Top 5 Two-Way College Football Players of 2014

Top 5 Two-Way College Football Players of 2014

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USA Today Sports - Kirby Lee

When you think of famous two-way players in college football, names like Chuck Bednarik or Bronco Nagurski immediately come to mind. Generations have come and gone, as playing two-ways now-a-days is typically just reserved for high school football. However, if men like Bednarik and Nagurski could do it in college and go on to have prolific professional careers afterward, why shouldn't two-way players become a modern facet of NCAA football?

5. Shaq Thompson, Junior, Washington - DB/LB/WR

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5. Shaq Thompson, Junior, Washington - DB/LB/WR

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A Sacramento, CA native, Thompson already shows exemplary athleticism on defense, playing both defensive back and linebacker. In 2012, he was the No. 4 recruit in the nation. A natural athlete, Thompson was also drafted in 2012 by the Boston Rex Sox, and is a talented sprinter. He may get a chance to prove his offensive worth in Seattle for the 2014 season.

4. Kenny Williams, Senior, Texas Tech - RB/LB

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4. Kenny Williams, Senior, Texas Tech - RB/LB

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Williams was the Red Raiders' leading rusher in 2013. Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has Williams learning the OLB position in spring ball, saying "he’s a football guy, so it doesn’t take him a whole lot of time. He sees everything, understands the concepts.” Williams wants to help his team out any way he can, and after LB Terrance Bullitt graduated, all he did was make a simple request to take some reps and learn the linebacker position.

3. James Conner, Sophomore, Pittsburgh - RB/DL

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3. James Conner, Sophomore, Pittsburgh - RB/DL

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Conner stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 230 pounds. He is an imposing figure carrying the football, and led the Panthers in rushing last year with 799 yards. Head coach Paul Chryst originally recruited Conner to play defensive line, and there's a strong chance he moves back to that position in 2014. But there's also a strong likelihood he continues to get some touches on offense, as a 5.5 YPC average and eight TDs is difficult to overlook.

2. Malcolm Mitchell, Junior, Georgia - DB/WR

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2. Malcolm Mitchell, Junior, Georgia - DB/WR

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After suffering an ACL tear in 2013, Mitchell figures to play a large role in the Bulldogs' game planning in 2014. Though a wide receiver by trade, he has the ability to play defensive back with skill and competency. The Valdosta, GA native has averaged 14.6 yards per reception in his career on offense, and he recorded 12 tackles and three passes defended in 2012.

1. Myles Jack, Sophomore, UCLA - RB/LB

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USA Today Sports - Jayne Kamin-Oncea

1. Myles Jack, Sophomore, UCLA - RB/LB

myles jack ucla
USA Today Sports - Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Jack set a trend for the resurgence of present day two-way players in 2013. Last year as a freshman, he started 11 games at linebacker and one at running back. He finished fifth on the team in tackles on defense. On offense, he averaged 7.0 YPC on 38 attempts as a running back, scoring seven times. It will be interesting to see what the Bellevue, WA product has in store for Bruins fans in 2014.

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