College Football players to watch in 2023: Part three
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 three features Penn State quarterback Drew Allar, South Alabama safety Yam Banks, Colorado cornerback Cormani McClain, Georgia wide receiver Dominic Lovett, Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley, Oklahoma linebacker Dasan McCullough and Eastern Michigan cornerback Kempton Shine.
Penn State quarterback Drew Allar
Allar will take over at quarterback for Penn State after Sean Clifford started the last four seasons. Allar was one of the highest rated quarterback commits in Penn State history coming out of high school. He played in 10 games in 2022, so he has some experience, although not a lot.
Photo by Paul Burdick/For StateCollege.com
If Allar can mature quickly and develop into a top quarterback with his elite arm talent, Penn State can become a contender in the Big Ten. While quarterback play was never the main issue, it always felt like the Nittany Lions could get something more out of that position.
South Alabama safety Yam Banks
Banks is the leader of the South Alabama secondary. He is super athletic at 6-foot-1. Banks had an incredible one-handed interception during the Jaguars bowl game last season. That was only one of his six interceptions in 2022.
Photo via South Alabama Athletics
Banks was selected to the All-Sun Belt First Team in 2022 after he totaled 50 tackles, six tackles for loss, six interceptions and 11 passes defended. Expect Banks to be one of the top safeties in the country in 2023.
Colorado cornerback Cormani McClain
As a five-star recruit, McClain has a chance to come in and play at Colorado right away. McClain could play alongside former top recruit Travis Hunter in the defensive backfield for a program that is attempting a complete overhaul under head coach Deion Sanders. There might be a bit of an adjustment period for McClain, but he will be able to gain valuable experience this fall.
Photo by Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
At 6-foot-2, McClain has a great combination of size and speed. He is super athletic, and he can turn that athleticism into becoming a lockdown corner. Who better to teach McClain than Sanders?
Georgia wide receiver Dominic Lovett
Lovett is a new addition to a loaded and improved receiver room at Georgia. He comes over from Missouri after collecting 846 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2022 and being selected to the All-SEC Second Team.
Photo via Missouri Athletics
He is a downfield threat with his great speed. Lovett was one of the top portal acquisitions by head coach Kirby Smart in this cycle. He is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but his speed more than makes up for it.
Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley
Corley has seen his production increase in each of his three seasons at Western Kentucky. In 2022, Corley was fourth in the nation in receiving yards (1,295) and seventh in receiving touchdowns (11).
Photo via WKU Athletics
With star quarterback Austin Reed returning for the Hilltoppers, expect Corley to have similar production as last season in a receiver-friendly offense. Corley might not get a whole lot of attention because of his size (5-foot-11) and where he plays but keep an eye on him this season.
Oklahoma linebacker Dasan McCullough
McCullough was one of the most impressive true freshmen in the Big Ten last season. He tallied 49 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three passes defended for Indiana in 2022. McCullough was one of the top transfer portal additions of the offseason as he committed to Oklahoma.
Photo via Twitter
McCullough is a large linebacker at 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds which makes him a force on the field. He is a versatile player that can play along the defensive line, at the linebacker position and in pass coverage.
Eastern Michigan cornerback Kempton Shine
Shine enters his fifth season at Eastern Michigan as one of the top cornerbacks in the MAC. Shine led the Eagles in passes defended last season with 12. He will bring plenty of experience under head coach Chris Creighton to the EMU defense.
Photo by Steve King, EMU Athletics
Shine was not heavily recruited out of high school but he is another great example of EMU finding a diamond in the rough. Expect to see Shine playing lockdown coverage this season for a team that is looking for its first MAC title under Creighton.