The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 10: Sam Houston State’s Jeremiah Briscoe

AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.

The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.

Previously:
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren / 38 – Rice OL Trey Martin / 37 – Texas A&M Commerce QB Luis Perez
36 – Baylor DL K.J. Smith / 35 – Texas State LB Gabe Loyd / 34 – Texas State WR Thurman Morbley
33 – Houston DB Khalil Williams / 32 – Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks / 31 – SFA DL John Franklin
30 – SMU DE Justin Lawler / 29 – Texas State QB Damian Williams / 28 – ACU QB Dallas Sealey
27 – UTSA QB Dalton Sturm / 26 – Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams / 25 – UTSA WR Josh Stewart
24 – TCU LB Travin Howard / 23 – Texas Tech OL Travis Bruffy / 22 – Rice LB Emmanuel Ellerbee
21 – UNT DT Bryce English / 20 – TCU LB Ty Summers / 19 – UTEP LB Alvin Jones
18 – The Baylor QB / 17 – UTSA LB Josiah Tauaefa / 16 – Texas A&M OL Koda Martin
15 – Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek / 14 – Texas LB Malik Jefferson / 13 – TexasA&M WR Christian Kirk
12 – Houston QB Kyle Allen / 11 – SMU WR Courtland Sutton

The History

Jeremiah Briscoe’s rise to stardom has been a long time coming. As a three-star recruit out of Stratford High School, Briscoe had notable talent on both the football and baseball field. He was committed to both Baylor and Arkansas at times before finally signing with UAB in 2013. Briscoe began as a two-sport athlete for the Blazers before a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery during his freshman year forced him to redshirt on the football field and give up baseball altogether.

After recovering from shoulder surgery, Briscoe served as the backup quarterback to UAB’s Cody Clements in 2014 and finished with 361 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in six games. But shortly after the 2014 season concluded, disaster struck for Briscoe and the rest of the UAB football program when the school administration decided to shut down the football program in what was thought to be a money-saving move.

While it was a tough move to swallow at the time, it ended up working out well for Briscoe in the long run. He chose Sam Houston State over a few other major Division I offers and the Houston Chronicle detailed his journey to the school in 2015. While Briscoe originally had to put in his time behind Jared Johnson, Johnson eventually went down with an injury late in the season. Briscoe played well enough to take over full-time and finished with 1,883 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading the Bearkats to three playoff wins.

Briscoe used that late season success to propel a monster campaign last year, when he led Sam Houston State to a 12-1 record. The Bearkats put up an FCS-best 49.5 points per game and Briscoe was named the 2016 Walter Payton Award winner after throwing for 4,602 yards and an FCS-record 57 touchdowns.

The Skillset

Briscoe has a cannon for an arm and fits the needs of the Bearkats’ offense well. He threw the ball more than 500 times last season, including five straight games with more than 40 attempts to end the season. Briscoe does a good job throwing the ball down the field, as he averaged more than 14 yards per completion while completing a pass of at least 30 yards in every game of the year. He isn’t much of a runner, but is extremely efficient in the pocket and finished with a pass efficiency rating of 172.90.

The Impact

Briscoe’s command of the offense went a long way towards the Bearkats’ 12-win campaign last season and he is going to be equally as important this season as the team looks to make a deep playoff run. He gets his top receivers back in Yedidiah Louis, Nathan Stewart and Davion Davis – who combined for 3,116 yards and 36 touchdowns – but Sam Houston State will be largely inexperienced on the offensive line. Only two starters, Tyler Tezeno and Mitchell Watanabe, return. Hopefully Briscoe’s experience will buy time for the new linemen to find a groove, and from there, the sky’s the limit for the Bearkats.

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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.

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