10 players who just missed our 101 best CFB players ranking
The goal of our 101 best players in college football list is to identify the best college players heading into the 2016 season. These 10 players were in consideration, but for one reason or another just missed the cut.
However, they’re poised to have productive 2016 seasons and are worth highlighting on the just-missed list:
- Matt Milano, LB, Boston College
Milano was a monster on his limited 101 snaps in 2014 and he carried it right into 2015 to finish with the 10th-best linebacker grade in the nation. His +17.6 grade against the run ranked ninth and he graded positively in coverage and as a pass rusher, where he picked up six sacks, eight QB hits and 15 hurries on only 101 rushes.
- Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
After ranking 16th in the nation among tight ends in 2014, Engram took a step back last season as Ole Miss spread the ball around a bit more in the passing game. Expect a more expanded role this season where Engram can use his athleticism to make plays down the seam or after the catch on short passes.
- Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
A physical defensive back that can do a lot of things well, Awuzie’s coverage grade (+9.5) and run support grade (+4.9) both rank in the top 20 among returning FBS cornerbacks (No’s 17 and 14 respectively). Awuzie also excels as a pass rusher and in 2015 he collected four sacks, six hits, 12 hurries and a +4.6 pass rush grade which ranks No.2 among returning FBS cornerbacks.
- Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Wolverines’ defensive line is absolutely loaded for 2016. Taco Charlton provides them with pass rush production from either defensive end position. Charlton generated 41 total pressures on 213 snaps in 2015 and his 15.1 pass rushing productivity rating ranks No. 1 among all returning FBS 4-3 defensive ends.
- George Kittle, TE, Iowa
Often college tight ends excel at either blocking or pass catching, but Kittle does both well. His +11.0 run blocking grade ranks No. 5 among returning FBS tight ends. Kittle also showed his prowess as a pass catcher and his 3.09 yards per route run ranks No. 1 among all returning FBS tight ends.
- Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
Qualls is a very light-footed big man who graded positively both as a run defender (+11.5) and as a pass rusher (+6.4). Opposing blockers have a hard time moving Qualls out of the way and he frequently draws the attention of more than one blocker. Qualls also has the quickness to provide some interior pass rush and provided the Huskies’ with five sacks, three hits and 13 hurries in 2015.
- Jermaine Carter Jr., LB, Maryland
Jermaine Carter Jr.’s 2015 grades highlight his impressive level of play as well as his versatility. Among returning FBS linebackers, Carter Jr.’s +5.7 coverage grade ranks ninth, while his +15.5 run grade and +19.9 overall grade rank fourth, respectively. With rankings like that it’s clear that Jermaine Carter Jr. is one of the best linebackers in the country.
- Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Butt is one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in college football. Butt showed in 2015 that he could line up in the backfield, in the slot or in-line and still get open. Butt’s +10.1 receiving grade ranks No.1 among returning FBS tight ends.
- J.J. Dielman, OT, Utah
Dielman is a talented run blocker with NFL bloodlines (cousin Kris was a Pro-Bowl guard with the Chargers). Dielman’s +18.4 overall grade ranks No. 10 among returning FBS tackles. Dielman is one of the better run-blocking tackles in college football and his +16.3 run-blocking grade ranks No. 7 among returning FBS tackles.
- Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
The versatile Pumphrey has scored 20 touchdown in each of his last two seasons. He is a talented route-runner and receiver and a dangerous open-field runner. Pumphrey’s 81 missed tackles last season rank No.2 among returning FBS running backs, after only LSU’s Leonard Fournette.