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Published: Aug. 20, 2014 at 01:32 p.m.

14 for '14: Scariest players in college football

» Complete 14 for '14 series

Bigger, faster, stronger ... scarier? The talent level in college football continues to get better and while that's great news for NFL teams, it presents a bit of a challenge for opponents who have to face more imposing players. With that in mind, CFB 24/7's "14 for '14" series continues with a look at some of the nation's scariest athletes who will cause coaches (and players) to stay up at night.

14 Photos Total

  • 14. Myles Jack, LB/RB, UCLA 14

    (Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

    14. Myles Jack, LB/RB, UCLA

    Particulars: 6-1, 230, sophomore
    Buzz: Anthony Barr might have had a season that made him worthy of a top-10 draft pick, but it is safe to say that Jack was the bigger star in the Bruins' linebacking corps last year. The Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year, Jack racked up 75 tackles and two interceptions to go along with his seven touchdowns. The really scary part about the two-way phenom is he's much stronger and a lot smarter than he was a year ago.

  • 13. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama 13

    (Dave Martin/AP Photo)

    13. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

    Particulars: 6-1, 202, junior
    Buzz: Cooper burst onto the scene as a freshman with his outstanding blend of speed, hands and size at the position. Sure, Alabama is breaking in a new quarterback this year, but Cooper's a threat to score on every play. New offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin knows how to get the ball in the hands of playmakers like Cooper (see Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at USC) and that should make him one of the toughest players to cover in the country.

  • 12. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford 12

    (Bob Stanton/USA TODAY Sports)

    12. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

    Particulars: 6-7, 312, junior
    Buzz: If you want to scare a team by just having somebody walk off the bus, Peat might be the first guy you have in mind since he's 6-foot-7 and a shade under 315 pounds. He's a prototypical left tackle who is physically imposing and is part of the reason why Stanford has a strong running game no matter who is carrying the ball. The really tough part for defenders is that in addition to being a beast in the run game, Peat has the agility to stonewall any pass rusher.

  • 11. Benardrick McKinney, OLB, Mississippi State 11

    (Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo)

    11. Benardrick McKinney, OLB, Mississippi State

    Particulars: 6-5, 245, junior
    Buzz: His numbers might have slipped a little last season thanks to a position change, but make no mistake, McKinney is one of the top linebackers in the nation's toughest conference. He can chase you down, hit you like a hammer or take the ball right out of your hands. Plus, when he puts on the eye black, he's all the more menacing.

  • 10. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska 10

    (Nati Harnik/AP Photo)

    10. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

    Particulars: 6-6, 245, junior
    Buzz: The JUCO transfer lived in the backfield of opponents last season and is somebody many are touting as a potential future first-round draft pick. He can chase down any runner from behind or burst off the edge and get to the quarterback. The fact that he'll be more refined on defense this upcoming season is a very scary thought for Big Ten opponents.

  • 9. Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson 9

    (Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports)

    9. Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

    Particulars: 6-2, 235, senior
    Buzz: Ask any Clemson opponent from last season to name the player they had circled in the game plan, and they'll all respond No. 2 on offense (Sammy Watkins) and No. 3 on defense (Beasley). He's undersized at defensive end, but that doesn't make his lighting-fast first step or agility any less scary for opposing offensive tackles. He led the ACC in sacks last season and should continue to terrorize quarterbacks in 2014.

  • 8. Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia 8

    (John Raoux/AP Photo)

    8. Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia

    Particulars: 6-2, 232, senior
    Buzz: The long, flowing dreadlocks coming out of the back of his helmet certainly contribute to Wilson's persona, but he earns his position on this list as one of the best linebackers in the South. He had 133 tackles last season and was all over the field for the Bulldogs. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt should help enhance his frightening abilities even more.

  • 7. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma 7

    (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

    7. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

    Particulars: 6-0, 220, junior
    Buzz: Just ask an Alabama player how scary it is to play against Striker. He is one of the best blitzers in the country and should be even more dangerous as the Stoops brothers continue to put him in good spots on the field. A ferocious hitter, offenses will know where he's lining up before every snap.

  • 6. Denzel Perryman, OLB, Miami (Fla.) 6

    (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

    6. Denzel Perryman, OLB, Miami (Fla.)

    Particulars: 6-0, 242, senior
    Buzz: If you search YouTube for Perryman's name, the title of the videos that show up often have "big hit" in them. That should say it all, but we should point out he's continued to bulk up and should continue to be a tackling machine as he slides inside to middle linebacker in 2014. Basically, he's a wrestler who happens to be good at football in many different areas.

  • 5. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State 5

    (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

    5. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

    Particulars: 6-4, 235, redshirt sophomore
    Buzz: While Jimbo Fisher might be a little scared every time Winston's name pops up in the headlines, he undoubtedly is reassured when he's between the lines because he was the most outstanding college football player a season ago. Another year of seasoning should help him continue to develop as a passer, and that has to spook opposing defensive coordinators considering how good he was during the 'Noles' national title run.

  • 4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon 4

    (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

    4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

    Particulars: 6-4, 215, redshirt junior
    Buzz: Mariota was one of the best passers in the country last year and might have won the Heisman had he not injured his knee late in the season. While he can find the end zone with his arm, his speed when he takes off and runs is what really frightens opponents. How many quarterbacks can outrun a defensive back and throw it over his head for a touchdown? Mariota certainly is up to the challenge.

  • 3. Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC 3

    (Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

    3. Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC

    Particulars: 6-5, 290, junior
    Buzz: Williams, who was named an All-American last season, had 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He did all that while playing with a torn labrum and being just "65-to-70 percent" healthy. Sadly for opponents, he'll be at full strength in 2014.

  • 2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia 2

    (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

    2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

    Particulars: 6-1, 232, junior
    Buzz: The running back position might be devalued in the NFL draft, but it's still a big part of football and especially so in the SEC. Gurley has the power to run over folks, the speed to run away from others and can churn out yards with the best of them. Plus, he can catch the ball well as one of the true all-around threats at the position. Whether you're game planning against him or trying to tackle him, Gurley is a scary player to face.

  • 1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama 1

    (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

    1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

    Particulars: 6-3, 238, sophomore
    Buzz: T.J. Yeldon is the more complete back in the Alabama offense, but there's little doubt that Henry is way more physically imposing. With his size, Henry strikes fear into any defender who has to tackle him. Henry had a huge game in the Sugar Bowl, and if he keeps that up, he should be the next great Crimson Tide tailback.

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