Farrell 50: The nation's top players - Nos. 26-30
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. 26-30.
The skinny: Dillon initially committed to Michigan during the spring after his junior season, but then flipped to Boston College in December. The Eagles’ coaching staff never let up on him after his commitment to the Wolverines. Coming off a huge 2017 season, Dillon battled through some injuries in 2018 but still finished with 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now fully healthy, Dillon has once again became the workhorse for the Boston College offense with 745 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while adding another touchdown through the air.
Farrell’s take: Dillon was a big running back with solid speed and very nifty footwork coming out of high school and it’s clear we liked him, but he’s made a bigger impact than I expected. His vision is excellent and he always falls forward for additional yardage. Boston College is a great fit for him offensively and he was a huge flip for the Eagles from Michigan. He reminds me of Derrick Henry.
The skinny: Okwara announced a top five of Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan and Ole Miss before committing to the Irish in late April. With his brother, Romeo Okwara, playing in South Bend, the Irish were considered the favorite leading up to his decision.
After a breakout 2018, when he finished with 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble, many expected even more from Okwara this fall. He has not disappointed thus far, with 10 tackles, six tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Farrell’s take: Okwara was a four-star outside the Rivals250 who was a long, skinny pass rusher who could also do some work standing up. He played for a big-time program in North Carolina and certainly had a lot of potential coming out. He’s developed into one of the better pass rushers in the country and his technique is flawless.
The skinny: Moore was initially committed to Texas, but when he re-opened his process during his senior season, Purdue jumped at the opportunity. The Boilermakers, who were already talking to Moore before his de-commitment, were able to seal the deal after he took an official visit to West Lafayette in December.
In 2018, Moore turned in one of the more surprising all-around performances of the season as a true freshman. Injuries have slowed him a bit this fall, but he has still managed to total 29 receptions for 387 yards and two touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: Moore was a high three-star out of high school with great speed and sneaky strength. Despite a great high school career, there was no way to see how much he would impact college football so early. He’s been amazing, and was the best true freshman in the country last year. He’s been banged up a bit this season, but he’s still high on my list.
The skinny: A native of South Carolina, Thomas seemed destined to play his college ball at either Clemson or South Carolina after playing his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida. Both schools believed they led at different times, but when it was time to make a commitment, he chose the Tigers in early April. Thomas impressed as a true freshman, despite seeing minimal reps playing behind a future-NFL defensive line. Now a starter, he has responded with 14 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks for the Tigers.
Farrell’s take: Thomas was our No. 5 player overall in 2018, so obviously we liked him a lot. He was explosive, powerful and had a great first step. He still had a very good year last season despite the depth at Clemson on the defensive line and now he’s taken over. He’s one of the most physically dominant defensive ends in recent years out of high school and the NFL will love him.
The skinny: Dobbins also considered Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Texas, but when Ohio State offered in mid-February it only took him a couple of weeks before deciding to commit to the Buckeyes.
With the Buckeyes, he quickly adapted to the college spotlight with a big true freshman season. His sophomore production didn’t exactly meet expectations, but Dobbins has rebounded extremely well this fall with 826 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while averaging 7.1 yards per carry, plus one receiving touchdown.
Farrell’s take: Dobbins was highly-regarded and ranked coming out of high school despite missing nearly his entire senior season with a broken ankle. His combination of speed, leverage and the ability to catch the ball had him remain in our Rivals100 despite questions about how effective he would be upon his return. In a great year at running back in the 2017 class, we had him only behind Najee Harris, (No. 1 overall), Cam Akers, (No. 3) and D’Andre Swift (No. 35). He should be getting more Heisman love this early.