Faculty soccer’s prime 100 gamers for 2021: Spencer Rattler, Kayvon Thibodeaux and extra

NCAAF

We have lastly made it. The 2021 school soccer season is kicking off this week. And in contrast to final 12 months, all conferences are a go proper from the beginning this fall.

With that, it is time to break down the highest 100 gamers who will likely be most value watching. Over the course of some weeks, we had our school soccer consultants vote on which gamers could be greatest this season.

Is Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler primed to be the highest participant? Ought to Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei be ranked increased?

That is the whole rating that got here to fruition as soon as all of the votes had been in. Now, we wait to see what these 100 gamers convey to the sphere as soon as video games get underway.

Methodology: A workforce of greater than 20 voters was offered with a collection of one-on-one votes. For instance, “Who will likely be higher in 2021: Sam Howell or Kedon Slovis?” Greater than 13,000 votes later, these had been the outcomes.

Soar to: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100


QB, Oklahoma
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Rattler seemed shaky early on final season, with six turnovers in a span of 10 quarters in opposition to Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas, and was briefly benched in opposition to the Longhorns. However he bounced again to throw for 3,031 yards with 28 TDs to seven interceptions — with simply three of these over his ultimate seven video games — and full 47 passes of 20 or extra yards final season, which ranked ninth nationally. Now skilled and surrounded by offensive expertise, he is trying to make his case for the Heisman Trophy like all these OU quarterbacks earlier than him.


CB, LSU
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: 2

Stingley has been on campus for less than two seasons and already has twice been an All-American and All-SEC choice. In 22 video games, he has recorded 65 tackles, defended 21 passes and made six interceptions. What’s extra, he is a risk within the return sport and has the power to tug double obligation at receiver, if wanted.


DE, Oregon
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: 6

The potential No. 1 general choose within the 2022 NFL draft, Thibodeaux has demonstrated over the previous two seasons why he arrived in Eugene because the top-ranked participant in 2019 class. He is as dynamic a move rusher as there may be in school soccer, and the stage is about for a large 2021.


OT, Alabama
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Linemen who examine in at 6-foot-7 and 350 kilos aren’t presupposed to be as agile as Neal, who not too long ago accomplished this wild box jump. The junior from Florida was a freshman All-American at left guard, then switched to proper deal with final 12 months the place he gave up only one.5 sacks. With star left deal with Alex Leatherwood off to the NFL, anticipate Neal to change into the anchor of the Alabama offensive line.


QB, North Carolina
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: 22

In his first two seasons at UNC, Howell blossomed into arguably the nation’s greatest QB, accounting for 76 TDs and greater than 7,400 yards. Extra importantly, he has rejuvenated the Tar Heels’ program, bringing a way of swagger to a workforce that had received simply 4 video games in two years previous to his arrival. Now, Howell instructions one of many nation’s most prolific offenses and has UNC followers desirous about the playoff.


WR, Ohio State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: 27

Olave had 50 receptions for 729 yards and 7 touchdowns in a shortened season final 12 months, and the earlier season he had 849 yards. He’s a function of Ohio State’s offense and goes to be a giant asset to the Buckeyes’ new quarterback in 2021. With one other large season, Olave ought to solidify himself as a prime NFL draft prospect.


S, Notre Dame
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

After incomes a number of All-America honors in 2020, Hamilton enters his third (and certain ultimate) season at Notre Dame as one of many nation’s prime defensive backs. Though his interceptions whole dropped from 4 to 1 final 12 months, he is at all times across the ball and practically doubled his solo tackles whole from 2019.


WR, Oklahoma
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Amongst 2021 returnees, nobody averaged extra yards per route run than Mims. He averaged fewer than 25 snaps per sport, however nonetheless caught 37 passes for 610 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is additionally a top-notch punt returner. Simply think about what he can do with a full slate of snaps.


RB, Iowa State
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Corridor is a constant producer for Iowa State, main the nation in carries (279), speeding yards (1,572) and yards after contact final season (820). He was the primary FBS participant to run for not less than 75 yards and a landing in each sport of the season since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000 and have become the Cyclones’ first unanimous All-American in class historical past. Opponents know what they’re in for: Corridor has rushed for greater than 100 yards in opposition to each Massive 12 college in his profession.


LB, Alabama
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Probably the most harmful pass-rushers in school soccer, Anderson began at exterior linebacker as a freshman final season and received All-SEC honors after registering seven sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. And bear in mind, he did all that with no spring apply. With a 12 months and a half below his belt, Anderson says he is snug now and taking the following step towards being the perfect model of himself, which ought to terrify SEC quarterbacks.


DT, Clemson
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

There’s a purpose Clemson returns probably the greatest defensive traces within the nation, and it begins with Bresee, a freshman All-American in 2020 who’s poised for an excellent higher 12 months for the Tigers. Bresee began 10 video games final 12 months, with 33 tackles (6.5 for loss), 4 sacks, two move breakups, a pressured fumble and a security.


QB, USC
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: 26

After finishing 70% of his passes for five,423 yards over the previous two seasons, Slovis enters his junior season with expectations to be among the many nationwide leaders in each passing statistic. He has been at his greatest within the fourth quarter, when he has 14 of his 42 profession landing passes to only one interception.


RB, Texas A&M
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The junior from Texas quietly emerged as probably the greatest operating backs within the nation final season, ending third within the SEC with 103.60 yards per sport. He had 1,036 whole speeding yards on 188 carries, and he added one other 193 yards on 20 catches. Paired with the speedy Devon Achane, the Aggies might boast the perfect one-two punch at operating again within the convention.


RB, Texas
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Within the final 4 video games of his freshman season, Robinson went off: 47 rushes for 522 yards and 4 touchdowns, eight catches for 129 yards and two extra scores. The No. 21 prospect in 2020’s ESPN 300 might be a go-to for Steve Sarkisian’s first Longhorn offense.


DE, Texas A&M
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

At 6-4 and 290 kilos, there won’t be a extra dynamic defensive lineman within the SEC than Leal, who led Texas A&M with eight hurries as a sophomore final season. Aggies defensive coordinator Mike Elko known as him a “distinctive expertise” and somebody who “generally is a mismatch man, whether or not it is an inside or an out of doors man.”


QB, Liberty
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The previous Auburn quarterback has blossomed at Liberty below coach Hugh Freeze, rising into arguably the nation’s prime dual-threat QB. Willis led FBS quarterbacks with 944 speeding yards and 14 touchdowns final season, whereas firing 20 landing passes and ending seventeenth nationally in move effectivity. Willis may be very a lot on the NFL draft radar.


OG, Texas A&M
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Offensive linemen usually get missed, and Inexperienced is not any completely different. A former SEC All-Freshman choice, he was a part of probably the greatest traces within the nation final season and was named an All-American. Heading into his junior season, the 6-4, 325-pound Texas native must be a family identify.


QB, Ole Miss
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Meet maybe essentially the most entertaining participant in school soccer. No QB is extra prepared to chuck it deep in a sport than Corral, who completed fifth within the FBS in passing yards per sport (333.7) and seventh in passing TDs final season. What’s extra, he led the SEC with eight completions of 40 yards or extra. If he can lower down on his interceptions — he threw six in opposition to Arkansas and 5 in opposition to LSU — he might discover himself within the Heisman race.


WR, Ohio State
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Wilson comes into the 2021 season as half of the perfect receiving duo within the nation reverse of Chris Olave. He caught 43 passes for 723 yards and 6 touchdowns final season, and he’s anticipated to take one other leap in 2021, even with the Buckeyes having a quarterback with out school expertise.


QB, Cincinnati
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

He is 30-5 as Cincinnati’s QB1 and may see his file enhance because the Bearcats enter the season as a top-10 workforce. Ridder is the reigning AAC Offensive Participant of the Yr and boasts 6,905 profession passing yards and 57 touchdowns, whereas eclipsing 580 rush yards in three consecutive seasons.


QB, Alabama
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

There have been occasions final season when Younger flashed some uncommon skill, whether or not it was a fastball to a receiver or scrambling from stress. However a restricted schedule stored the true freshman from seeing the form of enjoying time coaches had envisioned for him popping out of Mater Dei Excessive College in California as a five-star prospect. Now, he’ll be thrown into the hearth because the presumptive starter on a workforce with championship expectations.


WR, Alabama
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The second star receiver Jaylen Waddle went down, Metchie stepped up as a dependable goal and big-play risk. He averaged 16.7 yards per catch, totaling 916 yards and 6 touchdowns on 55 catches. With Waddle and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith gone, Metchie will change into an excellent greater focus of the passing sport.


LB, Alabama
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The Louisiana native was thrown into the beginning lineup early as a freshman and skilled some ups and downs. However final season Harris proved what he was able to, rating second on the workforce with 79 tackles, seven of which had been for a loss. He additionally had 4.5 sacks, six QB pressures, two move breakups and an interception.


QB, Georgia
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

So what if it took just a little longer than anticipated for Daniels to make his presence felt at Georgia? He wanted time to get his ft below him after transferring from USC. However as soon as he did, he confirmed why he might make the Bulldogs a championship risk, bookending his 4 begins with 401- and 392-yard passing performances in wins in opposition to Mississippi State and Cincinnati.


DE, Clemson
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Murphy made his presence knowns as a real freshman a 12 months in the past, incomes freshman All-America honors with 51 tackles (together with a team-high 12 for loss) and 4 sacks. He additionally turned the primary Clemson true freshman below coach Dabo Swinney to file three pressured fumbles in a season.


CB, Cincinnati
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A centerpiece of Cincinnati’s signature protection, the person nicknamed “Sauce” earned a number of first- and second-team All-America alternatives in 2020. Gardner intercepted three passes in every of his first two seasons with the Bearcats and boasts 20 move deflections in 23 profession video games.


RB, Auburn
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

There won’t have been a extra spectacular rookie operating again within the nation than Bigsby, who burst onto the scene with 122.4 all-purpose yards per sport final season, profitable SEC Freshman of the Yr honors. The Georgia native is predicted to be the main target of the Tigers’ offense as soon as once more now that final season’s prime three receivers (Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove) are all gone.

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0:24

Tank Bigsby lives as much as his first identify with a crushing stiff-arm earlier than scoring the Auburn landing.


QB, Clemson
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The expectation stage is at all times excessive for Clemson quarterbacks, and it’s no completely different for Uiagalelei, who steps in to switch Heisman Trophy finalist Trevor Lawrence. As a real freshman in 2020, Uiagalelei began two video games whereas Lawrence was out. In 235 snaps over 10 video games, Uiagalelei went 78-of-117 for 914 yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions.

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1:49

As D.J. Uiagalelei will get set to switch Trevor Lawrence, relive the Clemson QB’s prime moments from final season.


QB, Iowa State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: 42

Purdy’s legacy at Iowa State is safe: He holds 25 college information, together with being the winningest quarterback in class historical past. After being named the MVP of the Cyclones’ Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon, Purdy is again with unfinished enterprise. He accomplished 68% of his passes and threw for 322 yards in opposition to Oklahoma within the Massive 12 title sport final 12 months, however his three interceptions had been an excessive amount of to beat in a 27-21 loss. With 19 starters returning, Purdy has yet another likelihood to get Iowa State over that hump and take the Cyclones to even higher heights.


DL, Ohio State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Garrett is utilizing his additional 12 months of eligibility supplied by the NCAA due to COVID-19. He has essentially the most sport expertise of any Ohio State defensive participant with 41 video games and regardless of being shot in the face prior to the season in 2020, Garrett performed in all eight video games throughout the season. As a possible All-American at defensive deal with, Garrett goes to be one of many essential items of the defensive position in 2021.


QB, Coastal Carolina
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The entrance man for faculty soccer’s most shocking workforce in 2020 is again on the teal turf of Conway, South Carolina. McCall was sensible final fall, recording 2,488 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and solely three interceptions, and finishing practically 69% of his passes. He initiatives as a nationwide awards candidate once more.


OL, Iowa
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

As a junior this season, Linderbaum is without doubt one of the greatest facilities within the nation. He was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy final season, which is awarded to the perfect heart in school soccer. He is the anchor of Iowa’s offensive line and provides the offense a ton of stability and consistency up entrance.


QB, UCF
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The 2020 FBS passing-average chief (357 yards per sport) already has a spot alongside Daunte Culpepper, Blake Bortles and the UCF quarterback greats. He has 11 300-yard passing performances in two years, boasts a profession touchdown-to-interception ratio of 61-11 and holds workforce information for yards per completion (14.9) and yards per try (8.91).


WR, LSU
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

LSU has produced its share of explosive receivers over the previous few years, and Boutte is subsequent in line after rising because the Tigers’ go-to receiver final season when Terrace Marshall opted out in November. The 6-foot, 190-pound Boutte was a freshman All-America choice, completed with 5 landing receptions and averaged 16.3 yards per catch.


CB, LSU
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Misplaced in a tough season for LSU in 2020 was the emergence of Ricks, a gifted shutdown cornerback the Tigers might pair with All-American Derek Stingley Jr. Ricks, a 6-2 former four-star prospect, performed in all 10 video games and led the workforce with 4 interceptions.


QB, Miami
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: 45

After opting out of the 2019 season at Houston, King transferred to Miami and immediately reworked the Hurricanes’ offense. King threw for 23 TDs with simply 5 picks and tallied greater than 3,200 yards of offense. The season ended on a low be aware, nonetheless, as King injured his knee in Miami’s bowl sport and required offseason surgical procedure. The rehab hardly slowed him down. King was again operating 7-on-7s this summer season, and stated he is 100% wholesome as he begins his ultimate season with eyes on an ACC championship.

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1:34

D’Eriq King’s first 12 months at Miami has been fairly successful, because the quarterback has thrown for 22 touchdowns and added 4 on the bottom.


OLB/DE, Oklahoma
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Amongst gamers with not less than 15 move rush makes an attempt per sport, solely Bonitto (22.2%) and Michigan’s Kwity Paye (21.1%) had a stress fee over 20%. He logged eight sacks and compelled 21 incompletions, and he’s the important thing to Alex Grinch’s defensive assault.


DB, Alabama
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Jobe was the “different” cornerback at Alabama final season reverse Patrick Surtain II, who was the ninth general choose within the NFL draft. However Jobe, coming into his senior season, is loads gifted in his personal proper and provides the Tide one more nook with lockdown protection abilities. Jobe was second to Surtain a 12 months in the past with 11 move breakups.


WR, Clemson
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

After lacking final season with congenital fusion in his backbone, Ross has been medically cleared to play for the Tigers. Clemson hopes his return means extra explosive large performs down the sphere. In 2019, Ross had 865 yards and eight touchdowns, and he had 1,000 yards receiving as a real freshman in 2018.


CB, Florida
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

There have been some struggles final season by Florida’s protection, however Elam was terrific. The 6-2, 190-pound junior is flexible in several coverages and has very good instincts. He has made 17 profession begins and intercepted two passes final season after selecting off three passes as a freshman, turning into simply the fifth Gator since 2010 to intercept three passes in his first season.


DB, Georgia
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The Bulldogs wanted to replenish their secondary and did simply that with Smith, who transferred from West Virginia after incomes an All-America point out final season. The 5-10, 198-pound junior has 17 profession begins and may match completely into Georgia’s hybrid function of linebacker/slot cornerback/security. He was second on West Virginia’s workforce with eight tackles for loss a 12 months in the past.


TE, Texas A&M
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A strong run-blocker, Wydermyer is equally efficient as a receiver and has the bodily skill and palms to go up and make robust contested catches. And together with his 6-5, 255-pound body, he is by no means simple to convey down. Wydermyer heads into his junior season having caught six landing passes in every of his first two seasons.


DB, Alabama
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

One of many prime true freshmen within the nation, Moore began 11 video games final season at Alabama’s hybrid “star” place and led the workforce with 4 pressured turnovers. An damage stored him out of the Faculty Soccer Playoff and spring apply, however he combines with Josh Jobe to offer the Crimson Tide two of the perfect defensive backs in school soccer.


RB, Kansas State
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Vaughn could also be small at 5-6, however he put up some large numbers in a freshman season that noticed him change into one of many breakout surprises within the nation. Vaughn led Ok-State in speeding (642) and receiving (434) yards and was chosen by coaches because the Massive 12’s freshman of the 12 months. He was named second-team all-conference, the primary Wildcat freshman so honored on the primary or second workforce for the reason that Massive 12 fashioned in 1996.


QB, Indiana
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Penix is coming into the 2021 season recovering from a torn ACL, with Indiana coach Tom Allen saying his restoration has been on schedule. Earlier than the damage, he threw for 1,645 yards, 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in six video games. If the Hoosiers are going to repeat their 2020 success, they’ll want Penix to be the participant he was earlier than the damage, after which some.


RB, Notre Dame
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Williams established himself as a dependable and productive ball service in 2020, ending with 1,125 yards speeding and 13 touchdowns regardless of eclipsing 20 carries in solely three video games. A second-team All-ACC choice, Williams and fellow again Chris Tyree can have key roles in serving to a brand new quarterback (seemingly Wisconsin switch Jack Coan) this fall.


TE, Notre Dame
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Notre Dame has established itself as a nationwide hub for elite tight ends, and Mayer definitely is subsequent in line. The 6-4, 251-pound true sophomore tied for the workforce lead with 42 receptions final season, together with 19 within the ultimate three video games. For a workforce missing star pass-catchers, Mayer can have a featured function.


LB, Alabama
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

After main Tennessee final season with 10 tackles for loss, To’o To’o joins an Alabama linebacker corps that was already probably the greatest items within the nation. To’o To’o’s productiveness and management this preseason has caught the attention of Nick Saban, which means the 6-2, 228-pound junior might simply be probably the most impactful transfers within the nation.


OL, Ohio State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Munford is one other Buckeye making the most of the additional 12 months of eligibility, coming again in 2021. He has performed most of his profession at left deal with, however might find yourself shifting inside to left guard for Ohio State this season because the coaches wish to get all of their greatest offensive linemen on the sphere at one time. He has performed in 45 of the previous 50 video games over the previous 4 seasons for Ohio State, which is essentially the most of any Massive Ten offensive lineman. That have will assist him if he would not transition to a brand new place, however both means, he must be one of many prime lineman within the nation.


WR, USC
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

In a deep and gifted receiving corps, London nonetheless got here in and made an instantaneous impression in his first two seasons. With a few of these gamers off to the NFL, the Trojans will likely be much more reliant on London, who’s the kind of expertise who might play himself into the primary spherical of the NFL draft.


TE, Iowa State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Sufficiently big to function a sixth lineman and nimble sufficient to do all kinds of pass-catching injury within the slot, Kolar is the final word safety blanket for Cyclones quarterback Purdy and an Iowa State workforce carrying its highest expectations ever into 2021.


OT, Mississippi State
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

It is no surprise the Bulldogs needed to maintain off applications like Auburn, Florida State and LSU to maintain Cross within the Magnolia State. Final season, he performed 720 snaps at left deal with, which was 630 snaps greater than some other SEC freshman offensive lineman. He was move blocking on practically each play in Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense, permitting 5 sacks and 13 pressures, in line with ESPN Stats & Data.


DL, Michigan
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Hutchinson’s season ended after three video games final season resulting from a leg damage. The prior 12 months, in 2019, the 6-6 defensive finish had 68 whole tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. With Hutchinson absolutely wholesome, he will see a special function this season with new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald operating a a number of scheme. Hutchinson will play a hybrid defensive finish, linebacker place that can permit him to point out off his versatility.


WR, Indiana
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Fryfogle led the Hoosiers with 721 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns final season, and he did that on 37 catches. Now with fellow receiver Whop Philyor, who led the workforce in receptions, off to the NFL, Fryfogle might see his stats enhance much more. The coaches introduced in switch D.J. Matthews from Florida State, however Fryfogle has change into a giant goal for Penix.


RB, Minnesota
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Ibrahim is the reigning Massive Ten Operating Again of the Yr after he ran for 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2020, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He additionally set a college file with 153.7 yards per sport. With Rashod Bateman gone, he is now the spotlight of the offense as Minnesota tries to contend within the Massive Ten West.


LB, USC
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Jackson has already declared this to be his “cash 12 months” and plans to enter the 2022 NFL draft. It is for good purpose. In 17 profession video games, Jackson has 17 tackles for loss and will likely be among the many greatest pass-rushers within the nation.


DT, Clemson
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

After a breakout 12 months in 2019, Davis struggled by way of accidents final season and solely performed in seven video games, with 17 tackles (5 for loss), two sacks and a move breakup. Utterly wholesome now, look ahead to Davis to regain the shape that made him one of many younger rising defensive tackles within the nation.


DE, Clemson
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Thomas is aiming for this to be a giant 12 months after problems from COVID-19 and strep throat restricted him to seven video games in 2020. He definitely has the aptitude. Thomas earned freshman All-America honors in 2018, with 43 tackles (10.5 for loss) and three.5 sacks and made an on the spot impression. Thomas misplaced 30 kilos this offseason, and Dabo Swinney sees a extra centered participant heading into the season.


LB, Florida
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The one query mark with Cox is a foot damage that required surgical procedure this summer season, however coach Dan Mullen has expressed optimism that the Gators’ greatest pass-rusher will likely be prepared for the opener. The 6-4, 250-pound Cox had a team-leading 18 quarterback hurries and 9.5 tackles for loss in his solely season with Florida after starting his profession at Georgia.


LB, South Carolina
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

One other Georgia native who has flourished with the Gamecocks, Enagbare had six sacks in eight video games final season. At 6-4 and 270 kilos, he is expert sufficient to play linebacker within the NFL, or put his hand within the grime and play defensive finish. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks him because the No. 18 prospect for the 2022 NFL draft.


DL, Ohio State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Ohio State has been a manufacturing unit for NFL-caliber defensive linemen, and Smith is one more that is going by way of the system. He performed in all eight of Ohio State’s video games final season, together with his greatest one coming in opposition to Clemson within the Sugar Bowl with two solo tackles, one deal with for loss, one sack, one pressured fumble and one move defended. Anticipate extra of that in 2021 earlier than he transitions to Sundays.


S, Northwestern
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Whether or not or not Northwestern is ready to replicate its 2020 success is up for debate, however Joseph’s expertise as a security shouldn’t be. He is probably the greatest within the nation, as displayed by his 52 tackles, six interceptions and eight move deflections final season, profitable him the Massive Ten’s Freshman of the Yr award. He’ll make Massive Ten offensive coordinators assume twice earlier than going deep this season.


TE, Alabama
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The 6-4, 230-pound Billingsley performed a few of his greatest soccer down the stretch a 12 months in the past. He had 17 of his 18 catches and 274 of his 287 receiving yards within the ultimate seven video games. Saban challenged Billingsley to be extra dedicated this preseason. “He does have a whole lot of skill … however he is additionally obtained to purchase into the rules and values of the workforce,” Saban stated.


RB, Oklahoma
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Dropping main rusher Rhamondre Stevenson hurts, however Brooks, a 1,000-yard rusher in 2019, returns after a 2020 opt-out. He’s each bit as explosive as Stevenson, and if his pass-catching talents enhance, he will likely be probably the greatest operating backs in school soccer.


QB, Louisville
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Two years in the past, Cunningham took over the beginning QB function midseason for Scott Satterfield’s offense and he instantly proved he was among the many ACC’s greatest abilities, throwing for 22 TDs, speeding for six extra and ending with a gaudy 11.5 yards per move. His function expanded in 2020 however his manufacturing turned a bit much less constant. Turnovers plagued his 2020 marketing campaign, and each Cunningham and Louisville took a step again. Nonetheless, he is one of many nation’s greatest deep-ball passers and his abilities make him a nightmare for opposing defenses. A rebound to his 2019 numbers would possibly simply be the beginning.


DE, Alabama
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

What Saban known as a “fairly important groin damage” has sidelined Ray this preseason, and sadly for the 6-5, 285-pound redshirt senior, accidents have plagued his profession. He performed in seven video games a 12 months in the past after lacking most of 2019 with a foot damage. If Ray can keep wholesome, it could be an enormous enhance for Alabama’s defensive position.


OT, Kentucky
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A 345-pound senior, Kinnard is a ferocious run-blocker for the bodily Wildcats’ offense, and he is nimble in move safety — he allowed solely three sacks all season whereas committing zero holding penalties.


WR, Arkansas
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A 6-3, 225-pounder within the slot, Burks is each one of many extra dependable (75% catch fee) and explosive (16.1 yards per catch) receivers within the nation. He’ll additionally take a handoff out of the backfield a few occasions per sport. He’s an offensive coordinator’s muse.


RB, South Carolina
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

New South Carolina coach Shane Beamer’s recipe for fulfillment would possibly very effectively be discovering extra gamers like Harris, who final season turned the primary Gamecock to steer the SEC in speeding with 1,138 yards in 10 video games. Ranked the No. 93 prospect in Georgia by ESPN Recruiting in 2019, South Carolina was the one SEC workforce to supply him a prospect.


RB/AP, Ole Miss
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

One of many nation’s greatest all-around gamers, Ealy scored touchdowns speeding, receiving and on a kickoff return final season. The 5-9, 190-pound junior will likely be one of many focal factors of the Rebels’ offense this season together with his big-play skill. Lane Kiffin will likely be inventive in getting Ealy the ball in a variety of alternative ways.


DL, Purdue
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Karlaftis did not get to play the total season in 2020, as he was coping with an damage and COVID-19 at varied factors. As a freshman in 2019, Karlaftis was third on the workforce with 54 whole tackles, and he led the workforce with 17 tackles for loss and seven.5 sacks. Purdue and Karlaftis are hoping to get that manufacturing once more in 2021, as he has proven he generally is a dominant drive alongside the defensive position.


DT, West Virginia
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

After a 2019 season when he had seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss, regardless of beginning simply three video games, Stills was a disruptive drive at deal with final 12 months for a WVU protection that led the nation in fewest passing yards allowed per sport (159.6). Professional Soccer Focus gave him the second-best run-stopping grade within the nation final 12 months, saying his 15 tackles for loss or no achieve had been 4 greater than some other Energy 5 inside linemen within the nation.


CB, TCU
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The 5-9, 177-pound Hodges-Tomlinson, nephew of TCU legend LaDainian Tomlinson, was a real lockdown nook as a sophomore in his first 12 months as a starter. In accordance with Professional Soccer Focus, he had the very best protection grade (90.6) within the nation and he broke up extra passes (14, additionally tops within the nation) than he allowed all season (12, on 45 targets).


WR, Georgia
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The Bulldogs have their fingers crossed that Pickens could make it again sooner versus later from a torn ACL he suffered in March. The 6-3, 200-pounder, when wholesome, is without doubt one of the most dynamic receivers in school soccer. Coach Kirby Good stated in July that Pickens was making good progress, however “nonetheless a methods away.”


CB, Indiana
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Mullen is without doubt one of the most essential gamers on an Indiana protection that gave Massive Ten opponents matches in 2020. In eight video games, he recorded 38 whole tackles, 4.5 for loss, three interceptions, seven move deflections and a pressured fumble. The junior turned the primary Indiana cornerback to earn first-team All-America honors in 2020 and will likely be a key participant for Indiana to have success once more in 2021.


LB, Utah
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A two-time All-Pac-12 participant, Lloyd was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 2020, given to the nation’s greatest linebacker. After an abbreviated Utah season, although, he put the NFL on maintain to cap off his school profession with one thing extra memorable.


S, Auburn
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Among the greatest information this offseason for Auburn was that the 6-3, 199-pound Monday was returning for his senior season. A bruising tackler, Monday broke into the beginning lineup for the primary time a 12 months in the past and was fourth on the workforce with 73 whole tackles and two interceptions, one he returned 100 yards for a landing in opposition to Tennessee.


DE, TCU
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Mathis has already performed in 26 video games for the Horned Frogs, together with 4 in a redshirt season in 2018. However he broke out final 12 months with 9 sacks — tied for fifth nationally — and 46 tackles from his edge rusher place. Mathis has good dimension at 6-5 and has added about 25 kilos since arriving at TCU, placing him as much as practically 260 kilos with out dropping his explosion. His 14 tackles for loss had been good for third within the Massive 12 final 12 months.


WR, SMU
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

SMU acquired a giant enhance when Roberson determined to return after accidents the previous two seasons value him 13 video games. He remained productive with 65 receptions for 1,277 yards and 11 touchdowns, and boasts 117 profession receptions for two,079 yards. The nationwide awards candidate offers a confirmed goal for SMU’s subsequent quarterback.


CB, North Carolina
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A five-star recruit, Grimes was set to be the crown jewel of Mack Brown’s 2021 signing class. However when his residence state of Virginia nixed the autumn highschool soccer season resulting from COVID-19, Grimes reclassified, completed highschool early, and enrolled at UNC final August. He noticed restricted motion till November, then blossomed into one of many prime corners within the ACC, permitting simply eight completions on 22 targets with no landing. His breakout efficiency got here within the Orange Bowl, when he completed with three tackles, a TFL, two move break-ups and did not permit a completion.


LB, Wisconsin
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Sanborn has been a defensive chief for the Badgers and has molded himself into one of many prime linebackers nationally. He led the workforce in whole tackles final season with 52, and he additionally had 4 tackles for loss and one sack in simply seven video games. Sanborn is a part of a powerful group of linebackers and a protection trying to bounce again from an up-and-down season in 2020. He is on the Bednarik Award watch listing, which is awarded to the perfect defensive participant in school soccer, and can have an opportunity to have one in every of his greatest seasons but.


LB, Iowa State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

In 12 video games, Rose made 10 run stops at or behind the road of scrimmage. He generated stress on 25% of his blitzes. He dropped into protection consistently and picked off 5 passes. He is without doubt one of the greatest linebackers within the nation it doesn’t matter what he is requested to do.


WR, Boston Faculty
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Flowers considerably improved upon his freshman season at BC as a sophomore in 2020. Final 12 months, he completed with 892 yards receiving, second-most within the ACC, on 56 catches, 9 of which had been touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named to the All-ACC first workforce. He’ll be an integral a part of the Eagles’ offense this season.


DE, Iowa State
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The 245-pounder from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, recorded 15.5 sacks in his previous 16 video games and provides defensive coordinator Jon Heacock the final word weapon for his speedy and complicated 3-3-5 assault.


LB, Texas
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The 6-4, 223-pounder moved from defensive again to linebacker earlier than final season and completed the 12 months because the defensive MVP of the Alamo Bowl, the place he had six tackles, an interception, a fumble restoration and two quarterback hurries. After present process offseason shoulder surgical procedure and lacking the spring, Overshown, generally known as “Agent Zero” for the quantity he wears, goes to be a centerpiece of recent defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s scheme at inside linebacker.


QB, Arizona State
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The starter since his first sport as a real freshman in 2019, Daniels flashed huge potential in his first season, throwing 17 touchdowns to simply two interceptions. With simply 4 video games final season, he did not have time to construct a lot momentum, however now has the chance to make a reputation for himself nationally.


NG, Georgia
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The nostril deal with’s statistics may be underwhelming — 16 tackles and one sack in seven video games in 2020 — however make no mistake: Davis is a giant purpose the Bulldogs led the FBS in run protection in every of the previous two seasons. At 6-6 and 340 kilos, Davis sometimes requires multiple participant to dam him, which frees up linebackers to make performs.


LB, Arkansas
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Nobody has endured the Hogs’ struggles greater than Morgan, a former walk-on, who has performed for 3 completely different coaches since 2016 — Brett Bielema, Chad Morris and Sam Pittman. In his first season as a starter in 2020, he tied for the FBS lead with 12.3 tackles per sport (he had 19 in two completely different contests) to go together with 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.


TE, Washington
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A primary-team All-Pac-12 choice in 2020, Otton has been probably the most dependable tight ends within the nation over the previous two seasons. In 17 video games over that span, he has 50 catches for 602 yards with 5 touchdowns.


RB, Georgia
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

We’d by no means understand how good White may need been since he tore the ACL in each his knees earlier than ever getting a carry for the Bulldogs. The primary occurred throughout his senior season of highschool and the second earlier than his freshman season of school. He is highly effective and strikes the pile effectively and ran for 1,187 yards with 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons.

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0:20

Zamir White catches a brief move from JT Daniels, taking the ball all the way in which to the home for a Bulldogs landing.


OL, Washington
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Kirkland put the NFL on maintain to proceed his improvement at left deal with, the place he has a shiny future on the subsequent stage. He made the change from guard final season and earned a first-team All-Pac-12 nod.


DB, Washington
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

The newest in an extended line of gifted Washington defensive backs, McDuffie has been among the many greatest corners within the Pac-12 since he stepped on campus in 2019. A second-team All-Pac-12 choice in 2020, he’s on a number of main award preseason watch lists.


DE, Cincinnati
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

A Bednarik Award semifinalist in 2020, Sanders is a dynamic move rusher for a possible top-five protection. He has 17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 7 move breakups the previous two seasons. Kiper lists the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Sanders as his No. 6 defensive finish prospect for the 2022 NFL draft.


RB/WR, Texas A&M
Sophomore
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher calls Smith his Swiss Military knife and probably the greatest gamers he has been round, and given Smith’s versatility in his first two seasons, it is easy to see why. Final season, after shifting to operating again, Smith caught 43 passes for 564 yards with six touchdowns and ran 49 occasions for 293 yards with 4 scores. He additionally has returned punts and kickoffs. He’ll line up at slot receiver and within the backfield in 2021, and Fisher figures to seek out myriad methods to get him the ball.


WR, Penn State
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Olave and Wilson understandably get a lot of the recognition relating to naming the perfect broad receivers within the Massive Ten, however Dotson additionally deserves love. Regardless of the Nittany Lions having a down 12 months, he managed to have 884 yards and eight touchdowns in 9 video games. His greatest sport got here in opposition to Ohio State, the place he recorded three landing receptions, one in every of which was arguably the perfect of the 2020 season.

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1:20

Jahan Dotson grabs a formidable one-handed catch and makes magic once more on the following play for a Penn State landing.


RB, Iowa
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Goodson led the workforce in rush yards final season with 812 in eight video games together with seven touchdowns. He shared the load at operating again with Makhi Sargent, who had 76 makes an attempt to Goodson’s 143. Sargent is within the NFL now and Goodson is the function again for Iowa this season. If he can proceed what he was capable of do final season, Goodson must be one of many higher operating backs general.


RB, Oregon
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Verdell had back-to-back 1,000-yard speeding seasons previous to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and the expectation is for him to return to kind in a backfield that additionally options fellow junior Travis Dye. Sturdiness is a query mark, however his expertise shouldn’t be.


WR, Oregon
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Again for his fifth season, Johnson is a vital veteran presence on what must be a dynamic Oregon offense. He enters the season with 114 profession receptions for 1,617 yards and 14 TDs.


DT, Oklahoma
Senior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Thomas did not play a lot early in his profession at Oklahoma, however labored his means right into a beginning job final 12 months as a junior, and he made it rely. Thomas led the Sooners in sacks with 8.5 and tackles for loss with 13 and added eight extra QB hurries. He was chosen to the All-Massive 12 second workforce. At 6-5, 266 kilos, he is a flexible choice for Alex Grinch’s bettering protection that led the Massive 12 in yards allowed and passing yards allowed.


OL, Louisiana
Junior
Final 12 months’s rating: NR

Torrence has began all however one sport for coach Billy Napier since arriving on campus, and in 2019 turned Louisiana’s first true freshman offensive lineman to start out since 2004. At 6-foot-5 and 322 kilos, Torrence anchors a line that final 12 months ranked within the prime seven nationally in fewest sacks and tackles for loss allowed.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson, Kyle Bonagura, Invoice Connelly, David Hale, Chris Low, Harry Lyles Jr., Adam Rittenberg, Alex Scarborough, Mark Schlabach, Tom VanHaaren and Dave Wilson contributed to this story.


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