zinter was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2022. The Wolverines rushed for 238.9 yards per game, fifth in the FBS.

WR, Washington, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 75 catches, 1,145 yards, 7 TDs
2022 rankings: NR

Odunze led the Pac-12 with 1,145 receiving yards and ranked second in receptions per game on his way to 75 on the season. His receiving total ranks No. 5 all time in school history, and he returns as part of one of the deepest receiving corps in the country.

LB, Clemson, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 2 INTs, 6.5 sacks, 13.5 TFL, 5 PBU, 4 QBH
2022 ranking: NR

Trotter is all business, head coach Dabo Swinney said, and business was good in 2022. He led the Tigers with 89 tackles (50 solo) to go with 6.5 sacks, 13.5 TFL, five PBUs and four QB hurries. Pro Football Focus graded Trotter as the ACC’s top-graded linebacker and the second best among all returning Power 5 LBs.

RB, Ole Miss, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 16 TDs, 1,567 yards
2022 ranking: 50

The only freshman running back to rush for more yards in the SEC than Judkins a year ago was Herschel Walker in 1980. Judkins is coming off a 1,567-yard season and had eight 100-yard games to go along with 16 rushing touchdowns. He’s a breakaway threat and also a tough, physical runner between the tackles.

QB, Utah, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 83.1 QBR, 3,034 yards, 26 TDs
2022 ranking: 53

Rising’s résumé is not as stellar from a statistical standpoint as that of some of his Pac-12 peers, but his achievements rule them all. After leading the Utes to a Pac-12 title in 2021, he made another leap last year, jumping over 3,000 passing yards and adding 26 touchdowns on his way to a second straight Pac-12 championship.

LB, Georgia, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: Led Georgia with 9 TFLs, 2nd with 4 sacks
2022 ranking: 76

When you’re a Butkus Award finalist during your first full season as a starter, you’re something special. Such was the case with Dumas-Johnson’s sophomore year, in which he tallied 70 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 26 quarterback hurries.

QB, Notre Dame, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 38 TDs, 3,701 yards
2022 ranking: 59

Arguably the biggest prize of the quarterback portal, Hartman set the ACC’s career touchdown passes record (110) and brings 12,967 career passing yards and 21 games of 300 yards or more from Wake Forest. He thrived in an RPO-based offense and must adjust to a more traditional system at Notre Dame, which will lean on his experience, production and accuracy.

RB, Clemson, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,182 yards, 15 TDs
2022 ranking: 40

How big was Shipley’s impact last season? He made the 2022 All-ACC team three times — as a tailback, all-purpose player and return man. Shipley ran for 1,182 yards, caught 38 balls for 242 more yards and had 324 yards in kickoff returns, scoring 15 times total. With new OC Garrett Riley calling plays in 2023, he could be in for even bigger things.

G, Kansas State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: Didn’t allow a sack
2022 ranking: NR

Beebe is one of the most talented offensive linemen in the nation. After getting first-team All-Big 12 honors at left tackle in 2021, he moved inside to left guard and was named the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year by the league’s coaches, and he earned a second consecutive All-Big 12 first-team selection.

OLB, Alabama, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 4 sacks, 37 total tackles
2022 ranking: NR

Now that Will Anderson Jr. is off to the NFL, Turner steps in as the Crimson Tide’s top pass-rusher. He’s a menace to opposing offensive tackles with his speed and will be looking to recapture some of the same numbers he put up as a freshman, when he recorded 10 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks.

RB, Penn State, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 1,061 yards, 12 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Singleton led the Penn State offense with 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for at least 100 yards in four games, paced by a 179-yard effort in a convincing 46-10 win over Ohio, and had five multitouchdown games.

QB, Arkansas, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 2,648 yards, 24 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Injuries curtailed an otherwise solid junior season in which Jefferson passed for 2,648 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushed for 640 yards and nine touchdowns. At 6-3 and 247 pounds, Jefferson can be one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country when healthy.

RB, Wisconsin, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,242 yards, 11 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Allen ran for 1,242 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as he came close to matching his numbers from his breakout freshman season in 2021. Those numbers placed him fourth in yards and fifth in touchdowns, respectively, in the conference. He had seven 100-yard rushing games in 2022, paced by 165 yards in a 52-21 loss at Ohio State on Sept. 24. He led the Badgers in rushing 10 times.

QB, UTSA, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 32 TDs, 4,059 yards
2022 ranking: 57

The left-hander has been the most significant player in UTSA’s rise to national prominence. Harris enters his seventh year in the program and holds more than 30 team records, including career passing yards (9,356), passing touchdowns (74) and total offense (11,178 yards). He’s 31-11 as UTSA’s starter and won Conference USA MVP honors in 2022.

RB, Ohio State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: In 8 games, ran for 571 yards and 6 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Henderson battled injuries after a stellar freshman season. He played in just eight games last year but rushed for over 100 yards in victories over Wisconsin (121 yards) and Michigan State (118 yards). He ran for 571 yards and six touchdowns last fall after churning out 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021.

LB, Clemson, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 5.5 sacks, 10.5 TFL, 8 PBU, 6 QBH, 2 FF
2022 ranking: NR

Dabo Swinney calls Carter one of the most dynamic players he’s coached — a guy who’s dominant at linebacker but could easily play safety, corner, edge rusher or even tailback, Swinney said. The numbers back up the claim. Carter finished 2022 with 73 tackles (10 for a loss), 5.5 sacks, 2 picks, 2 forced fumbles, 7 pass break-ups and 25 QB pressures. No other FBS player has done all that in the same season in the past five years.

DL, Illinois, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 59 tackles (28 solo), 14 TFLs, 5.5 sacks
2022 ranking: NR

Newton’s 59 tackles (28 solo) placed him tied for third with safety Sydney Brown on Illinois’ defense last year. Newton’s 14 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks led the team, which was the country’s top scoring defense (12.3 PPG). He was an All-Big Ten first-team pick.

QB, Mississippi State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,974 yards, 35 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The most accomplished passer in the SEC, Rogers is already the only quarterback in SEC history with over 1,000 career completions. With 32 consecutive starts, he owns school career records for passing yards (10,689) and passing touchdowns (82).

WR, LSU, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 72 catches, 1,017 yards, 3 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The Tigers needed an alpha in the receiver room, and Nabers stepped into that role during the postseason with a combined 291 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia in the SEC championship game and Purdue in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. Quarterback Jayden Daniels said of Nabers, “If it’s man coverage and I give him an opportunity to make a play, he’ll probably come down with the football.”

WR, Arizona, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 85 catches, 1,034 yards, 7 TDs
Preseason ranking: 80

The Arizona native has been the Wildcats’ model of consistency the past few seasons. In spite of whichever quarterback has been throwing to him, Cowing now has two seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He’s back this year for his senior season right as Arizona looks more competent than ever under Jedd Fisch and returning quarterback Jayden de Laura.

QB, Michigan, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 2,719 passing yards, 22 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

McCarthy was a Davey O’Brien semifinalist in 2022 with 2,719 passing yards and 22 passing TDs, helping pilot Michigan to a second straight College Football Playoff appearance. He added 306 rushing yards and five scores on the ground. He threw for a career-high 343 yards in the Wolverines’ loss to TCU in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.

DB, Georgia, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 2 INTs, 7 PBUs
2022 ranking: 39

Starks is one half of a talented safety combo at Georgia along with Javon Bullard. Last season as a freshman, Starks led all Georgia defenders with 847 snaps played and finished third on the team with 68 total tackles while starting in all 15 games. His speed and versatility make him a perfect fit in Kirby Smart’s system.

LB, Georgia, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 8 TFLs, 76 tackles
2022 ranking: NR

The tandem of Mondon and Jamon Dumas-Johnson gives the Bulldogs arguably the best inside linebacker corps in the country. Despite missing two games, Mondon led the team with 76 total stops last season, not to mention his 23 quarterback hurries.

C, Georgia, junior
Notable 2022 stats: Led all SEC centers with 944 snaps played
2022 ranking: NR

By all accounts, the 6-4, 310-pound senior should be in the NFL right now. He allowed only one sack the past two seasons, so he has already proven himself. But he put the draft on hold to come back for another season, which is good news for the Bulldogs and their quest for a three-peat.

OL, Boston College, senior
Notable 2021 stats: 0 sacks allowed in 314 pass rush snaps
2022 ranking: NR

A projected first-round pick, Mahogany missed all of last season with a knee injury but says he is much better than at any other point in his career. That is good news for a Boston College offensive line that struggled without him a year ago. With a healthy Mahogany back, expect him to continue to improve on his NFL draft stock and improve the overall BC line, too.

QB, Kansas, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 2,014 yards, 18 TDs in 9 games
2022 ranking: NR

In nine games in 2022, Daniels completed 66.1% of his passes for 2,014 yards, 18 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. He also had 425 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. After being a Heisman candidate the first five weeks of the season, he suffered an injury against TCU that halted those aspirations. But expect him to be one of the best in the nation again in 2023.

CB, Penn State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 3 INTs, 30 tackles (23 solo), 18 PBUs
2022 ranking: NR

King’s three interceptions put him second on the team last year, behind safety Ji’Ayir Brown (four). He started nine games in 2022, recording 30 tackles (23 solo) and 18 PBUs. King’s 30 tackles were tied for eighth on the team. The Nittany Lions’ pass defense (212.8 YPG) ranked ninth in the Big Ten last season.

CB, Iowa, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 5 INTs,75 tackles (19 solo)
2022 ranking: NR

DeJean established a new program single-season record by taking three interceptions to the house. All told, he had a team-leading five interceptions on the year to go along with 75 tackles (19 solo), third on the Hawkeyes’ defense. He was the 2022 TransPerfect Music City Bowl MVP as Iowa posted a 21-0 shutout.

LB, Ohio State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 12 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT
2022 ranking: 71

Eichenberg led the Buckeyes’ defense with 120 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. His 77 solo tackles paced the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection while also being named a Lott IMPACT finalist and Butkus Award semifinalist.

WR, Washington, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 79 catches, 1,098 yards, 9 receiving TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Like his fellow Huskies’ wideout Rome Odunze, McMillan was one of the great beneficiaries of the arrival of head coach Kalen DeBoer and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. As Washington’s offense turned into a juggernaut, McMillan had a breakout year that featured a 1,089-yard, nine-touchdown season for the rising senior.

LB, UCLA, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 10.5 sacks, 12.5 TFLs, 3 FF
2022 ranking: 86

After sitting out two seasons, Latu transferred to UCLA from Washington and made an immediate impact. He led the Bruins with 12.5 tackles for loss, including 10.5 sacks. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Week after a three-sack performance against Colorado and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.

RB, Ohio State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 825 rushing yards, 14 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

In 2022, Williams made the All-Big Ten third team after rushing for 825 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he led the Buckeyes in both of those categories. He ran for a career-high 189 yards and five touchdowns in Ohio State’s 49-10 victory over Rutgers, and he eclipsed the 100-yard mark four times last season.

LB, Oklahoma, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 125 tackles,10.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 INTs
2022 ranking:

A player who will be integral on Brent Venables’ second-year defense, Stutsman led the Big 12 last season with 125 total tackles with an average of 9.6 tackles per game. Stutsman also totaled 10.5 tackles for loss, which was good for second on the team, as well as three sacks and two interceptions.

WR, USC, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 66 catches, 1,1105 yards, 6 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2022, Singer caught 66 passes for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns and was one of two 1,000-yard receivers for the Wildcats, along with Jacob Cowing.

QB, Coastal Carolina, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 2,700 yards, 24 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Since 2020, McCall ranks third among FBS quarterbacks in wins (28), sixth in passing touchdowns (77) and seventh in total QBR (82.9). He has thrown only eight interceptions on 788 pass attempts during the span. The three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year must adjust to a new offense under coach Tim Beck, but his efficiency stands out.

OL, Alabama, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1.2% pressure pct allowed, 2nd among SEC RTs
2022 ranking: NR

According to Pro Football Focus, Latham didn’t allow a single sack while pass-blocking last season. If he can pick up the pace as a run blocker — and there’s no reason to think he can’t with 29 knockdown blocks last season — he could play his way into being a top NFL draft pick in 2024.

CB, Michigan, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 3 INT, 3 PD, 25 solo tackles
2022 ranking: NR

Johnson finished second on the Wolverines with three interceptions. He had a career-high eight tackles in Michigan’s decisive 45-23 victory at Ohio State while picking off two passes in a 43-22 victory over Purdue as the program claimed a second straight Big Ten title. Johnson was part of a secondary that ended the year sixth in the Big Ten in passing defense (191.8 YPG).

LB, Michigan, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 101 tackles (42 solo)
2022 ranking: NR

Colson recorded 101 tackles (42 solo) to lead a Wolverines’ defense that finished third in the country in rushing defense (85.2 YPG) and fifth in the FBS in scoring defense (13.4 PPG). He had double-digit tackles in four games last year, paced by 15 in a 43-22 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten championship.

RB, Marshall, sophomore
Notable 2021 stats: 1,401 yards, 23 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

He tied for the FBS rushing touchdowns lead with 23 in 2021, to go along with 1,401 yards on 250 carries. A knee injury cost Ali the first 10 games last season, although he returned down the stretch and won Myrtle Beach Bowl MVP honors after a 92-yard effort. He projects as the centerpiece for Marshall’s offense under coach Charles Huff.

S, Miami, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 6 INT, 6 PBU, 59 tackles, 1 FF
2022 ranking: NR

Kinchens had a breakout season in 2022, winning All-ACC honors after starting all 12 games. He finished with a team-high six interceptions, and he also led the Hurricanes with 59 total tackles. He has a sense for where the ball will be at all times, and his presence in the secondary is one that forces opposing offenses to try and scheme around him.

WR, Texas, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 60 catches for 760 yards, 9 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Worthy comes into the 2023 season with 21 career touchdown receptions, good for third all-time in Texas Football history. In 13 games last season, he had 60 receptions for 760 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, and will certainly compete for the award if Quinn Ewers and Texas take the leap many expect.

QB, Oklahoma, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,168 yards, 25 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year started 12 games in 2022, completing 62.7% of his passes for 3,168 yards with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also had six rushing touchdowns, a career high. Per Oklahoma, his 95 touchdown passes are the second most in the country over the last four years despite missing 11 games due to injury.

WR, Florida State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 43 catches, 897 yards, 5 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

There is no question the 6-7 Wilson is an automatic matchup advantage for the Seminoles — he just needed more game reps and experience to put everything together. What he showed last season — 43 receptions for 897 yards and five touchdowns — is only a start. If his 202-yard performance against Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl is any indication, bigger things are in store for 2023.

DL, Washington, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 10 sacks, 39 tackles
2022 ranking: NR

Trice’s 10 sacks this past season were good enough to put him in the top 10 players in the country in the statistic. His season, which also included 39 tackles, looked to be good enough to vault him to the NFL, but Trice chose to come back to Seattle for another season. His prediction for his performance this upcoming season? Twenty sacks.

S, USC, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 5 INTs, 6 PBUs
2022 ranking: NR

Bullock earned some All-American recognition in 2022 during his breakout sophomore season with the Trojans, after which he was named second-team All-Pac-12. His five interceptions led the team and ranked No. 11 in the country.

LB, North Carolina, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 12 TFLs, 6 PBUs, 4 QBHs, 3 FF, 2 INTs
2022 ranking: NR

The North Carolina defense may have struggled last season, but Gray was the one consistent force the unit had across the board. In fact, he was so good and reliable, he rarely came off the field for the Tar Heels. Gray had 145 tackles — tops among all Power 5 players — a sack, 12 tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles a year ago en route to All-ACC honors. He is back on the preseason All-ACC list with more to come.

CB, Florida State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 13 PBUs, 45.2% completions, 0 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Cypress was one of the most heralded transfers this past season, leaving Virginia for Florida State and immediately providing a boost to the Seminoles secondary. A preseason All-ACC choice, he led the country with an average of 1.6 pass breakups per game last year with the Cavaliers — ranking No. 1 in the ACC and ninth nationally with 14 total pass breakups.

DT, Clemson, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 5.5 sacks, 9.5 TFLs, 9 QBHs
2022 ranking: NR

When Davis is healthy, he is the best interior defensive lineman in the ACC. His decision to return to Clemson for one more year gives the Tigers defensive front a huge advantage. The three-time All-ACC selection had 9.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and 15 quarterback pressures a year ago, but he has not played a complete season since 2019. That has still not stopped him from dominating.

WR, Texas A&M, senior
Notable 2021 stats: 509 yards, 6 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Arguably the biggest win of the offseason for the Aggies was getting Smith to return for his senior season. He’s as dynamic a playmaker as anyone in the SEC, whether he’s lining up at receiver, running back or returning kicks and punts. In four seasons, he’s amassed 2,804 yards from scrimmage.

RB, Penn State, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 867 yards, 10 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Allen rushed for 867 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman last fall, playing in all 13 games and forming a productive 1-2 punch with Nicholas Singleton. Allen ran for a career-high 117 yards in a 55-10 victory at Rutgers on Nov. 19. His three touchdowns against Indiana helped lead the way to a 45-14 road victory on Nov. 5.

RB, Florida State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 990 rush yards, 9 rush TD, 114 rec. yards
2022 ranking: NR

Since Benson arrived at Florida State from Oregon, he has been nothing but productive — helping lead the Seminoles to a top 15 rushing offense a year ago. Benson started six games in 2022 and ran for 990 yards and nine touchdowns, while also catching 13 passes for 144 yards. Much more is expected this season, as Benson is a preseason All-ACC choice.

All purpose, Colorado, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 19 tackles, 8 PBUs, 2 INTs
2022 ranking: NR

The two-way threat came with coach Deion Sanders to Colorado from Jackson State and is expected to play much more on offense than he did as a freshman last year. He made a splash during recruiting when he signed with Jackson State as a five-star cornerback and will now test his game at a higher level.

OG, Alabama, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 150 snaps at both guard spots
2022 ranking: NR

With new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees onboard, Alabama will lean even more on its offensive line in 2023, and Booker is a big reason why. He has a chance to develop into one of the most dominant interior offensive linemen in the country with his blend of size, power and agility. The 6-5, 335-pound Booker will line up at right guard beside his old IMG Academy teammate JC Latham at right tackle, a combo Latham said would be “dangerous.”

S, TCU, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 12 PBUs, 3 INTs
2022 ranking: NR

The Louisiana-Monroe transfer was named first-team All-Big 12 alongside Thorpe Award winner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. He had 35 tackles on the season with 15 pass breakups and added three interceptions, including one he returned 57 yards for a touchdown against Iowa State. He enters his final season with 27 career pass breakups.

DL, Penn State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 26 tackles (19 solo), 10 TFLs, 5.5 sacks
2022 ranking: NR

Robinson earned the team’s defensive player of the week award three times. He recorded 26 tackles (19 solo) with 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. His 5½ sacks were tied for seventh-most in the Big Ten while his 10 tackles for loss were 15th in the conference.

LB, TCU, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 9.5 TFLs
2022 ranking: NR

After transferring from Navy, the linebacker showed why Sonny Dykes wanted him in Fort Worth. He led TCU with 87 tackles, the most by a Horned Frog since Garret Wallow had 90 in 2020, according to the school. It earned him Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors, as well as second-team All-Big 12.

LB, Oklahoma State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 5 sacks, 12 QBH
2022 ranking: NR

A converted defensive end, Oliver led Oklahoma State in sacks in each of the past two seasons (11.5 and 5.5); led the team in quarterback hurries with 12 last season; led the Big 12 in sacks in 2021 and has earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in each of the past two seasons.

QB, Tennessee, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 971 yards, 10 TDs in 8 games
2022 ranking: NR

Milton served as Hendon Hooker’s backup the past two seasons and stepped in after Hooker was injured late last season. Milton, who has one of the strongest arms in college football, tied a career high with three touchdown passes and was named MVP in the Vols’ 31-14 Orange Bowl victory over Clemson to close the 2022 season. The 6-5, 245-pound redshirt senior started his career at Michigan before transferring to Tennessee. He threw 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions a year ago.

RB, Oregon, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,058 yards rushing, 5 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

After arriving from Minnesota via the transfer portal last year, Irving settled in nicely in the Ducks’ offense, averaging 6.8 yards per carry on his way to a 1,000-yard season and five touchdowns as well as 299 receiving yards. His performance was good enough to make him the likely top back for Dan Lanning’s team heading into this season.

RB, Kansas, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,090 yards, 9 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The Big 12’s only returning 1,000-yard rusher, Neal amassed 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. He became the first KU player ever to have 200 yards rushing and 100 receiving against Oklahoma State when he ran for 224 yards and a TD on 6.1 yards per carry and added 110 yards on six receptions.

DT, LSU, sophomore
Notable 2021 stats: 4 sacks, 13 solo tackles
2022 ranking: NR

The 6-6, 315-pound Smith returns as one of the interior anchors of LSU’s defensive line. He was primed for a big season a year ago, but he injured his knee in the first quarter of the opener against Florida State and missed the remainder of the season. Smith was a Freshman All-America selection in 2021 after recording five tackles for loss, including four sacks. Even as a freshman, he was the target of frequent double teams.

TE, Utah, senior
Notable 2021 stats: 611 receiving yards, 7 total TDs
2022 ranking: NR

A season-ending injury ended what was shaping up to an outstanding senior year in 2022 after just four games. Kuithe has been named second-team All-Pac-12 three times, has 148 career receptions and had 32 straight games with a catch.

LB, NC State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 12.5 TFLs, 45 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 INT
2022 ranking: NR

When Wilson decided to return to the Wolfpack for one more season, he gave NC State a huge boost to a linebacker group that is replacing two long-time starters. His veteran presence alone will be a big advantage. Last season, Wilson had 83 tackles to rank third on the team and was pivotal in helping the Wolfpack rank among the best run defenses in the ACC.

LB, Penn State, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks
2022 ranking: NR

Carter was second on the Nittany Lions in tackles with 56 last season while leading the way with his 6½ sacks. On the way toward earning second team All-Big Ten recognition, he became the eighth linebacker in school history to record at least 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in a season.

S, Texas, senior
Notable 2020 stats: 95 tackles, 2 FF, 3 INTs
2022 ranking: NR

An Arkansas transfer, Catalon suffered a season-ending injury in the opener against Cincinnati last year after making eight tackles in the game. In 2021, he started the first six games, making 46 tackles, before suffering another season-ending injury. He was a breakout star and a freshman All-American in 2020 with 99 tackles, three interceptions and four passes broken up.

QB, Western Kentucky, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 48 total TDs, 4,744 yards (most in FBS)
2022 ranking: NR

A success story for the portal era, Reed’s career includes a Division II national title (West Florida in 2019) and the FBS passing yards title last season (4,746 yards). Reed eclipsed 400 yards four times, including 497 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. He enters his final season with 12,248 passing yards, 118 career touchdowns and, most importantly, 31 career wins.

DL, Ohio State, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 28 tackles, 10.5 TFLs
2022 ranking: NR

Tuimoloau earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition in 2022 after recording 28 tackles with 10.5 tackles for loss. He dominated in Ohio State’s 44-31 victory at Penn State after compiling six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, forcing one fumble and recovering another fumble.

WR, Florida State, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 58 catches, 798 yards, 7 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Florida State coach Mike Norvell has been praised for his use of the transfer portal, and Coleman is another key addition who is expected to boost the wide receiver group. With Johnny Wilson (6-7), the 6-4 Coleman can also be expected to be a big-play receiver. Last year at Michigan State, Coleman had 58 catches for 798 yards and seven touchdowns — and he ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 15 catches of at least 20 yards.

QB, Kansas State, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,633 yards, 15 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Howard had six starts over the second half of last season, including the Wildcats’ Big 12 Championship win over TCU. He recorded multiple touchdown passes in six straight games, the longest streak ever in a single season at Kansas State. The 6-5 senior comes into the 2023 season just about to enter the top 10 in school history in many statistical categories, if he’s not already in them.

LB, Texas, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 4 INTs, 119 tackles, 10 TFLs
2022 ranking: NR

Last season, Ford finished with a career-high 119 tackles, which was also the most for a Texas linebacker in almost 10 years. In addition, he had 10 tackles for loss and is sure to vie for the Big 12 defensive player of the year title after falling just short of it in 2022.

OL, Utah, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 894 snaps, 2nd-most among Pac-12 RTs
2022 ranking: NR

A three-time All-Pac-12 honoree, Laumea was a first-team selection in 2022 after making 14 starts, including 13 at right tackle. He anchored a line that helped the Utes rank No. 2 in the Pac-12 in rushing.

LT, Duke, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 2 sacks allowed on 465 pass rush snaps
2022 ranking: NR

There were plenty of reasons for Duke’s sudden turnaround from 3-9 in 2021 to 9-4 in 2022, but Barton may have been among the biggest. He anchored the left tackle spot on a vastly improved O-line, finishing the season as the top-graded tackle in the ACC by Pro Football Focus (and fifth overall), allowing just 10 pressures and two sacks all season.

WR, South Carolina, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 68 catches, 6 TDs, 928 yards
2022 ranking: NR

His nickname is “Juice,” and that’s what Wells provides for a South Carolina offense that played its best football at the end of last season. The 6-1, 208-pound senior returns for his second season with the Gamecocks after beginning his career at James Madison. Wells became the go-to guy for quarterback Spencer Rattler a year ago. He earned first-team All-SEC honors after leading the team in catches (68), receiving yards (928) and touchdown receptions (6).

QB, Duke, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,396 total yards, 33 total TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Perhaps the most unheralded quarterback in the ACC, those who have not paid attention for the last year should start paying attention now. Leonard won the starting quarterback job last year in preseason camp and has not looked back, throwing for 3,348 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But he can run, too. Leonard is one of three FBS quarterbacks returning in 2023 who gained 2,900 or more passing yards and 695 or more rushing yards last year, joining Jayden Daniels (LSU) and Drake Maye (UNC).

QB, South Carolina, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,026 yards, 18 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Rattler, who was at one point a Heisman Trophy front-runner at Oklahoma. After losing his job to Caleb Williams, Rattler transferred to South Carolina and put it all together at the end of last season, including a school-record six touchdown passes in the 63-38 win over Tennessee. Rattler finished the season with 4,026 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He’s 23-7 in 30 career starts at Oklahoma and South Carolina.

RB, Baylor, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 972 yards, 14 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year set a program record for rushing yards by a freshman (972), and his 14 rushing touchdowns were the fourth-most in team history. He ranked second nationally in rushing TDs and fifth in rushing yards as he became a freshman All-American.

RB, Oregon State, sophomore
Notable 2022 stats: 982 rushing yards, 7 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

In and around Oregon State there was plenty of hype surrounding the arrival of Martinez, an incoming freshman from Lewisville, Texas. By season’s end, the Beavers’ offense couldn’t function without giving Martinez, who had six straight 100-yard games to finish the regular season, at least 15 carries per game. He finished with 982 yards and five touchdowns in his debut season.

DE, Boston College, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 8.5 sacks, 14.5 TFLs, 4 QBHs, 3 FFs
2022 ranking: NR

The BC edge rusher has a good case as the most underrated impact player in college football. He toiled largely in the shadows during an abysmal 3-9 season for the Eagles last year, but he was often unblockable for opposing lines, finishing with 8.5 sacks, 14.5 TFL and three forced fumbles.

WR, Syracuse, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 61 catches, 969 yards, 6 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

Is he a tight end or a wide receiver? Stop asking, Dino Babers said. Gadsden is just a football player — one who’s nearly impossible to defend. At 6-5, 220 pounds, Gadsden makes for an imposing-yet-agile target, and last year he used his impressive size and skills to rack up 61 catches for 969 yards and six touchdowns for the Orange.

CB, Kansas, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 3 INTs, 9 PBUs
2022 ranking: NR

Bryant was named All-Big 12 first team by the league’s coaches, finishing his sophomore year with 37 tackles, nine passes defensed and three interceptions in 10 starts. He sealed a Jayhawks win over West Virginia with an interception in overtime.

QB, Tulane, senior
Notable 2022 stats: 3,010 yards, 34 total TDs
2022 ranking: NR

After a frustrating 2021 season, Pratt and his Green Wave pulled off one of the most incredible turnarounds imaginable, surging to an AAC title and Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic win over USC. Pratt threw for 3,010 yards and 27 touchdowns. Efficient with his arm and legs, Pratt will now lead a title defense in a new-look AAC.

RB, Southern Miss, junior
Notable 2022 stats: 1,382 yards, 9 TDs
2022 ranking: NR

The younger Gore has lived up to all expectations in Hattiesburg. In 2022 he generated 1,601 yards from scrimmage, averaging more than six yards per carry and 11 yards per catch. At times over the past two years, he’s even been Southern Miss’ best QB, albeit of the Wildcat variety. He does it all.

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