Farrell 50: The nation's top players - Nos. 16-20
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. 21-25.
The skinny: Lamb initially committed to Oklahoma, but then de-committed in order to take a closer look at a few other schools. 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.
Lamb has excelled during his first two seasons with the Sooners and has continued to showcase his big play ability this fall with 18 receptions for 439 yards and seven touchdowns.
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: Okudah committed to Ohio State over Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida State at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. After showing glimpses of his potential last fall, Okudah has taken his game to a level many envisioned when he arrived in Columbus. Currently with 17 tackles, one tackle for a loss, three interceptions, one forced fumble and three pass breakups, he has quickly established himself as one of the elite defensive backs in the country.
Farrell’s take: Okudah was a five-star safety who could have also projected as a cornerback coming out of high school because he was great in solo coverage. He waited his turn and is now one of the top defensive backs in college football with great ball skills and instincts. I loved the way he competed in high school and just wanted to go against the best.
The skinny: Unlike most top-level recruits, Sewell’s process was basically a guessing game until the end. Oregon, Alabama, Utah and USC all seemed confident at different points, but it was the Ducks that picked up his commitment on National Signing Day.
Sewell’s true freshman season was off to a fantastic start last fall until a serious ankle injury cut his season short in October. Now fully healthy, Sewell has picked up right where he left off in 2018. An impressive athlete with superior strength, he is already playing like the top offensive lineman in the country.
Farrell’s take: Sewell is young to make this list as a 2018 prospect and sophomore, but it’s not a surprise as he was ranked in the top 60 coming out of high school. We at one point had a five-star debate about him, but wondered if he’d move inside to guard at the next level and be devalued a bit. He was tall, very filled out and agile, but he wasn’t as dominating as we wanted him to be. Then he hits college and becomes a beast and is now the best offensive lineman in college football in my book.
The skinny: Fromm initially committed to Alabama, but then flipped to Georgia during the spring after his junior season.
In Athens, he has established himself as the unquestioned leader of an offense that is loaded with talent. And as he has continued to improve his overall game since his arrival, this fall he has shown extreme confidence while completing 86 of 111 passes for 1,076 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
Farrell’s take: Fromm became a five-star late in the process, earning that fifth star after a great week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and was a huge flip for Kirby Smart from Alabama.
He was a kid we felt was a “gamer” who might not have as many natural skills as some other five-star quarterbacks but had more of the intangibles. His efficiency and maturity were off the charts as a freshman and he led his team to the title game, so bigger things were expected last year and he delivered. A run at the national title is expected this year and he could be a first round draft pick.
The skinny: Simmons took official visits to Clemson, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois before committing to the Tigers on National Signing Day. His final official visit was to Clemson, which solidly put the Tigers over the top.
With the Clemson defensive line garnering a majority of the attention for the unit, Simmons managed to slide under the radar despite being a consistent performer. Finally, everyone is getting the chance to focus on him this fall, and he has responded with 43 tackles, six tackles for a loss, three sacks and two pass breakups.
Farrell’s take: Simmons was a high three-star prospect and a rare commitment from Kansas for Clemson who has blossomed into a star that the NFL loves. He was a huge safety coming out and we thought he might grow into a linebacker, so there were some question marks surrounding how he would develop. Those look silly now. He’s simply a baller and one of the top defenders in the country.