Heading into the 2019 season, there is a general consensus on the top players in college football. However, the order changes a bit when thinking about the most noteworthy.
We've highlighted 25 names you should prepare to hear constantly this campaign. Many of them are quarterbacks, but that's the nature of the sport.
While past performance is a big factor, hype is the greatest contributor to popularity. That includes everything from Heisman Trophy attention and NFL draft buzz to expectations of a breakout year and key players for coaches on hot seats.
Although some coaches would be worthy inclusions, we kept the focus on players as much as possible. Only coaches in their first years with new teams were considered.
25. Mack Brown, North Carolina HC
After a five-year absence from the sideline, Mack Brown is back. He's working to revitalize the North Carolina program (which he coached from 1988-97). The team mustered a 5-18 record in the last two seasons of Larry Fedora's tenure. Brown is recruiting well, but the Tar Heels' immediate future looks bleak. They'll start an inexperienced quarterback (the competition to be the starting is ongoing), and the defense must figure out a way to replace much of its pressure production. How will Brown embrace the challenge?
24. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Expectations are only rising for Najee Harris. Long considered the replacement for Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, Harris must be prepared to handle a hefty volume in 2019. Star freshman Trey Sanders will likely miss the entire season because of a foot injury. Harris ran for 783 yards and four touchdowns last year, but he could attract some Heisman talk early in 2019.
23. Jarren Williams, QB, Miami
Miami has a new coach and a new quarterback. Manny Diaz tabbed Jarren Williams as the starter for Week 1's game against the Florida Gators on Aug. 24. During his redshirt season, Williams only appeared in a blowout win over FCS squad Savannah State. This season, he'll be expected to vault the 'Canes past Virginia and Virginia Tech in the ACC's middling Coastal Division.
22. Les Miles, Kansas HC
Kansas' decision to hire Les Miles may continue a disastrous situation, but at least the Jayhawks have received some positive attention lately. Over the last 10 seasons, they've won a total of 23 games with no more than five in a campaign. Kansas' results in 2019 don't matter as much as whether Miles shows a willingness to adapt. He failed in that regard at LSU; will it be different in the Big 12?
21. Feleipe Franks, QB, Florida
Head coach Dan Mullen helped Feleipe Franks move past a horrible redshirt freshman year. Still, his sophomore campaign was full of inconsistency—poor showings against ranked teams, specifically—until a hot finish. For the Gators to match their potential as a top-10 team, Franks must be a reliable performer every week.
20. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
One of the premier non-quarterbacks involved in the Heisman discussion, Jonathan Taylor returns after running for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. However, he's also the undisputed star of an unsettled Wisconsin offense. The Badgers need to revamp the line and might not be able to rely on Jack Coan's arm. They'll be counting on another explosive year from Taylor to compete in the Big Ten.
19. Auburn's Quarterback
It could be Joey Gatewood, or might be Bo Nix. Either way, Gus Malzahn had better get this decision right. Entering the head coach's seventh year at Auburn, the Tigers have surpassed eight wins only twice. Gatewood and/or Nix will be tasked with facing the country's most difficult schedule, so the margin for error is slim.
18. JT Daniels, QB, USC
JT Daniels is facing a similar situation to Auburn's quarterback as USC head coach Clay Helton is aiming to improve his job security. He brought in Graham Harrell to run the offense, and that Air Raid attack should fit his personnel. The Trojans have three high-quality targets in Michael Pittman Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns. But the pressure is on Daniels to lift USC—and protect Helton's job after a 5-7 showing in 2018.
17. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
This should be Jerry Jeudy's final season at Alabama. As a sophomore, he amassed 68 catches for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to winning the Biletnikoff Award. That production is even more impressive given the surrounding talent—Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith. With another outstanding year, Jeudy could be a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
16. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Trevor Lawrence garnered the strongest headlines among freshmen in 2018, but Rondale Moore demanded plenty of the spotlight. The versatile star paced the FBS with 114 receptions and ranked third nationally in all-purpose yards (2,215), also totaling 14 touchdowns. If Moore stays healthy alongside quarterback Elijah Sindelar, Purdue can be a factor in the Big Ten West.