Farrell 50: CFB's top players, Nos. 21-25
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
It’s that time of year again, time for the Farrell 50, the ranking of the top 50 players in college football by Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell. We continue today with 25-21 led by two of the Big 12’s best receivers.
The skinny: Biadasz held a quartet of FCS offers when he took an unofficial visit to Madison and picked up an offer from Wisconsin. Less than two days later he committed to the Badgers. After redshirting in 2016, he has become a mainstay on the offensive line during the last two seasons. Anchoring the line from the center position, Biadasz decided to forego the NFL Draft earlier this year. He is a preseason All-American and a projected first round pick in 2020.
Farrell’s take: Biadasz was a three-star prospect who lacked great size and power out of high school but had smarts and athleticism. We had him ranked as a defensive tackle because he seemed to excel at that position and was aggressive. Biadasz has taken that aggression and brought it to the offensive line. The level of competition he played wasn’t great and we worried a bit about his frame, but he’s turned into your typical underrated, nasty Wisconsin offensive lineman and should take the next step this year.
The skinny: Willekes never saw his recruitment take off, so when Michigan State offered him a walk-on opportunity during an official visit, he grabbed it. Despite consecutive impressive seasons in East Lansing, Willekes has yet to get the national attention that he deserves. Having totaled 150 tackles, 33.5 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks during this time, he has the natural ability to take over a game defensively. With this production, and with the help of linebacker Joe Bachie, the duo has the potential to lead the Spartans’ defense to big things this fall.
Farrell’s take: Willekes had a very good high school career but never received the FBS offer he wanted so he walked on at Michigan State. And the Spartans, as they have done before, turned him into a standout player. His motor and desire are off the charts and he’s always around the football.
The skinny: Lamb initially commitment to Oklahoma, but then decommitted in order to take a closer look at a few other programs. Texas A&M and Ole Miss came the closest to challenging the Sooners, but at the end he found his way back to Norman by re-committing to Oklahoma in July. Having played his first two collegiate seasons with two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks, Lamb has prospered with 111 receptions for 1,965 yards and 18 touchdowns during this time. Expect more of the same from him this fall, as the Sooners should once again have the offense buzzing with Jalen Hurts under center.
Farrell’s take: Lamb was one of those players I thought was under ranked when we finished the 2017 cycle. While he was still a Rivals100 prospect and top-10 at his position, it was his size, speed and home run ability that led me to believe he was an amazing fit for the Big 12. We don’t rank players based on the team or conference they choose because so many factors can change (coaches, systems, etc.), but this was a match made in heaven for Lamb and the Sooners' staff and he’s emerged as one of the top wide receivers in the country.
The skinny: While Wallace was considered a package deal with his brother, Tracin, he was the one who became the recruit who reeled in the bigger offers. In Stillwater they found the family atmosphere the brothers were looking for, so a commitment came during the spring after their junior season. After grabbing only seven receptions for 118 yards in 2017, Wallace exploded onto the scene in 2018 with 86 receptions for 1,491 yards, which led the Big 12, and 12 touchdowns. He also rose to the occasion, as during games against Oklahoma and Texas he totaled 20 receptions for 442 yards and four touchdowns. While the Cowboys are breaking in a new quarterback this fall, Wallace should still be the recipient of plenty of opportunities.
Farrell’s take: Wallace was ranked as a Rivals250 prospect who had average size and wasn’t a kid with a big frame but he was dynamic with the ball in his hands and he caught everything thrown his way. The Big 12 is a great fit for him and he’s become one of the elite receivers in the conference and in the country. The battle between Lamb and Wallace this season for numbers will be epic.
The skinny: While he already held a pile of offers, Georgia became the immediate favorite when the Bulldogs threw their hat into the ring. He trimmed his list down to Georgia, Penn State, Clemson, Florida State and Alabama, but then did the expected and committed to the Bulldogs in January. After being part of a loaded backfield in 2017, Swift became the lead back last fall and finished with 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground, plus 297 yards receiving and three touchdowns through the air. Now bigger, faster and stronger, this should be the season that Swift makes a serious statement.
Farrell’s take: Swift was just shy of a fifth star in 2017 ranked as the No. 3 running back and No. 35 player in the country. He reminded me a bit of Nick Chubb coming out of high school although he caught the ball a bit better. This should be his breakout season in the SEC and he should be one of the top impact players in the conference.