Written By Joe Carpenter
Players every year play to enhance their future NFL draft status. The increased number of catches or carries for productive stats can help players earn the title of “playmaker”. College players have to deal with the ever-changing landscape of their rosters because of their teammates graduating or transferring. This process is similar to what they will experience in the NFL through trades and the signing of free agents. This process can hurt NFL player rankings as their supporting cast gets weaker. A new coach may change the style of offense a team runs and a player can either benefit or hurt from this change. I have compiled a list of very talented players who will have to face some adversity in their college play this upcoming season. These are players that we will need to watch to see if they can produce the same way they did last season after experiencing changes to their team.
1. Marqise Lee(WR/USC) – The biggest player on this list is Marqise Lee from the University of Southern California. Marqise is taking a massive hit in losing Matt Barkley at quarterback and Robert Woods at wide receiver whom he played opposite. Woods would draw the top corners from opponents, which helped Lee get open and improve his production. Marqise had 118 receptions for 1,721 yards last year with 14 touchdowns as a sophomore. Marqise will go into the 2013 season as the top wide receiver on the team, with a young quarterback at the helm. Southern Cal has two inexperienced quarterbacks that will battle it out to get the chance to throw to Marqise. Marqise was a Pac-12 freshman of the year in 2011, a Pac-12 offensive player of the year, and won The Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2012. Marqise will have to overcome this quarterback change along with Lane Kiffin to get the job done. Lane will change QBs if one is not producing, which makes me believe Marqise will have another solid year by showing his adaptabilty and be a great top three pick in your dynasty draft next season.
2. Lache Seastrunk (RB/Baylor) – Lache is going to a new quarterback, who has only completed ten passes so far in his college career. Terrance Williams, who took a lot of pressure off the run game with how well he played at wide receiver last year, has taken his game to the NFL. These are two changes that Lache will have to adapt to. This season is his chance to raise his draft stock as Baylor will lean on the run game to take pressure off the young quarterback. Lache turned his burners on at the end of last season shown in his rushing attempts resulting in rushing yards being tripled. Five out of the last six games he ran for over 100- yards with six touchdowns. Lache will split rushing time with Glasco Martin, who had more rushing attempts then Lache last year, but with less yards gained. Lache will have to be a strong durable runner or he will lose carries to Martin. I expect Lache will show up big this season and raise his draft status and your eyebrows with his game play.
3. Rashad Greene (WR/Florida State) – Greene has lost E.J. Manuel to the NFL and will start this season with a new quarterback, who looks to be either Jameis Winston or Clint Trickett. Greene led the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns for the second year in a row. He finished the season with 57 receptions for 741 yards and six touchdowns. Great hands, explosive speed, and the ability to go up and attack the ball out of the air, are all reasons to expect great things from Greene for another season. The wide receiver corps at FloridaState is very deep, which might take some receptions away from Greene. Although he is facing a challenge, Greene has lead the team the past two seasons in almost all major stats, which will show the young QBs he is someone to be relied on.
4. John Hubbert (RB/Kansas State) – Hubbert will be the man in the backfield with the Collin Klein era over in Manhattan. Hubbert was on the All Big 12 Team last year, with Klein right next to him. Hubbert finished last year with 947 rushing yards and fifteen touchdowns. In 2011 Hubbert had 200 rushing attempts for three touchdowns and in 2012 he had 189 attempts for fifteen touchdowns, proving that he has matured from one season to the next and become a smarter runner. Another positive about Hubbert is that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. This is shown in the eighteen receptions he had for 98 yards and one touchdown last season. Hubbert will get the chance to show that he is the real deal if he can keep his stats up with Klein being gone and defenses turning their attention to him.
5. Eric Ward (WR/Texas Tech) – Ward is going into his senior season with double- digit touchdowns his past two seasons. Ward went over the thousand yard receiving mark last year with twelve touchdowns with Seth Doege throwing him the ball. This season starts with Michael Brewer taking over the offense and a new coach running the show (Kliff Kingsbury). Ward has played the last couple seasons in a very pass heavy offense and it looks like Kilff will move more to a 50-50 approach with the run- to -pass ratio. Ward had 100 yards receiving in four of his last six games last year and it will be interesting to watch if he can keep up those kind of stats with a brand new quarterback and less passes coming his way.
Players have to learn to play with adversity in many ways. Injuries occur, coaches in the college game will come and go, your teammates graduate. The way a player responds will show his true potential as a legitimate pro. All of the players that I named will have to overcome adversity this year and shine to prove that they belong to be on everyone’s big boards, NFL and our own. Relax, sit back and enjoy watching these players this season as the challenge of adversity takes them on.