The 10 most unstoppable forces in college football
Over time, almost every great player develops a “signature” move or ability that becomes synonymous with his name. After ranking the 10 most unstoppable forces in the NFL, Mike Renner is back to rank the unstoppable, invincible and unbeatable moves we’ll see taking the field this year in college football:
1. Leonard Fournette’s truck stick
When Madden introduced the famous truck stick over 10 years ago, it was with players like Leonard Fournette in mind. The LSU running back, more than any other player in college football, breaks tackles by doing nothing more than running through defenders’ souls. His 85 forced missed tackles on 300 carries led the nation.
2. Jourdan Lewis’ awareness
When you’re listed at 5-10, 175 pounds, you have to have some sort of trump card to grade out as the nation’s top cornerback. For Lewis, it’s his knack for knowing exactly when and where the ball is coming. Couple that with his freakishly nimble lower half and you get a shutdown cornerback. In another life the Michigan defensive back would make the NBA’s All-Defensive 1st team, but he’ll have to settle for being a PFF All-American as it stands. His 15 pass breakups led the FBS in 2015.
3. Baker Mayfield’s playmaking
Mayfield may not be known as a running quarterback, but if you’re facing Oklahoma you’d better prepare for his legs. A quarter of Mayfield’s passing yards and over 30 percent of his deep passing yards came outside the pocket last season (NCAA average was 16.3 percent and 14.4 percent respectively). He’s got the kind of ability to extend plays that keeps defensive coordinators up at night.
4. Tim Williams’ first step
Alabama’s Williams is far from a household name and that’s not surprising he’s played a total of 256 snaps over the past two seasons. If you follow PFF at all though you shouldn’t be surprised. Williams has 12 sacks, nine hits, and 44 hurries on 196 pass rushes over that span. That’s a pressure once every three pass rushes – a rate no other edge player in the country can even sniff.
5. Derwin James’ explosiveness
Last season only Jeremy Cash had a higher pass rushing grade among defensive backs than the Florida State true freshman. At 6-3, 213 pounds, James has the burst and pass rushing skills to legitimately be able play the edge full-time if he wanted to. Instead he’ll contend for Jalen Ramsey’s position as an All-American defensive back next season in Tallahassee.
6. Dan Feeney’s feet
Over the past two seasons, Feeney has yielded a stingy 14 pressures on 900 pass blocking snaps. Over 100 guards nationwide let up more than that in 2015 alone. Of those 14 pressures, only one was a sack. The Indiana senior didn’t allow a pressure over his last four games in 2015.
7. Charles Harris’ spin move
Watching Harris execute his patented spin move is a thing of beauty. Luckily for us, he graces us with it game after game. Nearly 20 percent of the Missouri defensive end’s pressures came via the spin last season. If a tackle over sets at all against Harris, they’re toast.
8. Will Geary’s leverage
Good luck getting underneath Kansas State’s 6 foot, 297 pound defensive tackle. Seeing him moved off the line of scrimmage was a rarity last season and that’s why he owns the top the top run defense grade of any interior player returning this year. It’s also worthy of note that Geary had the most tackles of any player in the NCAA last season without a miss (49).
9. Adoree Jackson’s versatility
The two-way player is a rarity in college football. Even more rare though is a two-way player who legitimately excels on both sides of the ball though. Jackson does just that though and throws in highlight reel kick and punt returns for good measure. Over the past two seasons Jackson has averaged 3.68 yards per route (only three players were higher in 2015 nationwide), collected a +9.4 coverage grade, and amassed four return touchdowns.
10. Gehrig Dieter’s hands
35 receivers caught at least 75 passes a season ago. Those receivers averaged 6.2 drops between them and only one player had fewer than two: Gehrig Dieter. The former Bowling Green wide out who transferred to Alabama in the offseason had one lone drop against Ohio a year ago to go along with 92 receptions. He’ll fit in nicely on a sure handed Alabama team that dropped only 7.4 percent of their catchable passes a season ago.