Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It may be early, but we know who’s starting to stand out among college football’s elite players. They may not necessarily be household names, and they may not ultimately be Heisman contenders, but they’re absolutely stuffing the stat sheet and doing big things for their teams on both sides of the ball.

Here are 10 college football players who have stood out so far in 2018.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe Murray is going pro in the wrong sport. With 863 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception, he’s certainly looked the part of a star Oklahoma quarterback. He also adds a dual threat, with 169 yards rushing and two touchdowns so far. He’s been so good that he had one rival coach wishing he’d gone pro a year early. He’s looking like a promising early-season Heisman candidate through three games.

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No disrespect to the likes of J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones or Braxton Miller, but it’s been a while since the Buckeyes had a quarterback this good. He has 890 yards and 11 touchdowns to just one interception so far, and he had his best game of the season against his toughest test so far. That 344-yard, two-touchdown performance against TCU looks really good on a resume. Haskins looks to be on his way to a huge season. He is a big reason why, at least early on, Ohio State looks to be the class of the Big Ten once again.

A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The sophomore running back looks like a star in the making for a surging Boston College squad. Dillon is averaging over seven yards per carry, culminating in a total of 432 yards in three games so far. Even if the opposition hasn’t quite been top-notch, what Dillon is doing is impressive. He has four touchdowns to his name, and he’s coming off a 185-yard game against Wake Forest, when the Eagles rode him to the tune of 33 carries. A lot more yards are coming his way.

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson defensive front is really good, but so far, Ferrell has been outpacing everyone in the sack department. He has five sacks in three games, leading the FBS and already over halfway to outpacing his total for the entire 2017 season, in which he racked up 9.5. Two of those sacks came in a disruptive performance against Texas A&M, where he was responsible for three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He could become a sneaky Heisman candidate if this level of defensive disruption continues.

Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes are really hoping Bosa’s injury doesn’t turn out to be a serious one, because he’s been outstanding for them so far. The star defensive lineman has 14 tackles and four sacks in just three games, with at least one sack in each game he’s played. Bosa suffered an abdominal strain against TCU. The hope is that it won’t have any long-term impacts, because he’s poised for a huge year if his health holds.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Herbert has thrown more interceptions than he’d like to — four through three games — but the rest of his numbers are superb. In three games, he has 840 yards and 12 touchdown passes, and he’s added a touchdown on the ground as well. Herbert will have a chance to make a real statement and show everyone just how good he is with a game against seventh-ranked Stanford looming, but he certainly looks like one of the nation’s top quarterbacks.

Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The nation’s leading rusher through three games comes to us from Memphis, where Henderson is taking apart all comers. More astonishingly, he’s done it on just 33 carries. His 521 yards are good for a remarkable 14.5 yards per carry. And while nobody is under any impression that it’ll keep up, he’s still doing amazing things out of the Tigers backfield. He posted one of the most remarkable stat lines we’ll see all season against Navy — 13 carries, 212 yards and three touchdowns. He’s doing truly impressive things.

Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The wild, joyous, pass-happy Hawaii offense is back, and McDonald gets to lead it and post the gaudy passing numbers that come along with it. He is, in fact, doing just that. The sophomore has already thrown for 1,486 yards, 15 touchdowns and no interceptions through four contests. That includes 400-yard games against both Colorado State and Navy, the latter of which saw him throw for six touchdowns. The numbers McDonald posts in 2018 are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Wisconsin’s stunning loss at the hands of BYU, Taylor certainly has held up his end of the bargain. He starred as a freshman and has picked up right where he left off. He’s up to 515 yards and five touchdowns through three games, including a 253-yard day against New Mexico. He failed to find the end zone against BYU, but he still had 117 yards. He’s going to have another big season.

Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A former 5-star recruit, many in Knoxville probably wish this wide receiver never transferred from Tennessee to Colorado State. He’s now thriving with the Rams, with 497 yards through four games, the second-highest total in the country. That includes a 12-catch, 154-yard performance against Arkansas, when he caught two of his four touchdowns on the season. He added another 106 yards in a loss to Florida. He’s looking like a great addition for Colorado State.

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College football Week 4: Players to watch


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title: ‘Alan Bowman, Texas Tech’,
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While former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is tearing up the NFL, current Red Raiders signal-caller Alan Bowman is having his own big year. Last week against a really good defensive Houston squad, the freshman Bowman completed 43 of 59 passes for 605 yards and five TDs. Next up is Oklahoma State in Stillwater for his first Big 12 contest. 

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘AJ Dillon, Boston College’,
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Last week against Wake Forest, in front of a national audience, Dillon showed he is one of the best backs in the country. He ran for 185 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Demon Deacons. Now the Eagles are ranked for the first time since 2008 and will test that ranking against a struggling Purdue squad in West Lafayette.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Travis Etienne, Clemson’,
description: ‘

Etienne exploded against Georgia Southern last week, rushing for 162 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers head to Georgia Tech this week to face a Yellow Jackets defense that allowed Pitt to have success running the football last week. Etienne has scored at least one touchdown in seven of his last eight games.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State’,
description: ‘

A week after hearing some chatter about his passing ability, Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and two TDs against Louisiana. Nice, but it was running for over 100 yards and four touchdowns that made his day truly magical. This week, Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs head to Lexington to face a rising Kentucky squad eager to take out another ranked foe.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Myles Gaskin, Washington’,
description: ‘

It took Gaskin until the third game of the season to finally stretch out. After gaining just 130 yards in the Huskies’ first two games, he ran for 143 yards and a touchdown against Utah. He wishes to get a little bit of revenge against Arizona State, which slowed him down in their meeting last season (the only game last year in which Gaskin did not score a touchdown).

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Will Grier, West Virginia’,
description: ‘

Grier may be the Heisman leader at this point. He’s averaging 380.5 passing yards this season and has thrown nine TDs.  He’s also chomping at the bit to get back on the field after last week’s game at NC State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. Grier faces Kansas State in the Mountaineers’ Big 12 opener. Last year against the Wildcats, Grier threw for 372 yards and four TDs.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Justin Herbert, Oregon’,
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Herbert has gotten off to a fantastic start this season. He has thrown for 840 yards and 12 TDs so far. (He’s thrown at least three touchdowns in each game played.) This week the Ducks go up against Stanford in a huge Pac-12 North battle. Thus far, Oregon has played Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State, so this is a big test to see if this offense is for real.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Texas’,
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Great name, great game. Humphrey is a big-play receiver for the Longhorns, and they’ll need it against TCU. He’s averaging 21 yards per reception this year, and his 47-yard touchdown grab right after halftime against USC last week completely turned that game around. 

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Jerry Jeudy, Alabama’,
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There’s a lot of offensive weapons on the Crimson Tide this year, and Jerry Jeudy is a name you need to know. He has scored two touchdowns in each of Alabama’s three games this year. Last week at Ole Miss, he reeled in a 79-yard TD grab and currently averages 26.1 yards per catch this season. 

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Tyler Johnson, Minnesota’,
description: ‘

Johnson was a one-man wrecking crew against Miami-OH last week. He caught nine passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns against the Redhawks, giving him five scores for the season. He’s averaging an impressive 14 yards per reception on the year. This week, the Golden Gophers travel to Maryland where Johnson could light up the scoreboard some more.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Drew Lock, Missouri’,
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Not many people realize how good Mizzou’s Drew Lock is. In three games this year, he’s already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. (He’s also ran in two scores.) Lock easily led the SEC in passing yards last year and is already at the top this season. He goes up against the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs this week a year after tossing four TDs against them.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Trace McSorley, Penn State’,
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Penn State will travel to Illinois in the Big Ten’s new Friday night games, which will give fans an opportunity to catch up with Trace McSorley. Even with Saquon Barkley doing his thing in the NFL now, McSorley hasn’t missed a beat. Last week against Kent State, he threw for two touchdowns and ran in another three. His passing yardage isn’t astronomical, but he’s thrown or run for 11 TDs this season. 

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic’,
description: ‘

Singletary still hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in a game thus far, but he surely blew up last week against Bethune-Cookman. He finished with 84 yards rushing and five touchdowns against the Wildcats, continuing his streak of 16 games with a touchdown run. (Eleven of those are multiple score games.) The Owls head into Conference USA favorite UCF for a huge Friday night tilt in front of a national audience.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


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title: ‘Brady White, Memphis’,
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When White is good this season, he’s very good. When he’s bad, he’s been awful. Last week against Georgia State, he passed for 269 yards and five TDs. The five touchdown throws match his effort in Week 1 against Mercer. In the Tigers’ loss to Navy, he threw for only 145 yards and no scores. This week against South Alabama allows for another chance to put up huge numbers. 

The Commercial Appeal-USA TODAY NETWORK


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