#1 – Alabama
I’ve written a lot about Tua’s incredible Heisman runner-up year where he threw for nearly 4,000 yards on a 69% completion rate, and I think there is a good chance he hits that 4,000-yard mark and actually wins the Heisman in 2019.
#2 – Clemson
Trevor Lawrence had a tremendous 2019, throwing for 3,280 yards despite not starting the first few games of the year. Lawrence will contend for the Heisman after winning the CFP OMVP award last season, and Chase Brice, who saved the Tigers against Syracuse, returns as the backup.
#3 – Oregon
Justin Herbert took a bit of a step back in 2018 due to some regression to the mean, but he was still floated as a potential #1 pick before he decided to come back to school. He needs to combine the play of 2017 with the lack of injuries of 2018, and he could be a Heisman contender.
#4 – Texas
I talk about it all the time, but Sam Ehlinger is still so incredibly underrated. After 3,292 passing yards and 691 rushing yards (over 40 total touchdowns!), he might need to finally win the Big 12 to get the respect he deserves.
#5 – Georgia
Jake Fromm isn’t flashy, but he has led Georgia to two SEC East titles and was a play away from being a national champion in 2017-18. After throwing five times as many touchdowns as interceptions in 2018, I have high hopes for Fromm heading into this year.
#6 – Houston
#7 – Oklahoma
#8 – North Texas
#9 – Michigan
#10 – Iowa State
#1 – Georgia
Elijah Holyfield is gone, but Georgia brings back stud back D’Andre Swift (6.4 YPA) and adds in a pair of talented freshmen in Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh. Their versatility pushes them slightly ahead of the rest of the field as my top RB group.
#2 – Alabama
Najee Harris returns after 6.7 YPA last season, and he’s joined by five-star freshman Trey Sanders. Harris will have to step up into a true #1 back role but with a great O-Line in front of them, this will be a great group.
#3 – Oklahoma
OU returns a terrific one-two punch in Kennedy Brooks (1,056 yards, 8.9 per carry) and Trey Sermon (947, 5.8). #3 TJ Pledger is also back and this group also brings in a couple of JUCOs and highly touted freshman Marcus Major. If this was your #1 group I couldn’t kill you.
#4 – Clemson
Travis Etienne is back after an incredible All-American 1,658 yard, 8.1 YPA year. Backup Lyn-J Dixon (8.8 YPA!) is back as well and they bring in true freshman Chez Mellusi to round out an awesome speedy trio at the halfback spot.
#5 – Wisconsin
Honestly, any of these five could be your #1. Wisconsin has the best back in the country in Jonathan Taylor (2,194 yards, 7.1 YPA, Doak Walker winner) but lacks some of the depth behind him. Badrick Shaw returns after missing last year with an injury, but he was shaky back in 2017.
#6 – Louisiana
#7 – UCF
#8 – Arizona State
#9 – Boston College
#10 – Maryland
#1 – Alabama
Alabama returns three All-SEC receivers from last year’s team including Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy (1,315 yards, 19.3 YPC). Jaylen Waddle returns after an extraordinary freshman year, and this unit is loaded with depth as you would expect.
#2 – Clemson
Tee Higgins (936, 15.9) and Justyn Ross (1,000, 21.7) are pretty much the only 1/2 duo in the country that can rival Jeudey and Waddle, and while I definitely think Alabama’s is better, the depth in the Clemson wide receiver room is pretty impressive as well.
#3 – USC
USC brings back their top three receivers from last year in Michael Pittman (18.5 YPC!), Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Tyler Vaughns. The Trojans have recruited well enough that the depth is solid too and this could be a sneaky good group in 2019.
#4 – Oklahoma
Hollywood Brown is gone but CeeDee Lamb (1,158 yards, 17.8 YPC) returns along with a bevy of guys waiting to follow in the footsteps of past Oklahoma WR greats. The Sooners also have maybe the best receiving tight end in the country to boot, so the future looks bright in Norman.
#5 – Purdue
Purdue returns arguably the best receiver in the country in Rondale Moore (114 catches last year!) but they return two of their next four as well so while Moore will get most of the attention, this will be a more experienced, and likely more talented unit in 2019.
#6 – Oklahoma State
#7 – Florida
#8 – Texas
#9 – SMU
#10 – Ohio State
#1 – Oregon
Oregon has one of the most experienced offensive lines of the past decade in college football. With all five starters returning including three potential All-Americans, the Ducks are a slam dunk number one for this spot.
#2 – Georgia
Led by stud LT Andrew Thomas, the Bulldogs were tremendous at preventing sacks and clearing holes in the run game last year, and with four starters returning, they will contend for “best in the nation” marks once again.
#3 – Michigan
With four players that received All-Big Ten honors last year returning, this is not a group to take lightly, led by one of the best interior linemen in the country, guard Ben Bredeson.
#4 – Auburn
Led by star LT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn has been building up their O-Line for a few years now. With all five starters returning and plenty of interesting talent bubbling up, this is a unit sure to improve.
#5 – Clemson
Clemson returns four starters from last year’s tremendous O-Line including seniors Sean Pollard and John Simpson along with five-star sophomore LT Jackson Carman. This is not a group you want to come up against.
#6 – Alabama
#7 – Washington
#8 – Wisconsin
#9 – UCF
#10 – Louisiana
#1 – Utah
Utah’s defensive line has gotten a lot of hype this season and rightly so. Four starters return including a trio of all-Pac-12 caliber players in Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, and Jn Penisini who all should compete for NFL roster spots in the near future.
#2 – Auburn
Three starters return on the D-Line for Auburn coming in 2019, including a pair of difference-makers on the inside in Derrick Brown and Nick Coe, who combined for 11.5 sacks last season. Brown has first-round potential, and if he gets going he’s hard to stop.
#3 – Alabama
Just one starter returns on the Alabama D-Line but they still find themselves in the top three here due to the incredibly talented depth that returns along with that one starter, Raekwon Davis. There will be some new faces popping up, but I have confidence in the coaching staff that they’ll be ready to play by game day.
#4 – Michigan State
All four starters return on the line for Michigan State, including arguably the best pass rusher in the country in Kenny Willekes. Raequan Williams and Mike Panasiuk are two other names to watch that could turn heads should offensive lines double Willekes.
#5 – Ohio State
Brilliant edge rusher Chase Young returns (14.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks) for the Buckeyes along with a pair of interesting names on the inside in Robert Landers and Da’Von Hamilton. This group feels underrated and I would argue is Ohio State’s best unit.
#6 – Clemson
#7 – LSU
#8 – Penn State
#9 – Notre Dame
#10 – Iowa State
#1 – Alabama
Alabama is the clear pick for the #1 linebacking group in the country this year, a spot that they’ve held for seemingly forever. With three starters including All-SEC Dylan Moses back and a boatload of four-stars ready to step up, Bama has to top this list.
#2 – Miami
With Shaq Quarterman, Zach McCloud, and Michael Pinckney all back, this could be one of the best starting trios in the country. The depth isn’t quite up to Alabama levels, but it is still great, and the ‘Canes are a clear #2.
#3 – Georgia
Georgia returns their top two in the linebacking corps for 2019 in Tae Crowder in Monty Rice, and they’ve recruited incredibly well to the position as well, landing them the #3 spot on this crowded list.
#4 – Cal
Evan Weaver gets a lot of the headlines, and rightly so, he’s incredible, but with Cam Goode back and the addition of highly touted JUCO transfer Kuony Deng, this is one of the best overall groups in the country.
#5 – Penn State
Micah Parsons returns after leading Penn State in tackles as a true freshman, as are three other guys who played significant time last season. With more highly touted recruits like Parsons waiting in the wings, I’m surprised this group doesn’t get more attention, but to me, it’s the best unit on the Penn State team.
#6 – LSU
#7 – Michigan State
#8 – Mississippi State
#9 – Iowa State
#10 – Michigan
#1 – LSU
LSU dealt with some injuries towards the back half of last season, but when they were healthy they were the best in the country. Greedy Williams is gone, but Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton both return, and with a highly touted true freshman joining the group in Derek Stingley, I think they defend their crown.
#2 – Cal
Cal was another contender for the top secondary in the country last year, although you probably didn’t notice since it was Cal. The Golden Bears had an all-around excellent defense, but this was the best unit. All of the staters return last year from a group that picked off 21 passes and allowed just 13 TDs, hopefully, they won’t fall under the radar again.
#3 – Florida
Florida is “DBU”, a perennial powerhouse in these sorts of lists. With six guys that have starting experience returning including potential All-American CJ Henderson, I think they make that label proud in 2019.
Alabama’s secondary was decimated last year, leading to a lot of young guys getting starting opportunities. Those young guys are now old though, and with two starters back and a bunch more that have now had a chance to stretch their legs, I think this unit shines.
#5 – Michigan
Michigan’s secondary will lose a pair of starters for 2019, but they return All-American Lavert Hill, a legit NFL prospect. With the way Jim Harbaugh recruits, the cupboards are stacked should some form of an injury befall one of the projected starters, and I think this unit shows out in 2019
#6 – Clemson
#7 – Notre Dame
#8 – Ohio State
#9 – Virginia
#10 – TCU