2023 Top College Football Position Groups
The best; offense, defense, top QB group, RB group, WR/TE group, OL group, DL group, LB group and DB group
Top Offense in 2023
It should be no shock that the Buckeyes are the top returning offense, but maybe some people are wondering how they will reload after losing QB, CJ Stroud. So let’s dive into it. Ohio State returns the two best receivers in the Nation, for starters. Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Egbuka were sensational last year as sophomores and will impress again in their 2023 junior campaign. The running back room is loaded with two potential Doak Walker Award winners in TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams and both backs could easily rush for 800+ yards. The offensive line only returns two starters (Donovan Jackson and Matthew Jones) but will reload with big time recruits to round out a new starting five. That leaves the most important position - quarterback. The Buckeyes will have a QB competition this fall but all signs point to former five-star recruit Kyle McCord winning the job. McCord has been waiting for his turn and will light up Big Ten defenses in 2023 with one of the best skill position units in college football. McCord has limited reps, just 58 attempts, but has completed 41 passes for 606 yards and three touchdowns. McCord will match those numbers by Week 2 this year. Ohio State may have to reload but they will still be as scary as ever.
Ever heard of Caleb Williams? The 2022 Heisman winner is back at USC and he might be good enough by himself to earn the No. 2 spot. Thankfully, Williams has a solid supporting cast and one of the best offensive minds in head coach Lincoln Riley. The Trojans also have an impressive group of recivers in Mario Williams, Brenden Rice, Dorian Singer and Tahj Washington. Mario Williams transfered from Oklahoma with Williams and Riley and will be the No. 1 target this season. In addition to the returning flock of talent, there will be new faces such as running back Raleek Brown and tight end Deuce Robinson. With Williams and the talent around him, USC will be even more dangerous in 2023 than they were in 2022 - when they average 506 yards of total offense and scored 41 points per game.
Led once again by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies were the No. 2 offense in the nation last season with 515 yards per game and scored 39.7 points per game. Penix is a true Heisman contender this season and Washington offers not only one of the best offenses in the PAC 12 but the entire nation. Along with Penix, Washington returns a pair of 1000 yard receivers in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan and the trio will have NFL scouts flooding Washington games. Enjoy those Sailgates.
Yes, the Texas Longhorns! A lot is riding on QB Quinn Ewers this season but if the recruiting hype is even close to real the Longhorns will be rolling on offense. Ewers is entering his second season in Austin and should take a huge leap this year - he looked very good until a shoulder injury against Alabama in 2022. The Horns will have to replace All-World running back Bijan Robinson (and Roschon Johnson) but the reports out of camp are promising with sophomore Jonathan Brooks the leading candidate to be Sarks latest 1000 yard rusher. The receiver and tight end room are even more impressive than QB and RB. Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, Isaiah Neyor and tight end JT Sanders all return with Georgia transfer AD Mitchell joining the talented group. The strength of the Texas offense should be their offensive line. All five guys return with standout freshman Kelvin Banks back at left tackle for his sophomore season. There are a lot of questions and potential with the Longhorns offense but it feels like this is the year they get things going - they have the talent, now it’s time to produce.
The 2023 Florida State offense is going to once again feel like a Florida State team. After a few down years coach Mike Norvell has righted the ship and has FSU back in the national spotlight. FSU scored 36.1 points per game last season and returns eight starters from their 2022 team - including QB Jordan Travis. Travis threw for 3214 yards and 24 TDs in 2022 and those numbers should go up with running back Trey Benson and receiver Johnny Wilson (the top rusher and receiver) returning along with three starters on the offensive line. I have high hopes for FSU this year and think they could win the ACC and contend for a College Football Playoff spot.
There is a lot of buzz in State College, PA and for good reason. The Nittany Lions return eight starters on offense, including all five linemen from 2022. Left tackle Olu Fashanu surprised a lot of people when he decided to return to Penn State for his senior season - the athletic big man could have been the top tackle drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft and is the favorite for OT1 in 2024. Fashanu will once again be paving rushing lanes for running back Nicholas Singleton - who rushed for 1061 yards and 12 TDs as a true freshman. Leading the offense will be a new face and, honestly, that’s what has most people excited. Sean Clifford is out and the Drew Allar era is beginning. Allar was impressive this spring with his big arm and running ability. For the first time in a long time, the offense is a happy sight in Happy Valley.
The third Big Ten team on the list and possibly the best one. Michigan returns QB JJ McCarthy and many believe the Wolverines will expand their offense this season and be able to rely more on their veteran QB than before. Should they have to resort back to a ground-and-pound offense, they are very well suited to do so. Michigan has two of the top running backs in the nation in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. Corum rushed for 1463 yards and 18 TDs while Edwards added 991 yards and seven TDs himself. The offensive line lost a lot of talent but has once again hit the transfer portal and will be a top contended for the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line in the nation. Michigan will have to find new targets in the passing game but should be ok with tight end Colston Loveland and receiver Cornelius Johnson retuning to the Big House.
Head coach Dan Lanning was a defensive mastermind during his time at Georgia but it was the Oregon offense that carried the team in 2022. Maybe even more surprising than a Dan Lanning team being carried by the offense was who was carrying the offense. Auburn transfer Bo Nix looked like a Heisman candidate for most of the season and has Duck fans as excited for his return as Auburn fans were for his departure. We’ll see if Nix can do it again in 2023 and he will have the help of a talented running back duo in Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington. Irving rushed for 1058 and five TDs and should take a step forward with the passing game taking most the attention. And one of those reasons is retuning receiver Troy Franklin. Franklin led the Ducks with 61 catches for 891 yards and nine TDs and could also see a bump in his stats as he has another year to develop with Nix. The Ducks need to find to find help on the O-line but hit the transfer portal to bring in two new starters.
We all laughed at Brian Kelly for his offseason dance moves but LSU had the last laugh as the won the SEC West and had a 10 win season in BK’s first year. LSU brings back eight starters on offense, led by QB Jaydon Daniels. Daniels transferred from Arizona State where he had a few rough season after being a standout freshman. Daniels returns to Baton Rouge as QB1 and possibly the best QB in the SEC. We’ll see how he progresses in year two. Receiver Malik Nabers with surely help with his 72 catches, 1017 yards and three TDs returning to the Tigers offense. Also returning, two of the best sophomore tackles in the nation. It’s hard to say who had the more impressive freshman season in 2022, but Will Campbell (LT) and Emory Jones Jr. (RT) have solidified themselves as one of the top tackle duos in all of college football. LSU should have no problem running the ball behind their five returning offensive linemen and Daniels and Nabers will take care of things through the air.
Clemson had a “down year” in 2022 and that down year was a career year for most coaches. Clemson still won the ACC but missed out on the Playoff. Things could be back to normal in Clemson, SC with Cade Klubnik now the full-time starter at QB. Klubnik replaced DJ Uiagalelei as the starter and while he did struggle some there is a lot of promise for a sophomore breakout season. Klubnik will have running back Will Shipley back after rushing for 1182 yards and 15 TDs in 2022, as well as, four returning offensive lineman. Left tackle on Tristan Leigh is the newest member to the O-line - but he was also a five-star prospect…so they should be fine. Clemson returns one of my favorite receivers in sophomore Antonio Williams who went under the radar with 56 catches, 604 yards and four TDs - SPOILER ALERT - Williams is one of my breakout players for 2023.
Top Defenses in 2023
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