football Edit

Ten players that should bounce back in 2019

Brian Lewerke
Brian Lewerke (AP Images)

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

Bounce back is a term that is used often when it comes to college football players who are coming off seasons where they didn’t live up to expectations. Here are 10 guys to watch this season who are bouncing back.

RELATED: Ten non-Power Five players that will impress in 2019

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

Recruiting: Claiming that Washington was his dream school, Adams committed to the Huskies during the summer prior to his junior season. While Oregon continued its pursuit, and a coaching change occurred in Seattle, Adams still stuck with the Huskies.

The skinny: The last two seasons have not gone according to plan for Adams, who tore his ACL in 2017 and then missed a majority of the 2018 season with a back injury. After gaining a medical redshirt, he surprised some people by deciding to return for his final season in Seattle. There is no doubt that he possesses the talent and potential to be a first-round NFL Draft pick next spring, so staying healthy and performing up to his abilities will mean a great deal for both the Huskies and his future in the league.

Farrell’s take: A high three-star out of high school, I never got to see Adams in person because he was from Washington and couldn’t get out to camps nor was he invited to an all-star game. But on film he was tall, angular with a great frame to fill out and a long reach he used very effectively. He was more finesse than he was power back then but he uses a nice combination of both now but injuries have killed him. He needs a huge season this year.


Recruiting: Akers initially committed to Alabama before the start of his junior season, but eventually re-opened his recruitment. After trimming his new list of favorites down to Florida State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Ohio State, he committed to the Seminoles over the in-state Rebels in late December.

The skinny: Following a true freshman season when he rushed for 1,025 yards and seven touchdowns, there were plenty of expectations on Akers heading into the 2018 season. Those expectations were not met though, as he rushed for 706 yards and six touchdowns while gaining only 4.4 yards per carry. News from Tallahassee this summer is that Akers is looking primed for a big season, so will he be able to showcase all of the skills that made him one of the top running back recruits in the country in the Class of 2017?

Farrell’s take: Akers was a freaky talent out of high school, as evidenced by his national ranking, and there was quite a debate between Akers and Najee Harris for No. 1 running back and No. 1 overall. Akers played quarterback in high school and could do it all, but it was his ability with the ball in his hands that impressed the most. He had a great freshman season but fell back last season with an awful offensive line. However, better things should be coming this season.


Recruiting: Ausbon was initially committed to LSU, but then flipped to Texas A&M in November. LSU parting ways with Les Miles and the commitment of his high school quarterback, Kellen Mond, to the Aggies were both major factors in his flip.

The skinny: Ausbon looked poised to have a memorable College Station career after reeling in 50 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns in 2017, but injuries and general ineffectiveness slowed his progress in 2018. Finishing with only 31 receptions for 375 yards and zero touchdowns, the pressure is now on him to improve on his previous form.

Farrell’s take: Ausbon was a Rivals250 receiver coming out of high school with excellent size and sneaky speed so big things were expected. He started off well but fell back last year so it will be interesting to see how much of a target he becomes for Kellen Mond.


Recruiting: Carr committed to USC during the spring after his sophomore season. Despite taking official visits to UCLA and Arizona State in January, plus getting a late push from Oregon, he stuck with the Trojans on National Signing Day.

The skinny: Despite only getting 65 carries as a true freshman in 2017, Carr showed a great deal of potential while playing behind Ronald Jones. With many USC fans expecting a big season from him last fall, a combination of injuries and overall lackluster play proved to further slow down an inconsistent Trojans’ offense. Currently looking healthy, will Carr finally be able to meet expectations this fall?

Farrell’s take: As you can see by his ranking, Carr was well thought of coming out of high school. We loved his burst and ability to make people miss as well as his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He also had good size and excellent vision. He was expected to have a huge season last year replacing Jones but he struggled. A big year could be on the horizon.


Recruiting: Davis committed to Alabama prior to his junior season, but then took an official visit to Mississippi State in January. Rumors of a flip to the Bulldogs surfaced, but that was blamed on a supposed Twitter hacking. When it was time to put pen to paper, Davis stuck with the Tide.

The skinny: While Quinnen Williams flourished on the interior defensive line for the Tide last fall, Davis’ performance was somewhat surprisingly mediocre. Coming off of a 69 tackle, 10 tackle for a loss, 8.5 sack season in 2017, Davis accumulated 55 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks in 2018. During the summer Davis has looked closer to his 2017 form, so will that big play ability return during the 2019 season?

Farrell’s take: Davis was a monster defensive tackle and the rare 6-foot-7 defensive interior lineman who could consistently play low and be effective out of high school. He had an amazing frame to build on and played with power and surprising athleticism. He didn’t have a huge year last season, but I expect him to bounce back in a big way this upcoming season without Williams on the roster. The pressure is on and I think he delivers.


Recruiting: Dillon initially committed to Michigan during the spring after his junior season, but then flipped to Boston College in December.

The skinny: Dillon burst onto the national scene in 2017 with 1,589 yards and 17 touchdowns, however injuries slowed his progress in 2018. While he still rushed for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns, his overall explosiveness wasn’t at the same level from the previous year. Currently 100 percent healthy, Dillon has the potential to have a huge season, which could make the Eagles an under-the-radar threat in the ACC.

Farrell’s take: Dillon was a big kid with solid speed and nifty feet that we liked, but I didn’t think he was as quick as he showed at the college level or as evasive. He was a workhorse for Boston College his freshman season and has shown vision and footwork, but he was banged up last year and needs to have an injury-free season to push for 2,000 yards. His ability to run with power and always fall forward for extra yards have been impressive as well. He looks a bit like a young Derrick Henry.


Recruiting: Hudson took official visits to Michigan, UCLA and Penn State before committing to the Wolverines in late January. Pittsburgh was also in the picture until the end.

The skinny: Hudson established himself as one of the top playmaking safeties in the country during the 2017 season with 77 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and two interceptions. Surprisingly, despite playing in Don Brown’s dominant defense, Hudson’s statistical production plummeted in 2018 with only 39 tackles and one sack. Now a veteran leader of the defensive unit, the Wolverines will be hoping that Hudson regains his playmaking ways this fall.

Farrell’s take: Hudson was a high three-star athlete for us who could play many different positions in college and came on strong near the end of his senior season. His coming out party was at the annual Big 33 game well after our final ranking, where he showed he had just started to tap into his potential. He was always a great athlete. He just never stood out at one position until that Big 33 game and he has taken things to the next level since then despite what many feel was a down year last season. He should be back with a vengeance.


Recruiting: Hurts trimmed his list of top schools down to Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Florida before committing to the Crimson Tide during the summer leading up to his senior season.

The skinny: Hurts possesses one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2019 season. After prospering at Alabama, but then losing his job to Tua Tagovailoa, the country will be curious to see how he responds in Oklahoma. The offensive pieces are there for him to lead a dynamic unit, but will he able to take advantage of this?

Farrell’s take: Perhaps the biggest name on this list, Hurts could be a Heisman candidate if he excels in the Oklahoma offense. Hurts was always known for a big arm, but his touch wasn’t consistent. However, he was the kind of kid who seemed very relaxed on and off the field and never shrunk from the moment. Hurts was smart with the football and his accuracy improved greatly between his junior and senior seasons.


Recruiting: Lewerke trimmed his list of top schools down to Michigan State, Arizona State, Duke, Florida and Michigan before committing to the Spartans during the spring. An unofficial visit to East Lansing in April seemed to seal the deal for Michigan State.

The skinny: Michigan State fans were excited about the potential of the Spartans’ offense in 2018 after Lewerke accumulated more than 3,300 of total offense and passed for 20 touchdowns in 2017. The excitement gradually dissipated as Lewerke finished 2018 with just over 2,200 yards plus only eight touchdown passes. While he did deal with some injuries, overall it was a production drop that not many expected. Now it seems as though Lewerke and the Spartans’ offense are back on the same page and they will need to be if they hope to contend with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the Big Ten.

Farrell’s take: Lewerke was a Rivals250 quarterback coming out of high school with average size and arm strength but a lot of intangibles and understanding of the game we liked. We’ll see if he can return to his 2017 form because he certainly has the ability to do so.


Recruiting: With Arizona promising that he could play quarterback, instead of an athlete, Tate committed to the Wildcats in mid-March of his junior year. A big senior season brought plenty of new suitors, but he stuck with Arizona.

The skinny: After a dynamic, yet surprising, 2017 season, Tate’s name was being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate last summer. However, that never came close to becoming reality. Most noticeable with the on-field production differences were Tate’s rushing numbers, which went down from 1,411 yards in 2017 to 224 yards in 2018. Now healthy after dealing with a few injuries last fall, supposedly the speed and explosiveness is back, which is something the Wildcats will need this fall if they hope to make some noise in the Pac-12.

Farrell’s take: Tate was a quarterback who didn’t look great in camp settings or in anything where he was forced to stay in the pocket and simply throw, but when he was in game situations and able to freelance, he was dynamic. His ability to run was the main reason we had him so highly ranked out of high school, but he also had a very strong and live arm, he just lacked great touch. He’s coming along nicely in the latter department, and he’s one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the country when he tucks and runs but for some reason the Arizona offense got away from that and injuries played a role. This year if healthy he’ll be back to his old self.