21 for 2021 preseason topics: No. 11 The college football players who are already terrific, but are about to go to a whole other level. Here are five breakout national stars to watch for.
You already know who most of the superstars should be going into the 2021 college football season, but which guys are about to go from very good to next-level amazing?
If you’re a die-hard fan you probably already know these five players below, and if you don’t, you’re about to.
They’re the great players about to go nuclear, and they’ll soon be a big part of your college football Saturdays – and most likely your NFL Sundays.
21 for 2021 Preview Topics (so far)
21. Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes for 2021
20. Best Teams To Not Make CFP
19: Teams That Will Rebound Big
18. Teams That Will Fall Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
15. Expectations For 2nd Year Head Coaches
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings
13. 21 Key Transfers You Need To Know
12. Group of 5 over Power 5 Upset Alerts
How’d we do on these calls over the past few years? We didn’t exactly go out on a huge limb, but again, the goal was/is to highlight the good players who might take their respective games up a several notches.
2019 Breakout Star Predictions
5. S Grant Delpit, LSU
Thorpe Award winner for the epic national title team.
4. RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Led the nation with 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
3. WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
While he was okay, he didn’t blow up as expected with 56 catches for 764 yards and four scores.
2. QB Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Martinez hit just 59% of his passes for 1,956 yards and ten touchdowns with nine picks in 2019, and he ran for 626 yards and seven touchdowns.
1. RB Najee Harris and/or Brian Robinson, Alabama
Harris turned it on to finish with 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns, Robinson was second on the team with 441 yards and five scores. Harris also caught seven touchdown passes.
2020 Breakout Star Predictions
5. QB Sam Howell, North Carolina
He threw for close to 3,600 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven picks, and now he’s being talked about as a possible No. 1 overall draft pick.
4. LB Hamilcar Rashed, Oregon State
He couldn’t get his 2020 going – he was banged up all year and fought through injuries. A pass rushing terror in a a dominant 14-sack, 22.5-tackle for loss run in 2019, he failed to come up with a sack with 23 tackles and two tackles for loss.
3. DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Opted out on the season, but he was still the 30th overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
2. QB KJ Costello, Mississippi State
Yeah, this call didn’t work, but he’ll forever be remembered for the 623-yard, five-touchdown day to beat LSU to start the season.
1. RB Najee Harris, Alabama
Ww went back to the well from our 2019 No. 1 spot, thinking Harris would go up another whole level from his great 2019 season – and he did. The Doak Walker winner led the national champion Tide team with 1,466 rushing yards and 26 scores, along with 43 catches for 425 yards and four touchdowns.
Five (potential) College Football Breakout Superstars
5. DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
The Big Ten is going to have to deal with him again.
Karlaftis started out his Purdue career as a dominant force with 54 tackles with 7.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in an All-Big Ten season. He was steady, sensational, and relentless with his sack production spread out over the 2019 season and with at 1.5 tackles for loss in eight games.
All primed and ready to roll for a massive 2020, he couldn’t get going with COVID issues along with a leg injury. He only saw time in three games, but he came up with a sack against both Iowa and Illinois to start the season, and then that was about it.
Now he’s back.
The 6-4, 275-pounder is a mortal lock to earn All-Big Ten honors both on the field and in the classroom, and he’s a repeat of the 2019 season away from being a sure-thing first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft – and possibly a top 15 selection.
He’ll get a few games to warm up before being part of the national discussion. Oregon State and UConn should be in big trouble before he’s turned loose on Notre Dame.