30 Most Fascinating People - No. 21 to 30
Auburn QB Nick Marshall
Auburn QB Nick Marshall
Posted Feb 28, 2014

30 Most Fascinating People - No. 21 to 30. Who are the most interesting people in the college football world?

Okay, so the Dos Equis man's title is safe for another year. College football, though, still harbors some very interesting characters, both on and away from the field.

A select handful of players, coaches and administrators are going to generate maximum attention and headlines over the next 12 months. Everyone has a story. The following people have angles so compelling that they warrant being talked about long before the opening kickoff of the new season.

No. 1 to 10. Petrino, Franklin, Golson
No. 11 to 20. Fournette, Mariota, Jack

30. Kain Colter's Former Northwestern Teammates
College football is hard work, but is it a job?

The College Athletes Players Association, with Colter as its leading man, is petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to allow Northwestern football players to unionize. The case has been kind of weak so far, but it could divide the Wildcat locker room, regardless of the outcome. This is an evergreen and hot-button issue that's unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Evanston has become ground zero for the debate about the handling of college athletes, which ought to make for some interesting offseason quotes and sound bites from the players and head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

29. QB Rakeem Cato, Marshall
Coming to Huntington theaters this fall, Shaun King: The Sequel. At least that's the plan.

Back in 1998, King led Tommy Bowden's Tulane team to a Conference USA title and a perfect mark, piling up monster numbers along the way. Cato could use that season as his own personal blueprint for success in 2014. An undersized Floridian, just like King, Cato begins his senior year with 91 touchdown passes to go along with a firm handle on the Marshall playbook. Oh, and the unbeaten campaign ought to be in reach throughout the fall since the Herd might be favored in every game of the regular season.

28. QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Even when Andrew Luck was still on the Farm, Stanford never asked its quarterbacks to fly solo. That dynamic could be shifting a bit this year.

Hogan will have help, and yes, the Cardinal still wants to power the ball between the tackles. But after losing so much talent on both sides of the ball to graduation, Hogan will have to shoulder more of the load in 2014. It'll be interesting to see if he's up to the challenge after making modest gains as a passer a season ago. Hogan should get ample support from an evolving corps of pass-catchers bringing back last year's five best wide receivers.

27. DE Vic Beasley, Clemson
Few players delivered a more surprising decision on National Staying Day than Beasley did on Jan. 15.

It seemed for a while as if every junior with even a hint of an NFL future was bolting for the big city in December and January. Surely, the nation's third-leading sacker would leave amateur eligibility on the table, right? Uh-uh. Beasley, the year after getting to the quarterback 13 times, opted to remain at Clemson for his final season. The All-American begins 2014 as one of the game's most decorated defensive players, with a chance to boost his draft stock for 2015.

26. QB Davis Webb, Texas Tech
Now that you've run every other quarterback out of Lubbock, Davis, you better stay healthy.

Since Webb lit up Arizona State in December's Holiday Bowl, three Red Raider quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield, Michael Brewer and Clayton Nicholas, have decided to transfer out of the program. Webb will now run unopposed for the right to be Kliff Kingsbury's full-time triggerman, a plum gig for any young quarterback. As a true freshman, he took half the team's snaps, yet still threw for 2,718 yards and 20 scores. With a year under his belt, and no one looking over his shoulder, Webb is poised to tap into his inner B.J. Symons or Sonny Cumbie or Graham Harrell … or Kliff Kingsbury.

25. QB Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Kiel has found a home in Cincinnati, just 90 miles east of where he played his high school ball in Indiana. And it looks as if he plans on sticking around.

The ever-indecisive former top quarterback recruit of 2012 is finally ready to compete for playing time and show off his strong right arm. Kiel, for those who forgot, is the kid who initially gave verbals to Indiana and LSU, eventually signed with Notre Dame and then transferred after just a year in South Bend. He'll have to earn the right to run Tommy Tuberville's offense in 2014 now that veteran Munchie Legaux has been granted an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA.

24. QB Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Just when it looked as if Keeton was ready to go primetime, he suffered a devastating injury that prematurely ended his junior season.

The talented leader of the Aggies tore the ACL and the MCL in his left knee while being tackled in an Oct. 4 loss to BYU last fall. At the time, he'd already accounted for 20 touchdowns—and just two picks—while earning an increasing amount of national notoriety. Keeton is on track in his rehabilitation to begin participating in June workouts with the team. Good news for NFL scouts who feel he has a bright future on Sundays. Great news for Utah State, which believes it's home to the single most underrated quarterback in college football.

23. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe
Go ahead and call Coach Cut a lot of things. Just don't call him content.

The Blue Devils had a renaissance on grass last year, winning 10 games and the ACC Coastal Division. Cutcliffe is determined to make sure 2013 was the start of something bigger in Durham, rather than some cosmic, one-year anomaly. Duke is much more than just confident and hot these days. It's also loaded with enough returning starters from the squad that went toe-to-toe with Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to repeat as division champs in 2014.

22. QB Nick Marshall, Auburn
So, what do you have in store for an encore, Nick?

Marshall was brilliant in his return to the SEC, following a brief one-year apprenticeship at Garden City (Kans.) Community College. Not only did he account for 26 touchdowns in his first season on the Plains, but he also quarterbacked the Tigers to an SEC crown and a spot in the national championship game. Take note, league defensive coordinators, that the Auburn staff is convinced Marshall can be even more dynamic now that he has a full season in Gus Malzahn's system under his belt.

21. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer
Meyer is off to a flying start in Columbus. But something is missing.

The Buckeyes have gone 24-2 in Meyer's first two years with the program, and they haven't lost a regular season Big Ten game. Finishing last year with back-to-back losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and Clemson in the Orange Bowl, have left Ohio State hungry for some hardware in 2014. This is a huge year for Meyer. QB Braxton Miller is back for his senior season, and a top 10 ranking in the preseason is likely. Anything less than a Big Ten championship is going to be a big disappointment for Meyer and his team.

No. 1 to 10. Petrino, Franklin, Golson
No. 11 to 20. Fournette, Mariota, Jack