With July being at its halfway point, College Football practice has already started around the country. Within a month it will be everywhere again and is a welcome sign that the fall is approaching again (well not for students so much, but definitely for us post-grads who just watch our alma mater’s over participating in them still).

There are tons of things to look for coming into the this season and some interesting side plots as well. There is a returning Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram. The Alabama Crimson Tide is firmly positioned as the #1 team in the country, will they be able to go wire-to-wire and defend their 2009 BCS Championship? How will USC fare, knowing there is no postseason awaiting them? Urban Meyer will take the Florida Gators to the field without Tim Tebow for the first time in 4 years, will there be growing pains? How will the last season of the Big 12 play out?

Ingram is brought his Heisman-winning talents back to school, but will have a fight to add to his mantle again.

There is a lot to pay attention to, but it always starts on the field with the players and that’s what were looking at today. There are so many diverse talents remaining in college football, even after the depletion of one of the deepest NFL Drafts in recent memory. Coming into the season here are the top guys in the college game now, including a deep quarterback year that features potentially 3 top 10 NFL prospects, 2 of which will keep TV sets tuned into the late West Coast games every Saturday.

15.  Ryan Williams-RB-Virginia Tech (Sophomore): A quick, burner of a runner that can make something out of nothing quickly. Teamed up with QB Tyrod Taylor, Williams will make Virginia Tech a must see ACC team on offense this season. (NFL Comparison-Steve Slaton)

14. Jonathan Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh (Junior): At 6’5, Baldwin is a physical specimen for the Panthers. Has the vertical skills to be a matchup nightmare for any corner in the country. There are some questions about his speed, but none about his ability to stretch the field and move the chains. (NFL Comparison-Marques Colston)

13. Marvin Austin-DT-North Carolina (Senior): The Tar Heels defense may be the most talented in the country this year and Austin in the linchpin on the front line of that attack. His main problem is that he turns too much of his guaranteed talent into potential by not going hard all the time. With more intensity he moves up this list easy. (NFL Comparison-Justin Smith)

12. Cameron Heyward-DE-Ohio State (Senior): With an NFL pedigree supporting him (son of Craig “Ironhead”  Heyward) and solid system in Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes, Heyward is sure bet. When this know-how is combined with him versatile abilities in any defensive set, look for him to be all over the field every Saturday. (NFL Comparison-Darnell Dockett)

11. Julio Jones-WR-Alabama (Junior): A big physical presence that has been one of the biggest names in the college ranks since before he even set foot on campus, Jones is a game breaking receiver. Runs good routes and has strong hands to make plays in the red zone. Speed is a question, but he gets in position to finish plays like a go-to receiver should. (NFL Comparison-Terrell Owens)

10. Gabe Carini-T-Wisconsin (Senior): With almost 40 starts under his belt, Carini is an experienced anchor for the Wisconsin attack. He’s a grinding run blocker in the mold of exactly what is typical of Big 10 blockers. While not the prospect Joe Thomas was for the Badgers, he should join him as a first rounder in April (NFL Comparison-Jared Gaither)

9. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas (Junior): After transferring from Michigan, this big 6’7 slinger blossomed in Bobby Petrino’s system last year. Makes plays in flashes that very few QB’s can make in the college game and has unquestionably the strongest arm in the country. With a bit more consistency, Mallett has the talent to be the best of the many great QBs this year. (NFL Comparison-Joe Flacco)

8. Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina (Junior): Coming of an 11 sack sophomore year, Quinn is one of the premier pass rushers in all of the NCAA. Has the athleticism to make just as many plays against the rush, as his 19 tackles for a loss indicate. Sky is the limit for Quinn’s talent and he could crack the top 5 of April’s Draft if he continues to mature at his current rate. (NFL Comparison-Julius Peppers)

7. Jacquizz Rodgers-RB-Oregon State (Junior): He has been one of the most productive runners in all of the NCAA, with 2,693 yards and 32 TDs in his first two seasons. He will be called on to do even more this season and the 5’7 dynamo shows no indications of not being able to continue to blind Pac-10 defenses. (NFL Comparison-Maurice Jones-Drew)

6. Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa (Senior): The perfect storm of overall athleticism and technique. Clayborn is consistent on top of it all and will be the biggest disruptor of any defender in the game this year. Guaranteed to make an impact somewhere in every game. (NFL Comparison-Osi Umenyiora)

St. Louisan Clayborn will make for a lot of bad Saturday afternoons this year.

5. Anthony Castonzo-T-Boston College (Senior): An athletic anchor for BC’s line, he is aggressive and can move with each match up. Combining his 6’7 frame with the ability to move with the attacker from the point of contact, Castonzo makes it easy for his quarterback to focus on delivering down field. (NFL Comparison-Jordan Gross)

4. A.J. Green-WR-Georgia (Junior): This sensationally athletic receiver is a match up nightmare due to his separation speed and size (6’4, 205 lbs). One of the few players in the country that can go the whole way every time he touches the ball. The guaranteed top receiver off the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. (NFL Comparison-Randy Moss)

Georgia's Green is the cream of the crop in a loaded receiver crop.

3. Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford (Sophomore): As a redshirt freshman last season, Luck played off of Stanford’s Toby Gerhart-heavy run attack, yet made a name for himself as a threat. At 6’4 and 235 pounds, he can move in the pocket still and create for his receivers still. Is very polished and has outstanding accuracy to be only a sophomore. (NFL Comparison-Eli Manning)

2. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama (Junior): He surprised the world by coming on, and never relenting, in 2009 and leaving with both a Heisman Trophy and a BCS Championship. In 2010, look for more of the same as Ingram will still be the featured option in a system that has so much talent around him you cannot focus solely on stopping him or you’ll be burned everywhere else. Equaling his 1,600-plus yards and 17 TDs may not be a stretch for him. (NFL Comparison-Michael Turner)

1. Jake Locker-QB-Washington (Senior): In 2009, Locker was considered as being every bit as eligible for the #1 overall spot in the NFL Draft as Sam Bradford before deciding to come back to the Huskies. Much of this way based on potential that could bloom in the NFL, but look for that potential to be unleashed on unfortunate Pac 10 foes instead. He made the most of supporting cast that actually improved to a 5 win season last year and should continue to head up the standings this season. Locker’s mixture of pocket presence and athleticism (7 rushing TDs), make him a dynamic threat to all parts of a defensive plan and should land him at the top of most draft boards after his senior season. (NFL Comparison-Aaron Rodgers)

Locker turned down a certain fortune to return to the Huskies, will it pan out?

Others to watch: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama, Devier Posey-WR-Ohio State, Quan Sturdivant-LB-North Carolina, Bruce Carter-LB-North Carolina, Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU, Matt Barkley-QB-USC, Chris Galippo-LB-USC, Janorvis Jenkins-CB-Florida, Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri, Aaron Williams-CB-Texas, Greg Jones-LB-Michigan State, Travis Lewis-LB-Oklahoma, Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State

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