50 Top College Football Players of 2020

50 Top College Football Players of 2020

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50 Top College Football Players of 2020

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It’s been a tough offseason for college football – and, obviously, the rest of the world – but assuming the teams expecting to still play this season are able to go, there’s still a whole lot of hope for a whole lot of fun.

The star players of the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC might not be able to show what they can do this fall, and other top NFL prospects are going to sit out, but there are still a whole lot of terrific talents who’ll make the 2020 season special.

There are a whole slew of players who could’ve and should’ve made this list, but going into the season, here are the 50 top college football players you’re going to need to know.

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50. QB Zac Thomas, Sr. Appalachian State

The 6-1, 210-pounder threw for 28 touchdowns with six picks, and he ran for 436 yards and seven scores.

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49. QB Sam Howell, Soph. North Carolina

Howell threw two touchdowns or more in all 13 games and threw three scores or more in each of the last five games and in seven of the last eight. He finished his freshman year with 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns with seven picks.

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48. RB Brenden Knox, Jr. Marshall

The 6-0, 220-pounder took over the offense with 1,387 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s going to be a Conference USA star in what should be a national breakout year.

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47. LB Monty Rice, Sr. Georgia

The team’s leading tackler with 89 tackles, Rice is also the leader of the amazing D whether or not he plays in the middle or the outside.

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46. DT Nyles Pinckney, Sr. Clemson

The 6-1, 295-pounder only made 20 tackles with four tackles for loss, but he’s a tough anchor who doesn’t get moved inside.

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45. QB Levi Lewis, Sr. Louisiana

He’s not all that big, but the 5-10, 190-pounder is a good passer hitting 64% of his passes for 3,050 yards and 26 scores with just four picks, and he can move.

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44. QB Shane Buechele, Sr. SMU

The 6-1, 207-pounder might not be big, and he might not have the biggest arm, but he took to the SMU offense instantly after coming in from Texas, throwing for 3,929 yards with 34 touchdowns and ten picks.

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43. LB Garret Wallow, Sr. TCU

The 6-2, 230-pounder is one of the bigger linebacker options in a smallish group, and he has defensive back wheels. He came up with a team-high 125 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.

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42. CB Derion Kendrick, Jr. Clemson

The Clemson secondary has to replace a whole slew of players, but Kendrick is back as a star to work around. He made 43 tackles with two picks with five broken up passes in 2019.

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41. WR George Pickens, Soph. Georgia

One of the star recruits of the 2020 season was great right away, with a team-leading 49 catches for 727 yards and eight scores in a passing game that should’ve been a whole lot better.

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40 S JaCoby Stevens, Sr. LSU

Is he a linebacker? Is he a safety? No, he’s a hybrid of both at 6-2 and 230 pounds in the back of the LSU defense. He’s coming off a 92-tackle season with three interceptions and five sacks.

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39. LB Rayshard Ashby, Sr. Virginia Tech

The 5-10, 237-pound veteran followed up his 105-tackle sophomore season with another team-leading run with 120 stops from his spot on the inside.

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38. S Reed Blankenship, Sr. Middle Tennessee

The all-star safety made 107 tackles with four picks as a sophomore, but he missed most of last year with a knee injury. Back and healthy, he’s going to be a statistical superstar.

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37. DE Tarron Jackson, Sr. Coastal Carolina

The 6-2, 270-pounder is a phenomenal force and a game-wrecker from his spot on the Chanticleer defensive front. He followed up a 58-tackle, 11 tackle-for-loss season with 60 tackles, ten sacks, and 13 tackles for loss.

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36. QB Kyle Trask, Sr. Florida

The 6-5, 239-pound Trask stepped in when needed, and he took off when the job became his, hitting 67% of his passes for 2,941 yards and 25 scores with four rushing scores.

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35. LB KJ Britt, Sr. Auburn

The all-SEC star made 69 tackles with 2.5 sacks and ten tackles for loss as an inside playmaker for the great Tiger D. He’s the leader on the front seven.

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34. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Sr. Notre Dame

On a team full of strong defensive parts, the 6-1, 216-pound Owusu-Koramoah is the one who does it all, leading the team with 80 tackles with 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss with four broken up passes.

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33. WR Seth Williams, Jr. Auburn

A future NFL star No. 1 wide receiver, the 6-3, 224-pound junior has the size to go along with his deep speed. He caught a team-high 59 catch for 830 yards and eight scores for an offense that struggled a bit with the passing game.

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32. WR Tylan Wallace, Sr. Oklahoma State

Wallace was on his way to a special season before suffering a torn ACL. He caught 53 passes for 903 yards and eight scores before getting hurt. Now he’s back and ready to go.

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31. OT Alex Leatherwood, Sr. Alabama

The latest in the long line of special Alabama blockers, the 6-6, 310-pounder will once again be an all-star left tackle to work the front five around.

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30. DT Dante Stills, Jr. West Virginia

The 6-3, 295-pound tough guy on the inside of the Mountaineer defense. he made 26 tackles with eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss next to his brother, Darius.

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29. DT Tyler Davis, Soph. Clemson

Combining with Nyles Pinkney, Davis helps give Clemson a dominant defensive tackle tandem. The 6-2, 295-pounder stepped in as a freshman and made 45 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.

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28. OG Trey Smith, Sr. Tennessee

The 6-6, 335-pounder was considered a prototype left tackle, but after some frightening health issues, he has become a superstar of a guard who’ll soon be a fixture at the next level.

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27. RB Kylin Hill, Sr. Mississippi State

How will he fit into the Mike Leach offense? He’ll continue to be a star. Big on and off the field – he played a big role to put a voice behind the movement to change the Mississippi state flag – he ran for 1,350 yards and ten scores, and can be used more as a receiver.

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26. DT Darius Stills, Sr. West Virginia

After dropping a little bit of weight, the already quick defensive tackle should be even more dangerous behind the line. Next to his brother Dante, Darius came up with 43 tackles with six sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

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25. C Creed Humphrey, Jr. Oklahoma

Underappreciated, the Oklahoma offensive line has been a killer to make the whole thing go. The 6-5, 307-pound Humphrey is the best of the bunch as a consistent all-around blocker who knows how to quarterback the front five.

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24. LB Chazz Surratt, Sr. North Carolina

Originally a star quarterback recruit, he turned into a 230-pound hitter who made 115 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as he grew into the job. Now he’s an NFL-caliber defender.

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23. S Richie Grant, Sr. UCF

For a team known for its offense, Grant has been a standout on the other side with 196 tackles with seven interceptions over the last two years. Now he’s a star of a loaded UCF defensive backfield.

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22. WR Jaylen Waddle, Jr. Alabama

The explosive talent pushed his way into a role in one of the most talented receiving corps of all-time. He caught 78 passes for 1,408 yards and 13 scores – averaging over 18 yards per catch – along with three touchdowns as a returner in his first two years.

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21. S Andre Cisco, Sr. Syracuse

The 6-0, 206-pounder followed up his amazing seven-interception, 60-tackle first season with 65 tackles and five picks. Few defensive backs are better playmakers.

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20. OT Sam Cosmi, Jr. Texas

The future top 15 overall NFL Draft pick has to do more work with a reworked line around him, but he’s the key piece. The 6-7, 310-pounder has the size, and he can move.

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19. S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Sr. Florida State

A phenomenal all-around defensive back and tackler, the 6-4, 220-pounder came up with close to 200 stops over the last two seasons with three picks, becoming more of a playmaker as a junior.

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18. LB Nick Bolton, Jr. Missouri

The 6-0, 230-pound all-SEC star led the team with 107 stops with 7.5 tackles for loss, eight broken up passes and two interceptions. He can work in any linebacking role.

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17. WR DeVonta Smith, Sr. Alabama

Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs were great, but Smith led the Crimson Tide with 1,256 yards and 14 scores on 68 catches.

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16. RB Kenneth Gainwell, Soph. Memphis

He’s not huge at 5-11 and 191 pounds, but good luck trying to tackle him. He ran for 1,459 yards and 13 scores and caught 51 passes for 610 yards and three scores. Now he’ll be even more of a receiver.

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15. QB Brock Purdy, Jr. Iowa State

The 6-1, 210-pound Purdy took over in 2018 and the job has been his ever since, throwing for close to 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season.

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14. QB D'Eriq King, Sr. Miami

Back in 2017 at Houston, King threw for close to 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns with six picks and ran for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns. After sitting out most of last year, he’ll boost up the Hurricane offense.

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13. DE DeAngelo Malone, Sr. WKU

The 6-4, 230-pound Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year dominated after a good sophomore season with 99 tackles, 11 sacks, and 20.5 tackles for loss as a junior.

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12. DT Marvin Wilson, Sr. Florida State

The 6-5, 310-pound Wilson has the quickness to go along with the bulk-strength to anchor the inside, making 44 tackles with five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last year before having a hand problem.

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11. OT Liam Eichenberg, Sr. Notre Dame

No, he might not be the best of the recent lot of star Notre Dame blockers, but the 6-6, 305-pounder should be an early first round pick as someone’s left tackle. He didn’t give up a sack last year.

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10. QB Sam Ehlinger, Sr. Texas

The 6-3, 230-pounder has thrown for 8,870 yards and 68 touchdowns with 22 picks to go along with 1,525 rushing yards and 25 scores as the unquestioned team leader over the last few seasons.

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9. LB Dylan Moses, Jr. Alabama

2018 leading tackler Dylan Moses is back after suffering a torn ACL. A future next-level star, he has to find his groove again after making 86 tackles with 3.5 sacks and ten tackles for loss two years ago.

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8. RB Najee Harris, Sr. Alabama

The superstar recruit of 2017 came up with 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns, and caught 27 passes for 304 yards and four scores. Now he’ll get even more work as a special back to work the offense around.

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7. S Richard LeCounte, Sr. Georgia

At 5-11 and 190 pounds, he has good size to go along with the range, experience, and ability to always be around the ball. He came up with 155 tackles with five interceptions and four forced fumbles in his last two years.

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6. CB Patrick Surtain, Jr. Alabama

He’s a physical 6-2, 203-pound corner who made 42 stops with two picks and eight broken up passes. An ideal NFL talent, he’s one of the nation’s best all-around defensive backs with the right tools to be even stronger.

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5. RB Chuba Hubbard, Jr. Oklahoma State

Very fast with good size and enough power to be fine, he ran for close to 2,100 yards with 21 touchdowns. He’s a workhorse with track star wheels – he’s going to be a stat-machine again in a loaded Cowboy offense.

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4. RB Travis Etienne, Sr. Clemson

A special talent who has been a bit overshadowed by all the talent around him, all he has done in three years is run for over 4,000 yards – averaging close to eight yards per carry – with 56 touchdowns and six receiving scores.

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3. CB Derek Stingley, Soph. LSU

The 6-1, 190-pound Stingley stepped on the field as a true freshman and became an instant star, earning All-America and All-SEC honors, making 38 tackles with six picks and 15 broken up passes.

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2. WR Ja'Marr Chase, Jr. LSU

The 2019 Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s best receiver, Chase exploded with 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging over 21 yards per grab.

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1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jr. Clemson

The sure-thing superstar franchise NFL quarterback-in -waiting, the 6-6, 220-pounder has done the impossible as the replacement for Deshaun Watson. He has lost just one game as a starter, played in two national championships – won one – and with two ACC titles. More mobile than he gets credit for, he took off for 740 yards and ten scores, and threw for close to 7,000 yards and 66 touchdowns in his first two years.

Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports 

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