The top 10 players returning to the Akron Zips for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Kato Nelson, QB
2. Dylan Meeks, DE
3. Bubba Arslanian, LB
4. Jalen Hooks, CB
5. A.J. Watts, CB
6. Randy Cochran Jr., CB
7. Nate Stewart, WR
8. Michael Scott, LB
9. Hunter Corne, G
10. Bryce Petersen, C
Honorable Mention: Ja'Quize Cross, DI
If it feels like Nelson has been around forever, it's because he has. He's thrown for almost 1,000 yards in each of the past three seasons, falling 10 yards shy of the 1,000-yard plateau in 2017. He's the longtime starter for the Zips and though they didn't win a game in 2019, with Nelson returning at full health, they could certainly increase that total a few games this year. He's run for over 300 yards in each year of his career as well.
Though they may not return much on offense, this team does have some valuable players returning on the other side of the ball. They lose a ton on defense as well, including do-everything John Lako, but they do return Meeks who had two sacks and was a sure tackler anytime he got his hands on the ball carrier.
At linebacker, Arslanian should lead the team in tackles this year, taking up responsibilities from Lako's departure while the trio of Watts, Cochran and Hooks could prove formidable in the secondary. Watts led them with five pass breakups last year while Cochran had three and Hooks had another. The entire team combined for just five interceptions a season ago -- and that number should rise.