The college football season is about to get underway shortly and their will be a host of players to keep a really close eye on throughout the year, as many of them will be looking to be the next breakout star in the NFL in the near future.
Of course, a number of players were already drafted to compete in the professional competition back in April following the conclusion of the NFL Draft, however there are a number of players who may have been able to get their move this summer that decide to bide their time and play another year in college to make sure that they were ready should the call comes.
With last season being somewhat unique with everything that went on, the NCAA decided to allow players to count the year as a free year of eligibility, therefore allowing a number of players to return for the upcoming 2021-22 season who would have either graduated or being picked by an NFL team.
This means there are a number of potentially great emerging talents still available on the rosters of each franchise, which can help their chances of being crowned champions at the end of the year. This also means it could improve the chances for bettors who look around and try to identify the best and learn about the college football predictions that they can potentially make this season.
So, without further ado, here are just some of the next batch of emerging stars that could breakout in the professional game after another year in college, in no particular order.
Derek Stingley JR
Derek Stingley Jr will be entering his junior season for the LSU Tigers this year and he has to be one of the hottest prospects to keep an eye on as his first two years at the college have been nothing short of impressive and spectacular.
He made an instant impact on the college program in his first season as a freshman, as he managed to record a total of 38 tackles, 15 pass breakups and a total of six interceptions in 2019. Whilst the 2020 season was not quite as impressive in regards to the numbers he put up on the board, it was not the cornerback’s fault, as teams had clearly identified that he was a threat that they wanted to avoid.
Stingley Jr would only be targeted 30 times in the seven games that he played, where he allowed just seven first downs and managed to force five incompletions, thus highlighting why he was the No. 1 ranked cornerback in 2019 and the 3rd overall.
Come the 2022 NFL Draft, if he has a season as he did in his freshman year, it will not be a surprise if a number of teams were looking at him as an option for their first pick.
Notre Dame’s safety, Kyle Hamilton, was another defensive player who had a real impact in his first two seasons playing college football.
The safety has already managed to play in 24 games throughout his career, totalling 104 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups and five interceptions. In addition, he has proven to be a threat going forward, as well, as he has managed to score a touchdown after he returned an interception for a pick-six against New Mexico in 2019.
Likewise, with Stingley Jr, there is no doubt that if Hamilton continues to provide the same level of performances for the Fighting Irish as he has over the last two years, his third is going to see him be highly coveted by a number of NFL teams when the draft takes place.
It could be argued that the offensive lineman area of a football team is one of the most important departments that a franchise needs to get right, especially at left tackle as it is perhaps the most important position as they provide the blocks and protection for the quarterback.
Teams who have Zion Nelson on their roster will feel confident that position is solved, as he was arguably the best left tackle in the ACC over the final six games of the 2020 season. He allowed just five pressures and two sacks across those games, whilst receiving the third-best pass-blocking grade (79.7) from Pro Football Focus for left tackles in the ACC.
USC’s outside linebacker, Drake Johnson, is already making a lot of people take note of his ability, with some in the NFL suggesting that he could be a top prospect when he is drafted in the near future.
Indeed, when looking at his stats, there is no doubt why there has been a lot of noise surrounding him and his ability on the field, as he managed to make 20 tackles that included 5.5 for losses of 27 yards, which were both sacks, in his six starts of 2020. In addition to his tackling abilities, he also made an interception, which is why so many believe he will have a vital role in helping USC challenge for the Pac-12 Championship.