Top 10 offensive weapons in college football

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The upcoming college football season will be an exciting one for fans of dynamic offense, as the top stars on this side of the ball are set to explode.

Players like Tua Tagovailoa, Jonathan Taylor, Trevor Lawrence and Laviska Shenault Jr. should only be better with another year under their belts. It’s going to be a banner year for the biggest offensive weapons in the nation.

Here’s an early look at the 10 young offensive dynamos we cannot wait to watch in action.

Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson

Lawrence is so good that he would be the consensus No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft if he were eligible to come out following his true freshman season at Clemson. That’s bad news for the quarterback-needy teams in the NFL. It’s also bad news for college football defenses, who still have to put up with Lawrence for two more seasons.

Last year, Lawrence completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also routinely made ridiculously difficult throws look casual. Clemson brought in a couple of star wide receiver recruits this offseason, too, which should lead to more of a wide-open offense for the Tigers.

Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver, Alabama

Last season, it seemed like every time the Crimson Tide needed a big play in the pass game, Tua Tagovailoa found Jeudy downfield. And once he had the ball in his hands, Jeudy — a run-after-the-catch monster — always made the most out of his chances.

Jeudy blossomed in his sophomore campaign, racking up 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 68 catches. He could beat those numbers as long as Tagovailoa keeps slinging the rock next season. If he stays healthy he projects as one of the top offensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Jake Fromm, quarterback, Georgia

Blessed with a veritable cannon for an arm, Fromm has also shown the ability to be very accurate in his first two seasons with the Bulldogs. Last year, he improved in every conceivable way, completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,749 yards with 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

Because Georgia has been such a powerhouse running the ball, Fromm doesn’t have the kind of “wow” stats other quarterbacks have. But he is a quarterback NFL scouts will be watching closely, and he sure looks the part of a franchise passer.

Laviska Shenault Jr., wide receiver, Colorado

One of the biggest physical freaks in college football, Shenault regularly found ways to torch opposing defenses last year. Despite missing three games due to a foot injury, Shenault still had a phenomenal overall campaign. An all-purpose threat, he caught 86 passes for 1,011 yard and six touchdowns and added another five scores on the ground.

Put Shenault on your dark-horse Heisman list. He really is one of the most exciting players in college football and is just scratching the surface of his true potential.

Justin Herbert, quarterback, Oregon

If Herbert had decided to come out of college this winter for the NFL draft, there’s a good chance he would be the first quarterback off the board. He opted to return to Oregon for one more year to play with his younger brother, and if he stays healthy that should only help him in the long run.

An incredible athlete who is exactly what the NFL is looking for from a physical standpoint, Herbert has an arm that allows him to make very difficult throws look easy. Oregon’s offense should fly high this year with him under center.

Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin

Taylor has been one of the most prominent running backs in college football the past two years. Last year he led the nation in rushing. And he’s racked up 4,171 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground since 2017.

Based on his sophomore campaign he’s not slowing down any time soon. The Badgers will once again try to bludgeon opposing defenses with Taylor as the lead back in 2019. It’s B1G football at its purest form, and this kid has the entire repertoire — speed, power, size and quickness — to continue dominating.

Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Clemson

Following a quiet freshman campaign in 2017, Higgins emerged as Lawrence’s go-to receiver in clutch situations last year. Though he only caught 59 passes, Higgins nearly hit the 1,000-yard mark and hauled in 12 touchdown receptions.

The thing that really sets Higgins apart from his peers is the way he makes very difficult catches look so easy — especially in the end zone and on the sidelines. As Lawrence progresses as a passer in 2019, we fully expect Higgins to be a primary beneficiary.

Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Oklahoma

Everyone is focused on Tagovailoa or Lawrence as the top Heisman favorites this year. But it would be foolish to forget about Hurts. The former ‘Bama star is now in Norman playing for Lincoln Riley, who helped Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield bring home back-to-back Heismans the past two years.

Hurts is an extremely tough competitor who has a history of rising to the occasion when pressure is on. He is also a dynamic dual-threat quarterback who has thrown 48 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions the past three years. It’s going to be fun watching him run Riley’s offense this year.

J.K. Dobbins, running back, Ohio State

Buckeyes fans are excited about landing Justin Fields, but the offense will almost certainly run through Dobbins next year. Thanks to the emergence of Dwayne Haskins as a pocket passer last year, Dobbins’ production on the ground diminished somewhat. But he did punch in 10 touchdowns — three more than his stellar freshman season.

Look for new head coach Ryan Day to lean heavily on his junior running back this coming season. A true three-down threat and very good receiver, Dobbins is ready to carry the load.

Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Alabama

Oh, yeah. This guy.

Tagovailoa set college football on fire last season. His ability to drop dimes all over the field made him the center of attention on a weekly basis around the nation. And if not for the lower-body injuries that slowed him down he surely would have beaten Kyler Murray for the Heisman Trophy.

Despite barely playing in the fourth quarter all season long, Tagovailoa passed for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He should be even better this year, especially if the ‘Bama offensive line does a better job protecting up front.