As we continue to look at the future of college football this week, national recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill is gazing into his crystal ball to look at which young players could be the stars of tomorrow.
We're always looking for the next best thing, so Lunginbill came up with a list of his top 10 future college football stars. He has some current college players and some current 2014 recruits on his list. Of the 10, three of them are in the SEC. Two hail from Alabama -- wide receiver Chris Black and running back Derrick Henry -- and the other is Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche.
None of these players have played a down of college ball (Black redshirted because of a shoulder injury last year), but they will carry a lot of hype into the 2013 season.
Black is an extremely explosive player and probably would have complemented classmate Amari Cooper last season if he wasn't standing on the sideline all season. People thought he might have been an even better player than Cooper was last season, which is a really scary thought, because Cooper was one of the best receivers in the league at the end of the season.
Henry was on campus this spring and was really turning heads until he broke his fibula in mid-April. Henry could be a major mismatch for defenders once he's healthy and back on the field. He'll help T.J. Yeldon and Alabama's loaded running back group, but he could also be used as an H-back in the passing game. He's a big, versatile athlete who could be used a few different ways for the Tide.
As for Nkemdiche, the nation's top recruit from the 2013 class will get every opportunity to play in his first year and beyond. While he's far from having a starting spot locked up, the coaches expect to see him on the field early and often. He's too talented and knows the game -- and his position -- too well not to get significant playing time. Plus, he's physically ready to get on the field now. If he can survive the hype, he should have a fine career with the Rebels.
Want some other potential future stars from the SEC? Here are some players I have my eye on:
Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina: He was a reserve last season, but had some time to learn from Marcus Lattimore. Davis is built and athletic enough to be a big-time player in this league, and he should have a fine sophomore year.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri: He started to come on late last season, and had a very good spring. He's maturing more and is ready to show everyone why he was the No. 1 player in the 2012 recruiting class.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Some think he's physically ready to play right now, and he'll find his way onto the field this fall. He's the future at cornerback and has the tools to be an elite cover corner in the SEC.
Jordan Jenkins, LB, Georgia: Jenkins enjoyed a very solid freshman season, during which he had 31 tackles and five tackles. He's taking over for Jarvis Jones and has the potential to have a similar impact for the Dawgs.
Chris Jones, DE, Mississippi State: A lot of people outside of the state of Mississippi might not have heard of him during his high school days, but Jones could come in and make and immediate impact for the Bulldogs and become a terrific pass-rusher.
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn: He's big, explosive and strong. He'll also get some elite coaching from Ellis Johnson, and has the talent to turn into one of the best at his position.
Tray Matthews, S, Georgia: After enrolling early this spring, Matthews claimed a starting spot coming out of spring ball. He can cover a lot of ground and is also a big hitter.
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida: The son of former Florida All-American Fred Taylor, Kelvin will get plenty of chances to carry the ball this fall. For now, he's third on the depth chart, but he's too talented to stay there for long.
Brandon Williams, RB, Texas A&M: He transferred from Oklahoma, and will get back on the field this season. Williams might not be No. 1 on the depth chart right now, but that will change once he gets going.