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College Football's Top QB-RB-WR Combinations for 2014 Season

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2014

College Football's Top QB-RB-WR Combinations for 2014 Season

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The concept of the "Big Three" is more familiar to basketball fans than it is to football fans, but that doesn't mean the latter can't incorporate it.

    Although some teams' two best players play the same position, though, the greatest "Big Threes" are the ones like the San Antonio Spurs': evenly balanced at different spots. Having Tony Parker at point guard, Manu Ginobili/Kawhi Leonard on the wing and Tim Duncan in the post is the basketball equivalent of having a quality performer at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

    That got us thinking about the best offensive "Big Threes" in college football. Based solely on their top QB, RB and WR—not their depth at those positions—which teams are best set up for success in 2014?

    The "in 2014" is an operative part of that sentence. This is a projection of how each unit will perform next season, not a forecast toward the following years. LSU and Texas A&M, for example, have a couple of blue-chip true freshmen being counted on at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. That might make them dangerous in 2015 and 2016, but next season it is more likely to result in growing pains.

    Also bear in mind that the quarterback position, by virtue of being the most important on the field, was weighted more heavily than running back and wide receiver. A great quarterback can compensate for a merely decent supporting cast in a way that a great supporting cast cannot compensate for a merely decent quarterback.

    Ultimately, the guiding principle for this list was: Assuming you know nothing about your team's defense, offensive line, coaching staff or depth, which triad of players would you feel more comfortable starting a team with from scratch for the upcoming season?

    Sound off below, and let me know where you disagree.

     

    Note: Unless otherwise cited, all recruiting information courtesy of the 247Sports composite rankings in 201120122013 and 2014.

Honorable Mentions (Nos. 16-30)

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Here are 15 teams that were considered for the proper list but ultimately fell just short (in alphabetical order). In most cases, this happened because of one weak link in their triumvirate, although inexperience and lack of general star power also played a role.

    Maybe next year.

     

    Boise State

    QB Grant Hedrick; RB Jay Ajayi; WR Matt Miller

     

    Duke

    QB Anthony Boone; RB Josh Snead; WR Jamison Crowder

     

    Houston

    QB John O'Korn; RB Ryan Jackson; WR Deontay Greenberry

     

    LSU

    QB Brandon Harris; RB Leonard Fournette; WR Travin Dural

     

    Marshall

    QB Rakeem Cato; RB Steward Butler; WR Tommy Shuler

     

    Maryland

    QB C.J. Brown; RB Brandon Ross; WR Stefon Diggs

     

    Oklahoma

    QB Trevor Knight; RB Joe Mixon; WR Sterling Shepard

     

    Oregon State

    QB Sean Mannion; RB Storm Woods; WR Richard Mullaney

     

    Penn State

    QB Christian Hackenberg; RB Zach Zwinak; WR De'Andre Thompkins

     

    Pittsburgh

    QB Chad Voytik; RB James Conner; WR Devin Street

     

    Stanford

    QB Kevin Hogan; RB Barry Sanders Jr.; WR Ty Montgomery

     

    Texas

    QB David Ash; RB Malcolm Brown; WR Jaxon Shipley

     

    Texas A&M

    QB Kyle Allen; RB Tra Carson; WR Speedy Noil

     

    UCLA

    QB Brett Hundley; RB Jordon James; WR Devin Fuller

     

    Utah

    QB Travis Wilson; RB Bubba Poole; WR Dres Anderson

15. Michigan State

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    Bradley Leeb/Associated Press

    QB: Connor Cook

    2013 Stats: 223-380, 2,755 YDS, 22 TD, 6 INT; 69 CAR, 76 YDS, 1 TD 

    Connor Cook came on at the end of last season, steadily improving throughout the Big Ten schedule before playing his two best games against Ohio State and Stanford in the conference title game and Rose Bowl, respectively. At 6'4" with an improving arm and underrated mobility, he has all the tools one could ask for in a quarterback—he just needs to play with a little bit more consistency. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has Cook rated as the No. 6 QB to watch in 2014.

     

    RB: Jeremy Langford

    2013 Stats: 292 CAR, 1,422 YDS, 18 TD; 28 REC, 157 YDS, 1 TD 

    A converted defensive back, Jeremy Langford became an instant star in the Michigan State backfield last season. Not counting Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, his 18 rushing touchdowns were tied for the most among returning FBS players. He is not great after first contact but runs with a determined, confident, slashing style that fits in well with what the Spartans try to do on offense. This is a good example of a player who fits perfectly with his scheme.

     

    WR: Tony Lippett

    2013 Stats: 44 REC, 613 YDS, 2 TD

    By the end of last season, Tony Lippett was Cook's most reliable target. He had 60 or more receiving yards in each of the final six games after accomplishing the feat only once before the month of November. He is not a burner, but Lippett has good size (6'3") and comes up big when it matters most; his touchdown grabs in the Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl were his only two of 2013.

14. Nebraska

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    QB: Tommy Armstrong

    2013 Stats: 68-131, 966 YDS, 9 TD, 8 INT; 67 CAR, 202 YDS, 2 TD 

    Tommy Armstrong struggled at times to replace injured starter Taylor Martinez, but that is to be expected from a redshirt freshman who is thrown into the fire. Plus, he still led the upset over Georgia in the Gator Bowl, and the sooner-than-expected playing time should serve him well as a sophomore in 2014. According to Bleacher Report's Erin Sorensen, Armstrong showed improved leadership qualities in spring practice and might be the most improved player in the Big Ten.

     

    RB: Ameer Abdullah

    2013 Stats: 281 CAR, 1,690 YDS, 9 TD; 26 REC, 232 YDS, 2 TD

    Ameer Abdullah is the leading returning rusher in college football. Per Mel Kiper of ESPN.com (subscription required)—who ranked Abdullah the top senior running back prospect in the country—he is also the active FBS leader in total yards for his career. Abdullah excels on the ground but also does well catching the ball out of the backfield and is easily one of the five best running backs in America.

     

    WR: Kenny Bell

    2013 Stats: 52 REC, 577 YDS, 4 TD

    Kenny Bell can do a bit of everything. He was an explosive vertical threat as a sophomore in 2012, averaging 17.3 yards per reception and scoring all eight of his touchdowns from 25 yards or longer. In 2013, he adapted his role to become more of a possession receiver, averaging 11.1 yards per reception and doing whatever he could to help the revolving door under center. This year, he'll be counted on to do some of both. (Oh, and he can also lay the smackdown if need be.)

13. Mississippi State

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    QB: Dak Prescott

    2013 Stats: 156-267, 1,940 YDS, 10 TD, 7 INT; 134 CAR, 829 YDS, 13 TD 

    Dak Prescott was one of the breakout stars of 2013, relieving Tyler Russell early in the season and leading Mississippi State to an unlikely bowl appearance (and win). He is a true dual threat who finished No. 10 in ESPN's Total QBR metric, ahead of AJ McCarron, Teddy Bridgewater and Braxton Miller. It's no wonder that he's being mentioned as a dark-horse Heisman candidate in 2014.

     

    RB: Josh Robinson

    2013 Stats: 78 CAR, 459 YDS, 3 TD; 12 REC, 115 YDS

    Josh Robinson looked good as the backup to LaDarius Perkins last season and was, in many ways, the better running back of the two. He averaged 5.88 yards per carry to Perkins' 3.96 and had 101 yards against Arkansas in his only game with more than eight attempts. He's got a stockier build (5'9", 215 lbs) but wears his weight well and should be a nice feature back in this offense.

     

    WR: Jameon Lewis

    2013 Stats: 64 REC, 923 YDS, 5 TD

    Believe it or not—and you probably won't—but Jameon Lewis is the leading returning receiver in the SEC. On the strength of his nine-reception, 220-yard performance against Rice in the Liberty Bowl, he finished with more receiving yards than any other player who came back to the league. Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com called Lewis "a poor man's Percy Harvin," which is a compliment and makes him a perfect fit under former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, the current head coach in Starkville.

12. Ohio State

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    QB: Braxton Miller

    2013 Stats: 162-255, 2,094 YDS, 24 TD, 7 INT; 171 CAR, 1,068 YDS, 12 TD

    Braxton Miller has fallen victim to one of the greatest phenomenons in sports, becoming so overrated that he's actually underrated. Not just any quarterback can lead a team to 24 consecutive victories. Miller is one of the best rushing threats in the country—QB or otherwise—and a better passer than he's given credit for. He also leads all active FBS players in game-winning drives.

     

    RB: Ezekiel Elliott

    2013 Stats: 30 CAR, 262 YDS, 2 TD; 3 REC, 23 YDS, 1 TD

    A top-70 overall recruit in the 2013 class, Elliott played well enough in limited playing time last season—and even more so this spring—to push Dontre Wilson out of the backfield and into the H-back role he seems so perfectly suited for. He is a complete back who doesn't excel in any one area but can do everything at an above-average-to-great level. There will be a drop-off after losing Carlos Hyde, but Elliott should be able to mitigate it and keep the offense in sync.

     

    WR: Devin Smith

    2013 Stats: 44 REC, 660 YDS, 8 TD

    Devin Smith is a solid—albeit underwhelming—wide receiver who has worked well with Miller since leading the team in receiving (with only 294 yards) when they were freshmen in 2011. Ultimately, that rapport with Miller might be Smith's greatest attribute during the 2014 season, as the Buckeyes will be breaking in a number of new weapons in the passing game. It is nice for Miller to have someone he can trust.

11. South Carolina

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    QB: Dylan Thompson

    2013 Stats: 52-89, 783 YDS, 4 TD, 3 INT; 16 CAR, 27 YDS, 3 TD 

    Dylan Thompson flopped against Missouri last season—enough so that a hobbled Connor Shaw had to enter the game in the fourth quarter and save the day—but he played well enough against UCF earlier in the year and in 2012 to inspire confidence as the starter in 2014. He doesn't have Shaw's mobility, but he's a confident passer with a great feel for the South Carolina offense.

     

    RB: Mike Davis

    2013 Stats: 203 CAR, 1,183 YDS, 11 TD; 34 REC, 352 YDS

    Mike Davis is a dead ringer for Ray Rice (pre-2013). He is only 5'9", but he's compact and powerful and knows how to hit the hole. In addition to being one of the best one-cut-and-go running backs in America, he is also one of the best receivers out of the backfield. With Shaw and Bruce Ellington out of the picture, this offense will revolve around Davis in 2014. (And it might be better off because of it.)

     

    WR: Shaq Roland

    2013 Stats: 25 REC, 455 YDS, 5 TD

    Shaq Roland was the No. 40 overall recruit in the 2012 class and expected to eventually become the No. 1 option in this offense. He hasn't put it all together yet, but he has shown some flashes of dominant play, ending 2013 with his first career 100-yard receiving game in the bowl win over Wisconsin. He is 6'2" and a terrific athlete, and if he ever puts it all together on a week-to-week basis, this Gamecocks offense will be difficult to defend.

10. Georgia

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    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    QB: Hutson Mason

    2013 Stats: 67-110, 968 YDS, 5 TD, 3 INT; 21 CAR, -8 YDS, 1 TD

    Ever since the first snap of his Georgia career—a 26-yard touchdown pass against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2011—Hutson Mason has been begging to get on the field. Unfortunately, Aaron Murray, the SEC's all-time leading passer, was standing in the way. But now the time belongs to Mason, and he is ready to make it his own. "He is very knowledgeable and comfortable," head coach Mark Richt said after Mason's impressive spring game performance, per Blake Giles of the Associated Press (via NCAA.com). That is precisely what UGA needs.

     

    RB: Todd Gurley

    2013 Stats: 165 CAR, 989 YDS, 10 TD; 37 REC, 441 YDS, 6 TD

    Todd Gurley injured his ankle in Week 5 against LSU, missed the next three games and never looked totally healthy for the rest of the season…and he still finished with more than 1,400 total yards. Those numbers don't do Gurley justice, though; even in a world where running backs have been devalued, he is a future first-round NFL draft pick. He is the best running back in college football and the best blend of power and speed we have seen since Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma.

     

    WR: Chris Conley

    2013 Stats: 45 REC, 651 YDS, 4 TD

    Injuries destroyed the Georgia receiving corps last season and have cast a pall over the unit once again heading into 2014. Malcolm Mitchell is likely the most talented receiver on the roster, but Conley is the one Georgia fans can depend on the most. He was only a 3-star recruit coming out of high school, but Conley has worked his way into playing time, using his 6'3" frame to become a useful target on the outside. He and Mason have shared the practice field for a long time and should now become a solid combination on Saturdays.

9. Ole Miss

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    QB: Bo Wallace

    2013 Stats: 283-437, 3,346 YDS, 18 TD, 10 INT; 131 CAR, 355 YDS, 6 TD

    There is nothing conservative about Bo Wallace. He can throw you out of a game just as fast as he can throw you into one. But now entering his third season as the starter, it is fair to expect some improved decision-making. If that happens—and if his shoulder can hold up throughout the season—he has the powerful downfield arm and mobility to make Ole Miss a sneaky contender.

     

    RB: Jaylen Walton

    2013 Stats: 112 CAR, 522 YDS, 6 TD; 28 REC, 315 YDS, 2 TD

    Small in stature but big on heart, Jaylen Walton is an underrated piece of the Ole Miss offense. At 5'8", 166 pounds, he isn't going to fall forward for important yardage on 3rd-and-short, but he knows how to find a crease, and he's a phenomenal weapon out of the backfield. He'll split time with "co-starter" I'Tavius Mathers once again in 2014, but the poor-man's-Darren-Sproles role Walton plays on this offense—and in the return game—will surely come in handy for the Rebels.

     

    WR: Laquon Treadwell

    2013 Stats: 72 REC, 608 YDS, 5 TD

    Laquon Treadwell took on an unfamiliar role last season, deferring to his more-established teammate, Donte Moncrief, and becoming a possession receiver instead of a vertical threat. He played that role pretty well, however, and now that Moncrief is gone, Treadwell is ready to become one of the best overall pass-catchers in the nation. He was the No. 1 receiver prospect in the 2013 class for a reason.

8. Oregon

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    Associated Press

    QB: Marcus Mariota

    2013 Stats: 245-386, 3,665 YDS, 31 TD, 4 INT; 96 CAR, 715 YDS, 9 TD

    Even if others such as Darron Thomas have accomplished more, Marcus Mariota has been (and is) the best quarterback of the golden age of Oregon football. He is 6'4" with wide receiver mobility and a strong and accurate arm. If not for an MCL injury that hobbled him in the latter part of the schedule, you could argue that he would have had a case against Jameis Winston in the 2013 Heisman balloting. With improved health this season, though, Mariota might get his revenge.

     

    RB: Thomas Tyner

    2013 Stats: 115 CAR, 711 YDS, 9 TD; 13 REC, 155 YDS

    Byron Marshall is the starter and a great running back in his own right, but he doesn't have the upside—the nearly realized upside—of Thomas Tyner. Tyner was the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2013 class and got noticeably stronger as his true freshman season went on. The only time he got 15 or more carries, he rushed for 140 yards against Oregon State in the Civil War. Tyner will not see 15 or more carries only once as a sophomore in 2014.

     

    WR: Keanon Lowe

    2013 Stats: 18 REC, 233 YDS, 3 TD

    If not for the torn ACL Bralon Addison suffered during spring practice, Oregon would rate much higher on this list. As it stands, Keanon Lowe is the only experienced receiver on a unit filled with plenty of upside but very little seasoning. Lowe is a great fit in the slot who started 10 games last season and has contributed each of the past two years, but there is really only one thing he does well. Receiver is by far the biggest question mark on Oregon's roster next season.

7. North Carolina

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    QB: Marquise Williams

    2013 Stats: 126-217, 1,698 YDS, 15 TD, 6 INT; 111 CAR, 536 YDS, 6 TD

    Marquise Williams made Bryn Renner an easy name for North Carolina fans to forget when he took over the offense halfway through the season. He helped lead the Tar Heels to a 6-1 finish after starting the year 1-5. His dual-threat skills made him dangerous in Larry Fedora's offense, and the addition of former Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell should only help open things up in 2014.

     

    RB: T.J. Logan

    2013 Stats: 93 CAR, 533 YDS, 4 TD; 10 REC, 124 YDS

    Blue-chip freshman Elijah Hood will poach some carries and threaten to steal his job, but T.J. Logan is good enough to keep him at bay. He certainly looked the part in the North Carolina spring game, rushing for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only 15 carries. A good deal of Logan's stats came in a number-padding 80-20 win over Old Dominion, but, viscerally, he looked like the real deal. He is very much a breakout player to watch in the ACC this season.

     

    WR: Quinshad Davis

    2013 Stats: 48 REC, 730 YDS, 10 TD

    Quinshad Davis took a back seat to tight end Eric Ebron in 2013, but how many players in college football would not have? Plus, he actually finished with more receiving yards than Ebron during his true freshman season in 2012, leading the team with 776. Davis is 6'4" and established a decent rhythm with Williams down the stretch last season. Do not be surprised if he flirts with 1,000 yards as a junior.

6. Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    QB: Jacob Coker

    2013 Stats (w/FSU): 18-36, 250 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT; 10 CAR, 15 YDS, 1 TD

    College football's 2014 "Man of Mystery," Jacob Coker, comes to Alabama as a graduate student after backing Jameis Winston at Florida State last season. He technically "competed" with Winston for the job during fall camp (even though he never stood a real shot of winning) and has the 6'5" frame and strong vertical arm of a future star at the position. If he develops as Alabama fans hope, the Tide would have an argument for being No. 1 on this list. But because so little is known about Coker, they fall out of the top five.

     

    RB: T.J. Yeldon

    2013 Stats: 207 CAR, 1,235 YDS, 14 TD; 20 REC, 183 YDS

    T.J. Yeldon gets the slight nod over Derrick Henry because he has done it for longer. But it was close. Even if Yeldon tore his ACL tomorrow (knock on wood), Alabama would still finish at the same spot on this list. Yeldon and Henry are two of the five or six best running backs in college football, which is why I ranked this the best position group in the country.

     

    WR: Amari Cooper

    2013 Stats: 45 REC, 736 YDS, 4 TD

    Amari Cooper saw his stats regress as a sophomore in 2013, but the same thing happened to freshmen breakouts such as Julio Jones and Sammy Watkins. Both of those players bounced back to become top-five NFL draft picks, and although Cooper might not be in quite the same stratosphere, he should still probably end up in the first round. Cooper can do a little bit of everything but is at is his best going vertical, using his crazy speed to go over the top of the defense. Few in college football do that better than he.

5. Auburn

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    USA TODAY Sports

    QB: Nick Marshall

    2013 Stats: 142-239, 1,976 YDS, 14 TD, 6 INT; 172 CAR, 1,068 YDS, 12 TD

    Nick Marshall started last season a raw former defensive back who relied too often on his legs instead of his arm. He ended a legitimate quarterback whose legs were still better than his arm—but not appreciably so. And this season, if he continues the form he showed during spring practice and the A-Day game, he could morph into one of the best all-around threats in the game and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. Not many players are capable of doing this.

     

    RB: Corey Grant

    2013 Stats: 66 CAR, 647 YDS, 6 TD; 4 REC, 8 YDS

    Cameron Artis-Payne was considered for this spot, and, much like the situation at Alabama, Auburn would not finish any lower on this list if he was included. But Grant gets the nod because of his ridiculous speed around the corner. Even if he can't actually clock a 4.18 in the 40-yard dash—rule of thumb: never trust a self-timed 40—he is lightning quick and capable of doing some of the same things that made Tre Mason a Heisman finalist in this offense last season.

     

    WR: D'haquille Williams

    2013 Stats: n/a (JUCO)

    D'haquille Williams was the No. 1 overall JUCO player in the country this cycle and comes to Auburn with almost unrealistic expectations. The last blue-chip JUCO guy to come to the Plains was Cam Newton, and the last receiver to top the overall JUCO rankings was Cordarrelle Patterson. Williams doesn't need to be either of those players to become one of the top receivers in the SEC—but he might just do it anyway. He is 6'2" and looked like a freak, at times, during the A-Day game. Just what Gus Malzahn needed: another explosive new toy.

4. USC

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    QB: Cody Kessler

    2013 Stats: 236-362, 2,967 YDS, 20 TD, 7 INT; 42 CAR, -142 YDS, 1 TD

    It got lost in the panic of his early-season struggles, but Cody Kessler actually turned into a pretty good quarterback by the end of 2013. He threw 10 touchdowns to one interception in his final five appearances, ending the year with a dominant performance against Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. This offseason, Kessler looked so good that Max Wittek transferred and Max Browne was told he would remain the backup QB. He has a chance to silence a lot of critics next season.

     

    RB: Javorius 'Buck' Allen

    2013 Stats: 134 CAR, 774 YDS, 14 TD; 22 REC, 252 YDS, 1 TD

    Buck Allen took over as the starting running back against Oregon State in November and never looked back. Stanford was the only one of six opponents to hold him under 75 rushing yards, and Fresno State was the only other one to hold him under 120. Of how Allen has looked this offseason, Garry Paskwietz of ESPN.com wrote: "Every so often there is an aura around a player when he is 'the man,' and Allen has that right now with the Trojans." Look for him to become the new Bishop Sankey in Steve Sarkisian's offense.

     

    WR: Nelson Agholor

    2013 Stats: 56 REC, 918 YDS, 6 TD

    In 2012, USC had Marqise Lee overshadowing presumed All-America candidate Robert Woods. What Nelson Agholor did to Lee last season wasn't quite as overwhelming but felt similar. Even though Lee was grappling with injuries (which played a major role), Agholor often felt like the best receiver on the team, and he is set up to become by far Kessler's favorite target in 2014. He was the No. 31 overall prospect in the 2012 class and doesn't have a single discernible weakness.

3. Arizona State

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    QB: Taylor Kelly

    2013 Stats: 302-484, 3,635 YDS, 28 TD, 12 INT; 173 CAR, 608 YDS, 9 TD 

    Perpetually underrated, Taylor Kelly enters his third season as the starting quarterback at Arizona State with a chance to put up huge numbers. He is not great at anything, but he struggles at nothing, and with good weapons around him and a defense that's replacing almost everyone, Kelly will have the ball in his hands early and often. He can also do more with his legs than he's given credit for.

     

    RB: D.J. Foster

    2013 Stats: 93 CAR, 501 YDS, 6 TD; 63 REC, 653 YDS, 4 TD

    D.J. Foster has the unenviable task of replacing Marion Grice, but if last year was any indication, he is up for the task. Working as sort of a hybrid between positions, he went over 500 yards both rushing and receiving. Where he gets the majority of his touches in 2014 remains to be seen, but Foster is one of the most versatile weapons in the Pac-12 and should improve on his 1,154 total scrimmage yards.

     

    WR: Jaelen Strong

    2013 Stats: 75 REC, 1,122 YDS, 7 TD

    Jaelen Strong is not mentioned among the very, very best wide receivers in college football, but he ought to be. He is 6'4" with a lanky, young-Brandon-Marshall-ish frame and is capable of going up and making catches that no one else in the country can make. With a little added bulk and polish, he can become a future first-round draft pick.

2. Baylor

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    Associated Press

    QB: Bryce Petty

    2013 Stats: 250-403, 4,200 YDS, 32 TD, 3 INT; 94 CAR, 209 YDS, 14 TD 

    Bryce Petty followed—and in some ways exceeded—in the footsteps of former Baylor quarterback Nick Florence, often looking more like Florence's predecessor, Robert Griffin III, than Florence himself. He has an accurate arm on short and medium routes and is an underrated athlete outside the pocket. Don't be surprised if he's a Heisman finalist in 2014 and/or a first-round NFL draft pick in 2015.

     

    RB: Shock Linwood

    2013 Stats: 128 CAR, 881 YDS, 8 TD; 4 REC, 19 YDS

    Shock Linwood played second fiddle to Lache Seastrunk for most of last season but shone when given the opportunity, rushing for 180-plus yards in consecutive games against Oklahoma and Texas Tech in mid-November. He should be the lead back in 2014 and keep the chains moving with his powerful, low-to-the-ground running style. He is surprisingly explosive for someone so compact (5'8", 200 lbs).

     

    WR: Antwan Goodley

    2013 Stats: 71 REC, 1,339 YDS, 13 TD

    Antwan Goodley finished with 100 or more receiving yards in eight games last season, highlighted by a stretch of five consecutive games with 120 or more receiving yards early in the year. He was only a 3-star recruit coming out of high school—one of the last vestiges of the "old Baylor" program that could not attract blue-chip talent—but has turned himself into an All-Big 12 player with even higher upside.

1. Florida State

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    QB: Jameis Winston

    2013 Stats: 257-384, 4,057 YDS, 40 TD, 10 INT; 88 CAR, 219 YDS, 4 TD

    Jameis Winston was hyped as the "next big thing" in college football before last season, and instead of just meeting the hype, he met it and sped right past it, leaving it in a dark cloud of dust. His quarterback rating of 184.85 was the highest in the country (by a wide margin), and he also won the BCS National Championship and the Heisman Trophy. (Just, y'know, in case you hadn't heard.)

     

    RB: Karlos Williams

    2013 Stats: 91 CAR, 730 YDS, 11 TD; 8 REC, 63 YDS 

    Karlos Williams' stats are technically misleading—most of them coming in spot duty and garbage time—but they do not belie his talent. He was the No. 4 overall prospect in the country in 2011, and even though he started his career at safety, his future appears to be in the offensive backfield. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer went so far as to say that he could find himself in the 2014 Heisman conversation.

     

    WR: Rashad Greene

    2013 Stats: 76 REC, 1,126 YDS, 9 TD

    Kelvin Benjamin got all of the love—and now has the NFL money to boot—but Rashad Greene was the best receiver on this team last season. And the season before. And the season before. In fact, Greene has led the Seminoles in receiving yards every season since his first. There is no reason to believe that that will change in 2014.

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