A Look at the Top Pros Playing in This Year’s College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff is right around the corner and will feature some of the most talented and exciting young players in the nation. Fans from all around the world will be tuning in to get a glimpse of some of the stars of the future.
That’s why today we’ll be taking a look at some of the most interesting up-and-coming players from the college leagues. In a few short years, some of the names on our list today could be as well-known as players like JJ Watt, Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr. and the other top stars of the NFL.
Connor Cook, Michigan State
This senior quarterback had the chance to go pro last year but decided to stick around at Michigan State. Cook claimed he had unfinished business in college football and has been an unstoppable force in 2015. The signal caller has struggled with a shoulder injury throughout the season but has helped the Spartans to a championship and a playoff spot. He’s earned 24 touchdowns and thrown for nearly three thousand yards (2,921 exactly) this season. He’s easily the most exciting quarterback in the college game at the moment and will be a top pack in the next draft.
Shaq Lawson, Clemson
When Clemson lost two of its star defensive players in Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett, fans were understandably worried about the solidity of the squad. It turns out that there was no need for concern as DE Shaq Lawson has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the college game. Lawson is a dominant player with 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss this season. He’s an incredible edge-rusher and has the versatility to successfully play in multiple roles around the field.
Derrick Henry, Alabama
The record-breaking 2015 Heisman Trophy winner has been truly outstanding all season long. He has put up an incredible 1,986 rushing yards and is a huge asset to the Alabama squad. Henry’s name is likely to be known all around the nation in years to come when he makes the switch to the NFL and excels with a big team. Some critics are still harboring doubts about the youngster’s true potential, but his statistics are incredibly impressive. A good performance in the playoffs will help to cement his status as a truly exciting prospect.
Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Some experts are predicting Conklin to skip his senior season and get drafted for next season, but time will tell how things play out for the young offensive tackle. Physically, Conklin is a beast at 6’6” and 325 pounds. His strength and force have helped his team enjoy a great season in 2015 and he’ll be hoping to put plenty of pressure on their playoff opponents. He could be a first-round pick in the next NFL draft.
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Shepard was a big name back in 2012 after his exciting freshman season. His career took a turn for the worse in the years that followed thanks to injuries and a drop in form. Fortunately, Shepard didn’t let these bad years bring him down and has just put together a great season, putting up some career-best numbers in terms of yards and touchdowns. He’s been one of the best players on the Oklahoma roster and could turn out to be a great WR in the NFL as well.
A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
The Alabama roster is filled with exciting players but Robinson stands out from the crowd. The 20-year old defensive tackle is a remarkable physical specimen, weighing in at 312 pounds for 6’4”. Over the course of the season, Robinson has put up 3.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and an important blocked extra point too.
O.J. Howard, Alabama
Another Alabama player, Howard is a name that football fans have been talking about for quite some time. He may choose to stick around in the college leagues for another season, but the hype around him might be enough to encourage the tight end to make a name for himself in the NFL. He’s had a pretty average season in 2015 and has never really put up incredible stats, but his size and presence on the field have helped him earn an impressive reputation.
Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Recently named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year for 2015, Ragland has got a great chance of winding up on a top NFL roster in the new year. It seems he made the right decision to stick around in the college game and now looks set for a good career. He managed 90 tackles this season, the most of any player on the Alabama roster, and also contributed a couple of forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. He’s the top-rated inside linebacker in the nation and will probably be an early pick in next year’s draft.
Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Alexander missed out on the 2013 season with an unfortunate injury but has since gone on to make a name for himself as possibly the best cornerback in college football. He’ll certainly be a top-rated pick in the NFL draft if he chooses to end his college career after the playoffs.
Jayron Kearse, Clemson
Another Clemson player rounds off our list. Kearse weighs in at 220 pounds for 6’5” and is widely expected to turn into a big player in the NFL. He’s the top rated safety as the draft draws near and has a great season with 52 takedowns and 6.5 tackles for loss. His style of play should be well-suited to the big leagues and plenty of teams will be keeping an eye on him as the playoffs get underway.