Top 10 players in college football
Here is our updated version of the top 10 players in college football heading into Week 8. We don’t have a ton of movement in our top two, but several players made a jump after strong Week 7 performances – including a couple of newcomers on the list.
1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
He was his usual excellent self in the Buckeyes’ big win over Penn State this weekend, dominating against the run and producing four pressures, including one sack, in the passing game. He is our top-graded pass-rusher AND top-graded run defender among edge players, and once again looks poised to claim the title of best defensive player in the nation in our PFF grades.
2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette remains No. 2 on this list, after shredding the Florida defense for 180 yards, 2 touchdowns and 11 forced missed tackles. He is our No. 1 running back in rushing grade despite having fewer snaps than the six players ranked behind him on the list. He’s top 5 in nearly every category we have to measure running backs – including yards per carry after contact, and elusive rating. There isn’t a more dominant offensive force in college football right now.
3. Jared Goff, QB, California
Cal is coming off a bye, so Goff moves up by virtue of some other players struggling a bit. He is PFF’s top-graded passer in the country, even after his rough outing in Week 6 versus Utah. His downfield throwing ability is the best in college football.
4. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Buckner moves up on the list after another excellent outing against Washington. He hasn’t had even an average game so far this year, much less a bad one. He is by far the best interior pass-rusher in college football and one of its best run defenders as well.
5. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
The Horned Frogs remain in the mix to make the College Football Playoff, and Boykin is a huge reason why. He hasn’t been as productive a runner this year as he was last season, but he’s made huge improvements as a passer.
6. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
He moves down a few spots on this list after a good but not great performance in the Nittany Lions’ loss to Ohio State last week. He was good against the run but didn’t offer a ton as a pass-rusher – he recorded two sacks but only generated three total pressures, so his box-score stat line was a little misleading. He’s still one of the top edge defenders in the country, however.
7. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
He’s the most well-rounded running back in college football and continues to be the biggest playmaker on Ohio State’s offense. He is also getting better as the season goes on, producing by far his best rushing grade of the season in a win over Penn State last week.
8. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Harris is a new entry on this list, but he’s deserving based on the fact that no edge rusher in the SEC has been more productive so far this season. He’s been great defending the run as well as being very disruptive as a pass-rusher, and he’s actually on pace to eclipse the very impressive grade posted by the edge rusher he replaced at Mizzou: Broncos 2015 first-round pick Shane Ray. He and teammate Kentrell Brothers, our top-graded 4-3 outside linebacker, have been fantastic for the Tigers defense.
9. Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Another new entrant, Jackson makes our list based on his five interceptions so far this season – including a pick-six in the Crimson Tide’s win over Texas A&M last week – and his No. 3 coverage grade among safeties. He’s the top playmaker on what might be the best defense in college football.
10. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
We moved Garrett down our list a little bit this week, after earning a negative grade in the Aggies’ loss to Alabama. He earned a positive grade as a pass-rusher, which is his specialty, but struggled a bit defending the Tide’s power rushing attack. How he performs in SEC play is something to watch with Garrett – last season he posted outstanding grades against lesser competition but didn’t play nearly as well against conference opponents. He’ll need to fare better against SEC teams in order to be considered one of the best in a stacked group of college edge rushers this season.
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Others to watch:
Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Steven Daniels, LB, Boston College
Spencer Drango, LT, Baylor
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama