Manziel put together a truly elite season in 2012, made all the more impressive by the fact he was only a freshman. The Heisman Trophy winner threw for 3,706 yards with 26 touchdowns, and he rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 scores. Now, America can't seem to get enough of Johnny Football, whether he's taking online classes or sitting courtside at an NBA game. Given all the offseason attention, perhaps no one is looking forward to the fall more than the Texas A&M star.
2 of 10 Jim Dedmon/Icon SMI
DE Jadeveon Clowney
The ground may still be shaking from Clowney's vicious hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith in last season's Outback Bowl. Clowney's athleticism and power on the defensive line are unmatched, evidenced by a 2012 campaign in which he racked up 13 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. It's just a matter of time before Clowney destroys another running back. Just hope it's not yours.
3 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
QB AJ McCarron
Alabama keeps on winning, and the ultra-composed McCarron is a major reason why. The Tide quarterback completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns to lead 'Bama to a second consecutive national championship despite playing with bruised ribs for the latter half of the year. McCarron made a huge leap from a game-managing quarterback in 2011 to a lethal playmaker in 2012. His return, coupled with the Tide's perennially stifling defense, place Alabama among the nation's elite again in 2013.
4 of 10 David E. Klutho/SI
RB T.J. Yeldon
The departure of Eddie Lacy elevates Yeldon to the top of Alabama's depth chart, especially coming off his 1,108-yard, 12-touchdown freshman campaign. The Crimson Tide will still present a few different looks in the backfield, as returnee Kenyan Drake and highly touted recruits Derrick Henry, Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and Altee Tenpenny could all potentially split carries with Yeldon. Still, Yeldon will be the go-to guy, and -- if all goes well -- he could emerge as a 2013 Heisman hopeful.
5 of 10Bill Frakes/SI
QB Aaron Murray
Murray continued to progress nicely in his junior season, upping his passing yards by 700 and his completion rate by five percent. He also decreased his interceptions from 14 to 10. A tipped pass and five yards separated his Bulldogs from a chance at a national title, so Murray enters 2013 hungry. Georgia's running game will keep defenses from solely focusing on him, but Murray will have to find new targets now that receivers Tavarres King and Marlon Brown are both gone.
6 of 10 Al Tielemans/SI
RB Todd Gurley
Following a monstrous freshman season in which he led all SEC running backs in rushing yards, Gurley returns to Athens alongside counterpart Keith Marshall. Marshall's productivity may limit Gurley's touches, but that didn't stop the latter from putting up huge numbers last year; Gurley carried 222 times for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns. This is perhaps most telling: Alabama's defense allowed just 76.4 rushing yards per game last season, but Gurley still torched the Tide for 122 yards and two scores in the SEC Championship Game.
7 of 10 Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI
CB/WR Loucheiz Purifoy
Get ready to hear Purifoy's name a lot this season, as he could be primed to star on both sides of the ball. A productive cornerback in 2012, Purifoy recorded 51 tackles, five passes defended and three forced fumbles. He also blocked a kick and a punt. The 6-foot-1, 189-pounder is listed as a starting wide receiver on Florida's spring depth chart and plans to be a two-way player in Gainesville come fall.
8 of 10 Al Tielemans/SI
LB C.J. Mosley
Despite not being an every-down linebacker last year, Mosley racked up the most tackles of any Alabama defender since DeMeco Ryans in 2003. The All-America recorded 107 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Alabama will be loaded on defense again in 2013, and Mosley will spearhead a unit that finished No. 1 in the FBS in total defense last season.
9 of 10 Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
WR Jordan Matthews
Matthews is poised to break a record this year. Whether that'll be enough to accomplish his goals for Vanderbilt is less certain. Following an impressive 1,323-yard season in 2012, Matthews sits just 812 yards shy of the SEC's mark for career receiving yards. But he returned to the Commodores because he said he believes they can win an SEC title. Another big season from him would be the necessary first step in a division that also features Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.
10 of 10 Simon Bruty/SI
RB Jeremy Hill
A unique running back with the strength to grind out yards in the trenches and the speed to break away in the open field, Hill didn't emerge until midway through the 2012 season. It was still enough time for him to pace the Tigers with 755 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Spencer Ware and Michael Ford's early departures to the NFL should free up more touches for Hill, and his 5.3 yards per carry average could translate into a colossal season in Baton Rouge.
You May Like
More College Football
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!