Georgia running back Todd Gurley (junior): Along with his Bulldogs backfield mate Aaron Murray, Gurley found himself on the Heisman radar early this past season after rushing for a combined 286 yards against Clemson and South Carolina. A knee injury slowed Gurley midway through the season and sidelined him for three games, but he was very tough to bring down when healthy, averaging six yards per carry with 10 touchdowns. The 6-1, 232-pound bruiser will enter 2014 pegged for big things as Georgia tries to replace Murray and make a run in the SEC East division.
Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (sophomore): The Gators have some major issues to iron out on offense, but the defense once again remains strong, thanks in part to Hargreaves, the SEC's next superstar corner. He was the only freshman to earn first-team All-SEC honors. Hargreaves finished second in the league in passes defended (1.17 per game) and tied for seventh in the league in interceptions (3), recording picks in each of his final two games. He tied Janoris Jenkins' team freshman record for pass breakups with 11. The SEC loses most of its defensive standouts, but Hargreaves will be in the mix for national honors as a sophomore.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (redshirt junior): Hundley delighted UCLA fans -- and college football fans who enjoy exciting players -- by spurning the NFL for another season in Westwood, despite being pegged as possibly the top quarterback on the draft boards. Hundley followed a breakout freshman season with more dual-threat brilliance, racking up 3,071 pass yards, 748 rush yards and 35 touchdowns (24 pass, 11 rush). He has completed more than two-thirds of his pass attempts in his two-year career and brings explosive running ability. Reboot the Hundley4Heisman campaign for 2014.
Miami running back Duke Johnson (junior): It's not a coincidence that Miami's season went south after Johnson, the Hurricanes' main big-play threat, broke his ankle Nov. 2 against Florida State. Johnson returns to a talented Miami squad this coming season after averaging 174.1 all-purpose yards in eight games as a running back/returner. He already has seven games of 200 yards or more in a season and a half, and earned second-team All-ACC honors despite missing Miami's final five contests. One of the nation's most explosive ball carriers, Johnson leads a Miami squad pegged for big things this coming season.
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (senior): Like Johnson, Lockett can gash opposing teams both on offense and special teams after averaging 154.9 all-purpose yards. He set a single-game team record with 278 receiving yards and three touchdowns against eventual Sugar Bowl champion Oklahoma, and had seven 100-yard receiving performances and three games with three receiving touchdowns, including in a blowout of Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. He finished second on K-State's single-season receptions chart with 82, and ranked 16th nationally in kick return average. Lockett will be a top contender for the Biletnikoff Award in 2014 and returns to a Wildcats squad that could make a run for the Big 12 championship.