College Football 2013 Freshman All-American Team

College Football

There was a time not all that long ago when it was rare to see a freshman college football player gain national notoriety. These days, though, we’ve seen many cases of freshmen coming in and making an instant impact.

In recent years, big-name stars such as Johnny Manziel, Marqise Lee, LaMichael James and Adrian Peterson all became household names during their freshman years.

This season, Florida State QB Jameis Winston has been the latest freshman to take the sport by storm.

Though Winston has been the most talked-about freshman of the year, there have been plenty of other young players who have put together outstanding debut campaigns.

Here’s a look at my 2013 College Football Freshman All-American Team.

2014 NFL Draft: Predicting Which Underclassmen Prospects Will Declare

College Football, NFL, NFL Draft

A record 73 underclassmen opted to declare for the 2013 NFL draft. That high number of early defections has obviously diminished the talent level of the 2014 draft class Luckily, though, there are plenty of elite top underclassmen prospects who should bolster the depleted group.

Heralded stars such as South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota have been the big-name star underclassmen players who have received the majority of the attention this season. However, there are plenty of other notable underclassmen who deserve high praise and recognition as well.

With just two weeks remaining in the college football regular season, we’ve now entered a time when many of the sport’s top eligible underclassmen prospects will have to seriously start to consider whether to declare for the 2014 draft or come back to school.  It’s a make-or-break decision that will play a pivotal role in many of college football’s top stars’ future career paths.

So which underclassmen will declare for the 2014 NFL Draft?

As we head into the home stretch of the college football regular season, here’s a look at the underclassmen prospects who I currently project to declare for the 2014 draft.

Quarterbacks

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 4

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Blake Bortles, UCF

The Top 10 Quarterbacks Who Are Projected to Return

  • Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
  • Braxton Miller, Ohio State
  • Brett Hundley, UCLA
  • Brett Smith, Wyoming
  • Bryce Petty, Baylor
  • Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
  • Devin Gardner, Michigan
  • Kevin Hogan, Stanford
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  • Taylor Kelly, Arizona State

Running Backs

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 11

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

Jeremy Hill, LSU

Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

Jerome Smith, Syracuse

Bishop Sankey, Washington

De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon

Devonta Freeman, Florida State

Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State

Storm Johnson, UCF

Michael Dyer, Louisville

The Top 10 Running Backs Who Are Projected to Return

  • Adam Muema, San Diego State
  • Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
  • Brendan Bigelow, California
  • Dominique Brown, Louisville
  • George Atkinson III, Notre Dame
  • Henry Josey, Missouri
  • James Wilder Jr., Florida State
  • Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
  • Kenny Hilliard, LSU
  • Tre Mason, Auburn

Wide Receivers

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 13

Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Jarvis Landry, LSU

Marqise Lee, USC

Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

Allen Robinson, Penn State

Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

Paul Richardson, Colorado

Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss

Devante Parker, Louisville

Davante Adams, Fresno State

The Top 10 Wide Receivers Who Are Projected to Return

  • Antwan Goodley, Baylor
  • Cody Latimer, Indiana
  • Jamison Crowder, Duke
  • Jordan Leslie, UTEP
  • Josh Harper, Fresno State
  • Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
  • Justin Hardy, East Carolina
  • Matt Miller, Boise State
  • Rashad Greene, Florida State
  • Ty Montgomery, Stanford


Tight Ends

Total Projected Underclassmen Prospects: 4

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

Colt Lyerla, ex-Oregon

The Top 10 Tight Ends Who Are Projected to Return

  • A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
  • Clive Walford, Miami
  • Jake McGee, Virginia
  • Jake Murphy, Utah
  • Kyle Carter, Penn State
  • Nick O’Leary, Florida State
  • Randall Telfer, USC
  • Richard Rodgers, California
  • Rory Anderson, South Carolina
  • Xavier Grimble, USC

Offensive Tackles

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 5

Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M

Cameron Erving, Florida State

Brandon Scherff, Iowa

Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

Antonio Richardson, Tennessee

The Top 10 Offensive Tackles Who Are Projected to Return

  • Cameron Fleming Stanford
  • Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati
  • Greg Robinson, Auburn
  • Jake Fisher, Oregon
  • La’El Collins, LSU
  • Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
  • Sean Hickey, Syracuse
  • Spencer Drango, Baylor
  • Torrian Wilson, UCF
  • Tyler Johnstone, Oregon

Interior Linemen

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 3

David Yankey, Stanford

Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

The Top 10 Interior Linemen Who Are Projected to Return

  • AJ Cann, South Carolina
  • Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
  • Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern
  • Josue Matias, Florida State
  • Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
  • Malcolm Bunche, Miami
  • Russell Bodine, North Carolina
  • Ryan Kelly, Alabama
  • Trai Turner, LSU
  • Tre Jackson, Florida State

Defensive Tackles

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 5

Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

Louis Nix, Notre Dame

Anthony Johnson, LSU

Ego Ferguson, LSU

Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

The Top 10 Defensive Tackles Who Are Projected to Return

  • Carl Davis, Iowa
  • Christian Covington, Rice
  • Danny Shelton, Washington
  • George Uko, USC
  • Grady Jarrett, Clemson
  • Leon Orr, Florida
  • Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
  • Michael Bennett, Ohio State
  • Thomas Teal, NC State
  • Tyeler Davison, Fresno State


Defensive Ends

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 7

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

Kony Ealy, Missouri

Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

Vic Beasley, Clemson

Shawn Oakman, Baylor

Scott Crichton, Oregon State

Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

The Top 10 Defensive Ends Who Are Projected To Return

  • Aaron Lynch, South Florida
  • Anthony Chickillo, Miami
  • Brock Hekking, Nevada
  • Cedric Reed, Texas
  • Henry Anderson, Stanford
  • Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama
  • Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
  • Randy Gregory, Nebraska
  • Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
  • Trey Flowers, Arkansas

Linebackers

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 5

Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut

AJ Johnson, Tennessee

Carl Bradford, Arizona State

Eric Kendricks, UCLA

The Top 10 Linebackers Who Are Projected To Return

  • Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
  • Amarlo Herrera, Georgia
  • Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
  • Denzel Perryman, Miami
  • Hayes Pullard, USC
  • Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech
  • Jake Ryan, Michigan
  • Jordan Hicks, Texas
  • Ronald Powell, Florida
  • Trey Depriest, Alabama

Cornerbacks

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 7

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Marcus Roberson, Florida

Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

Byron Jones, Connecticut

Victor Hampton, South Carolina

The Top 10 Cornerbacks Who Are Projected To Return

  • Blake Countess, Michigan
  • Damian Swann, Georgia
  • Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia
  • Justin Cox, Mississippi State
  • Merrill Noel, Wake Forest
  • Nick VanHoose, Northwestern
  • Quandre Diggs, Texas
  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
  • Tim Scott, North Carolina
  • Wayne Lyons, Stanford

Safeties

Total Projected Underclassmen Declarations: 4

Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama

Ed Reynolds, Stanford

Calvin Pryor, Louisville

Dion Bailey, USC

The Top 10 Safeties Who Are Projected to Return

  • Adrian Amos, Penn State
  • Corey Moore, Georgia
  • Derron Smith, Fresno State
  • Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky
  • Jordan Richards, Stanford
  • Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
  • Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech
  • Ronald Martin, LSU
  • Sam Carter, TCU
  • Tevin McDonald, Eastern Washington

2014 NFL Draft: Ranking College Football’s Top 25 Senior Prospects

College Football, NFL, NFL Draft

The strength of a particular NFL draft class will always primarily depend on which top underclassmen prospects choose to declare.

The 2014 draft class is no different.

Many of the 2014 class’ big-name headliners are underclassmen prospects such as Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota and South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney. Still, this year’s group of senior prospects seems to be unusually strong, even though the group experienced plenty of defectors when a record number of underclassmen opted to declare for the 2013 draft.

Premier prospects such as UCLA LB Anthony Barr, Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews and Michigan OT Taylor Lewan all bypassed the chance to be first-round picks in the 2013 draft in order to return to school for one last year.

Seniors like Barr, Matthews and Lewan are all cream-of-the-crop prospects, who appear destined to be high picks in the 2014 draft. However, there are plenty of other seniors who belong in the first-round conversation as well.

As the 2013 college football regular season now heads into the home-stretch, this is a good time to assess the stock of the sport’s top senior prospects.

Though a lot is bound to change between now and May 8, here’s a look at how I feel the top 25 overall senior prospects stack up at this point in time, along with rankings for the top 25 senior prospects at each individual position.

2014 NFL Draft: Top Prospects Who Were Overlooked as Recruits

College Football, NFL Draft

When looking at the top eligible prospects for the 2014 NFL draft, it doesn’t seem all that surprising that many of the big-name star players have reached great success in their collegiate careers, considering many of them were once considered to be elite blue-chip high school recruits.

The face of this year’s draft class, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, was arguably the most hyped recruit of all time and the consensus No. 1 overall prospect of the 2011 recruiting class. Clowney, who was once featured on an ESPN the Magazine cover with the phrase “Future Super Bowl MVP” before he had ever even taken a snap at the college level, isn’t the only notable player in the 2014 draft class who had to deal with sky-high expectations coming out of high school.

Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama FS Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix are just a few of the top prospects in the 2014 class who were forecast to be future big-time NFL prospects before they even received their high school diplomas.

Still, there have been many instances when former unheralded and under-the-radar recruits have become just as good as their more celebrated classmates. Never was that more evident than in the 2013 NFL draft, when former overlooked 2-star recruit Eric Fisher went from being a player that no big powerhouse program wanted to being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

The 2014 class once again features a few more examples of players, who have drastically outplayed the modest expectations they were saddled with coming out of high school, and become coveted pro prospects. Here’s a look at 10 players who were once overlooked during their days as unsung high school recruits, but have still managed to become some of the top prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.

Is AJ McCarron the Best Quarterback In College Football?

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It’s a tremendously rare accomplishment to get a cold, robotic, curmudgeonly coach like Nick Saban to form any sort of face that even closely resembles a smile, and not his normal intense glare of disdain. To get Saban so giddy that he runs and jumps into your arms, though, well, that’s truly a special feat—the likes of which are almost unimaginable.

That’s exactly what Alabama QB AJ McCarron was able to accomplish, however, after leading the undefeated Tide one step closer to the team’s third-straight BCS championship game berth with a 38-17 victory over No. 13 LSU on Saturday night.

Saban was obviously so thrilled with his senior signal-caller that he just couldn’t contain his excitement, as he gave viewers at home the image of a memorable leap into McCarron’s arms.

Yes, you read that sentence right. Nick Saban couldn’t contain his excitement.

What caused the spontaneous expression of euphoria from the normally cantankerous coach?

It was McCarron, and the exciting moment he helped create with another big victory.

After singing the praises of his third-year starter on College Gameday earlier in the morning, calling McCarron the “most underrated player in college football” Saban watched as the sport’s winningest current quarterback backed up his endorsement and added another big “W” to his already heavily-stocked resume.

In a postgame interview with CBS’ Tracy Wolfson, Saban, standing alongside McCarron, once again gleefully expressed his admiration for his highly successful signal-caller, calling him “the best quarterback in the country.” It only echoed the compliments he had bestowed upon him earlier on Gameday.

“People talk about statistics all the time, and maybe his statistics are not what somebody else’s are. But really what you should equate things with are production, performance, efficiency, consistency and winning. That’s really what it’s all about. He’s done that better than I think anybody in college football.”

Production, performance, efficiency, consistency and winning—if that truly is the formula that you equate with a quarterback being the “best” then it’s hard to argue with what Saban said.

Since McCarron took over as the starter in Tuscaloosa at the beginning of the 2011 season, he’s led the Tide to a 34-2 overall record and back-to-back national championships, all while being one of the most efficient and consistent passers in the country.

In his first year as a starter, it seemed like the fresh-faced former 4-star recruit was simply along for the ride, as he relied on his supremely talented supporting cast to get the Tide to the promised land. Once there, though, he put together a clutch performance in a dominant 21-0 victory in a rematch against LSU in the BCS title game.

Last season, McCarron truly transformed from a “game-manager” into a “game-changer.”

He wasn’t the most prolific passer of 2012—that was an honor that belonged to Baylor’s Nick Florence, nor was he the most exciting overall playmaker at the position—a title clearly held by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Still, McCarron was one of the most consistent, efficient and productive passers in college football. He finished the season as the national leader with a 175 passer rating, and he had the most impressive touchdown-interception ratio (30-3) of any player in the country. Plus, he tied for third nationally with a 9.3 yards per pass average and tied for 15th in the country with a 67 percent completion percentage.

Saban may say that stats shouldn’t be what a quarterback should solely be judged on, which is true. Nevertheless, McCarron’s 2012 stats were pretty darn impressive, as was the fact that he led the Tide to a 13-1 record, including an SEC title and a huge 42-14 win over Notre Dame in the national title game.

His numbers this year are almost just as impressive. In nine games, McCarron has now completed 69 percent of his passes, averaged 8.9 yards per attempt and thrown 19 touchdowns compared to just three picks. In the win over the boys from Baton Rouge, he completed 14 of his 20 passes for 179 yards and threw three touchdowns. Admittedly, it wasn’t a spectacular performance that will drop the jaws of Heisman voters, but it was solid and steady nonetheless. It’s exactly the type of showing we’ve come to expect from the Tide’s leader on the big stage, which backs up the consistency claims made by Saban.

Sure, there have been some big spots when McCarron hasn’t been so magnificent. Last year’s loss to Texas A&M is a perfect example. Down 29-24, facing a 4th and Goal from the two-yard line, McCarron rolled right, tossed the ball to WR Kenny Bell, and….

Interception!

Game over. The dreams of a perfect season had been dashed.

It was a critical miscue and a detrimental mistake for sure. Still, not to sound too nonchalant—it happens. If you play in enough big games like McCarron has, there will be times when you come up short and make bad plays in critical spots.

If you don’t believe me, go look back at the career history of some of the best quarterbacks to ever buckle up a chinstrap, especially some of the recent ones. Tom BradyPeyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have all made big mistakes in big games which they wish they could have had back.

Obviously, though, one bad play shouldn’t diminish a career’s worth of success and accomplishments.

In fact, you could easily make the case that McCarron’s game-winning 45-yard touchdown pass against Georgia in the SEC title game a few weeks later after the loss to Texas A&M pretty much negated the goal line interception against the Aggies.

Those are all plays in the past, though. The focus now is on Saban’s uncommonly complimentary comments, and whether or not one can make the case that McCarron does really reign supreme over the sport’s other top quarterbacks.

It’s not tough to figure out what the main argument McCarron’s critics will make for why the quarterback isn’t the top player in the country at his position.

The argument is of course that he plays on a talent-stocked team, which according to his detractors, is the main reason why he’s been so successful. In this case, the exterior circumstances (i.e. how much talent Alabama has)—something McCarron has no control over—is the main criticism he has to deal with.

“He’s only wins so much because he plays on the best team in the country!” is what the critics say.

Yes, there’s no denying Alabama is an absolute powerhouse. In this current era, no other program can even compare to the Tide, which have captured three national titles since Saban took over in 2007. At its essence, Saban’s squad is basically a football factory which constantly sucks in blue-chip recruits and churns out prodigious pro prospects. During his first two years as a starter, McCarron played alongside 17 players who went on to be selected in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts, including seven first-round picks.

This year, his supporting cast once again features plenty of prominent players such as RB TJ Yeldon, WR Amari Cooper, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB CJ Mosley, DT A’Shawn Robinson and FS Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, who will all likely ultimately be first-round picks at some point in the next few drafts.

So?

How many quarterbacks have won championships and experienced great success without having the help of quality surrounding pieces?

Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman all have a lot in common. They’re three of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history. They’re also three quarterbacks that were blessed with great supporting casts, which clearly aided in their success.

Do Montana, Bradshaw and Aikman not belong in Canton just because they shared a locker room with plenty of players who also now have a bust right alongside their own?

Saban has recently alluded to the fact that McCarron may not be a highlight-reel player, who puts up awe-inspiring stats, but he gets the job done when it counts the most. He’s handled the role of being the face of college football’s most talked-about and scrutinized program without any sign of weakness or fear whatsoever. Poise, leadership and maturity—McCarron has always consistently displayed all of those three key traits throughout his illustrious collegiate career.

As someone who has always been a big fan of sports talk radio, and has always been eager to listen to call-in sports shows, I’ve always found it fascinating when I hear callers complain and criticize a quarterback, whether it be at the NFL or collegiate level.

The gripes can, for the most part, all be placed into the same category.

“He’s not clutch.”

“He folds in crunch time.”

“He can’t get it done in big games.”

Well, if those are your qualms with quarterbacks, then AJ McCarron would seem to be a sensible solution to the problem you have with signal-callers.

Clutch?

Check.

Doesn’t fold late in the game?

Check.

Can get it done in the big spot?

That’s an emphatic double check.

Now, if you’re looking for the flash factor, McCarron can’t even come close to comparing to other star quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. However, in this era, when spread offenses have become all the rage, and dual-threat quarterbacks have emerged as the sport’s new dominant force, it’s almost refreshing to see a pro-style pocket passer like McCarron have the type of success he’s had.

That sustained success over the long haul is why he clearly belongs in the conversation concerning college football’s “best” quarterback, and it’s why he’ll deserve an invitation to the Heisman ceremony if the No. 1 Tide win out as expected.

Up to this point in the season, players like Manziel, Winston and Mariota have all received much more Heisman hype than McCarron. However, after his big win over the Tigers, the senior quarterback should be able to start building more momentum and garnering more award buzz over the next few weeks.

He’s already got the full backing and support of Saban—the best coaching mind in all of college football. Now, it’s time for the rest of the college football world to recognize McCarron’s talents and true value and give him the proper respect he truly deserves.

Shayne Skov Belongs in the Heisman Discussion

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Coming into Thursday night’s huge showdown between Pac-12 powers Oregon and Stanford, it was Ducks QB Marcus Mariota who was the spotlight star player who everyone was focusing on and talking about. Following a spectacular performance in the first half of the season, Mariota had established himself as the consensus favorite and front-runner to win this year’s Heisman Trophy.

Unfortunately, the dynamic dual-threat signal-caller finally met his match when he squared off with a stingy and stout Stanford defense, led by intimidating inside linebacker Shayne Skov.

Skov and the rest of the Cardinal defense constantly harassed Mariota all night long, forcing the usual explosive playmaking passer to look out-of-sync, uncomfortable and even downright frightened for the entire night. The menacing play of the team’s star senior defender was the main reason that Stanford was able to shut down Oregon’s usually explosive offensive attack and ultimately pull off a standings-shaking 26-20 upset in front of a national audience.

After listening to Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas talk about how the Ducks were going to put up 40 points on the Cardinal this year, Skov was the one who ended up doing all the talking with his play on the field. He then followed up with a little friendly trash talk of his own, following the game. 

Ummm I’m havin trouble counting? How many points was that? U know what we’ll give ya half

— Shayne Skov (@ShayneSkov11) November 8, 2013

 

Whether the mohawk-adorned, face-paint-smothered defensive warrior was instinctively timing up A-gap blitzes to perfection, forcing momentum-swinging fumbles, turning the Ducks’ speedy playmakers into hapless victims, or just sending pre-snap shivers down Mariota’s spine by staring him down from across the line of scrimmage, it was clear that Skov was making the type of impact that few other defenders in the collegiate ranks are capable of.

Though he wasn’t solely responsible for holding the Ducks’ dangerous rushing attack—which entered the game ranked second in the nation, averaging 331 yards per game—to just 62 total net rushing yards—Skov was the leader of the charge and the centerpiece of the shut down.

His brilliant performance on the big stage against Mariota—the now “former” Heisman favorite—is worthy of plenty of praise. In fact, you could even make the argument that Skov, who entered the game averaging 7.8 tackles per game, even deserves some serious Heisman buzz.

You might say, “but wait, defensive players can’t win the Heisman,” which would be a fair point. Considering the current times we live in, if you aren’t a quarterback—a position that has produced 11 of the last 13 award winners—you don’t have a realistic shot at building the momentum needed to make the national publicity push to win the stiff-armed trophy.

Still, as former Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o—a player who Skov tops in terms of natural talent—proved last year, defensive players can indeed actually make a considerable candidacy for college football’s most prestigious award. Te’o was obviously aided by the Notre Dame hype machine, and a rather weak field of candidates, but he still was able to finish No. 2 in the voting behind winner Johnny Manziel.

Can Skov do the same? Only time will tell. But putting together a dominant showing in a nationally-televised prime time game against a top-5 team obviously can only be a helpful boost.

With Mariota now seemingly out of the race, other high-profile quarterbacks such as defending-winner Manziel, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Baylor’s Bryce Petty will now be the ones who garner most of the attention in the final month of the season. But Skov’s name should at the very least be thrown into the discussion right along with them. Stanford’s success is predicated on its strong defense, and Skov is clearly the most valuable player and the definitive leader of the unit. He’s the quarterback of the defense so to speak.

Even if a one-loss Cardinal team doesn’t find a way to sneak into the BCS championship game, and instead has to settle for another Pac-12 title and a Rose Bowl berth, it still shouldn’t diminish all that the 6’3’’, 245-pound wrecking ball has accomplished during his senior year.

After suffering a severe season-ending knee injury just four games into the 2011 season, Skov returned to the field last year and put together a solid campaign, leading the team with 80 tackles, including 42 solo stops. However, it was clear that he wasn’t 100 percent recovered and wasn’t ready to dominate in the fashion that we had become accustomed to seeing from him.

This year, however, there’s been a notable difference in his play, as he’s taken his game back to an elite level. Recently, ESPN’s Kevin Weidl called Skov’s range “night and day” from last season, and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah quoted an unnamed NFL executive who said Skov is an explosive blitzer, who possesses top-notch playmaking instincts.

When all is said and done, Skov will likely garner plenty of recognition, awards and accolades for his 2013 performance. He’s already a shoe-in to earn a spot on numerous All-American teams, and you’ll likely see him down in Orlando as one of the finalists for the prestigious Bednarik Award.

The question is: will Skov be able to add a trip to New York City to his postseason itinerary?

Since 2009, three defensive players—Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu and Manti Te’o—have been invited to the Heisman ceremony. Obviously, the thought of a primarily defensive player winning college football’s most talked-about honor is no longer as taboo as it once was.

Only time will tell whether Skov can follow in the footsteps of Suh, Mathieu and Te’o, but as of now, Stanford’s star defender has certainly proven that he belongs in the Heisman discussion.

The 100 Best Traditions in College Football

College Football

The 100 Best Traditions in College Football

College Football is a sport that’s known for its great historic traditions and pageantry.

Mascots, marching bands and school chants are the true lifeblood of the sport, and they’re what make a college football game day so special.

There are so many celebrated traditions that fans around the country hold dear in their hearts.

Here’s a look at college football’s 100 best traditions.