8 College Football Players You Can Expect to Go High in the 2015 NFL Draft

  • Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

    6-4, 215 pounds 

    The Flying Hawaiian. He has the juice under center. He would have easily been the No. 1 draft pick last season, but he decided to return to school and snag that degree. Now Mariota is trying to write a storybook ending to great career.

    How’s this sound for a dope Fall semester: take two classes, golf and yoga. Go to football practice. Put in extra work after practice because you’re mashing for your dreams. Most likely date the baddest chick on campus because you’re the man. Go 12-0 and win the first ever college football playoff. These are the options that are afforded to you when you ball out on the field and in the classroom by graduating early. Mariota’s going to be drafted in the first round — if he leads the Ducks all the way, he could go No. 1.

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  • Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

    6-3, 227 pounds

    UCLA hasn’t had a QB get this much love since Troy Aikman. USC is playing little brother in the backseat of UCLA’s Range Rover. L.A. belongs to the Bruins and Brett Hundley is their leader. Last season, he completed 67 percent of his passes and threw 24 touchdowns with only nine picks. Anything can happen, and if Hundley can have a great season he could leap Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston as the top QB prospect in 2015.

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  • Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

    6-4, 228 pounds 

    The second QB to ever win the Heisman as a freshman. As with Mariota and Brett Hundley, Winston could have easily been the top QB selected in last year’s draft. Right now, scouts know he can make every single NFL throw. They know that he’s mobile enough to get the job done. They are concerned with Winston off the field after some of the mistakes he’s made. Sure, he’s a young college kid, but once you get drafted in the NFL and you’re the face of a franchise they expect you to grow up and be a leader. Winston just needs to get better on the field and stay quiet off of it and he’ll be a surefire first-rounder.

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  • Landon Collins, FS, Alabama

    6-0, 215 pounds

    The 2011 Nike SPARQ champion was destined to be a star college player. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and jumped 43.7 inches as a high school kid. So, brace yourself, but he’s Sean Taylor-esque. I can say that after seeing him play in the SEC for two years. He’s not as big as Taylor, but he has great speed sideline to sideline and he will come up and hit you. Most importantly, he can cover a tight end or a slot receiver and that’s a huge commodity in today’s pass-heavy football.

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  • Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama

    6-1, 202 pounds

    Cooper is smooth. He’s easily the best route runner in all of college football. He was able to put up huge numbers despite ‘Bama’s pro style offense and their tendency to hand the ball off to their stable of running backs most of the time. It was said that the only person that could stop Michael Jordan was Dean Smith. Well, the only person that can stop Amari Cooper is Nick Saban and his run-first, pass-second offense. Once Cooper hits the league next season, it’s lights out.

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  • Vic Beasley, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Clemson

    6-2, 235 pounds

    He’s easily the best pass rusher in college football. He’s a poor man’s Von Miller. Look at these numbers that he put up last season. He had 44 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks. Last year, Beasley only received a second-round draft grade, so he decided to come back to school. If he wants to be a first-rounder, he must show scouts that he’s improved against the run and that he’s able to still get to the quarterback despite a double-team, because he’ll face plenty of them this season.

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  • Todd Gurley, Running Back, Georgia

    6-1, 232 pounds

    The NFL is changing. It’s a passing league. For the last two years, a running back has not been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. Also, the every down running back is becoming extinct. Teams are opting for smaller backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield and play in the slot as needed. Todd Gurley is a throwback to the old NFL. He’s big, he’s fast and he can get you the tough yards when you need them. What makes Gurley special is his ability to take it to the house from any given point on the field.

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  • Stefon Diggs, Wide Receiver, Maryland

    6-0, 195 pounds

    Look, when Diggs gets the ball he’s nastier than a public bathroom. What he does after the catch is just that sick. He reminds me of DeSean Jackson and Reggie Bush in college. Split Diggs out wide, throw him a five-yard hitch and there’s a chance he’s going to the house. In 2014, there were five wide receivers drafted in the first round. With the number of running backs being drafted dropping and receivers increasing, expect Diggs, who’s also a great return man, to be one of the first wideouts picked in 2015.

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  • Marcus Mariota
  • Landon Collins
  • Vic Beasley
  • Stefon Diggs

Live in the now. Enjoy the moment. The late great Maya Angelou put it best: “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Make sure you enjoy the 2014-2015 college football season. It’s going to go by faster than you think. Also, appreciate the players that will make the season great, because they’re top-notch ballers that will be eligible for the NFL Draft next season. You have five months to enjoy these studs before they get paid to entertain you on Sunday afternoons.

While there are other prospects than the ones on this list that are bound to go within the top 10 picks in 2015 — like Randy Gregory, Leonard Williams, and Brandon Scherff — these are the eight players we’re really anxious to see get picked high. Here are some of our favorite top 2015 NFL Draft prospects.

Follow Richard on Twitter at @6Magazine