Seven College Football Players You Need to be Watching

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bill-swift - September 21, 2012

Every year there are a few guys that we expect to be studs; some do it while others end up failing and slipping back into obscurity. Lucky for us for every stud that becomes a dud there is someone else looking to rise to the top and make a name for himself.

To keep up with all the latest and greatest players to rise to the top would take hours of watching ESPN, following twitter feeds, and checking message boards. While that sounds like fun, most of us don't have the time. Rather than let you be uninformed we've collected a few names of players that if you aren't watching you should be.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: Head coach Jim Mora has to love his freshman QB. In three games the 6'3'', 223 pound youngster from Arizona has been effective through the air and on the ground. So far he has completed 67 percent of his passes for an average of 275.7 yards a game along with some decent damage with his feet (4.3 yards a carry).

He has thrown three interceptions to go with eight touchdowns, but to be starting as a freshman and only have three through three games is pretty darn good. Next year will be even better.

Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: The senior running back has actually been doing a pretty good job for the last three years, but since the Bruins haven't been in the national spotlight his efforts have gone largely unnoticed. Three weeks into the 2012 season the senior running back is leading the nation in rushing with 541 yards on 66 carries for an astonishing 8.2 yards per carry average.

Even if the Bruins were not ranked No. 19 in the AP and USA Today polls with a 3-0 record you could not help but take notice of his work. Heisman voters are certainly taking notice as well.

Brendan Bigelow, RB, Cal: If your first thought was 'who?' that's okay. Before last Saturday the sophomore back had only eight carries for 40 yards in 11 games through his freshman and sophomore seasons. Then he busted out with 160 yards in four carries for two touchdowns against a very tough Ohio State team. It will be interesting to see how many carries they give him against the Trojans this weekend.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: The Cardinals are off to a 3-0 start largely behind the incredibly accurate arm of their sophomore quarterback. Naysayers may say that it was against inferior competition (Kentucky, Missouri State, and North Carolina--not exactly football powerhouses), but whenever you complete 81.8 percent of your passes (72-88, 855 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs) people take notice.

Without any real powerhouses on the schedule this season he could remain under the radar, but if he keeps that completion percentage up it will be awfully for people not to notice.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: Urban Meyer had to be ecstatic when he saw his sophomore QB. Miller appears to be part of the new breed of quarterbacks that can actually pass really well and act as a legitimate running threat (i.e. Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton). Through three games he is averaging right around 200 yards through the air and another 125 on the ground.

Next year, after Meyer has had him for more than a full season, this kid will be a legitimate Heisman threat and the Buckeyes a potential title contender.

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: When you are the quarterback for a team that traditionally loves to run it can be tough to make a name for yourself. Martinez hasn't been asked to do much with his arm, but has proven he can be effective when given the opportunity. Since he can make magic with his feet he still fits rather well into the Cornhusker mold (over 1800 yards the last two seasons; 176 through three games this season).

He'll need to prove himself more as a passer to make it at the next level, but he has the raw talent and the physical ability to be an exciting player.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: Abdullah had 42 carries last season and did little with them averaging just 3.5 yards a pop. As the main man in his sophomore season he is proving to be a real find for Nebraska fans. Through three games the sophomore is averaging about 20 carries and 120 yards a game.

With a year of experience under his belt and senior Taylor Martinez calling the shots behind center next season look for the Cornhuskers to be in the preseason top 25. As for this season, expect to see some real exciting football from a very talented player.

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