Cotton Bowl Players To Watch
QB Ian Book, Jr. Notre Dame: The hero in last year’s thrilling comeback bowl win over LSU, he was behind Brandon Wimbush to start the season, but that quickly changed. By Week 3, Book was the starter, and the Irish offense took off, sputtering for just under 23 points per game in the first three, to rolling Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Stanford.
Deadly accurate when he’s on, he completed 70% of his passes for 2,468 yards and 19 touchdowns with six picks, and he can run a little, too. He saved the day against Northwestern, and ran for three scores against Wake Forest.
RB Dexter Williams, Sr. Notre Dame: There was a growing buzz this offseason that the Irish had something special. Williams only ran for 360 yards as a junior, but the switch flipped, and he was ready to roll, but … he was suspended for the first four games, He came back like he was shot out of a cannon, rumbling for 339 yard and four touchdowns against Stanford and Virginia Tech, and he kept on going on the way to a 941-yard, 12 touchdown season.
QB Trevor Lawrence, Fr. Clemson: It was a coin-flip between Lawrence and Justin Fields for the honor of being the nation’s top recruit last season. Fields is transferring for Georgia, and Lawrence is a game away from playing for the national title.
The 6-6, 215-pounder has all the talent and all the tools to eventually be a No. 1 overall draft pick, but this is his first real test under pressure. He’s handled everything just fine so far, completing 65% of his throws for 2,606 yards and 24 touchdowns with just four picks.
DT Christian Wilkins, Sr. Clemson: Notre Dame will have to pick its poison, but it can’t let Wilkins go off – he’s the tone-setter for this all-timer of a defensive front.
Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant and Xavier Thomas are just part of the fun on the outside, but it’s the 6-4, 315-pound Wilkins who rose above the pack just a wee bit as the do-it-all leader in the interior.
The future pro star made 45 tackles, five sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss, and he also got the ball as a fullback, running three times for two touchdowns. NEXT: Honest Thoughts, Fearless Prediction