In the dog days of summer, there’s not much college football to talk about. Aside from the occasional transfer or an offseason arrest report, the sports world’s attention is focused on Major League Baseball and wild stories from the darkest depths of the Internet. Summer is mainly a time to look forward and make predictions for the upcoming season, and as you’d expect, no conversation surrounding NCAA football isn’t without a heaping helping of controversy.
Sports Illustrated recently released its annual list of the top 100 college football players for the upcoming year. For its list, SI says the most important factor in determining the rankings are “how significantly each player’s production will impact his team’s success this season — not how good he was last year.” And if football fans put stock in that assessment, there’s one logical conclusion you should land on: the Southeastern Conference is king once again.
Of the 100 players SI ranked, almost one-third of the entire list plays in the SEC. And when you compare that number to the other conferences, well, this one’s pretty much a runaway.
Southeastern Conference (SEC): 30
Big Ten Conference: 21
Pac-12 Conference: 17
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC): 12
Big 12 Conference: 11
American Athletic Conference (AAC): 3
Independents: 2 — Both from Notre Dame
Mountain West Conference: 2
Conference U (C-USA): 1
Sun Belt Conference: 1
This list was dominated by the SEC once again, and it was led by none other than the South’s factory of college football talent in Tuscaloosa.
The Alabama Crimson Tide led the list with 10 players ranked among the Top 100, followed by the Clemson Tigers (8) and Georgia Bulldogs (6). Auburn, Ohio State and Oklahoma each had four players ranked. Other NFL factories like Texas, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Oregon and Washington were among the schools with three players being named.
Here are all 30 players from the SEC that earned recognition from Sports Illustrated ahead of the 2019 college football season.
Alabama Crimson Tide
86. Xavier McKinney, safety
71. Najee Harris, running back
61. Anfernee Jennings, edge rusher
39. Jaylen Waddle, wide receiver
32. Alex Leatherwood, offensive line
24. Trevon Diggs, cornerback
16. Dylan Moses, linebacker
10. Raekwon Davis, defensive line
4. Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver
2. Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback
98. Prince Tega Wanogho, offensive line
58. Marlon Davidson, defensive end
26. Nick Coe, defensive line
5. Derrick Brown, defensive line
38. Jabari Zuniga, defensive end
19. C.J. Henderson, cornerback
93. J.R. Reed, safety
66. Monty Rice, linebacker
50. Richard Lecounte, safety
37. D’Andre Swift, running back
23. Jake Fromm, quarterback
17. Andrew Thomas, offensive tackle
47. Kristian Fulton, cornerback
6. Grant Delpit, safety
81. DeMarkus Acy, defensive back
46. Albert Okwuegbunam, tight end
Texas A&M Aggies
94. Braden Mann, punter
84. Kellen Mond, quarterback
73. Jared Pinkney, tight end
29. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, running back
The other non-SEC players ranked among SI’s top 10 include Ohio State DL Chase Young (No. 9), Purdue WR Rondale Moore (No. 8), Clemson RB Travis Etienne (No. 7), Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor (No. 3) and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the clubhouse leader heading into his sophomore season as the No. 1 ranked player in college football.
It’s almost time to prove if these player rankings are earned or not. Florida versus Miami is the first game of the season, and it is drawing closer and closer by the day.