DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Wide receiver Diontae Johnson #3 of the Toledo Rockets carries the ball against the Akron Zips during the first half at Ford Field on December 2, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Presented here are seven college football players you need to know, but whose names you may not recognize. Unless of course, you are a fan of one of these teams or a diehard college football lover. This group has been highly productive throughout their individual careers already. Each one of these stars is primed for big seasons in 2018. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Seven College Football Players You Need to Know in 2018

Joe Giles-Harris – Linebacker – Duke

First up on this list of seven college football players you need to know is the incredible junior linebacker, Joe Giles-Harris from Duke, who has been tormenting ACC offenses for the past two years. Folks that know the ACC are certainly familiar with Giles-Harris, but those around the country are not as in tune as they ought to be. The Nyack, NY native stands 6’2″ tall and 240 pounds. Giles-Harris is unblockable at times, fast, plays sideline to sideline, is relentless against the run and insanely good against the pass as well. Giles-Harris is getting recognition from those who cover college football. Additionally, he should also be receiving your fan-hood as well!

The numbers: In 2 seasons, he has 232 tackles, 25.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 6 PBU 2 Int, 1 FF, 1 FR.

Diontae Johnson – Wide Receiver- Toledo

Next on this list of college football players you need to know is a 5’11” junior from the state of Florida who burst onto the scene last year for Toledo with a tremendous all-around season. Diontae Johnson did have Logan Woodside as his quarterback, who departed this last season. That should not impede Johnson’s production despite the Rockets having an ultra-talented trio of wide receiver’s that also includes Cody Thompson and Jon’Vea Johnson. Diontae Johnson can catch just about any type of pass, no matter the accuracy, with the great hands that he possesses. He can then make defenders miss in open space. Oh, double teams do not matter against him. Expect another big season from Diontae Johnson, despite a new quarterback throwing to him.

The numbers: 74 catches for 1,278 yards, 13 TDs last year along with 30 KR for 683 yards, 1 TD. He now has 1,437 KR yards in his career.

Khalil Hodge – Linebacker – Buffalo

Everybody is familiar with the other linebacker named Khalil who came out of Buffalo; Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders. Coincidentally, there is yet another great one, junior Khalil Hodge. Standing 6’1″ and weighing 235 pounds, the Stockton, CA native plays like an absolute beast. He is great against the run while sniffing out plays in an instant. Additionally, Hodge plays well in pass coverage with enough speed to cover the middle of the field effectively. His productivity has been mind-blowing thus far in his career. Buffalo is expected to make some noise in the MAC this year. Hodge will play a gigantic role in that to be certain for the Bulls.

The numbers: 2 years: 277 tackles (avg 11.5 tackles per game), 13.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 Int, 3 PBU, 2 FF.

Brent Stockstill – Quarterback – Middle Tennessee

If it weren’t for injuries the last couple of years, MTSU signal caller Brent Stockstill would have absolutely ridiculous numbers. As it is, he is already the leading passer in MTSU school history. The hometown hero from Siegel HS there in Murfreesboro happens to be the son of head coach, Rick Stockstill. Stockstill is extremely accurate, mobile and undeniably tough. As long as Brent can stay healthy, expect a tremendous season from the senior quarterback! By the way, another quarterback to watch in C-USA is Mason Fine from North Texas.

The numbers: Career: 64% 8,951 yards 77 TDs passing. 314 yards 2 TDs rushing. Holds the school record for passing yardage, eclipsing Wes Counts last season.

Tyrel Dodson – Linebacker – Texas A&M

Tyrel Dodson of Texas A&M should have been first-team All-SEC last year, but for some reason, he was only voted second. That fact helps place him on this list of seven college football players you need to know. The junior LB, who originally hails from the state of Tennessee, is a phenomenal all-around player. Dodson literally does everything from his linebacker position for the Aggies. Standing 6’2″ and weighing 242 pounds, Dodson will blow plays up in the backfield, effectively make tackles in the open field as well as play sound in pass coverage. Look for Dodson to have a huge junior campaign, finally making first-team All-SEC and potentially paving the way for an early exit to the NFL draft.

The numbers: Last year he had 105 tackles, 11 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 3 Int, 8 PBU, 4 QBH

Lexington Thomas – Running Back – UNLV

Do not let the diminutive stature of UNLV running back Lexington Thomas deceive you, this guy is an absolute train. The 5’9″ 170 pound running back from Houston has a wonderful repertoire of making defenders miss. Thomas will either run a defender over like a bowling ball, break his ankles like Jamal Crawford crossing over a poor soul in the NBA or just plain run away from them. With a big season, he can become the all-time leading rusher in school history, potentially breaking Tim Cornett‘s record established in 2013.

The numbers: Has run for 2,484 yards along with 28 TD’s in his career. He needs 1,250 yards this year to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. Thomas also had 326 yards receiving with 2 TDs in his career.

Maxx Crosby – Defensive End – Eastern Michigan

The last, but certainly not least, of the seven college football players you need to know is Maxx Crosby of Eastern Michigan, who hails originally from Colleyville, TX. The 6’5″ 265 defensive end is an absolute machine from the defensive end position. The junior announced his presence very loudly last season with a huge all-around year. Crosby does everything from effectively rushing the passer, to stopping the run to dropping back in coverage occasionally as well. He displayed his full array of skills last year and should continue developing his game this season. Expect to see Crosby in the NFL when his career in Ypsilanti is finished.

The numbers: 57 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 PBU, 4 FF, 2 FR, 11 QBH last season

Last Word

There you have it. Without a doubt, there are a plethora of names that could have presented here, but these players, in particular, are ones to intentionally watch when they appear on TV this season. Or, if you have an opportunity to see one or more of them in person, take advantage.

Other players considered: Defensive end Sutton Smith Northern Illinois, quarterback Mason Fine – North Texas, linebacker Ulysees Gilbert – Akron, linebacker Carl Granderson – Wyoming.

Stats acquired from http://www.cfbstats.com/

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