The Top 100 Players of the 2019 College Football Season

The SI Staff
Sports Illustrated

Our ranking of the Top 100 players in college football for the 2019 season is now complete. We've gone through the series in parts this week, and we've compiled the entire list below. For full capsules on every player in the Top 100, please visit their respective ranking piece:

Nos. 100–51

Nos. 50–26

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Nos. 25–11

Nos. 10–1

And if you don’t see your team’s unsung hero or rising star on this list, check out our breakdown of this year’s toughest snubs before you head for our mentions.

A reminder: In constructing our rankings, the most important factor we assess is how significantly each player’s production will impact his team’s success this season—not how good he was last year, where he sat on 2018 statistical leaderboards or what type of NFL draft prospect he is (although those three factors often have a way of lining up). Put another way, this list is forward-looking, but not too forward-looking.

100. Syracuse K Andre Szmyt

Szmyt joined the Orange in 2017 as a walk-on and two years later enters his redshirt sophomore season with the Lou Groza Award, All-America honors and a streak of 61 made PATs—in addition to a scholarship he was handed halfway through his first season of action last fall.

99. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer

Baylor's upward trajectory under Matt Rhule depends on another big step forward for the junior trigger man.

98. Auburn OL Prince Tega Wanogho

Utilizing the athleticism of a former basketball prospect, Wanogho will man the left tackle spot again for an Auburn team that hopes to pose a stiffer challenge to Alabama and LSU in the SEC West race.

97. Maryland RB Anthony McFarland

Stout rushing defenses await in the Big Ten East and beyond, but another strong campaign could put McFarland into the conversation of college football’s elite rushers.

96. UCF S Richie Grant

Although UCF won't be confused for the nation's best defense, Grant was a key playmaker on a team that ran the table in the regular season for a second consecutive year, making a team-high 109 tackles (including 69 unassisted, which put him among the nation’s leaders in the category) along with six interceptions.

95. Boise State Edge Curtis Weaver

After bursting onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, Weaver came up just a half-sack shy of a second consecutive season in double digits, and he's already No. 6 on Boise State’s all-time sack list.

Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

94. Texas A&M P Braden Mann

Mann, winner of the 2018 Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top punter, returns to College Station looking to set more NCAA records in his senior season.

93. Georgia S JR Reed

Reed was the team's leading tackler in the SEC championship game loss to Alabama, during which he also picked off Tua Tagovailoa in the red zone.

92. Michigan State LB Joe Bachie

Bachie has racked up triple-digit tackles in each of the past two seasons, setting the tone in the middle for two top-five run defenses.

91. Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs

He’s an elite run blocker and has shown steady improvement in pass protection, and he may well be among the first linemen taken in the 2020 NFL draft.

90. Michigan QB Shea Patterson

Those in maize and blue are hoping that new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis's "Speed in space" offense can take Patterson to new heights.

89. Washington DB Myles Bryant

Bryant is coming off a career year, earning All-Pac-12 second team honors after totaling 61 tackles in 2018 as well as all 3.5 of his career sacks.

88. Utah RB Zack Moss

After no-showing on offense in the 2018 Pac-12 title game, the Utes know their status as a trendy conference favorite rides on how far Moss and his fellow skill players can take them.

Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

87. Ohio State QB Justin Fields

After transferring from Georgia in January, Fields has big shoes to fill in the follow-up act to Dwayne Haskins's record-setting season.

86. Alabama S Xavier McKinney

The Crimson Tide have had a safety drafted in five of the last six years, and McKinney is the next in line.

85. Oregon LB Troy Dye

Dye has been a tackling machine since he stepped foot on Oregon’s campus, posting 90 or more tackles in each of his first three seasons, including 109 in 2018. He’s one of just two players in FBS to lead his team in tackles the last three seasons.

84. Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond

He’s not the SEC’s highest-profile quarterback, but Mond is just as important to his team’s success as any of the league's headliners. His ability to hurt teams on the ground and through the air gives Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher his best quarterback since Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

83. Georgia Southern CB Kindle Vildor

Vildor led the Sun Belt with 12 passes defended, and he’s not afraid to stick his face into a hit, finishing last season with 4.5 TFLs. He earned Pro Football Focus's second-highest grade among all returning FBS cornerbacks.

82. Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Head coach Ryan Day's first season at the controls in Columbus depends in large part on a return to Dobbins's freshman form.

81. Missouri DB DeMarkus Acy

A safety prospect coming out of high school, Acy’s comfort level on the outside has grown, a dangerous thought for anyone who has to line up across from the 6'2" cover man in his senior season.

80. Utah State LB David Woodward

Woodward started every game for Utah State as a sophomore, racking up 134 tackles—including 12.5 for loss and 5.0 sacks—and was rewarded with a PFF Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year accolade.

79. Oklahoma TE Grant Calcaterra

In 2018, he registered 26 receptions for 396 yards and six touchdowns, and was the poster child for the conference’s growing trend of using flex tight ends.

78. UCF RB Greg McCrae

After joining the team as a walk-on three years ago, last season McCrae became the first UCF running back to rush for at least 1,000 yards since 2013, and his 8.89 yards per carry were the third-most in the country by qualified running backs—and he wasn’t even a starter.

77. Utah DL Leki Fotu

The 6'5", 330-pound Fotu tallied 33 tackles, including three sacks, in the 2018 season, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors.

76. Ohio State LB Malik Harrison

As the only linebacker with a set-in-stone starting spot in 2019, Harrison will be a crucial pillar of the Buckeyes’ defense.

75. Clemson CB AJ Terrell

Terrell shot onto the national radar last January when he intercepted a Tua Tagovailoa pass and ran it back 44 yards for the first defensive touchdown in the history of the national championship in the College Football Playoff era.

74. Michigan State DL Raequan Williams

Though many expected him to declare for the draft and leave his college days behind, Williams will play out his senior season as the space-eater around which the Spartans build their defense.

73. Vanderbilt TE Jared Pinkney

The redshirt senior is again expected to be a big part of the Vanderbilt offense in 2019 after tallying 774 yards and seven touchdowns on 50 receptions in Kyle Shurmur’s final year at quarterback.

72. Arizona QB Khalil Tate

If Tate can stay healthy all season to help Arizona pick up its suspect defense, the Wildcats will cause some Pac-12 South havoc.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

71. Alabama RB Najee Harris

Coming out of high school as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Harris has really yet to show all that he is capable of as a member of the Crimson Tide’s backfield rotation. There’s no one in his way now.

70. Washington OL Nick Harris

The short but well-built Southern California product has been an anchor of the Huskies' interior offensive line for two years now, starting 26 of the Huskies' last 27 games and earning All-Pac-12 first-team honors in 2018 after switching to center.

69. Penn State DL Yetur Gross-Matos

Last year Gross-Matos became the 11th player in Penn State history to record 20 tackles for loss in a single season; only eight players in the FBS had more.

68. Houston QB D'Eriq King

With Dana Holgorsen looking to light up the scoreboard, expect King to come back healthy, stronger, faster and eager to show the CFB world he is the real deal.

67. Michigan CB Lavert Hill

An All-Big Ten selection and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist, Hill tallied 14 total tackles, six pass breakups and a pick-six in his second year as a starting corner in Don Brown's defense.

66. Georgia LB Monty Rice

Rice led the SEC with a 3.0% missed tackle percentage (per PFF), making him an incredibly valuable asset on the Bulldogs' defense.

65. Iowa OL Alaric Jackson

Jackson’s surprising athleticism for his size has made him an exciting potential first-round draft pick. Now he will look to provide stabilizing pass-protection for an Iowa team facing one of the most difficult schedules in college football.

64. Arizona RB JJ Taylor

Despite standing at just 5'6", Taylor serves as a big presence on an Arizona team looking to build upon last year’s uneven start under Kevin Sumlin.

63. Texas S Caden Sterns

Assuming he's healthy by Week 1—he underwent a procedure on his patellar tendon requiring an eight-week recovery this spring—Sterns should take on a leadership role for a defense that lost almost every other key contributor on the back end.

62. Minnesota WR Tyler Johnson

Last season, the Minneapolis native tied the school record for 100-yard receiving games (six) and became the first Gopher to post four consecutive 100-yard games in conference play. As a senior, Johnson is the primary playmaker on whose shoulders the Gophers' darkhorse Big Ten West hopes rest.

61. Alabama Edge Anfernee Jennings

Jennings is a relentless rusher who’s too fast for most offensive tackles to deal with from the “Jack” position.

Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

60. North Texas QB Mason Fine

Fine is a natural thrower who put up eye-popping numbers his last two seasons—4,052 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2017 and 3,793 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2018—in the departed Graham Harrell’s air-raid offense.

59. Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson

Jefferson impressed from the jump in 2018 as a freshman, rushing for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns. He showed vision beyond his years and had several monster games, including a 31-carry, 254-yard effort against Arizona State.

58. Auburn LB Marlon Davidson

Having collected 16.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in his first three seasons, Davidson will be in a prime position to break out this fall as fellow linemen Derrick Brown and Nick Coe draw keen attention from opposing offenses.

57. Notre Dame LB Alohi Gilman

A Navy transfer and a Hawaii native, Gilman impressed in his first season with the Irish as a rangy safety with a nose for the ball.

56. TCU WR Jalen Reagor

Few receivers meant as much to their team’s passing game as Reagor did in 2018. His 72 catches accounted for over 30% of TCU’s completions, and his 1,061 receiving yards were more than 600 yards better than the next closest TCU wideout.

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

55. Wisconsin OL Cole Van Lanen

Despite starting just one game last season, Van Lanen played in every game and looked comfortable, earning the nation’s highest offensive tackle grade from Pro Football Focus.

54. Cal LB Evan Weaver

A converted defensive end, Weaver is a ruthless, throwback linebacker in run support, and he holds his own in the passing game.

53. Oklahoma RB Trey Sermon

Sermon probably flew under the radar last season while playing in a juggernaut offense with the likes of Kyler Murray, Hollywood Brown and CeeDee Lamb, but that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s a more than capable of powering the Sooners himself.

52. Michigan State DL Kenny Willekes

Willekes broke his leg in Michigan State’s Redbox Bowl loss to Oregon, which limited him in the spring, but he should be ready to go full-throttle and pick up where he left off when the season rolls around.

51. Utah CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is a long corner who excelled when matched up with future pros JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Dillon Mitchell in games against Stanford and Oregon, and he will lead a Utah defense that should be formidable once again in 2019.

50. Georgia S Richard Lecounte

The physical tools and flashes of greatness are there for Lecounte, who led the Bulldogs in tackles last season but is yet to fully put everything together.

49. Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray

Few players fly around the way Murray does, as evidenced by his eye-popping 155 total tackles in 2018. He made 28 tackles in last September’s overtime win against Army alone.

48. Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons, the Tigers’ leading tackler last season, patrols the middle of the field in various roles, though he excels in the box, where he can use his speed and elite athleticism to shoot gaps and disrupt.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

47. LSU CB Kristian Fulton

After playing in just three games in 2016 and missing all of 2017 with a suspension, Fulton proved his coverage chops last season playing opposite Greedy Williams.

46. Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam

Okwuegbunam has played in 18 games in his college career and scored 17 touchdowns, which is remarkable. The 6’5”, 255 pound Missouri Tiger is the quintessential athletic tight end who threatens defenses up the seam, and he’s an incredibly difficult cover in the red zone.

45. Clemson DL Nyles Pinckney

The news that tackle Dexter Lawrence would miss the College Football Playoff while serving a suspension for a positive PED test threatened to derail Clemson's title hopes, but Pinckney stepped in and played to the level of the Tigers' other NFL-bound starters in blowout wins over Notre Dame and Alabama.

44. Texas WR Collin Johnson

At 6’6”, Johnson a monster on jump balls and a weapon in the red zone. He’ll have to prove himself as a No. 1 receiver with Lil’Jordan Humphrey gone, but he already has a strong established rapport with quarterback Sam Ehlinger, which bodes well.

43. Syracuse S Andre Cisco

Cisco had one of the best seasons of any true freshman in college football last year. Using his length, instincts and ability to quickly drive toward the ball, he intercepted seven passes from the safety spot in 2018, which helped him garner first team All-ACC honors.

42. Arizona State RB Eno Benjamin

Benjamin runs with tremendous vision and balance and carried Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils last season by rushing for 1,642 yards and 16 touchdowns on a whopping 300 carries.

John Weast/Getty Images
John Weast/Getty Images

41. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

Ehlinger took the reigns as the Texas starter last season and didn’t look back. He threw for 25 touchdowns and rushed for 16, becoming just the eighth player in college football history to total 25 touchdowns passing and 15 rushing.

40. Michigan LB Khaleke Hudson

Roaming all over the field in the Jabrill Peppers mold, Hudson is a playmaker more than anything else, both near the line of scrimmage and deep in the secondary. His numbers saw a sharp decline in 2018 from his breakout 2017 season, but he’s still a highly-talented, highly-versatile player.

39. Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Waddle is at his best with the ball in his hands in space. Blending precise route running with his game-breaking run-after-catch ability, Waddle burst onto the scene with 848 yards receiving and seven touchdowns last season.

38. Florida DL Jabari Zuniga

Zuniga is a prototypical explosive edge defender in that he has both the speed to get to the quarterback and the strength to hold up in run support, which makes him a valuable piece for what should be a talented Gator defense.

37. Georgia RB D'Andre Swift

Swift is a decisive runner with devastating cuts at the point of attack and the speed to make defenses pay for taking poor angles. At 5’9” and 215 pounds, Swift is able to shed would-be tacklers with ease and finish runs with authority.

36. Stanford OL Walker Little

A first-team all-league player last season, Little was rock-solid while protecting K.J. Costello’s blindside, and might be Stanford’s most indispensible player not-named Costello.

Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

35. Clemson WR Justyn Ross

As a true freshman, Ross exploded onto the scene in last season’s College Football Playoff by turning in a combined 12 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame and Alabama. He is 6’4” with breakaway speed, making him one of the toughest covers in college football.

34. Miami LB Shaq Quarterman

Quarterman has steadily improved during his three years with the Hurricanes, rising from All-ACC third team as a freshman to second team as a sophomore and first team last season as a junior. After notching 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2018, Quarterman will be the fulcrum of Miami’s defense in Diaz’s first season as head coach.

33. Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Lamb isn’t just a one-handed catch aficionado—he’s one of the most complete wideouts in all of college football. He put up 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns last season on 17.8 yards per catch, terrorizing defenses both by running under rainbow deep balls and making contested catches along the sidelines.

32. Alabama OL Alex Leatherwood

Leatherwood, the latest mauling Alabama offensive lineman, helped open holes for the Tide’s dominant running game last season as a right guard. He might be the best interior run-blocker in the country.

31. Notre Dame DL Julian Okwara

Okwara lives in opposing backfields. He accrued eight sacks and 21 hurries last season, and he returns as the lynchpin of a Notre Dame defensive line that will need to be strong after some turnover at linebacker.

30. Virginia CB Bryce Hall

As a junior, Hall tied for the FBS lead with 24 passes defensed, including a nation-leading 22 breakups. With a next-level frame at a listed 6'1" and 200 pounds, he enters his final season of college ball with the immense respect of opposing offensive coordinators.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

29. Vanderbilt RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn

A powerful north-south runner who’s slippery in space, Vaughn amassed 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns last season in his first with the Commodores after transferring from Illinois, and he enters 2019 as one of the most underrated backs in the country.

28. Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

You know the story. Hurts took Alabama to two-straight national championships as an underclassmen before losing the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa, and last season he played a key role in relief by helping the Crimson Tide stave off Georgia when Tagovailoa went down in the SEC championship. Now, Hurts is at Oklahoma as a grad transfer, and all offseason rumblings point to him fitting in seamlessly.

27. Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

While Kyler Murray and Hollywood Brown stole most of the headlines last season, another player in the state of Oklahoma put up monster numbers: Tylan Wallace. Wallace had 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019, and he routinely made contested catches look easy.

26. Auburn DL Nick Coe

Coe made a leap from two sacks as a freshman in 2017 to seven last season, and he should be a major problem for opposing offensive tackles this fall.

25. Washington OT Trey Adams

Adams is one of the top offensive tackles in the country, even if he just hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He stands at a hulking 6’8” and 327 pounds, and he should be a brick wall for new Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason this season if he can stay healthy.

24. Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

After a foot injury sidelined Diggs after just six games in 2018, the Maryland native should be a weapon in the secondary this season as he continues to hone his craft as a corner.

Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

23. Georgia QB Jake Fromm

Fromm may draw less hype than Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, but he shouldn’t be far behind. His numbers last season—2,761 yards, 30 touchdowns and just six picks with a 67% completion rate—were incredible, and he was stellar in big games, tossing a combined nine touchdowns to one interception against Alabama, Florida and Texas.

22. Utah DL Bradlee Anae

Anae has recorded 17 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in 27 games at Utah, and he decided to return to school after getting a mid-round NFL draft grade after the 2018 season. He's an explosive athlete on the edge who’s too quick for most offensive tackles to deal with.

21. Wisconsin OL Tyler Biadasz

Biadasz has anchored Wisconsin’s stalwart offensive line for two seasons now, and he’ll be back to help create holes for star running back Jonathan Taylor. Rated the top center in the country last season by Pro Football Focus, Biadasz has helped Taylor rush for 4,171 yards and 29 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

20. Clemson WR Tee Higgins

Higgins struggled with injuries and consistency in 2017, but he broke out in a major way in 2018. A big-bodied downfield threat, Higgins should be a terror this season opposite Justyn Ross after posting 936 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.

19. Florida CB CJ Henderson

The latest in a long line of elite defensive backs for the Gators, Henderson has grabbed six interceptions in two seasons with Florida, and he took two of them back for touchdowns in 2017. He isn’t always tested a ton because of his superb cover skills as a cornerback, but he’s also shown an ability to cover for others’ mistakes in the secondary.

Northwestern Paddy Fisher best college football players 2019
Northwestern Paddy Fisher best college football players 2019

18. Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher

At 6’4” and 241 pounds, Fisher is a disruptive, thumping linebacker who has amassed 227 tackles in his first two seasons. He’ll lead a defense looking to bring Northwestern back to the Big Ten title game.

17. Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

At 6'5" and 320 pounds, Thomas's imposing presence on the left side now provides quarterback Jake Fromm all the time he needs to make UGA's offense hum.

16. Alabama LB Dylan Moses

After injuries briefly forced him into a key role in 2017, Moses emerged as a defensive leader over a sophomore season that earned him All-SEC and All-America honors. The 6’3”, 235-pound Butkus Award semifinalist brings experience to Nick Saban’s defense.

15. Boston College RB AJ Dillon

Dillon had a stellar freshman season in 2017, setting the school record for rushing yards by a freshman (1,589), which was seventh-best in the country, while adding 14 touchdowns. He was hampered by injuries in 2018 and had a “down year” by his standards, rushing for 1,108 yards with 10 touchdowns, but still led the ACC in rushing yards per game.

14. Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa

Epenesa played only about half of Iowa’s snaps on defense last season, and still managed to finish the season with 10.5 sacks. The 6’5”, 280-pound defensive end is speedy for his size, and as a junior this fall, he should see his role increase.

13. Oregon OT Penei Sewell

Last fall, Sewell became the first Oregon freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener since 1997. After starting the first six games for the Ducks, he missed six weeks with a right leg injury. The 6’6”, 345-pounder is back and healthy now and had a solid spring.

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

12. Colorado WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Colorado’s versatile wideout led the nation in catches per game (9.6) last season as a sophomore and rolled up 1,011 yards receiving despite missing three games for a toe injury he had surgically repaired this spring. A healthy Shenault is the receiver version of Kyler Murray.

11. Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Herbert may have the best arm in college football, and that should be on display for a high-flying Oregon offense this fall. In 2018, his first full season starting, he threw for 3,151 yards, including 29 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.

10. Alabama DL Raekwon Davis

Is this the year Davis breaks out as one of the nation’s top defensive playmakers? We’ve all been waiting for this athletic freak—he stands 6’7” and weighs 315 pounds—to single handedly destroy offensive lines, especially after a sophomore season in 2017 that included 8.5 sacks, but Davis’s numbers slipped last year, so much so that he surprisingly decided to bypass the NFL draft and return for a fourth year.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

9. Ohio State DL Chase Young

Coming off a sophomore season in which he had 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss (highlighted by his game-winning fourth-down stop of Penn State RB Miles Sanders), Young should be the most feared member of a unit that is out for respect after several offseason staff changes.

8. Purdue WR Rondale Moore

Moore was the best wide receiver in the Big Ten last year—as a freshman. The former four-star recruit slid right into the starting lineup under then-second year head coach Jeff Brohm and recorded 114 catches for 1,258 yards with 12 touchdowns. Unafraid of big moments, his best performance came when the spotlight shone the brightest, in Purdue's upset of Ohio State.

7. Clemson RB Travis Etienne

Etienne became a household name in 2018, when he averaged 8.1 yards per carry and scored 24 rushing touchdowns, most in the FBS. He's put on some added muscle this offseason, which will bode well as far as pass blocking and breaking tackles, and in Clemson’s balanced offense, he should be ready to catch a few passes from Trevor Lawrence, as well.

Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

6. LSU S Grant Delpit

In 2018, Delpit had five interceptions, five sacks, recorded a fumble and forced another one. LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda plans to take even more advantage of Delpit’s skills this season, hoping to utilize him across the field as a pass rusher as well as a deep cover man.

5. Auburn DL Derrick Brown

Among Auburn's feared front seven, Brown is the one with the highest ceiling: His athleticism at 6'5" and 318 pounds means that he can toss aside many interior linemen and clog up the middle as much as he wants otherwise. He has dates in the backfield with three of the country's best QBs—Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm and Tua Tagovailoa—already lined up.

4. Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

The rising junior, who spent part of his offseason working out and refining his skills with Oakland Raiders WR Antonio Brown, is poised to be Alabama’s next great wide receiver. In 2018, Jeudy caught 68 balls for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns, the latter two stats ranking second in the program’s single-season record book.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

3. Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor

Taylor led the country with 2,194 rushing yards last season, and in Wisconsin’s retooled offense—gone is quarterback Alex Hornibrook—he’ll have just as essential of a role this fall. The Badgers still aren’t certain who their next quarterback will be, and they’ll rely on Taylor, who also averaged 7.2 yards per carry last year despite the volume of work he received.

2. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa broke school records, captained one of the sport’s most explosive offenses and led the Crimson Tide to the national championship game, but he finished second in the Heisman Trophy to the gifted Kyler Murray and lost to Clemson in January’s CFP title match. Expecting Tagovailoa to exceed last year’s numbers—3,966 passing yards, 43 TDs—is asking a lot, but it’s not impossible.

1. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

Tua may be coming off of one of the best statistical seasons in college football history, but it's Trevor who has set himself the highest ceiling for 2019 after stepping into the College Football Playoff limelight as a true freshman and strafing Notre Dame and Alabama to lift Clemson to its second national title in three years. With two seasons left until the NFL comes calling and a war chest of skill players to distribute the ball to—including fellow Top 100 honorees Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross—Lawrence will stand alone atop the college game if he brings the Tigers back to the playoff.

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