Farrell 50: Counting down the top players in the nation
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
With the college football season nearly upon us, it’s time for another installment of the Farrell 50, the top 50 college football players in the country. We take a quick look at how each ranked out of high school and if they are exceeding or simply living up to expectations. Today we move on to No. 21-25 led by two guys named Chubb.
The skinny: Francois committed to Florida State during the summer before his junior season, but a late January visit to Florida caused some angst for Seminole fans. However, when it was time to put pen to paper, he signed with Florida State. Earning the starting job last summer, Francois led the Seminoles to a 10-3 record, while passing for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns. Now the undisputed leader of the offense, even more will be expected out of Francois this fall.
Farrell’s take: Francois has a cannon of an arm and his accuracy improved as he progressed, which led to his No. 1 dual-threat ranking in 2015. He can extend the play and move the chains on the ground when needed, but he’s still at his best in the pocket. If there was one issue with Francois coming out of high school, it was touch on longer passes. He is off to a great start at Florida State and should have a great career.
The skinny: While Texas A&M was always considered a favorite for Kirk, he also took official visits to UCLA, Arizona State and Auburn. Despite a late push to stay closer to home and play for the Sun Devils, the relationship he built with coach Kevin Sumlin was enough to seal his commitment to the Aggies. After totaling 163 receptions for 1,937 yards and 16 touchdowns during his first two seasons, it will be interesting to see how Kirk adjusts to a new quarterback in College Station.
Farrell’s take: Kirk’s size was always the only question mark, but we pushed beyond that and made him the rare 5-foot-10 five-star wide receiver and he’s living up to that billing. We expected him to hit the ground running with his route-running and ability to separate, but he’s ahead of schedule already with two great seasons. His performance at our Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Chicago is what sealed the deal for us as he was simply unstoppable.
The skinny: Chubb committed to Georgia over a group of finalists that included Auburn and South Carolina. After a huge true freshman season in 2014 with 1,547 yards and 14 scores, Chubb’s 2015 season was derailed by a knee injury. He returned last fall with 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, but didn’t reach the levels he did back as a true freshman. Now fully healthy, all eyes will be on Chubb to see if he can regain the speed and power he possessed in 2014.
Farrell’s take: Chubb was only two spots away from a fifth star as a recruit. Based on the way he has played in Athens, despite the scary injury, Chubb has played a bit above that ranking although there are still those wondering if he’ll ever return to his freshman form. He ran low to the ground, was hard to tackle and had great speed for a 220-pound back in high school. In the end, his ranking might look perfect after looking too low after that freshman year.
The skinny: Chubb committed to NC State a few days after picking up an offer from the Wolfpack in June. He had taken a visit to Raleigh earlier in the month and made his decision on his birthday. Chubb began to come into his own in 2015 but really blew up last fall with 56 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. With more attention on him this fall it will be interesting to see if he can continue to produce at this level.
Farrell’s take: Chubb missed much of his junior season due to an ACL injury so he was under-recruited a bit and perhaps underrated because of it. He had a solid senior season and showed athleticism as a pass rusher but also someone who could drop into coverage. His lack of natural length kept him rated a bit lower, but his relentless motor and technique make him an elite pass rusher in college.
The skinny: McGlinchey’s recruiting process came down to a battle between Notre Dame and Boston College. While he had plenty of ties to the Boston College program, at the end he decided to play for the Fighting Irish. McGlinchey redshirted in 2013 and only started one game in 2014 before starting at right tackle in 2015 and then left tackle in 2016. He surprised some by returning for his senior season this fall, but his return helps anchor an already promising Notre Dame offensive line.
Farrell’s take: This is where I am stupid. I had a feeling about McGlinchey even though he was tall and a tad awkaward out of high school. His footwork, length and willingness to be physical made me think this could be a five-star and future first-rounder but I went conservative and now I am paying for it. I love this kid’s game and he could easily move up this list. Coming back for his final season should pay great dividends and shows his commitment to his team.