NCAA Football News

College Football's 25 Most Indispensable Players for 2015 Season

If the best things in life are those we cannot do without, doesn't the same apply to college football players?

Last year's national championship team, Ohio State, somehow managed to overcome the loss of not one but two standout quarterbacks on its way to the title. Both Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett seemed indispensable when they got injured, yet the Buckeyes' "next man up" mindset enabled them to persevere.

Not every team is so fortunate, not if they were to suddenly lose the services of certain players. It's not that these players are irreplaceable, as someone else on the roster would take their place, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Here's our look at college football's 25 most indispensable players heading into the 2015 season.

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Ohio State in Prime Position to End Alabama's Lengthy Recruiting Reign

Ohio State climbed to No. 2 in national composite recruiting rankings Thursday afternoon when the team landed its latest commitment from a coveted prospect.

Michael Jordan, a 6'6", 285-pound junior at Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan, joined a 2016 Buckeyes class that continues to pack in premier players. The 4-star offensive tackle is the 15th member of a class that includes athletes from eight states.

"I feel like we have the best class so far, and since these guys are going to Ohio State, you know they're competitors," defensive end Terrell Hall told Bleacher Report in April. "Hopefully we can all help make this a legendary class."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has already earned individual "legendary" status with national championships at two universities. The only other coach to accomplish this feat is Nick Saban, who is currently on a dynastic recruiting run.

Alabama claimed the top-rated recruiting class on each of the past five national signing days. It's an unprecedented stretch that replenishes the Crimson Tide roster for perennial postseason contention.

That streak seems to be in jeopardy as the 2016 recruiting cycle moves toward summer. Alabama's class currently sits at 15th nationally—a rather pedestrian placement considering past success.

Yes, it's still early in the game. The ink won't dry on letters of intent for another nine months.

However, the Buckeyes' momentum suggests this may be the year someone else claims the recruiting crown in early February.

As Alabama well knows, it helps to have that shiny, new national championship ring to show off while pitching the program to prospects. Ahmir Mitchell, a 4-star New Jersey athlete and coveted Ohio State target, made that clear during his visit this spring:

Ohio State is a campus still reveling in the glory of a commanding victory over Oregon. It's an atmosphere that resonates with recruits.

"Columbus is buzzing right now," 4-star wide receiver Austin Mack, another potential Buckeyes pledge, told Bleacher Report.

Judging by the return of several high-profile players—namely 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa and overnight quarterback/Twitter sensation Cardale Jones—many anticipate another playoff run for the Buckeyes next season.

Much like Saban at Alabama, Meyer has built a program equipped to reload rather than rebuild.

“It’s outstanding to see Ohio State recruiting guys who can replace the talent they have now," Mitchell said. "It shows the dedication they have to bringing in players who can compete for more national championships in the future.”

This 2016 haul is the latest example of that process. As currently assembled, the class includes a nation-best 12 pledges who warrant recruiting ratings of four stars or better.

Most remarkably, it's a group that features three of the country's top five running back recruits—Kareem WalkerGeorge Hill and Demario McCall. Former Texas Tech quarterback commit Tristen Wallace gives Meyer yet another dangerous dual-threat talent to mentor.

Jordan, the newest addition to this class, is one of three impressive offensive linemen on board. Things also look promising in the trenches on defense, with a trio of 4-star linemen in the mix, and that's arguably the spot this class still stands to improve most.

Dominant Florida defensive end Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Buckeyes fan favorite Joey, is widely viewed as a lock to land in Columbus. Fellow 5-star defensive lineman Rashan Gary, rated the No. 1 overall prospect in this 2016 cycle, is also strongly considering an Ohio State career.

Florida State is presently the lone program presiding over Meyer's squad in national recruiting rankings. The Seminoles, who hold 14 total commitments, may ultimately end up tussling with Ohio State to see who finally dethrones Saban and Alabama on signing day.

Ohio State has secured recruiting classes rated fifth, second, third and seventh since Meyer arrived. Saban sat on top each year.

The Buckeyes beat Alabama en route to a national title in January. Next winter, Meyer may be primed to celebrate a different kind of victory over his most decorated contemporary and end a half-decade of recruiting dominance in Tuscaloosa.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Teams with the Toughest Nonconference Schedule

Look, cupcakes are delicious. Don't ever let anyone shame you into not eating one or 10 in a single sitting. But cupcakes in college football? Those are flat-out offensive.

(Okay, not really, but it's the offseason and we need fire for sports takes.) 

However, not every team is stuffing its nonconference schedule full of FCS and lower-tier "Group of Five" opponents. There are a handful that have upped the scheduling ante and have one, maybe two, marquee nonconference games. 

In the following slides are teams that have beefed up out-of-conference games in 2015. For simplicity, we're going with Power Five schools—some of those mid-major nonconference schedules are easy choices—and omitting Independents since they basically play a full season of nonconference games. 

 

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Which Team Has the Best WR Corps in College Football?

There are tons of talented wide receivers in the college football ranks. In order to be a true contender, you must be able to stretch the field through the air. Having multiple deep threats on your offense is a luxury.

Which team has the best assembly of wideouts?

Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer debate which team has the best wide receiver corps in the video above.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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