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College Football players to watch in 2023: Part 15

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 15 features Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, FAU running back Larry McCammon III, FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel, Georgia Southern offensive guard Khalil Crowder and Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger.

Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall

Pearsall will be one of the top offensive weapons for Florida this season. He had his best season statistically in 2022 after transferring in from Arizona State. Pearsall totaled 33 receptions, 661 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns.

Photo by Maddie Washburn

Pearsall had an impressive 20 yards per catch last season. He is a downfield threat and was Florida’s leading receiver last season. I expect him to give opposing cornerbacks trouble especially down the field.

FAU running back Larry McCammon III

McCammon will be one of the best running backs in the new look AAC. He had a breakout season in 2022 as he recorded his first 1,000-yard season in his college career. McCammon totaled 1,001 yards and seven touchdowns on 193 carries. McCammon entered the transfer portal after the season but withdrew his name in January.

Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

FAU will have a new quarterback, Nebraska transfer Casey Thompson, and head coach, Tom Herman, this season. There is a lot of change on the offensive side of the ball, but McCammon provides stability in the backfield.

FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel

Manuel is back to lead the FIU defense which finished 127th in FBS in scoring defense. The Panthers return seven starters on defense including Manuel who totaled 97 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three passes defended and one fumble recovery.

Photo by Michael Berlfein (FIU Athletics)

FIU will play four weekday games in the 2023 season. When watching those games, Manuel will stand out on that FIU defense. His body is one of a defensive end at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds and he is athletic.

Georgia Southern offensive guard Khalil Crowder

Crowder is one of four returning starters on the Georgia Southern offensive line. Crowder has started 35 games in the past three seasons for the Eagles. The right guard was also First Team All-Sun Belt last season.

Photo by AJ Henderson/Georgia Southern Athletics

Crowder and the rest of the offensive line is the key for the Eagles if they want to post their first winning record since the 2020 season.

Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger

Grainger is entering his third year as the starting quarterback for Georgia State. Grainger is a true dual threat guy. In his two seasons with the Panthers, he’s thrown for over 4,000 yards and rushed for over 1,300 yards.

Photo by Georgia State Athletics

There is some pressure on Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott heading into the season after a 4-8 campaign in 2022. Having a reliable and experienced quarterback will help the Panthers navigate a tough Sun Belt Conference.

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