In this weekly series, I will highlight some of the top players to watch ahead of the 2023 College Football season, which is set to begin on August 26. We will go from the SEC to the MAC and everywhere in between. Part 11 features Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, Boise State running back George Holani, SMU tight end RJ Maryland, Kansas State offensive guard Cooper Beebe, Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn and Arkansas defensive end Trajan Jeffcoat.
Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry
While McKinstry has one of the best names in College Football, his play is what people should be focusing on. He found his way into the rotation as a true freshman in 2021. McKinstry played in 15 games and recorded 25 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, one interception and two passes defended.
Photo via Alabama Athletics
Last season, he was the starting cornerback and punt returner for the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-1 McKinstry totaled 35 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and 16 passes defended in 2022. He also had 21 punt returns with an average of 15.8 yards per return. McKinstry will be one of the top defensive backs in the nation. His athletic ability has the attention of the NFL already.
Boise State running back George Holani
It seems like Holani has been a big name in the Mountain West for a decade now. Holani has been a key part of Boise State’s backfield for four seasons now. As a true freshman in 2019, Holani was a 1,000-yard rusher. He also scored seven touchdowns that season.
Photo via Boise State Athletics
While Holani’s production decreased in 2020, partly due to the shortened season, he picked up right where he left off in 2022. He totaled 1,157 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Don’t forget about Holani in the passing game and returning game as well.
SMU tight end RJ Maryland
As a true freshman in 2022, Maryland had the most receiving yards out of any tight end on the team. He totaled 28 receptions, 296 receiving yards and six touchdowns to begin his college career. Maryland is looking for an excellent sophomore season this fall.
Photo by Jordan Hofeditz/247Sports
Maryland was a four star recruit out of high school with offers from Miami, Tennessee, Wisconsin and many other power five schools. Expect Maryland to be one of the top tight ends at the group of five level this season.
Kansas State offensive guard Cooper Beebe
Beebe is one of the top offensive linemen in the country. He has been a consistent starter for Kansas State since the shortened 2020 season. Beebe has started 35 games on the offensive line in the past three seasons.
Photo via Kansas State Athletics
Beebe is a versatile player at 6-foot-4 and 332 pounds. In 2020, he played mostly right tackle, but also saw snaps at left guard. The following season, he played a majority of snaps at left tackle, but he also played a bit of right guard. In 2022, he fully transitioned to left guard and didn’t give up a sack all season long.
Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn
Finn has been the starting quarterback for the Toledo Rockets for two seasons now. He enters his third season at Toledo in second place all time in school history in career rushing yards for QBs with 1,277. Finn was able to lead Toledo to a MAC Championship last season behind his solid play.
Photo via Toledo Athletics
In 2021, Finn had an outstanding touchdown to interception ratio of 18:2. He also added nine rushing touchdowns that season. Last fall, Finn threw for 2,269 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He again added nine touchdowns with his leg
Arkansas defensive end Trajan Jeffcoat
The Missouri transfer was one of the top additions that the Razorbacks made in the transfer portal. Jeffcoat is an experienced veteran in the SEC. He played in all 13 games of his true freshman season at Missouri.
Photo via Arkansas Athletics
Jeffcoat had his best season in 2021. He totaled 34 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound redshirt senior will instantly upgrade the Arkansas pass rush once he hits the field this fall.