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College Football players to watch in 2023: Part six

In this new 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 six features Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik, Ohio State wide receiver Jayden Ballard, Temple linebacker Layton Jordan, Troy cornerback Reddy Steward and BYU linebacker Ben Bywater.

Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik

With the transfer of D.J. Uiagalelei to Oregon State, Klubnik will take the steering wheel in the Clemson quarterback room. He played as a true freshman last season, throwing for 697 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Klubnik is also a run threat as he scored two touchdowns last season using his legs.

Photo by Jacob Kupferman/AP

Klubnik was one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 recruiting class. At 6-foot-2, he is a good height for a quarterback. Klubnik also has a strong arm to go with his running ability. He has a ton of potential and he will be paired with one of the top offensive coordinators in the country this season: Garrett Riley.

Ohio State wide receiver Jayden Ballard

With how stacked Ohio State’s receiving room is, it might be difficult to realize how much depth they have as well. Most people who follow College Football know the names Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka. Get to know the name Jayden Ballard along with those three receivers.

Photo by David Petkiewicz/

Ballard is a redshirt sophomore and only has nine catches for 159 receiving yards in his Ohio State career. While the 6-foot-2 Ballard played mostly on special teams last season, look for him to be the breakout star of the Buckeyes’ receiving room this season.

Temple linebacker Layton Jordan

Jordan is one of the most experienced players on Temple’s roster. The upcoming 2023 season will be his sixth as a Temple Owl. In the spring of 2022, Jordan transitioned from playing defensive end to outside linebacker. He thrived last season at the outside linebacker position.

Photo by Zamani Feelings

He had a breakout 2022 campaign as he posted 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. Jordan was all over the field last season. Head coach Stan Drayton will look to use the versatile 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jordan in a multitude of ways in 2023.

Troy cornerback Reddy Steward

Steward had his best season statistically in 2022. He totaled 63 tackles, three interceptions and 12 passes defended as Troy won 12 games last season, including a win in the Sun Belt Championship Game and the Cure Bowl. After his solid 2022 season, he was named to the All-Sun Belt First Team.

Photo by Troy Athletics

The 5-foot-11 senior will be one of the leaders of the Trojans defense this fall, which promises to be one of the best in the group of five. Steward even had an interception in the Troy spring game.

BYU linebacker Ben Bywater

Bywater has emerged as one of BYU’s top defensive players in the past two seasons. In 2021, he led the Cougars in tackles with 102. He added 8.5 tackles for loss in BYU’s 10-win 2021 campaign. Bywater backed his 100-tackle season up with 98 tackles, four tackles for loss and three interceptions in 2022.

Photo by Tyler Tate/AP Photo

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Bywater has 215 tackles in his BYU career, which puts him as BYU’s active career tackles leader. Bywater was named the New Mexico Bowl defensive MVP after he totaled 11 tackles, one interception and one touchdown against SMU.

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