College football's 25 Most Intriguing Non-Quarterbacks of 2015

Back by popular demand (or a lack of alternative content), we have the college football Most Intriguing Lists of 2015. That's not necessarily the best, not necessarily the most popular – it's the most intriguing. First week: Most Intriguing Coaches. Last week: Most Intriguing Quarterbacks. This week: Most Intriguing Non-Quarterbacks.

1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State wide receiver. Until last month he was ticketed for the Most Intriguing Quarterback List. Then the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year made the biggest position switch of 2015, which should lower Urban Meyer's stress level in deciding on a QB while simultaneously helping the Buckeyes get another weapon on the field. And it should help Miller's NFL future as well. Can't wait to see how Meyer uses him.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State running back. From the moment J.T. Barrett went down on the first play of the fourth quarter against Michigan last year, Elliott put the Buckeyes on his back in heroic fashion. He broke a 44-yard clinching touchdown against the Wolverines, then followed that up with 220 yards against Wisconsin, 230 against Alabama and 246 against Oregon. It was a season-ending tour de force that stamps Elliott as the 2015 Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

3. Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi wide receiver. When last we saw him on the field, Treadwell was enduring the most painful play of 2014 – a broken-leg, fumble-at-the-goal-line with the game on the line against Auburn. The Rebels' fairytale season never recovered. Now we'll see whether Treadwell has recovered to be the star player he was prior to injury. He's been cleared to practice and has reportedly lost weight to improve his speed.

Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman could become the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. (AP)
Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman could become the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. (AP)

4. Shawn Oakman, Baylor defensive end.

A 6-foot-9, 280-pound specimen with abs to die for and ink to marvel at. Booted from Penn State in 2012, he's matured into a pass-rushing force, with 11 sacks and nine QB hurries last season. If Oakman cranks up the intensity a little more, he could be the key to the Bears stopping enough people to compete for a national title – and he could be in the mix for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

5. Nick Chubb, Georgia running back. It's a banner year for running backs, especially in the Southeastern Conference. Chubb is the best of that bunch, averaging more than 7 yards per carry last season as a true freshman. He blew up after starter Todd Gurley was suspended and then injured, averaging over 8 ypc in the final six games of the season. Strong, fast and durable, he's the total package.

6. Derrick Henry, Alabama running back. Crimson Tide fans finally get to see what wreckage the 241-pounder can create as the team's feature back. Prediction: a lot. At least as long as Lane Kiffin remembers to call enough running plays (see: CFP semifinal vs. Ohio State).

7. Scooby Wright, Arizona linebacker. Tackled everyone and everything in helping the Wildcats to a surprising 10-4 season. Middle linebacker had 163 total tackles, 14 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, which is why he won a million national awards, became the first sophomore to be named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was the highest defensive finisher in the Heisman voting (ninth). Plus he goes by Scooby.

8. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma running back. Broke the NCAA single-game rushing record as a true freshman, which was pretty intriguing. Even with the opponent disclaimer (it was Kansas), running for 427 yards in a single game as a teenager is crazy. Absurdly strong bowling ball (5-11, 243 pounds) is a literal headache to tackle. Which is probably why so few Jayhawks tried to do so in his record-setting game. But he trampled a lot of people on his way to more than 1,700 rushing yards last year.

9. Leonard Fournette, LSU running back. Ran for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman. Returned a kickoff 100 yards for a TD at 230 pounds. And yet it felt like we got just a peek at how good Fournette can be. He should get more carries in a less crowded backfield, and LSU's Cro-Magnon offense may finally evolve enough to keep eight defenders out of the box at all times – which means Fournette could truly become a force.

[ThePostGame: Top 10 most intriguing games this season]

10. Joey Bosa, Ohio State defensive end. With another season like the last one, Bosa will get serious consideration for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft – if he comes out early. May not have J.J. Watt strength, but for 6-6 and 275 pounds he is startlingly athletic. The most important of four Buckeyes who must sit out the first game, at Virginia Tech, for disciplinary reasons.

11. D'haquille Williams, Auburn wide receiver. Wildly talented and apparently very difficult to coach. In his first season after transferring from junior college, Williams led the Tigers in receptions and touchdown catches, but he missed six days of practice this August for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. At 6-2, 224, and fast, he could have a huge season with new starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Or he could wear out his welcome on The Plains.

Myles Jack is expected to continue to have a role with the Bruins' offense. (AP)
Myles Jack is expected to continue to have a role with the Bruins' offense. (AP)

12. Myles Jack, UCLA linebacker/running back.

Mister Two-Way focused more last year on the defensive side of the ball, with good results (88 total tackles, eight of them for loss). But he still produced three rushing touchdowns and should remain part of the Bruins' offensive plans. This year he's moving to inside linebacker, in an effort to keep opponents from running away from him and using his speed to cover more of the field.

13. Adoree Jackson, USC cornerback/receiver/kick returner. Myles Jack isn't the only two-way star in Los Angeles – in fact, Jackson can do him one better with his impact on special teams. He is a star corner in the making (49 tackles and 10 passes broken up last year as a true freshman), but also a threat at receiver (three TD catches) and in special teams (two kickoff returns for touchdowns). He will add punt returns to the workload this year – and who knows what else.

14. KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame cornerback. His academic suspension last year robbed the Fighting Irish of their best cover corner, and arguably their best defensive player. As of last week he was on track for reinstatement, and if in uniform against Texas on Sept. 5, he would be the cornerstone of a Notre Dame defense that could be quite good.

15. Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi offensive tackle. Perhaps the nation's top tackle, but not much has gone well since New Year's Eve. He suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle in the Rebels' blowout Peach Bowl loss to TCU, and he's also been embroiled in a controversy this summer after his stepfather alleged Tunsil has taken money from agents. If he emerges from a reported NCAA investigation with his eligibility intact, Tunsil will be a vital part of a Rebels offense that has talent spread all over the depth chart.

16. Josh Doctson, TCU wide receiver. The son of a TCU employee went unrecruited by the Horned Frogs – and most everyone else – out of high school. But after a successful freshman year at Wyoming, he transferred home as a walk-on and improbably has become a star. Last year he led TCU with more than 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, using his 6-foot-4 frame to become a dangerous red-zone target. If quarterback Trevone Boykin becomes a strong Heisman candidate, chances are Doctson will have a lot to do with it.

17. James Conner, Pittsburgh running back. Somewhat reminiscent of another Steel City pounder with surprisingly nimble feet – Jerome Bettis. The 6-2, 250-pound Conner trampled defenses for more than 1,700 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns last year, including three 200-yard games against ACC competition. When he's dialed in, he's almost unstoppable.

18. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State defensive end. Surprised a lot of people by returning to school. The reason? He wants to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. Then he probably will proceed to make a lot of money in the NFL doing what he does very well in college – rushing the quarterback. Calhoun had eight sacks and eight quarterback hurries last year, despite being the focal point of most opposing protection schemes.

19. Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida cornerback. Led the SEC with 13 pass breakups in 2014 and also had three interceptions – good numbers for a guy who scared a lot of offenses into throwing to the opposite side of the field. Yes, Amari Cooper got the best of him a few times last year head-to-head, but Cooper is about to do that to some NFL cornerbacks, too. Expect Hargreaves to renew that matchup in 2016 after being a high draft pick.

Jabrill Peppers (left/AP)
Jabrill Peppers (left/AP)

20. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan defensive back.

Hugely touted recruit who barely played after being injured last year early in his freshman season. His absence didn't help Brady Hoke keep his job – and his presence could help successor Jim Harbaugh make an immediate impact. Pepper is athletic enough to play corner, physical enough to play safety and versatile enough that you may see him on offense, too.

21. Carl Lawson, Auburn defensive end. The Tigers had 11 fewer sacks in 2014 than 2013 largely because they lost Lawson before the season to a knee injury. He's back this year, and that may be bigger news for a maligned Auburn defense than the arrival of coordinator Will Muschamp. Keep that in mind when Muschamp starts getting all the credit for the Tigers' defensive turnaround.

22. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State wide receiver. He's the only non-Power-Five player to make Phil Steele's first-team preseason All-America team. The reason why: 96 catches for 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. In seven games last year, Higgins had at least one catch for 50 yards or more. He also brings a streak of eight straight 100-yard receiving games into this season.

23. Devontae Booker, Utah running back. More than one-third of the Utes' plays in 2014 involved Booker, either as a runner (292 carries) or receiver (43 receptions). And that's after starting the season with just 34 touches in the first three games. So clearly, Utah's very optimistic outlook for '15 centers on Booker and how much he can do. We'll start to find out how that works out on Sept. 3, when Michigan visits.

24. LaQuan McGowan, Baylor tight end. Yes, the world had an understandable spasm of delight when the 6-foot-7, 400-pounder had an 18-yard touchdown reception in the Cotton Bowl. But here's the reality check: it's the only pass he's caught as a Baylor Bear. If he becomes more of a focal point and less of a carnival act, he'll move way up this list as the season goes along.

25. Roberto Aguayo, Florida State kicker. Pretty much epitomizes the evolution of kickers from iffy to super-reliable. Though he has actually had the gall to miss four of his 52 career field goals in two seasons as Mr. Automatic for the Seminoles. On extra points, he's perfect: 149 for 149. When he misses anything, it's a true shock.

Just missed the list: Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State defensive end; Jamal Adams, LSU safety; Royce Freeman, Oregon running back; Jalen Ramsey, Florida State cornerback; A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama defensive lineman; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech cornerback; Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss linebacker; Taylor Decker, Ohio State offensive tackle; Jack Allen, Michigan State offensive tackle; Budda Baker, Washington safety/kick returner; Alex Ross, Oklahoma wide receiver/kick returner; Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State running back; Kamalei Correa, Boise State defensive end; Kentrell Brothers, Missouri linebacker.

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