Pretty much 24/7/365, I'm thinking about college football. One of the things I always dwell on is what if colleges could "trade" players just like their NFL counterparts do. I'm fascinated looking at players and wondering how they would look in a different team's jersey and, most importantly, their scheme. I decided I would put together some, well, let's call them one-way trades in college football. Somewhere Mike Lynn would be proud.*
It's not as if Alabama isn't blessed with studs all over the defensive side of the ball, but with Lotulelei at defensive tackle alongside Jesse Williams, the Crimson Tide could play both 3-4 with one of them moving to end and 4-3 with both of them at defensive tackle. Nick Saban would love nothing more than being able to leave the same personnel on the field and show multiple looks and schemes.
Suffice it to say, no one would run the ball on that team whatsoever. Plus, if Lotulelei played for the Crimson Tide, everyone throughout the nation would know him, maybe even on an Ndamukong Suh-like level. He's well known in scouting circles that's for sure. I just know that with Lotulelei teamed with Williams, Alabama's LB wouldn't get touched all game long.
Just close your eyes and imagine - Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and Denard Robinson in the gun. Wow! Now, this isn't to mean that Bryan Bennett or Marc Mariota won't get the job done, but Robinson has three years starting experience and is the most explosive talent at the QB position in the nation.
With Darron Thomas running the Oregon offense the past two years, the Ducks offense ran like a fine tuned machine, but with Robinson at the helm, the Ducks would break every rushing record ever set in the history of college football…and play for a national championship.
The nation has been abuzz as to the season-long suspension of star CB Tyrann Mathieu, but I have the answer for them - the best CB in the nation. Now, don't weep for LSU; one side of the field will be manned by Tharold Simon who has a long future playing the game in front of him. The other side, though, is a bit of a question mark and it's where Amerson would fit right in.
Amerson plays the field corner for the Wolfpack, can play zone and/or man equally well and is a play maker of the Mathieu order. It's just he does his work with the ball in the air. Amerson finished the season with 13 interceptions, breaking the ACC record held by former North Carolina star Dre Bly (11). With, arguably, the best pass rush in the nation, Amerson would get plenty of opportunities to add to his gaudy interception numbers.
It's hard to think of a team that has suffered more significant injuries in its offensive line than Oklahoma. With Ben Habern and Tyler Evans both out for the year, the Yellow Jackets' Uzzi would be a great fit for the Sooners at guard. OU isn't going to run the ball for a 300+ yards per game like Georgia Tech will, but it needs to be able to do it well enough to provide open passing lanes for QB Landry Jones. Uzzi would be the perfect piece to play in the same line as star Gabe Ikard.
I'm a huge Nigel Malone fan. He came right into the most pass happy league in the nation and fit right in. He finished with seven interceptions and ten other pass breakups which led to first team All-Big 12 honors in his first year on campus. He's a gritty competitor who has a nose for the ball, but at Kansas State he'll get lost in a 7-5 season.
However, the USC Trojans could absolutely use Malone opposite playmaker Nickell Robey. Isiah Wiley has moved up the depth chart to the number one position, but if Malone teamed with Robey, combined with the Trojans safeties, USC would possess the best secondary in the nation.
Simon is an absolute Urban Meyer favorite and a leader for the Buckeye defense, but let's not mince words: The Buckeyes are playing 12 and that's it. West Virginia has an outside shot at playing for much more, including a way, way outside shot at the national championship.
With Simon rushing the edge in the Big 12, the Mountaineers would be much more threatening on the defensive side of the ball. Simon is absolutely relentless, but he plays the run just as well as he does rush the passer. WVU will find out how valuable a commodity a dual threat like that is in its new conference. He'll help the Buckeyes get to 10 wins at a minimum, but he would mean that much more in blue and gold.
Sims is a relative unknown, nationally, but the 6' and 205 pound senior is a complete back who excels in the screen game, has plenty of burst and effective speed and vision. That said, the Gators could use a versatile bell cow running back to assist either Jeff Driskell or Jacoby Brissett at QB. Mike Gillislee is a fine player and would provide a solid 1-2 punch with Sims in the backfield for Brent Pease's new Florida/old Boise State offense.
The Florida State offense has held the Seminoles back for a while and there's a thought that it could happen yet again with an offensive line with massive holes to fill. Warford is a bonafide star at the guard position and would at least give the Seminoles a rock solid piece at guard for the Seminoles. They could use a "trade" at virtually any position on offense, but QB EJ Manuel is the only offensive threat this team has and the OL MUST protect him. Hence, the "trade" for Warford.
*Of course, that's tongue in cheek. By the way, if you have to ask, look up Herschel Walker to the Vikings.