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 12 features Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze, Michigan State linebacker Jacoby Windmon, Air Force defensive back Camby Goff, Arizona wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan and Arkansas State linebacker Melique Straker.
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix
Since transferring from Auburn to Oregon, Nix has been one of the top quarterbacks in College Football. He had his best season statistically in 2022. He threw for 3,593 yards, which is 1,000 more than his best season at Auburn. Nix also threw for 29 touchdowns and scored 14 times with his legs.
Photo by Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
After his outstanding season last fall, Nix has placed himself right near the top in preseason Heisman Trophy odds. Nix should be among the top quarterbacks in a conference, the Pac-12, that is stacked with great quarterback play. Look for Nix to be at the top of a lot of NFL Draft boards after the 2023 season.
Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze
Odunze is set to be one of the top receivers in the nation. He totaled over 1,000 yards receiving in 2022 while being the star wideout for one of the top passing attacks in the country. In his Washington career, Odunze has 122 receptions, 1,632 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns.
Photo by Red Box Pictures
He is not easy to defend either. Odunze stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 211 pounds making him a great target for quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Odunze will be atop many NFL Draft boards next April.
Michigan State linebacker Jacoby Windmon
Windmon was one of the top transfer portal acquisitions made by head coach Mel Tucker last cycle. At UNLV, Windmon totaled 169 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in three seasons. In 2022 at Michigan State, Windmon had 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and six forced fumbles while only playing in eight games.
Photo via MSU Athletics
Windmon comes into the season as one of the top defensive players for the Spartans. He can also play as an edge rusher which gives the staff at Michigan State plenty of options in different defensive packages.
Air Force defensive back Camby Goff
Air Force had one of the top passing defenses in the country last season. Part of that was due to the play of defensive back Camby Goff. In his three seasons with the Falcons, he has a total of 93 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defended and one forced fumble.
Photo by Patrick Seibold/The Gazette
The Falcons secondary could be better than last year with Goff and many other pieces returning. Look for Goff to be one of the leaders of this defense and help Air Force contend for a Mountain West title this season.
Arizona wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan
With the departure of Dorian Singer, McMillan needs to step up and be one of the top receivers for Arizona. Last season as a true freshman, he was the third leading receiver on the team with 39 receptions, 702 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns.
Photo by Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics
McMillan is one of the brightest young talents in the Pac-12. He is a huge target at 6-foot-5. This will be a key season for him as he will need to step into an increased role for the Wildcats.
Arkansas State linebacker Melique Straker
The native of Brampton, Ontario, Canada burst onto the scene at Arkansas State ever since he transferred in from Carleton College. In his first season with the Red Wolves, Straker totaled 50 tackles, which was good for sixth on the team, 2.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. He had a career high 14 tackles against Georgia State.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/AP Photo
In 2022, Straker started seven games at linebacker. He had 81 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble. Straker will attempt to lead an Arkansas State front seven that isn’t returning any starters along the defensive line.