College football’s Week 9 Saturday slate just happens to fall on Halloween this year. Strange plays, weird outcomes and nightmares for coaching staffs are normal on any weekend during the year, but things may get a little strange on Oct. 31.
With the Halloween theme in mind, Athlon Sports has picked the 10 scariest players in college football this season. To most fans, goblins, zombies, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, witches and skeletons cause sleepless nights or nightmares around Oct. 31. But what about coaching staffs preparing for a game? Here are the 10 player scariest players for any coaching staff to go against on a Saturday of action during the college football season.
College Football's 10 Scariest Players for 2015
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa’s 2015 stats aren’t up to last year’s level. However, opposing offenses are frightened about Bosa’s presence off the edge, leading to frequent double teams and running plays to the other side of the field. Even if Bosa doesn’t reach double-digit sacks (just 3.5 in 2015), the junior still ranks as one of the scariest edge rushers for any offense to gameplan for this season.
Related: Predictions for Every Week 9 Game
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
With the recent rise in offensive production and up-tempo attacks across the nation, defensive coordinators easily have the toughest job in college football. Big 12 defensive signal-callers have plenty of experience in slowing down high-powered offenses, but Boykin is on another level. The senior quarterback can slice through a secondary (2,927 yards and 28 scores) or gash the defense on the ground (524 yards and six touchdowns). How do you stop Boykin? That’s the big question the defensive staffs of TCU’s opponents have in the many sleepless nights of game preparation.
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Calhoun’s nickname is “Bane.” Need we say more? At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Calhoun certainly has an impressive physical presence similar to Batman’s nemesis in the Dark Knight Rises. The senior has 112 tackles (39.5 tackles for a loss), 24.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his career with the Spartans.
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor/LaQuan McGowan, TE, Baylor
Baylor’s receiving corps is the best in college football. Coleman headlines this group (20.5 yards per catch) and is on pace (18 receiving touchdowns so far) to set the single-season touchdown record. But Coleman isn’t the only scary player in this unit. How about 410-pound tight end LaQuan McGowan? The senior isn’t out there just for his blocking, as the Texas native has one catch for 18 yards this year. For a 410-pound tight end/converted offensive lineman, McGowan has nimble feet and is not an ideal matchup for any defensive back trying to make a tackle.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook won’t play in Week 9 due to an ankle injury suffered against Georgia Tech, but the minor ailment shouldn’t put a damper on his season. The sophomore has 1,037 rushing yards and 11 scores, while catching 15 passes for 181 yards in seven games. LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry certainly have the edge in physical presence, but Cook has outstanding speed and elusiveness in the open field. He’s averaging 8.2 yards per carry and has three runs of 60 yards or more this season.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
As LSU’s matchup against Auburn showed this year, tackling Fournette is a risky proposition for any defender. At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, the thought of Fournette in the open field with a crazy blend of speed and power is a scary picture for any defensive player. The New Orleans native is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy after Week 8 and has 1,352 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 176 carries.
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett is arguably the nation’s best defensive player and a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive linemen, coaching staffs and quarterbacks. Sleepless nights are likely the norm when preparing for Garrett, as he has 37 tackles (13.5 for a loss), 8.5 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles this season.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Similar to LSU’s Leonard Fournette, the thought of Henry in the open field with a full head of steam is downright terrifying. After all, Henry is 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds with excellent speed and strength. Through eight games in 2015, the Florida native has rushed for 1,044 yards and 14 scores.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
All signs point to Nkemdiche as a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but until he departs for the next level, the junior will continue to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. Nkemdiche’s numbers aren’t huge – 17 tackles (5.5 for a loss) and 1.5 sacks this season – but that’s largely due to the focus of the offensive lines preventing the junior from dominating on the interior. He’s also used sparingly on offense, rushing for two touchdowns on four attempts and catching one pass for 31 yards and a score in 2015.
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
At 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds, Oakman is truly a physical specimen and a one-of-the-kind presence off the edge. Oakman has terrorized plenty of linemen and quarterbacks for Baylor, recording 17 sacks and over 40 tackles for a loss in the last three seasons. Oakman’s impressive physique resulted in a series of memes following last year’s Cotton Bowl appearance against Michigan State.