With the 154th college football season kicking off this summer, all eyes are on the best talent taking to the field. Naturally, it will be the best NCAA athletes who front the 2024 draft, with this season determining how high they rank Here are the top three players you should keep an eye on this football season.
If there’s one person who’s turning heads in the college pre-season, it’s University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams. As the winner of the 2022 Heisman Trophy, Williams is the clear favorite for the NFL draft in 2024. Like any other football game, the outcome of the draft is also a part of NFL betting. As such, sportsbooks give odds on who gets picked at the draft and when based on their performance in the college season. Williams leads those NFL odds at 2/7, making him the most anticipated first pick to join one of the league’s teams.
Williams spent his freshman season with the Oklahoma Sooners, playing alongside Spencer Rattler and finishing with 21 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and nearly 2,000 passing yards. Like Rattler, Williams transferred from the Sooners to the USC Trojans in 2022 to follow coach Lincoln Riley. It proved to be a good decision – Williams is coach Riley’s third Heisman winner. In 2022, Williams made 42 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and over 4,500 passing yards, with 814 rushing yards too.
Another top contender is Marvin Harrison Jr., who has Hall of Famer blood in his veins. Fans of the Indianapolis Colts should recognize the Harrison name – Marvin Harrison was their wide receiver from ’96 to ’08, playing opposite Peyton Manning and earning his Super Bowl ring in the ’07 season. Fans are hoping that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Junior plays for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Having stayed there for his whole collegiate career, his record so far is clear – 88 receptions, 1,400+ receiving yards, with 17 touchdowns. He’s considered one of the best wide receivers playing at the college level right now.
Highlights include his career debut at the 2022 Rose Bowl and, an All-American nomination and the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award. Even during 2023’s drafts, it was reported that scouts’ eyes were on the ineligible Harrison Jr. Marvin Harrison entered the 1996 Draft as 19th choice – Harrison Jr., is predicted to be a top-three pick for 2024. If he keeps momentum, we might witness him eclipse the old Colts receiver’s record and make him proud.
Behind Williams, Drake Maye sometimes beats out Harrison Jr. for the expected second pick of the 2024 draft. He’s no Hall of Famer’s son but he is from the North Carolina Tar Heels, who have fielded a lot of talent in the past including his own father.
After redshirting his first season, Maye cinched the starting quarterback spot for 2022 and it proved to be the right choice – he posted 4,300+ passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. When the Heisman Trophy voting ended, Maye was 10th in the running. However, the ACC named him Preseason Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, making him the best collegiate quarterback on the east coast.