Top 10 players in college football

Through nine weeks of play, Joey Bosa sits atop our ranking of the best performers according to PFF's data.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Top 10 players in college football

Believe it or not, we’ve already reached Week 10 of the college football season. Here are the top 10 players in the country through nine weeks:

1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The Buckeyes were off last week, heading into this week’s matchup with Minnesota. Bosa is still the highest-ranked edge defender in the country, however, excelling as an edge rusher and interior pass-rusher. He does his best work against the run, with the top run-defense grade in the nation.

2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The top offensive player in college football was on a bye last week ahead of this week’s showdown at Alabama. The Crimson Tide defensive front might be the best he’s faced all season, but he should be up to the task. He is No. 1 in our running back grades, and Bama could have a tough time getting him on the ground. He leads the nation in broken tackles with 58, and is second in yards after contact per attempts with 4.35.

3. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

With another strong week, Boykin could challenge for a spot in the top two. He is PFF’s top-graded quarterback after yet another excellent performance in a win over West Virginia last week. He is connecting on 52.2 percent of his deep throws (20 yards or more downfield), good for eighth in the country, including 13 touchdowns and just one interception. He also ranks in the top 20 of rushing grades among QBs.

4. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

There’s a case to be made that Ogbah is the best edge rusher in college football right now. He is No. 1 in our pass-rush grades among edge defenders and leads the nation with 52 quarterback pressures. He isn’t quite as good as the nation’s other top edge defenders against the run, but he’s still been effective in that area, particularly last week versus Texas Tech.

5. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

This guy has been unbelievable this year. He has been outstanding against both the run and the pass, ranking No. 1 in run-stop percentage among 3-4 defensive ends and leading his position group with 40 total quarterback pressures. There isn’t a better interior defender in the country.

6. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Mayfield continues to climb in our PFF grades, now ranking as the No. 2 quarterback behind Boykin. He ranks in the top 10 of accuracy percentage and has been performing well under pressure. The average college quarterback sees a drop of 36 points in QB rating when facing a pass rush, while Mayfield’s drops just 11 points.

7. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

McCaffrey is our third-ranked running back, and continues to stand out as one of the best all-around players in college football. His rushing grade is sixth in the country, his receiving grade is first and his kick-return grade is fifth. He’s been a driving force behind Stanford’s success this season.

8. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Doctson is a new entry to this list, as the No. 1 wide receiver in our rankings. His numbers are off the charts: No. 2 in wide receiver rating, No. 2 in catch rate on deep passes, No. 2 in yards per route run. Boykin and Doctson are perhaps the top QB-WR duo in the entire country, and have stood out on two routes in particular. Doctson has caught 10 of 12 targets on slant patterns, for 216 yards and two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. On go routes, he has caught 14 of 23 targets for 401 yards and an insane seven touchdowns. That’s nearly one in every three go routes.

9. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

It’s a tough call here between Garrett and Missouri’s Charles Harris, as each has a legitimate claim to the title of the SEC’s best edge rusher. But we’ll go with Garrett this week, with Harris coming off a bye and Garrett having back-to-back strong games against Ole Miss and South Carolina. Garrett ranks second in pass-rushing grade among edge defenders, behind only Ogbah, and he’s been getting better against the run. He earned his best run-defense grade of the year in the win over the Gamecocks.

10. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Ohio State is coming off a bye week, and Elliott nearly dropped off this list temporarily, but we’ll give him the slight edge over California QB Jared Goff here. He remains our No. 2-ranked running back behind only Fournette, and not only is he helping carry the Buckeyes offense as a runner (ranking No. 11 in yards after contact per attempt), but he’s been an excellent receiver out of the backfield (23 catches, No. 10 among RBs) and perfect in pass protection (zero pressures allowed in 61 pass-blocking snaps).

Moving out:
Jared Goff, QB, California
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

| Editor-in-Chief

Jeff is the Editor-in-Chief of PFF, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post's NFL coverage. He previously worked as the editor for ESPN Insider's NFL, Fantasy, and College Football coverage.


    Jaylon Smith from ND should be in the conversation, the guy is a monster.

    • Tim Jessberger

      If he graded out higher, he would be.

  • Mike

    Is it harder to evaluate OL vs. these positions or is this just a bad year for OL? –Concerned Lions fan

    • ryanrauch

      I’m on board with us (Lions fans) taking Laremy Tunsil over Bosa and calling it a day. Think he is class of this group of tackles.