The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft as come and gone, and multiple stars chose to move on instead of returning to school. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, Texas running back Bijan Robinson and Georgia's Jalen Carter are just a few of the high-profile players will be playing on Sundays next year.
There are quite a few who chose to pass on that NFL paycheck, however. Unlike previous years, the rise of NIL collectives has incentivized draft-eligible players to stick around college. Additionally, the free year of eligibility that was given to players during the 2020 season has also afforded players an option to up their draft stock by playing another season.
Who are the best college football players that made the decision to return? Let's break them down.
1. Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington: The nation's leading passer in yards per game will enter the 2023 season near the top of the Heisman Trophy odds after throwing for 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns for a Huskies team that posted an 11-2 record. He will not only enter the season with a ton of buzz, but will be playing for a team that will be in the thick of the College Football Playoff race.
2. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan: The consensus All-American missed the final two games of the season but still ripped off 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns. He should be the centerpiece of the two-time Big Ten champion's offense as long as he recovers from a meniscus injury.
3. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon: Nix was in the Heisman Trophy race prior to suffering an ankle injury that hampered him down the stretch. Despite that, he still threw for 3,593 yards, rushed for 510 yards and totaled 44 touchdowns. The Pac-12 will be loaded with star quarterbacks, and Nix will be near the top of every list.
4. Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State: Travis was the biggest reason the Seminoles came on strong late in the season. He threw for 3,214 yards, rushed for 417 yards and totaled 32 touchdowns. He is one of several experienced Seminoles who are coming back, which is a big reason why they'll be considered a contender for the CFP in 2023.
5. Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State: Eichenberg finished the season with 120 tackles and was a big part of the Buckeyes' defensive turnaround in their run to the CFP. The first-team All-Big Ten performer and Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist was the leader of a linebacking corps that should be one of the Big Ten's best in 2023.