The newest season of college football is finally upon us. There isn’t a single matchup this week between two power five teams, but it will be just a taste of seven FBS games to chew on as the early goings of the season get ramped up. Perhaps the most intriguing story line is the 2023 premiere of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams — the quarterback of the USC Trojans who’s looking for a repeat year along with plenty of hype to be the first overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. USC is stacked with talent and will be looking to roll in Week 0 as they hurdle towards a College Football Playoff run.
There won’t be a ton of high-octane prospects playing today, so let’s go over the ones you do need to know with meaningful football officially back. Sound off in the comments for who you’re watching throughout the day, and let’s get the party started.
Trojans Passing Attack — QB Caleb Williams & WRs Dorian Singer, Tahj Washington, Mario Williams
USC is going to have a very strong passing attack led by All-World quarterback Caleb Williams. Flanking him at the receiver spots are three transfer wide receivers who all flocked to be a part of the passing offense at USC led by the highly talented passer. Washington and Williams are multiple-year contributors in head coach Lincoln Riley’s system at this point, but Singer is a high-powered addition out of Arizona who put up 1,100 yards in 2022 with the Wildcats. That included burning his newest team — USC — for 141 yards and three touchdowns in their matchup. Williams is a talented player who transferred with Caleb to USC and had the opportunity to begin his career in Oklahoma with his quarterback.
Keep a close eye on this explosive passing attack this season. It’s fair to expect Caleb Williams to be the focal point of the offense — high flying with plenty of points. That begins this week against San Jose State.
Arizona receiver Dorian Singer just made a RIDICULOUS touchdown grab. Wow!!!— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) October 29, 2022
(Via Pac-12 Network) pic.twitter.com/vGLjpMezW6
Irish Have Pair of High End Offensive Talent — QB Sam Hartman & LT Joe Alt
The Fighting Irish offense was a massive disappointment in 2022 as they lacked significant talent at any area on offense other than tight end Michael Mayer. With Mayer gone, the Irish made it a priority to get their quarterback for this season with Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman joining the fold. There may not have been a more impressive transfer quarterback in the portal this past offseason. The Irish receiving talent is still a huge question mark, but they did make a clear upgrade at the most important position on the field.
Joe Alt is the primary protector of Hartman as he mans the left side of a strong Notre Dame offensive line. Alt has aspirations to be a first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. He won’t be facing a premier pass rusher against Navy, but he’s certainly one of the biggest names to watch on the Saturday kickoff.
Group of Five QBs — Gavin Hardison, UTEP & Kurtis Rourke, Ohio
Two Group of Five quarterbacks who have a legitimate shot of being drafted heading into the year are Hardison and Rourke. They both have winnable matchups to begin the year (Jacksonville State and San Diego St respectively), which means we will likely see both play the entirety of their games. These two players are amongst the most talented on their teams regardless of position.
If you’re looking for something interesting in the Group of Five matchups today, these quarterbacks are certainly worthy of your time.
Gavin Hardison QB1 campaign still going strong pic.twitter.com/x1xeLfSN31— UTEP Zay (@UtepZay) March 30, 2023
Other Names to Know
S Calen Bullock, USC
Bullock will be one of the best draft-eligible prospects on the field for USC and maybe the best outside of Caleb Williams. Bullock is an elite cover safety with excellent athleticism on the back end. Bullock is one to watch all day if you’re an NFL Draft fan
IOL Jarrett Kingston, USC
Kingston is making the move from tackle at Washington State to guard at USC. Kingston was a high-profile tackle in the PAC-12 already and will now get the opportunity to play what will be his likely position in the NFL after transferring to USC this past winter. Kingston is likely the team’s best lineman.
EDGE Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Notre Dame
Another transfer in the fold here with Jean-Baptiste making the move from Ohio State to Notre Dame this offseason. He has an excellent frame and was a real contributor the past two seasons on a legit Ohio State defensive front. Jean-Baptiste will now make a move from contributor to lead man in the clubhouse with the Irish.
LB Marist Liufau, Notre Dame
The Irish have two linebackers who could be getting drafted and Liufau is one of them. He returned in 2022 as a full-time starter after missing the entire season in 2021 due to injury.
LB JD Bertrand, Notre Dame
He’s been a leading tackler for the Irish each of the past two seasons racking up nearly 200 total tackles in that span. Bertrand will start next to Liufau again this season with both looking to make a leap to the league in 2024.
CB Cam Hart, Notre Dame
Notre Dame is loaded at corner and the best of the draft-eligible bunch is Hart. He’s tipping the scales at over 6’2” and 205 pounds. He’s plenty athletic enough to be an alpha in a room. This is a big year for him to put together the traits and create even more ball production. Aside from Alt, Hart may be Notre Dame’s best eligible prospect for the 2024 Draft cycle
S John Huggins, New Mexico St
Huggins began his career at Florida before bouncing over to Jackson State and, now, with New Mexico State. He’s the best player on the Aggies’ roster. He flew under the radar in the portal this cycle, but the talent still lives there.
Game of the Week
Ohio @ San Diego St
Saturday, 7:00 PM Eastern
Notre Dame’s matchup with Navy and USC’s with San Jose State should not be close games. So we went with the game with the potential for the best overall watching experience. This should be a legitimately close game and the Bobcats have a talented player in Rourke to hone in on as an NFL Draft watch.