Lone Star 25: 20-16
Our countdown of the 25 most important college players in Texas continues.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is introducing the Lone Star 25, a countdown of the 25 most important Texas college football players in 2014. Keep in mind: this is not necessarily a ranking of the top 25 best college football players in Texas, but rather the 25 players whose performance will most impact the college football scene in Texas in 2014.
20. LB Derek Akunne, North Texas
North Texas is riding an outrageous amount of momentum from its sensational 2013 season, but if the Mean Green are going to capitalize and ride the lightning, there are plenty of questions to answer. While the offense is in more flux (we'll get to that), the defense — the reason UNT soared as high as it did in 2013 — can't skip a beat. That's where Akunne comes in. A veteran presence on a unit that'll feature a lot of greenhorns, it'll be up to Akunne to keep UNT's well-oiled defensive machine humming.
19. QB Tyler Jones, Texas State
Jones played above his freshman status in San Marcos last year and helped the young Texas State program finish with a respectable 6-6 record. And if Jones wouldn’t have missed the season finale with an injury, the Bobcats would have likely beaten Troy and gone bowling for the first time in program history. Now healthy and with a year under his belt, Jones is poised to lead Texas State to new heights. Head coach Dennis Franchione plans to pick up the tempo this season and play to Jones’ strengths. As Jones goes, Texas State goes.
18. QB Andrew McNulty or Josh Greer, North Texas
Call him Jandrew McGreer! UNT coach Dan McCarney won't name a successor to Derek Thompson, and that's the question that'll shape the Mean Green's entire season. The team was completely wiped out at the skill positions, and whomever takes over at the quarterback spot — be it the junior college transfer Greer or the Iowa product McNulty — will be in charge of an offense with very few known commodities. His play could cause the Mean Green to sink or swim.
17. DT Christian Covington, Rice
While Rice defensive coordinator Chris Thurman has done wonders with his unit, Covington’s dominating play in the trenches led to Rice being ranked 30th in total defense last season. If Covington can build on his strong sophomore season – 59 tackles, 4 sacks – Rice should have one of if not the top defense in Conference USA. Defense wins championships, and it will be up to Covington to anchor the unit and help Rice repeat.
16. QB/WR Trevone Boykin, TCU
Say this for Trevone Boykin: you can't say he's not a team player. The West Mesquite product has worn more hats than Kentucky Derby debutante in his time in Fort Worth, and he's taken it all in stride. Starting quarterback? Sure! No. 1 wide receiver? Why not! Running back? Absolutely! The conventional wisdom is that Matt Joeckel's transfer from A&M to TCU will move Boykin to wide receiver, where the Frogs are suddenly painfully thin. Regardless of where he plays, his versatility — and how quickly he catches on to his new position — will determine a lot of the Frogs' new-look offense.
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