College football has one more game to be played and then we’ll see the final batch of players declaring for the NFL Draft. There are plenty who have already announced their decision, so we’re already seeing spots and positions that need to be filled at programs of all sizes. There’s no more need to talk fantasy college football this season. Let’s talk fantasy college football for 2015. Here are ten players who have big shoes to fill and should be great with more reps in 2015.
Five Obvious Ones
Melvin Gordon is headed to the NFL and with good reason. He ran for 185 yards per game, 29 TDs, and had a huge game against Auburn in his final college game.
Corey Clement, Wisconsin – Melvin Gordon is headed to the NFL and with good reason. He ran for 185 yards per game, 29 TDs, and had a huge game against Auburn in his final college game. Now, it’s Clement’s turn to be the star runner for the Badgers. Wisconsin will have a new coach, but we all saw how James Conner was worked at Pitt. Clement should see plenty of reps in 2015. This past season, he ran for 100+ yards in four games including the bowl win over Auburn (15/105/0). Even as the second runner for Wisconsin, he still managed 949 rushing yards on 147 carries (6.5ypc). There’s no reason for Corey Clement not to be the top badger in 2015.
Jeremy Johnson, Auburn – Going into this season, I was a huge Nick Marshall fan and boy did he put up. He was a consistent 30-fantasy point guy and it was because of better passing consistency. Johnson is the better passer of the two and can still run. I don’t think he’s a Nick Marshall type runner, but more of a Cam Newton type as his frame is pretty large (6’5, 230). Johnson got one start in 2014 and went 12-16 for 243 yards and two TDs against Arkansas. In that game he didn’t even play all four quarters. He’ll have another year of Duke Williams, so he already has a very good receiver to throw to. With the top two running backs headed to the draft as well, Johnson should see ample running opportunities especially around the goal line where his frame is a big plus.
Derrick Henry, Alabama – Henry had an odd 2014 season, ending with a 5.8ypc average and almost 1,000 yards but only two games of 100+ yards. Even with Yeldon banged up at times at the end of the season we still saw the same kind of carries from him. He had a big game against Missouri in the SEC CG (20/141/2) and against West Virginia in the opener (17/113/1). With Yeldon gone, the brunt of the carries will go to Henry. With Tyren Jones as the next guy in line, I’m not that worried that Henry gets his carries taken away.
Delton Williams, Michigan State – Williams is going to be the key guy in replacing Jeremy Langford and he’ll do it well. He’s going to be a junior with less than 100 carries under his belt, but his 6’1, 228 frame should easily be able to handle 20-25 carries a game. In 54 carries last season, he ran for 316 yards and five TDs. Against Eastern Michigan, he went for 10/103/3. With a senior quarterback and a lack of star receiver, you can best believe Dantonio will be relying on Williams to carry the rock plenty. Even with average numbers, his production should be great based off pure usage alone.
Jeff Lockie, Oregon – Have you seen how quarterbacks do at Oregon? It’s kind of a plug and play type deal here. Lockie should be a lock for 30 passing TDs, not because he’s talented, but because the last QB to not throw for 30 TDs was in 2009. That’s five straight seasons of 30+ passing TDs for the Ducks. The last time an Oregon quarterback wasn’t a great fantasy contributor? Well that would be Dennis Dixon’s junior year (2006). So, when it comes to Lockie there are things to like. For one, He’s been super efficient in his limited time this past season (21 for 27 for 207 yards and one TD), and has had three seasons to learn under some guy named Mariota. And what I find impressive is that Jake Rodrigues, a big time recruit, transferred when Mariota and not Lockie. Maybe that’s just Rodrigues wanting to play that season or maybe he saw that he’d have to battle Lockie when the time came. One thing to look for is the possible transfer of Everett Golson or Braxton Miller to Oregon for the 2015 seasons.
Five Deeper Looks
Robert Foster, Alabama – This former five star recruit has had two seasons to develop and this kind of work is probably what catapults him to greatness in 2015. The timing is perfect with Christion Jones and DeAndrew White graduating and Amari Cooper likely headed to the draft. The amount of learning he did during that time will be evident when he steps onto the field in week one. It’s my guess that he used his time wisely and was good about learning Lane Kiffin’s offense. While his quarterback play could be sketchy, Blake Sims found Amari Cooper enough to have him put up the stats he did last season. Kiffin isn’t afraid to target just one receiver and we saw that with Cooper. Foster had six catches for 44 yards in 2014 with his best game being a 4/40/0 game against Western Carolina. Foster is taller and thinner than Foster (6’3, 191 compared to 6’1 210), but I don’t think that’s a negative at all. I really like Foster going into the upcoming season.
Dominique Booth, Indiana – Let it be known. The Indiana Hoosiers don’t want to run it as much as they did in 2014. With the injury to Nate Sudfeld, the Hoosiers passed it just 313 times compared to the 470 times in 2013. Can you blame them though? Zander Diamont stepped onto the scene trying to put together some sort of offense and it turned into a Tevin Coleman beast mode rerun marathon. Well, Booth was one of, if not the best, recruit for the Hoosiers’ 2014 class coming in as a four-star prospect. He didn’t do much in his freshman season going for just eight catches and 70 yards, but neither did anyone else. Shane Wynn led all receivers with 56 catches and Nick Stoner then had 22 catches. Those two have graduated and now it’ll be up to guys like Booth, J-Shun Harris II, and Simmie Cobbs will be the main targets for Indiana. To me, Booth has the most potential and will get plenty of looks as longer as he stays out of trouble.
Jeff Jones, Minnesota – Jones was academically inelgible this past season, but no big. Minnesota redshirted him and reaped the benefits of playing David Cobb to the max. Now, it should be Jones’ turn. He was the best player in the state for his class and won MVP honors at the Under Armour All-America game. At a 6’0, 198lb frame, he should be good with carrying the ball 20+ times like Jerry Kill loves to do. With David Cobb and Donnell Kirkwood gone, all that’s left is a huge Rodrick Williams Jr, and a sophomore, Berkley Edwards, in the way. Those two ran the ball a total of 53 times in 2014. I really like the talented Jones to have a big season as long as he can stay out of trouble and read a few books.
Gus Edwards, Miami – This one isn’t as deep as the others, but I just think the talent he has is so great that he could be in for a huge year in 2015. It was obviously hard not to love Duke Johnson when you watched Miami play, but I really saw a ton of talent in Edwards in the games I saw. I watched him tear up a great Virginia Tech defense that knew the run was coming each and every play. He got limited carries past that due to an injury, but he did score a TD against South Carolina in his bowl game. He has averaged over 5.1ypc in his two seasons with 61 and 66 carries. It’s going to be a battle for who starts at running back between him and Joseph Yearby, but what I saw it’s hard not to like Edwards and his experience.
Trey Griffey, Arizona – Yes, he’s the son of Ken Griffey Jr. so that should count for something right? Well, Trey certainly has a shot at a big season in 2015 with the way he played in the Fiesta Bowl. He got the start and caught six passes for 66 yards. He showed glimpses of potential many times this season even though he ended up with just 31 catches. With Austin Hill graduating, there’s just another guy out of his way and becoming a great receiver. Cayleb Jones is the only other receiver in the top five of catches that’s taller than 6’0 while Griffey stands tall at 6’3. And while Jones did end the season with 73 catches, he was pretty nonexistent in five games this season catching three balls or less in those games. Here’s to hoping Solomon is a big fan of Ken and an even bigger fan of Trey come 2015.