The beginning of spring is met with renewed hope for many college football fans in anticipation of the 2023 season. With spring practices coming to a close, we look at one player from each team that impressed their coaches and is expected to shine on the gridiron in 2023.
RB Xavier Wishert, Abilene Christian
The former Jim Ned standout could soon force his way into the Wildcats running back rotation, with coach Keith Patterson describing Wishert as “impressive” during spring practice. Wishert gained 4,846 yards and scored 25 touchdowns during his last two years with the Indians and helped lead Jim Ned to a state title in 2020.
OL Nolan Hay, Houston Christian
Hay played nine games last year as a backup left guard, and HCU head coach Braxton Harris believes the Katy Taylor product is ready to shine in 2023. Harris considers keeping Hay a member of the program as a big recruiting win after the sophomore entered the transfer portal before Harris was named head coach.
OL Reggie Brooks, Lamar
The 6-foot-3, 309-pound Brooks arrived in Beaumont as a defensive lineman following his high school career at Wylie East. However, Brooks moved to the offensive line last year, and Lamar head coach Peter Rossomando believes Brooks has a bright future the more he learns and develops as an offensive lineman.
RB Connor Wisham, Prairie View A&M
The Panthers have a need at running back heading into the 2023 season after Jaden Stewart transferred to SFA. PVAMU coach Bubba McDowell said Wisham had a “great spring” and is primed for a breakout season after averaging 5.4 yards per rush attempt last season. Wisham is competing with Mississippi Valley State transfer Caleb Johnson for the starting spot on the depth chart.
LB Nate Frankfather, Stephen F. Austin
The linebacker room was a bit of a mess for the Lumberjacks last year, but head coach Colby Carthel believes that room is the most improved on the team heading into the 2023 season. Frankfather is a big reason for Carthel’s optimism, and the Canyon Lake, Calif. Native is “one of the fastest linebackers I’ve ever coached,” according to Carthel.
WR Benjamin Omayebu, Tarleton
The Sherman native transferred to Tarleton after two seasons at Idaho State, and coach Todd Whitten said Omayebu will have “an immediate impact” for the Texans this year after recording 38 receptions for 371 yards and four touchdowns for the Bengals. Omayebu’s brother, Nate, was an All-American running back at Angelo State before entering the portal at the end of January.
LB Jordan Polk, Texas A&M-Commerce
The fast-paced offenses used in college football today have forced defenses to develop a ‘star’ guy that can play defensive back and linebacker. Lions head coach Clint Dolezel has been impressed with the Arlington Lamar product this spring and noted that Polk is “always around the football. He’s a great tackler with size and good length.”
C Jack Nance, Texas Southern
The Houston Clear Lake product has anchored the offensive line at center for the Tigers since he arrived on campus four years ago, but coach Clarence McKinney says that Nance will be the key to TSU’s success in 2023.
“He understands the tempo we need to play at, and he gets the o-line going in the right direction,” McKinney said. “He does a great job communicating with (quarterback) Andrew (Body), so everything starts with him.”
WR Brandon Porter, UIW
Injuries hampered Porter during his first three collegiate seasons at Northern Arizona. But UIW coach Clint Killough believes Porter is ready to step into the big shoes left by the departure of Darion Chafin and Taylor Grimes. Porter flashed his ability last year while racking up 601 yards and six touchdowns receiving, which was third behind Chafin and Grimes for the Cardinals.
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