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Let freedom ring: Imagining 10 college players on different teams

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson made 53 catches for 1,002 yards last season.

Friday is Independence Day, which commemorates the July 4, 1776, adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which -- as everyone should know -- declared this nation's independence from Great Britain.

Thus, in honor of Independence Day, we are granting independence (figuratively, not literally) to players that will toil for what we think will be losing teams this fall. They now are free to play for anybody they want.


14 for '14 series:
CFB 24/7 counts down the 14 college football players or coaches to watch in varying categories in 2014.

» Top small-school prospects
» Impact freshmen in college football
» Top rivalries in college football
» Top personalities in college football
» Best uniforms in college football
» Best stadiums in college football
» Biggest hitters in college football
» Hot coordinators in college football
» Best recruiters in college football
» Hot-seat coaches in college football
» Best coaches in college football
» Best names in college football
» Heaviest players in college football
» Smallest players in college football
» Top celebrity college football fans
» Top Heisman Trophy candidates
» Most explosive athletes in college football
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» Most freakish athletes in college football
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» Fastest players in college football
» Toughest players in college football
» Smartest players in college football
» Most physical players in college football
» College football players with best intangibles

In that vein, here are 10 player moves that we think would make sense, for numerous reasons. Remember: The only players granted freedom are those that play for teams we think will have losing records this fall (hey, those are our rules, so live with them -- sort of like this country did before declaring independence). The players are listed alphabetically.

WR Dres Anderson, Utah: to UCLA

Particulars: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, senior.
The skinny: Anderson is one of the best big-play guys in the nation, and while the Bruins already have a good offense, they certainly could use Anderson's explosiveness. He could become QB Brett Hundley's top deep threat. In addition, Anderson could play for his dad's alma mater: Willie "Flipper" Anderson was a star Bruins wide receiver from 1984-87. UCLA is the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 South and also looks to be a team that can finish in the top 10 nationally; Utah has struggled since joining the Pac-12 and will need a lot of breaks to finish .500.

TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State: to Oklahoma

Particulars: 6-3, 250, senior.
The skinny: Bibbs is the best tight end in the Big 12 and is coming off a 39-reception season in a mediocre passing offense. Bibbs runs well and has the ability to get deep. His blocking is proficient enough that he also could serve as an H-back. Oklahoma is looking for a new tight end, and Bibbs' all-around skills would be a nice fit in the Sooners' offense. Plus, Bibbs would stay in the same league and go from a program that sweats out a bowl bid every season to one that, this season at least, should be in the national-title hunt.

WR Titus Davis, Central Michigan: to Michigan

Particulars: 6-2, 190, senior.
The skinny: Davis could make the two-hour drive from CMU's campus in Mount Pleasant to Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor. And while the overall talent level in the Big Ten is much higher than it is in the MAC, Davis has the talent and skill (61 receptions for 1,109 yards -- 18.2 yards per catch -- and eight TDs) to play for anybody. Davis would give the Wolverines a desperately needed go-to wide receiver; in addition, he could team with TE/WR Devin Funchess to form a potent 1-2 receiving punch for head coach Brady Hoke, who needs a much more productive offense this season. This won't be a vintage Michigan team, but the Wolverines are a good bet to go bowling; CMU seems likely to win four or five games.

DE Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Kentucky: to South Carolina

Particulars: 6-4, 267, senior.
The skinny: South Carolina needs a freakishly athletic defensive end to replace Jadeveon Clowney. And while Dupree might not be Clowney's athletic equal, he takes a back seat to relatively few players in that regard nationally. Dupree's production has been noteworthy on some bad UK defenses; with the Gamecocks, he'd be going against the same SEC East opponents and actually would have some talented teammates surrounding him. South Carolina has a legit shot at winning the SEC East; UK has a legit shot at finishing last in the division.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks digs deep into the game tape to evaluate college football's most talented players.

» Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
» Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
» Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
» Leonard Williams, DL, USC
» Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
» Wisconsin's Gordon vs. Georgia's Gurley

DE Trey Flowers, Arkansas: to Auburn

Particulars: 6-4, 267, senior.
The skinny: Auburn lost its best pass rusher because Dee Ford was a senior. That means Flowers -- an All-SEC candidate who had five sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss for Arkansas last season -- could slip right into the starting lineup for a much better team in the same SEC division. Plus, pairing Flowers with rising-star defensive end Carl Lawson would give the Tigers a dangerous pass-rush duo. Finally, playing for Auburn would mean Flowers, a native of Huntsville, Ala., would be playing much closer to home.

WR Chris Harper, California: to USC

Particulars: 5-11, 170, junior.
The skinny: Harper is one of the best wide receivers on the West Coast and is an important part of Cal's pass-happy attack. A move to USC would pair him with junior Nelson Agholor and give the Trojans one of the best receiving duos in the nation; it also would allow Harper to play college ball in his hometown. Finally, while Harper's stats would take a bit of a dip because USC simply isn't going to throw the ball as often as Cal, a move would mean Harper would play for a team with a shot at the Pac-12 South title instead of a team that hopes to win four games.

SS Anthony Harris, Virginia: to Maryland

Particulars: 6-1, 190, senior.
The skinny: Harris seriously considered Maryland in the recruiting process, and it just so happens that the Terps -- who now are in the Big Ten after leaving the ACC -- could use a steady strong safety. Harris certainly is that: He led the nation with eight interceptions last season, and added 80 tackles and six pass breakups. His eight interceptions were the most by a Cavs player since Ronde Barber had eight in 1994. His addition would give Maryland one of the top two or three secondaries in the Big Ten; UVA's secondary should be one of the best in the ACC, but the difference is Maryland has a legit shot at bowl eligibility and Virginia doesn't.

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MLB Ben Heeney, Kansas: to Missouri

Particulars: 6-0, 230, senior.
The skinny: Kansas and Missouri used to have a nasty rivalry, but the teams don't play anymore. Thus, getting KU's best player would make it doubly sweet for a Mizzou defense that needs a stud middle 'backer. Heeney fills that bill; he had 87 tackles last season, a number that led the Jayhawks and was tied for 11th in the Big 12. Heeney isn't necessarily a great athlete, but he's a tough, physical and instinctive player -- a better version of Andrew Wilson, who made 113 tackles as Mizzou's starting middle linebacker last season. And while KU has no shot at a bowl, Missouri could get to eight or even nine wins.

DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis: to Texas A&M

Particulars: 6-3, 265, senior.
The skinny: A&M is in desperate need of a pass rusher, and Ifedi would help in that regard. He had 10.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss last season. Plus, going to A&M would enable him to play with his younger brother, Germain, who will be the Aggies' starting right offensive tackle this season (Germain started at guard last season). Martin Ifedi has 20 career sacks and will be working on a graduate degree this fall -- which means he could've transferred had he wanted, as long as his new school offered a graduate degree unavailable at Memphis. Memphis will struggle to get near the .500 mark, while A&M could get to nine wins.

K Austin Lopez, San Jose State: to Texas

Particulars: 6-0, 187, junior.
The skinny: Lopez is a Texas native (from Euless) and -- what do you know? -- Texas needs a kicker after the graduation of Lou Groza Award finalist Anthony Fera, who was a transfer from Penn State. A strong case can be made that Lopez was better than Fera last season. Lopez finished 20-of-25 on field-goal attempts last season (he is 37-of-42 in his career), including 10-of-12 from at least 40 yards and 2-of-2 from at least 50. Moving closer to home would pay off on the field: Texas has a shot at a major bowl, while San Jose State will be lucky to get to any bowl at all.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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