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CFT 2017 Preseason Previews: College Football Players to Fall in Love With

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A new college football season is nearing, and it will feature some terrific playmakers you should be well aware of. Odds are you are familiar with some of the players you should know, but now is a good a time as any to introduce the experienced and the brand new fans of college football to some of the top players to keep you entertained in 2017. You will have a blast watching these players do their thing this season and you will want to watch every game they play for the chance to witness greatness.

Without any further adieu, here are the players that will keep you most entertained this fall.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
In a season that has a number of good running backs around the country, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley may be the best there is. Penn State’s offense may be the best in the Big Ten, and Barkley is one of the reasons why. Barkley has shined in big games for the Nittany Lions the past two seasons, including in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin and Rose Bowl against USC, and he will have his opportunities to lead Penn State to some big wins this season with his moves.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
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may have been the star attraction out of LSU’s backfield the past few years, but Derrius Guice made a name for himself last season as one of the top running backs in the SEC. Now, Guice steps into the leading role without any question and he should be the main cog in LSU’s offense this fall while the Tigers try to get a passing game figured out.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Keeping with the running back theme (and there are a number of others that could have been mentioned), we stay in the SEC to remind you that Georgia still has Nick Chubb ready to carry the ball. Chubb should be a key player in Georgia’s season, even though he will be splitting running calls with Sony Michel. But Chubb’s ability to burst through the line and get downfield with authority will be an essential ingredient to Georgia’s offensive game plan.

Derwin James, S, Florida State
Some will argue Florida State’s best player may actually be the best player in the nation. Derwin James is ready to make plays on every snap, and after missing the bulk of the 2016 season due to a knee surgery, James is ready to make up for some lost time. Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles will have James lining up all over the field, and he will be a key player in the highly-anticipated Week 1 matchup with Alabama.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Ed Oliver’s recruiting to Houston took the recruiting world by storm, and he has had quite the impact in his young career at Houston. Expect more of the big man to destroy the line of scrimmage this fall. Oliver would be a beast to contain in any conference, but do not look past his performance in the AAC this fall. Oliver will continue to show just how much fun watching a defensive tackle can be this fall.

Quinton Flowers, QB, USF
If there was one thing Charlie Strong really needed to be successful at Texas, it was his Longhorn version of Teddy Bridgewater. Now at USF, Strong has his quarterback in Quinton Flowers. Flowers is among the top players from the Group of Five and will give the Bulls as good a chance as any to not only win the AAC, but also guide the Bulls to a New Years Six bowl game.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Louisville’s quarterback may have won the Heisman Trophy last season, but a brutal finish to the season has left the reigning Heisman Trophy winner laying in the shadows this offseason it seems. Expect that love affair with the dynamic quarterback to be rekindled quickly as Jackson looks to pile up big numbers to start the season once more to remind us all why he captured the nation a year ago. History may be against Jackson’s chances of winning the Heisman Trophy again this season, but do not be surprised if he manages to return to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Honorable mentions: Sam Darnold (QB, USC), Justin Jackson (RB, Northwestern), Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma), Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State), Mike Weber (RB, Ohio State), J.T. Barrett (QB, Ohio State), Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA), Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon), Jordan Whitehead (S, Pittsburgh), Da’Shawn Hand (DE, Alabama), Myles Gaskin (RB, Washington)

Former Miami QB Augie DeBiase transferring from USF, too

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An already well-traveled member of the USF football program is on the move.  Again.

On Twitter over the weekend, Augie DeBiase announced that he has decided to enter the transfer database.  DeBiase will be leaving the Bulls as a graduate transfer.  Not only that, but he’ll have another year of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

DeBiase began his collegiate career as a two-star walk-on at Miami.  The Jacksonville native chose the walk-on approach over scholarship offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech.

In 2018, DiBiase left The U for junior college.  At Tyler College, he was the starting quarterback for the first half of the 2018 season.  An injury sidelined him for the latter portion of the schedule.  In eight games, DeBiase passed for 793 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran for three touchdowns.

DeBiase then joined the USF football program during the 2019 offseason.  He didn’t play a snap for the Bulls this past season.

DeBiase is the fourth Bull to enter the transfer portal in less than two weeks.

Citing “financial reasons,” quarterback Kirk Rygol entered the NCAA transfer database May 12.  A couple of days later, wide receiver Zion Roland did the same.  May 20, it was confirmed that defensive end Tyrik Jones had followed his teammates into the portal as well.

Notre Dame still very much in play for Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights

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Courtesy of a rival, Notre Dame could very well be adding some talent to its football roster.  Still.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

The coronavirus pandemic, though, has slowed the process.  It, hasn’t however, caused the running back’s interest in the Fighting Irish to wane.

“Things are going well with my second recruitment. I’m very happy with my options,” Speights told 247Sports.com. “I have an opportunity to play at a prestigious school like Notre Dame and pursue my Masters in Business. … I am in a great position and I’m extremely blessed. …

“I’m just taking things slow. I didn’t really have the chance to visit Notre Dame, so I got to hop on the Zoom with [running backs] coach [Lance] Taylor and [offensive coordinator Tommy] Rees, and just talk ball with those guys and how I’d fit in the system.”

Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Rice is also in the mix for the graduate transfer.  Speights stated he hopes to make a decision “within the next couple of weeks.”

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.

San Jose State’s Kyane Schmidt suffers ‘major brain injury,’ in a coma after being ejected from vehicle in rollover accident

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If prayers are your thing, maybe set one aside for a member of the San Jose State football program.

May 20th, the San Jose State football program confirmed this weekend, Kyane Schmidt was involved in a single-car rollover crash, which caused him to be ejected from the vehicle.  Details surrounding the wreck itself haven’t been divulged.

The aftermath, however, is horrific.

“[Schmidt] suffered a major brain injury,” the redshirt freshman defensive lineman’s parents wrote on the Caring Bridge website. “He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in a deep coma. The doctor said he will be in a coma for multiple weeks. He’s going to need to fight… We believe in him.

“Our broken hearts are full with all the love and support that you- Kyane’s family, friends, and community- have provided by reaching out with concern and prayer. We wanted to provide a means of updating everyone who anxiously awaits to see how he is doing and we will be updating this site with each new information that we receive so that you all can see how he is doing immediately until we are able to reach out personally, thank you in advance and patience as we navigate this new territory. Thank you all for your support and with everyone’s prayers he will be back with us all very soon.”

San Jose State also released a brief statement regarding the injured football player.

“Spartan Nation, we need you!” the Twitter missive began. “Our brother Kyane needs our support while he fights! Please follow the link below to send a message to him and his family with your prayers and good thoughts of support, strength, healing and love.”

As a true freshman, Schmidt was a walk-on offensive lineman.  He didn’t play a down for the Spartans this past season.

Prior to the coronavirus shutting down the sport, Schmidt was transitioning to the other side of the line.

Reggie Bush: Paying players has potential to ‘destroy some people’

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If irony is your thing, Reggie Bush is serving up a heaping cup this Memorial Day.

The NCAA has charted a course that, likely sometime next year, will allow student-athletes, including football players, to profit off their names, images and likenesses.  In an interview with Playboy that appeared online this past week, though, Reggie Bush sounded a word of impending doom for some individuals.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” the former All-American USC running back stated. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place. …

“It’s a nasty world out there, and it’s about to get nastier. You’re going to really start to see the true colors of a lot of people, and a lot of businesses too. You’re going to see people doing some crazy stuff to make money, because our market is crashing.”

In June of 2010, the NCAA, citing lack of institutional control and failure to monitor, levied historic sanctions on the USC football program as a result of Bush — and his family — accepting impermissible benefits from “unscrupulous agents.” The stiff sanctions were a result of the NCAA finding Bush had received in the neighborhood of $300,000 in illegal benefits from would-be marketers while a member of the football program.  The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner voluntarily relinquished his award from that year in September of 2010.

As part of the punitive measures, USC was forced to permanently dissociate itself from Bush.  That “permanent” disassociation, incidentally, ends next month.