Farrell 50: The nation's top players - Nos. 11-15
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
It’s that time of year, the middle of the college football season and time for a look at the Farrell 50 — the top 50 players in college football and how they were as recruits. We continue today with Nos. 11-15.
The skinny: Playing his high school football in Eugene, Ore., Herbert picked up offers from Montana State, Northern Arizona and Portland State when the Ducks offered during his senior season. He quickly ended his recruitment with a commitment.
Coming off a junior season that saw him pass for 3,151 yards, 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions, Herbert surprised many by not entering the NFL Draft. His return to Eugene has not been a disappointment, as he has already thrown for 1,341 yards, 15 touchdowns and only one interception.
Farrell’s take: Herbert is another great find by Oregon as his only other offers were FCS schools, and last year some were talking about him as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft if he decided to come out. He was a big, raw, dual-threat coming out of high school who could sling it, but had some accuracy issues and some mechanical problems. He also looked skinny despite being 210 pounds or so. He’s filled out, has improved his accuracy greatly and is making good decisions. He’s big, he can move, he has a strong arm and he has all the intangibles NFL scouts love.
Part of a loaded receiving corps, Jeudy established himself as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s favorite and most consistent target. This fall, while he is still producing at an impressive clip with 38 receptions for 488 yards and six touchdowns, the improved production from receivers Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith have cut back on some of Jeudy’s opportunities.
Farrell’s take: Jeudy has emerged as the best receiver in the country and that’s no surprise based on our ranking out of high school. We saw him as the next great Florida receiver to make an impact at ‘Bama following Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley. He had size and a frame to fill out and the downfield speed teams covet. When Jeudy wanted to be, he was unstoppable and we are seeing that now. He is the No. 1 player overall on some NFL draft boards and some say he’s the best offensive player in the country.
Coming off an All-American caliber season, when he finished with 74 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, five interceptions and nine pass breakups, many expected more of the same from Delpit this fall. And while he has still been a major part of the undefeated LSU defense, his productivity has taken a dip with only 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and one pass breakup to this point.
Farrell’s take: Delpit was highly ranked as the No. 70 player in the country, but he was also someone I thought we might have undervalued and it’s showing that we did. He has length, good size and great instincts overall. Now he’s become one of the best all-around defenders in the country. Delpit is a star already and will be a legend by the time he leaves Baton Rouge despite a slow start to this season.
The skinny: Ehlinger committed to Texas during the summer before his junior season and never wavered on his word.
As the Longhorns continue their trek back to college football’s elite, Ehlinger’s has helped this process take place. After a memorable 2018 season, that saw him total 3,774 yards and 41 touchdowns, he is once again confidently leading the Texas offense. Thus far with 1,448 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air, and 236 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, his continued improvement has gone a long way in Texas’ level of success this fall.
Farrell’s take: I had Ehlinger in my Commit Fit after National Signing Day when he came out of high school because he had the skill set that a Tom Herman offense covets. His injuries during his high school career, from his knee to his wrist, led to some question marks, but he was still so prolific as a stat-stuffer that there was no question he was in the Rivals100 range. He wasn’t the tallest quarterback, but he had a good arm, compact release and was powerfully built, which helped his running ability and ability to bounce off tackles. Ehlinger lived up to his ranking so far and then some and has improved each season.
The skinny: Lawrence committed to Clemson in December after his junior season and never wavered on his word.
After supplanting Kelly Bryant at quarterback, Lawrence performed like a veteran throughout his true freshman season which culminated in a National Championship for the Tigers. Coming off that magical season, expectations were through the roof for Lawrence this fall. And while he has steered the Tigers to an undefeated start to the season, his production level has taken a dip with 1,131 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions through the air, plus four rushing touchdowns. Everyone is still waiting for that breakout game to happen in 2019.
Farrell’s take: Lawrence is the best quarterback I have ever scouted in my 20 years, and it shows, or at least it did his freshman year. He has it all – size, arm strength, accuracy, mobility and football sense – that made him an instant star in college. There was no doubt in my mind he would have a great freshman year but I expected a better start to this season, which is why he drops to No. 11 from my pre-season No. 1. He’s still one of the most talented players college football has seen in a long time.