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10 college football players that need to bounce back in 2015


Spring football has concluded around the country and many programs are already in the thick of summer conditioning, so it's not too early to look toward the 2015 college football season.

Last season produced its share of breakout campaigns, but there were also a handful of stars who -- due to injury, subpar performances or other reasons -- failed to live up to expectations.

Here are 10 such players, as each is in need of a bounce-back 2015 season (listed in alphabetical order).

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon

Addison was the forgotten man as Oregon made a run to the national title game last season. Primed to be Marcus Mariota's No. 1 wideout, he suffered an ACL injury last spring and missed all of 2014, leaving the Ducks with a very young group of wide receivers. Addison is back and looked like his old self during spring practices -- good news for a team that needs a veteran presence catching passing from a new starting quarterback.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

Drake suffered one of the most gruesome injuries of 2014 when he broke his leg in October. The injury ended his season, but he showed plenty of potential early on for the Crimson Tide and will be looking to put that on display in a variety of roles in Lane Kiffin's offense. With a lack of experience and depth at tailback, he'll play Robin to starter Derrick Henry's Batman, but Drake the potential to be an electric player who can score from anywhere on the field.

Devonte Fields, DL, Louisville

Fields burst onto the scene as a true freshman at TCU, earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. However, he played in just three games in 2013 due to injury and was dismissed from the school in August 2014 after being charged with misdemeanor assault. He spent the 2014 season with Trinity Valley Community College before moving on to Louisville. It will be interesting to see if he can regain his previous form and show off his potential for a new FBS team.

Check out the top 10 players from Florida State to play in the NFL.

Everett Golson, QB, Florida State

Notre Dame was being mentioned as a potential College Football Playoff contender halfway through the 2014 season thanks in part to the play of Golson, who returned to the Irish after sitting out the 2013 season while serving an academic suspension. However, the wheels started to come off after a loss to Florida State in a thriller and Golson never seemed to regain his early form, eventually losing his starting job. He announced earlier this week that he's transferring to FSU. He wasn't promised the starting job in Tallahassee, but it will be fascinating to see if Golson can regain the form he flashed in 2012, while leading the Irish to the national title game, and at times during last season.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

Under then-Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, Hackenberg burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2013 and threw for 20 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards. Things didn't go quite as well as expected during his sophomore season, as he played with a rag-tag offensive line and a number of young receivers. In 2014, the signal-caller threw 15 interceptions and his decision making was called into question at times. If the Nittany Lions are to take the next step under second-year head coach James Franklin, Hackenberg will have to put the sophomore slump behind him.

Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

Hogan helped lead the Cardinal to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances in his first two seasons as a starter after stepping in for 2012 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck. Hogan declined in 2014, though, and he was part of the reason the Stanford offense struggled, as he took far more sacks than usual and came up short in a number of losses. Hogan's father passed away in December after battling cancer, which weighed heavily on the quarterback last season. The senior started to turn things around late in the year and Stanford is hoping he can continue to bounce back in 2015.

Carl Lawson, DL, Auburn

A highly touted recruit who showed plenty of potential as a freshman on the Plains, Lawson suffered an ACL tear during spring practice and missed all of 2014. The Tigers didn't have much of a pass rush last season and former Florida head coach Will Muschamp was brought in to fix the defense. Fully rehabbed and perhaps better than ever, Lawson has the ability to be a monster off the edge for a team looking to return to championship contention.

Check out the top 10 players from Ohio State to play in the NFL.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

Miller is a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, but he had to watch from the sideline last season as the Buckeyes won the national championship after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in fall camp. Now, he'll be competing against J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones -- who were both very impressive last season -- to lead the OSU offense. Ohio State's athletic director recently said Miller told him he will stay with the Buckeyes, despite rumors that he'll transfer. Who knows what we'll see out of Miller -- or if he'll even win the starting job -- but he's badly in need of time in the spotlight to prove himself as a prospect to NFL scouts.

Michael Rose-Ivey, LB, Nebraska

Nebraska head coach Mike Riley and defensive coordinator Mark Banker have developed their share of linebackers over the years and they have to hope they can work their magic with Rose-Ivey as he returns from a torn ACL that forced him to miss all of last season. The Cornhuskers are thin at the position, but Rose-Ivey looked good during spring practices and could be a rock as the team tries to get back to the ways of the Blackshirts. In a tough league, Big Red has to hope the talented linebacker returns to the form that earned him accolades as a redshirt freshman.

KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame

Notre Dame returns virtually its entire defense from last season and the one starter it does have to replace (Cody Riggs) held down the spot that Russell, who has 26 starts himself, will assume at cornerback. After spending time away from the program due to an academic suspension that cost him all of the 2014 season, he'll be plenty motivated as he returns. He'll no doubt have some rust to deal with after spending so much time away, but it might not be long before the talented player shows everyone that he can be one of the better corners in the game.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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