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college football

College Football: Top Offensive Tandems For 2023

  • Ryan Fowler
  • July 18, 2023
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A dominating athlete is often draining to prepare for, no matter what side of the football he aligns on. A game-changer is a singular presence that can sway the pendulum of a football game. For most programs, it’s often an acute spotlight. For some, one of a broader fashion can showcase a tandem of playmakers that feed off of one another’s production. 

Here are a few of the premier duos in college football that will keep opposing head coaches up late into the night this fall.

RBs Blake Corum & Donovan Edwards (Michigan)

A Heisman hopeful last fall, Corum returns as one of the elites in the college game. An electric ball-carrier with the vision and footwork to embarrass opposing defenses, he made 18 trips to paydirt last fall and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he teases with 20+ in 2023. 

The larger of the two backs, Edwards has played second fiddle to Corum since his arrival on campus, but don’t be fooled by his ‘RB2’ label on the Wolverines’ depth chart. A powerful ball-carrier that is a burden to take down in open space, he’s excellent as a pass-catcher and is a threat to take it the distance on every touch. 

Together, they’re a nightmare to holster and can single-handedly shoulder the offensive workload behind one of the premier front fives in college football. 

WRs Marvin Harrison Jr. & Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State)

A future top-five pick next April, Harrison Jr. is must-watch TV every time he suits up. A blend of size, speed, and route-running beyond his years, the Buckeyes have pumped out their fair share of first-round pass-catchers the last few years, but Harrison Jr. is different. 

Egbuka, another former five-star on the long list of prestigious prep athletes to suit up for the scarlet and gray, nearly matched his teammate’s production last fall in all categories and should also hear his name called within the first half of next spring’s draft. Teams that opt to deploy man coverage against Ohio State will get run out of the gym early.

QB Bo Nix & WR Troy Franklin (Oregon)

While Nix is the straw that stirs the drink offensively, Franklin has quickly become one of the most productive and feared wideouts in college football. An explosive route-runner with smooth hands, to you east coasters that have failed to stay up for the Pac-12 slate: set your timers this fall. A potential Heisman contender under center, Nix elevated his game to new heights (29 TDs, 7 INTs) after transferring in from Auburn. With Franklin as his top target, the two will look to captain the Ducks to their third consecutive double-digit win campaign.

QB Jordan Travis & WR Johnny Wilson (Florida State)

A unit I expect to challenge for the ACC crown this fall, Travis and the 6-foot-7 Wilson could give Tallahassee faithful a few Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin flashbacks from nearly a decade ago. 

A mammoth of a man, Wilson moves like an athlete of much smaller stature. A long-strider that eats up grass on opposing corners, he can dominate at a variety of depths and overwhelm even the most fluid and athletic man corners. Combining Wilson’s ability to separate with the dual-threat skill set of Travis will present nightmares for opposing coordinators to counter.

RBs Nick Singleton & Kaytron Allen (Penn State)

The insertion of Drew Allar will see the Nittany Lions confidently sling it around Happy Valley. But make no mistake, head coach James Franklin’s offense stems from the success of his dynamic sophomore duo. 

Similarly framed athletes, Singleton and Allen are two hosses to counter for a full 60 minutes and are a terror to take down as the winter months fall on State College. The two combined for nearly 2,000 yards and 22 TDs in their freshman campaigns. Expectations will be raised in 2023.

QB KJ Jefferson & RB Raheim Sanders (Arkansas)

This is a tandem that will keep every level of opposing defenses honest. Crowding the box allows Jefferson to dissect through the air. Opting to drop bodies deep presents Sanders with vacant alleys to explode through. It’s a case of pick your poison, and with Jefferson’s added ability to create on his own via designed QB keepers, the Razorbacks play a diversified, physical brand of football that wears down even the most formidable of SEC foes.

QB Michael Penix Jr. & WRs Rome Odunze/Jalen McMillan (Washington)

Ok, so I broke my own rule of sticking to a tandem, but I’d be remiss if I left out the trio of Huskies that must be mentioned among the elite in college football. While we could go on and on about Penix Jr.’s career revival after transferring in from Indiana, Odunze and McMillan deserve the attention of the industry as a whole. Two big-bodied wideouts that compete with “my ball” attitude in the air, both can run the full route tree, both understand how to separate against unique types of leverage, and both can get hot quickly and take over an aerial attack in tandem with Penix Jr. 

With the eyes of NFL evaluators centered on their every move, it’s all about correlation in the Pacific Northwest, and the Huskies should once again light up scoreboards this fall on the backs of their dynamic three-headed monster.

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Ryan Fowler