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Star Wars comparisons for college football's top players

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Much like Darth Vader, Ohio State's Joey Bosa has the capacity to annihilate his competition.

The anticipation of a seventh episode in the Star Wars saga is almost too much for me to bear heading into the weekend. As a viewer of each movie in the original trilogy more times than I care to admit, my brain's focus has shifted in full gear to the opening of The Force Awakens.


» Photos: Football helmets in the Star Wars universe


This led me to think, how would I cast the characters from the original movies with top college football players?

Yes, I've left out a few key characters from this list. I'm not going to compare a player to Princess Leia, for obvious reasons. And I took instruction from Wuher, the barkeep in the famed Mos Eisley cantina, leaving droids C-3PO and R2-D2 outside of this article.

Imagine, if you will, the following casting decisions:

With the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, take a look as these NFL fans as they show off their best intergalactic costumes.

Han Solo: Su'a Cravens, S/LB, USC
Cravens is characterized as an assassin or leader, depending upon whom you ask (because the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view) ... just like Han Solo. He destroys plays in the backfield (14.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks this fall) and makes plays in coverage (two interceptions, six pass breakups), relying on his instincts during the battle. All the while, Cravens is motivating his entire team with his deeds on the field and words in the locker room. I'm not sure if he's into wearing vests, but I do know he's the kind of guy you'd hate to face, but want on your side.

Luke Skywalker: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
If there's a "golden boy" in scouting circles right now, it's the strong-armed yet mobile Lynch. He won't be accused as being "too short to be a Stormtrooper" at 6-foot-7, and he's probably never heard of the Tosche Station or power converters. But teams looking for a new quarterback in the near future will look to their own Obi-Wan Kenobi (quarterbacks coach) to teach Lynch how to focus his talents.

Chewbacca: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Chewbecca is the ultimate warrior who offers full loyalty to his companions. The tall (6-8) and strong Decker plays the protector role to a tee, using his length and tenacity attacking defenders to both keep his quarterback (whoever it might be) upright and open holes for star running back Ezekiel Elliott. The consensus All-American has had long hair at times in college, but even if he's rocking a crop-top, he's worthy of comparison to the reliable, strong-willed Wookie.

Yoda: Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor
Physically, this comparison doesn't work as Drango's right thigh is probably larger than the Jedi Master's entire body. But if you want someone with intelligence to help shape the pocket for Lynch, Baylor's Academic All-American fits the bill. The diminutive Yoda was also a terror with a lightsaber, not afraid to mix it up with any opponent -- much like Drango on the edge. Excelling in MBA classes while playing football shows the work ethic all Jedi would appreciate. Judge him not by his size, as wise beyond his years he is.

Darth Vader: Joey Bosa, DT, Ohio State
Bosa is the most feared defensive lineman in college football. He's a stone-cold killer on the edge, tossing away blockers like Vader threw aside Captain Raymus Antilles in the opening of A New Hope. When Bosa is tracking down a ballcarrier, he looks as obsessed as the Sith Lord was when looking for his son. His instincts are also excellent, sniffing out screens and misdirection to throw a wrench into opponents' grand plans. He'll be a leader on whatever team he's on at the next level, attempting to annihilate his competition.

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Boba Fett: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
If a quarterback leaves a trail of clues as to where he's throwing the ball, Hargreaves will pick up the scent. He'll then nab the bounty (10 career interceptions) and attempt to return it to the end zone for his just reward. The Associated Press first-team All-American returned his four pickoffs for 152 yards this season, and though none of the returns reached the end zone, he's a threat to take it back every time.

Jabba the Hutt: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Moving the 6-2, 310-pound Billings is not easy, just ask any Big 12 offensive lineman. But this comparison isn't just about size, or else I might have tabbed Billings' 410-pound teammate, LaQuan McGowan, for this spot. Jabba used his ambition and intelligence to become a major crime boss, while Billings takes advantage of his surprising agility and relentless nature to earn All-American honors. Even the tough-minded Han Solo feared Jabba's wrath, as future opponents should be wary of single-blocking Billings.

Lando Calrissian: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
If there's one word to describe the smuggler Calrissian, it's "smooth" ... and there's no player in college football that is smoother catching the football or making big plays with the rock in his hands than Coleman. Billy Dee would be proud of the way Coleman can turn a short gain into a big play, blowing up defensive coordinators' plans to stop him. He'll prove himself a reliable target for his quarterback in his first training camp, becoming one of the most important contributors on offense early on in his career.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.

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