Top prospects to watch in CFP national championship

By | January 9, 2021

#1 ALABAMA (12-0) vs #3 OHIO STATE (7-0); CFP Championship Game; Miami; 8 PM ET; ESPN … It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this when it comes to college football. An unbeaten SEC champion playing an unbeaten Big Ten champ for the national title. That’s what we’ll get Monday night when top-ranked Alabama plays #3 Ohio State for the national championship in Miami. And just as a bonus the Tide and Buckeyes may also be the two most talented programs in the country when it comes to the 2021 draft. Alabama, in particular is simply loaded. Indeed, the Tide will have as many as 8 players with at least some first round potential for the upcoming draft, especially if star WR Jaylem Waddle (#17, 5-10, 185), who hasn’t played since the 5th week of the season because of a fractured foot, is able to suit up. If, in fact, Waddle can play, and he has reportedly practiced all week, it would give the Tide a 4th player with top ten potential joining QB Mac Jones (#10, 6-3, 215), Heisman Trophy winning WR DeVonta Smith (#6, 6-1, 175), and CB Patrick Surtain (#2, 6-2, 205). In fact, both Jones and Smith have posted almost ridiculous stats so far this fall. Jones, for example, has completed 77% of his pass attempts for over 4000 yards and 36 scores versus only 4 picks. And those numbers almost pale compared to those of Smith who already has 105 receptions for over 1,600 yards and 20 TDs. Almost insane! Meanwhile, other Alabama players with at least some first-round potential include RB Najee Harris (#22, 6-2, 230), G/T Alex Leatherwood (#70, 6-6, 315), MLB Dylan Moses (#32, 6-3, 240), while DT Christian Barmore (#58, 6-5, 310) and massive OG Deonte Brown (#65, 6-4, 350) are second-day prospects.

Whether Ohio State can hang with the Tide could very well depend on which Justin Fields (#1, 6-3, 230) shows up at QB for Buckeyes in Miami. Fields had a subpar outing in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten championship game against Northwestern in which he had a couple of picks, but was absolutely sensational in OSU’s national semi-final win over Clemson in which he outplayed Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive #1 pick at the upcoming draft. In fact, Fields completed 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards and 6 scores against the ACC Tigers. For the year, Fields, who is very much in the debate to be the second player taken this year, completed 73% of his passes on the season, while throwing 21 TD passes, but 6 picks in the Buckeyes 7 games.

However, as good as Fields was against Clemson, the Buckeyes’ post-season MVP – and in fact just maybe the MVP of the entire college football playoffs – has been RB Trey Sermon (#8, 6-0, 215). Sermon transferred to Ohio State from Oklahoma after a solid, albeit unspectacular 3-year career with the Sooners and was a solid, albeit unspectacular #2 back for the Buckeyes during the regular season. Sermon, though, just exploded in the post-season rushing for 330 yards in the conference win over Northwestern and then tacking on another 193 in the semi-final upset of Clemson. Meanwhile, other Buckeyes to watch include OG Wyatt Davis (#52, 6-4, 315) and CB Shaun Wade (#24, 6-1, 195), both of whom are late opening round candidates, while WR Chris Olave (#2, 6-1, 190) and junior C Josh Myers (#71, 6-5, 312) are second-day types with LBs Tuf Borland (#32, 6-1, 235), Pete Werner (#20, 6-2, 245) and Baron Browning (#5, 6-2, 245), OT Thayer Munford (#75, 6-5, 315), TE Luke Farrell (#89, 6-6, 260), DE Jonathan Cooper (#0, 6-3, 260) and DT Haskell Garrett (#92, 6-2, 300) are all solid third-day prospects.