We're counting down the list of the 50 most important college football players in Texas in 2020, and we're starting at the bottom.
Defining the most important players can be difficult. We have to take into account role, team success and what a team would do without them. Additionally, we'll throw our own perspective in the mix too. Our first grouping brings together players from 10 different schools and leans heavy on the FCS ranks.
Of course, this list does take some suspension of reality. We don't know for certain how college football leagues will handle the COVID-19 pandemic. For our purposes, we're assuming all football will happen.
Here are spots 50 through 41 on the list of most important college football players in Texas heading into 2020. Check back over the next four days to see the release of our full list.
50. WR Xavier Gipson, Stephen F. Austin
Freshman sensation earned all-conference nods at both receiver and kick returner in his first year in Nacogdoches. He’ll be asked to take on an even bigger role on an improving Lumberjacks team in 2020.
49. DB Raleigh Texada, Baylor
Nine starters are out on defense for Baylor, but the two left are stars. Texada ranks among the best cover cornerbacks left in the state. Whether he’s up to the task of covering No. 1 receivers will decide whether the Baylor pass defense can stay strong.
48. DB Devin Hafford, Tarleton State
The All-American defensive back missed 2019 with a season-ending injury. With Tarleton losing the vast majority of production, Hafford will need to get back to form right away to lead the transitioning Texans to Division-I.
47. RB Quardraiz Wadley, UTEP
Wadley was poised for a big senior season before a season-ending injury cut it short. However, that could work to the Miners’ favor, as he can lead a more experienced, talented offense in 2020.
46. QB Jon Copeland, UIW
UIW couldn’t quite replicate its magical run to the FCS playoffs in 2019, but don’t blame Copeland. The Argyle native set a program record for yards, touchdowns and completions in Eric Morris’ second season and led UIW to the program’s best two-year stretch. With more experience, expect bigger things in 2020.
45. DB Jarron Morris, Texas State
Texas State’s defense lost several of the best defenders in recent memory, including Bryan London and Frankie Griffin. However, Morris is back at defensive back. He’ll need to shut down some top receivers to push Texas State’s defense in the right direction.
44. DB Michael Lawson, Lamar
Do-everything defensive back finished his first year on campus with 94 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, seven passes defended and five interceptions. He now must replicate that production in a new defense under new coach Blane Morgan.
43. DE Payton Turner, Houston
Turner has become a mainstay on the Cougars’ defensive line, but must be even more than that in 2020. Houston has intriguing players in the second and third level of the defense, but Turner has to up his QB pressure production for the defense to be ready to take a step towards strong – especially in a rush-heavy Joe Cauthen D.
42. WR Donnie Corley, Texas Southern
Despite playing in a struggling offense, Corley managed to establish himself as a star. He caught 72 passes for 1,039 yards in just 10 games. For the Tigers to win some games, Corley needs to play an even bigger role in 2020.
41. RB SaRodorick Thompson, Texas Tech
The Irving native stepped into a crowded running back room as a sophomore and made it his own. Against Baylor, he carried it 28 times, and against Texas, he was on the field almost every snap. Now, he’s ready to be the full-time bellcow.
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