Every Maverick needs a good Goose (or Iceman, depending on your druthers). Having a good wingman in college football sometimes makes you an even bigger threat.
Next year is going to be full of explosive combinations throughout the sport. As a matter of fact, when you look at who didn’t make the list, it’ll give you a better appreciation of the 12 who did.
Excellent teammates like N.C. State defenders Tanner Ingle and Drake Thomas, Georgia pass-catchers Brock Bowers and Arik Gilbert and Houston offensive skill-position players Clayton Tune and Alton McCaskill IV were extremely close but just missed the cut.
Arizona’s new offensive star hookup Jayden de Laura and Jacob Cowing received major consideration, as did Oregon’s Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe (who would have made the cut if not for Flowe’s injury issues). Pitt’s Kedon Slovis and Jordan Addison were right there, too. But those six duos narrowly missed because of the production or potential of the others.
Those who did make it include some of the sport’s brightest stars, and one team even managed to have a tandem on both sides of the ball. Let’s take a look at college football’s top duos for 2022.
12. Jaxson Dart and Zach Evans, Ole Miss Rebels
Nobody hit the transfer portal this offseason quite like SEC West foes Ole Miss and LSU, and the Rebels’ gains may wind up propelling them into the role of Alabama’s biggest competition in the division.
Coach Lane Kiffin rebuilt his team in a big way after the bulk of the production from last year’s Peach Bowl team left Oxford. All that starts with the new nucleus of the offensive skill-position players.
USC transfer signal-caller Jaxson Dart was one of the jewels of the portal class at quarterback, along with new Trojan Caleb Williams and Texas transfer Quinn Ewers. People may forget about Dart, but they shouldn’t. He is a star-in-the-making with a strong arm and a lot of swagger.
He will be joined in Kiffin’s offense by running back Zach Evans, who left a crowded backfield at TCU for a place where he can be the featured back, with Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner off to the NFL Combine.
It’s not every day you see two brand players in new environs on the list, but this tandem certainly belongs. Kiffin has done a great job coaching offense the past two years with his new team, and he has the stars to continue it now.
Look for Dart and Evans to acclimate quickly this spring and be SEC stars right away.
11. Tavion Thomas and Cameron Rising, Utah Utes
Utah also lost a lot of firepower from last year’s Rose Bowl team on both sides of the ball, but the depth coach Kyle Whittingham has built in Salt Lake City will shine through.
There’s no reason why the Utes can’t be the class of the Pac-12 again in 2022.
Everything will start with the second offensive skill-position tandem on the list—running back Tavion Thomas and quarterback Cam Rising.
Thomas is one of the fastest, most explosive game-breakers in college football, and he will try to capitalize for at least one more year after recording 1,108 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground a season ago. But the offense really took off when Whittingham inserted Cam Rising at quarterback.
The sophomore from Ventura, California, settled into the gig a season ago, throwing for 2,493 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also ran for 499 yards and another six scores, perhaps shocking some with his athletic ability.
Yes, Whittingham is going to be searching for additional playmakers on both sides of the ball, but he has arguably one of the two or three best tandems of point-producers in the league, and if Rising and Thomas stay healthy, the Utes offense will be on firm footing with another conference title shot in sight.