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Top 20 college footballers of the 2019 recruiting class to take the field in the 2021 season

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College football will be riddled with superstars entering the 2021 season, many of whom are juniors or sophomores. From North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell to Georgian receiver George Pickens to USC signaller Kedon Slovis, many of these players will compete for invitations to New York (hopefully … please) as finalists to the Heisman Trophy.

In addition to the potential of achieving individual and team success for their respective programs, these stars are also seeking to make massive cases as high-draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Now let’s rank the top 20 third-year players in the league of 2019 entering the season. Keep in mind that this is not a mock draft, nor a potential NFL Draft rankings. These are players who return to college football for their third year – excluding red-shirt juniors like Georgia quarterback JT Daniels.

1. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina: There’s no question who takes the title of best third-year player in the country, and he’s making his home at Chapel Hill. Howell has proven in two seasons that not only is he one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but he can lead a team to national prominence. His 3,586 yards and 30 touchdowns in the 2020 COVID-shortened season are just a precursor to what should be an incredible junior year.

2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DL, Oregon: The No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2019 has been a star since he set foot on campus in Eugene. He had 38 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and three sacks for the Pac-12 champions last season. He is one of those players who have to double teams up, which gives a huge advantage to the whole defense.

3. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma: Rattler was a flat-out stud in his freshman year as a starter in Norman. He threw for 3,031 yards, rushed for 160, and combined for 34 touchdowns for the Big 12 champions. According to William Hill Sportsbook, the sophomore is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and that is unlikely to change between now and the start of the season.

4. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State: Hall came to Ames in the Class of 2019 and became an instant star. He rushed to 897 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman, then followed it up with a stellar 1,572 yards and 21 touchdowns in the Cyclones’ dream season in 2020. He should push the 2,000-yard mark as long as he stays healthy and gets the season not recondensed.

5. Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M:Green was the number 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2019 and has not disappointed. He made the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2019 and followed it up last season with second-team AP All-American honors. The aggies must determine the flight for the offense to click, and Green is a big part of that plan.

6. Derek Stingley Jr., DB, LSU: The real junior got a little beaten up as a sophomore, which prevented him from repeating his great freshman campaign during LSU’s national title run. He still managed to break five passes and make 27 tackles in seven games for the Tigers.

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7. George Pickens, WR, Georgia:The junior had just 513 yards in seven games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but that came after a 727-yard freshman season that established the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder as a budding star in the SEC. With Daniels entrenched as the starting quarterback, Pickens should push 1,200 yards this year.

8. Kedon Slovis, QB, USC: Slovis threw for 17 touchdowns and 1,921 yards in just six games last year – good for 320.2 yards per game. In terms of golf … that will play. The Trojans still have weapons everywhere, and a somewhat normal low season should send Slovis’ stats to the moon.

9. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama:Harris won a starting job as a linebacker in defense of Nick Saban as a freshman in 2019, and kept that momentum going in 2020 with a great second season. He had 79 tackles last season (second most on the Crimson Tide) and seven tackles before losing to the champions, and should be the foundation of defense as a junior in 2021.

10. Kyle Hamilton, DB, Notre Dame:Hamilton was a big part of Notre Dame’s run to the College Football Playoff last year with 63 tackles and one interception, including eight tackles in the regular season win over Clemson.

11. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State: Wilson and former Buckeye stud Chris Olave were among the top-received tandems in college football last year. With Olave returning, Wilson should get plenty of one-on-one chances this fall. Expect to push for 1,000 receiving yards as a junior.

12. Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M: Tight ends were myths in College Station, but that all changed when Jimbo Fisher took over the program ahead of the 2018 season. Wydermyer had 506 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore, and was a player every defensive coordinator had to pay attention to while watching. film during match week.

13. Kaiir Elam, DB, Florida: Elam was an under-the-radar superstar for the Gators defense last season. He split 11 passes, took out two, and grabbed 39 tackles to help the Gators win the SEC East for the first time since 2016. He should be the center of the secondary squad next season for coach Dan Mullen’s squad.

14. Ahmad Gardner, DB, Cincinnati: The Bearcats defense was the catalyst for their flight to the AAC title and performance at the Peach Bowl, and Gardner was the star of the bunch. Gardner, who was No. 1,672 in the 2019 class, had three interceptions and 28 tackles while being named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.

Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M:Texas A&M was a run-first team last year with Spiller as the leader. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Spring, Texas, had 1,036 yards and nine touchdowns last year and posted 946 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman in 2019.

16. Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF:It’s safe to say that Gabriel is one of the best quarterbacks in college football after back-to-back seasons where he hit the 3,500-yard mark through the air. Not only will that transient production continue into 2021, but his work on the ground should be more of a factor under freshman coach Gus Malzahn.

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17. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, DB, TCU:The 5-foot-9, 177-pounder from Waco, Texas, played bigger than his size suggested in 2020. He had 26 tackles and divided 13 passes in 10 games for the Horned Frogs, earning the All-American award from the second team. of the Associated Press.

18. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College: Flowers had 892 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games for the Eagles, proving new coach Jeff Hafley is the right man for the job. Expect Flowers to be a preseason All-ACC member of the first team before and after the 2021 season.

19. John Metchie III, WR, Alabama: Metchie had 916 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season alongside Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. He will have to be “the man” next season now that Smith, quarterback Mac Jones and running Najee Harris have all left Tuscaloosa.

20. Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina: You might not recognize Harris’s name if you didn’t pay close attention to the Gamecocks last year, but that’s exactly what made his performance even more impressive than your average second season. He rushed for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games for a Gamecocks attack that lacked a consistent passing attack. The defense was on Harris and it didn’t matter. He was that good.

Honorable Mention: West Virginia DB, Tykee Smith, Alabama OL Evan Neal, Indiana DB Taiwan Mullen, Georgia LB Nakobe Dean, Auburn LB Owen Pappoe, Ole Miss RB Jerrion Ealy, Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks, Texas A&M DeMarvin Leal,



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