With the preseason games approaching, here is a look at a few players to watch for from each team. Some are newcomers, returners, and some are players replacing some big shoes.
First up, is quarterback Balion Siege. If Alabama plans on making some noise, Siege will have to be the guy that gets this offense clicking. He needs to look good in this preseason game. The other player I’m interested to see how he does, is the power back Joe Pantoja. He needs to have a monster season in his junior year. His last two seasons have been productive, but this year Alabama will need for him to be one of the top three in the country.
The Tigers were a play away from a National Title last season. Halfback Robert Davis has transferred in from Penn State and he could be the offensive player that puts a championship on his resume. He has shown that he his one of the best in the country, now he needs to continue that for the Tigers. The other player to watch for is also a transfer by the name of Digger Graves, the former Washington safety. Defense wins championships and Graves needs to show there is a reason he joined this team.
The Clemson Tigers didn’t have a lot of spots to fill except for the quarterback position. The spotlight in this preseason game will be squarely on the shoulders of one Will Slay. Javon Mack was the heart and soul of this offense and Slay has some big shoes to fill. This will be his chance to show he is ready.
Speaking of shoes to fill, gone is quarterback Kingston Fox and his dual threat ability. Enter Matthias St. John, the next big quarterback at Florida. This game will be the perfect situation for him to get comfortable in the Gators’ system. Another player to watch here is senior halfback Avery Jordan, The Gators should be looking to get him going early and set a tempo for the season.
The guy to watch for in Miami’s preseason game has to be safety Perry Pennel. Miami needed help in the takeaway department with only seven last season. Pennel has been brought in to help bolster the defense, so how he looks in this game will be big.
The Wolverines have done a great job in reloading their team from last year and have filled some key positions. Transfer receiver Anthony Robertson III will want to show out in the preseason game as will halfback Michael Williams. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Barkivious Oswald will want to strike some fear in upcoming quarterbacks. This will be a good way to make some noise.
There are a lot of guys on this team that want to show the rest of the Big Ten that Nebraska is for real. Ones to watch for are as follows: QB James Kovach, HB Dowdy Dowell, WR Blaze Gunner, FS Stokely Ferdinand, and MLB Mika Raikkonen. They all need to play big in this game and look to be on the same page.
For the Irish to return to power and get through there murderous schedule there defensive unit has to play big. All eyes will be on linebackers Aaron Davis and Shoto Pence. We also can’t leave out safety Minkah Solo. Pence probably has the most to show as he will try to get out of the shadow of his brother at Ohio State.
Well this is what everyone has been talking about since the BIG DROP against Auburn last season. All eyes will be on the receiving corps of the Buckeyes, how do the freshman and returning senior perform? Receivers Cosmo Woods, Bill Simons, Lawrence Lexington, and tight end Marcus “Big” Buford are thrust into the spotlight.
Lost in a lot of the talk this preseason are the Ducks, and I think the are totally fine with flying under the radar. This was a defense though that underachieved at times last year, although ranking in the top for four in the country, they where one of the worse at points given up. Freshman defensive end Anthony Richardson will be one to watch with his pass rush. If he can bring the pressure and increase there sack totals then the Ducks will fly this year.
Lets see National Champions and Hardware City. You lost one of the best quarterbacks in CFSL history in Ray Tatum, and those are massive shoes to fill. Quarterback Walker Mills needs to get off fast and early in this preseason not only to carry on at the top with Texas, but to show that he is not just one dimensional. Good luck young man.
The Trojans have a very young defense this year but a very highly talented one, but for me the ones to watch in this up coming game are on offense. Halfback Cain Robinson, receiver Mason “Ace” Winters, and tight end Monte Jones need to show that they can play big or the defenses of the Big Ten will be feeding on them.