First half of 2013 college football season by Alex Ferguson

Last Updated: 19/10/13 5:38pm

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Marcus Mariota: A top performer so far for Oregon

Marcus Mariota: A top performer so far for Oregon

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Feeling lucky after playing cards last night, US sports writer Alex Ferguson gives his thoughts on the top 13 players of the half-season...all of which he reckons will have a NFL future.

1. MARCUS MARIOTA (Oregon)

Mariota might get a lot of stick for the fact that Oregon's played no-one of any particular substance up to their victory against Washington, but when they did, the Ducks nearly put up 50, and Mariota threw for 366 yards and 3 TDs and ran for 88 yards and 1 TD.

He was really impressive. He's yet to throw an interception this season, and is a pick for the Heisman.

2. JOHNNY MANZIEL (Texas A&M)

Can Johnny Manziel repeat his 2012 Heisman Trophy? On the evidence of this must-watch Texan QB, then yes. If you don't know what I mean, I would urge you to put in the terms 'Manziel', 'Alabama', '2013' in to a search engine and breathe. It's pretty awesome.

3. TY MONTGOMERY (Texas A&M)

Montgomery is a flat-out playmaker on punt returns and special teams. He's a really special player. He's put up 596 yards and 2 TDs on special teams, and over 500 receiving. All of them are highlight-reel stuff. Quick, fun to watch and bright - Montgomery could be great in the big league.

"When the Tigers have needed a strong leader, Boyd has provided it this year, leading them to a breakout win against Georgia in Week 1's monster match-up and a comeback win last week against Boston College"
Alex Ferguson

4. ODELL BECKHAM JR (LSU)

Another dual threat wide receiver/punt return threat. Odell Beckham can catch ANYTHING....and he's proved that this season for a revamped and roaring LSU team. His best moment was when he took a field goal that went short back to the house on the other end of the field. That was pretty good.

5. AARON MURRAY (Georgia)

Once criticized about not being a good enough leader, Murray has put his Georgia side on his shoulders this season, amid a ton of injuries. A great passer and somewhat shifty out-of-the-pocket, Murray's going to be worth watching for the future.

6. JAMEIS WINSTON (Florida State)

'Famous Jameis' is only a first-year player, but he's tall, he's intelligent, and he's got a cannon. He's thrown for 1,440 yards and 17 TDs this year for unbeaten Seminoles team. That's pretty darned good.

7. AJ MCCARRON (Alabama)

The Alabama QB might have been given the keys to a Porsche, but the bottom line is this: AJ McCarron knows how to win. He's thrown for 1,407 yards and 11 TDs - and played well in his school's biggest game at Texas A&M.

8. ZACH METTENBERGER (LSU)

As cruel as we've been about Mettenberger and his passing ability in the past, the insertion of offensive co-ordinator of Cam Cameron has been Zach's conversion point on the Road To Damascus.

He's thrown for nearly 1,900 yards and 15 TDs this year, and looked really, really good doing it. Because of his height and his arm strength, don't be surprised if he's a Top 10 Draft pick this year.

9. TAJH BOYD (Clemson)

When the Tigers have needed a strong leader, Boyd has provided it this year, leading them to a breakout win against Georgia in Week 1's monster match-up and a comeback win last week against Boston College.

Boyd has poise, a great arm, and when Clemson has been in the hole, he's provided great throws to get them out of them. Could he be playing for a National Championship? Maybe...just maybe.

10. MIKE DAVIS (South Carolina)

We're glad that this is a personal list, otherwise we'd be getting snorts of derision from the assembled faithful. But get this: After Marcus Lattimore left for the NFL, a lot of people asked whether Mike Davis would pick up the slack.

Well, he's been one of the best running backs in the game, pounding five out of six 100-yards games for the Gamecocks, and really stepping up as one of the team leaders when it's come to adversity.

11. ALLEN ROBINSON (Penn State)

In our view The Best Kept Secret in College Football (and by that we mean not talked about by many people as the incredible playmaker that he is), Allen Robinson has seemingly been able to catch anything that's thrown to him this season.

His last-second acrobatic catch - in which he went around 9 metres to get the pass- against Michigan last week was something to behold. We can't wait until he gets to the NFL.

12. BISHOP SANKEY (Washington)

For fantastic players, Sankey's reliable as a Top 5 running back week in, week out, having hammered through over 900 yards of offense and looked really good doing it. Armed with great speed and power, he shone out against Oregon and Stanford in the last two weeks, and he'll be something to watch in the second half of the season.

13. BRYCE PETTY (Baylor)

To have the best offense in the country you've got to have a really, really good quarterback....and Petty is just that. He's put up 1,680 yards and 13 TDs, helped by bullet-quick Lache Seastrunk and an incredible offensive line, led by offensive guard Cyril Richardson, who's going to be a NFL first-rounder next year.

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