With the college football season in the books, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell releases his postseason Farrell 50, the top 50 college football players in the country. This list is based on this year's performance balanced with the level of competition each player has faced and how they've fared when the pressure is on.
Today’s countdown: Nos. 31-35
35. OT Spencer Drango, Baylor | Cedar Park, Texas (four-star, 2011)
The skinny: No. 211 overall, the No. 23 offensive tackle and the No. 29 recruit from Texas, Drango picked up offers from several top-level programs from coast-to-coast, but made it a priority to play closer to home. The Baylor staff did a great job making him a priority and Drango committed to the Bears during the summer leading up to his senior season. Over the last three seasons, Drango, who was a consensus All-American this season, has been one of the more consistent and dominating offensive linemen in the nation and a major cog in Baylor’s powerful offense.
Farrell’s take: Drango made our preseason list and then fell off the midseason list, but he’s back and finished the year very strongly. A four-star kid out of high school, he is one of only a handful of 2011 prospects to make this list and had all the physical talent you wanted coming out with long arms, good feet and a great frame. But he wasn’t that physical and didn’t knock you in the teeth. He’s better at that now.
34. LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State | Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County (five-star, 2014)
The skinny: No. 19 overall, the No. 1 inside linebacker and the No. 1 recruit from Georgia, McMillan took official visits to Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia, before committing to the Buckeyes in mid-December. As a spring enrollee, McMillan picked up the defense quickly and contributed on the 2014 national championship team. Even more was expected out of McMillan this season and he did not disappoint, as he finished with 114 tackles, which led Ohio State, four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
Farrell’s take: A huge linebacker with excellent sideline-to-sideline speed and quick-twitch ability, McMillan was special out of high school. One of our initial five-stars in the 2014 class, he actually lost that fifth star at one point when he gained too much weight and slowed himself. But he took that in stride, dedicated himself to getting faster and trimming down, and became the No. 1 linebacker in the country. His wide range is why he makes so many tackles. He's huge and can move.
32. CB Jalen Ramsey, FSU | Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy (five-star, 2013)
The skinny: No. 10 overall, the No. 3 cornerback and the No. 1 recruit from Tennessee, Ramsey was originally committed to USC, but kept his recruiting options open. After taking official visits to Florida, Florida State, Washington and Mississippi State, Ramsey finally flipped to the Seminoles on National Signing Day. Ramsey became the anchor of the Florida State secondary this fall, finishing his consensus All-American season with 52 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, nine passes defended, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Farrell’s take: Ramsey is a great athlete and can play safety or cornerback in college, as he’s shown. He has very good range and has shown the same explosion we saw out of high school, but he’s not as high on this list as expected before the season started because he’s had a few issues in solo coverage. His combination of size, athleticism and suddenness shows more often than not and he's around the ball quite a bit. I see him as a safety at the next level and his cornerback play has been up and down.
32. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama | Madison (Ala.) Bob Jones (four-star, 2012)
The skinny: No. 43 overall, the No. 1 inside linebacker and the No. 4 recruit from Alabama, Ragland’s recruiting process was void of drama after he gave his commitment to the Crimson Tide more than a year prior to his National Signing Day. Ragland waited his turn in Tuscaloosa, but has become a very important part of Alabama’s defense in the last two years. This season he finished with 102 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven passes defended, which helped earn him SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Farrell’s take: Ragland just missed on this midseason list, but he’s firmly entrenched now as possibly the best pure inside linebacker in the country. He’s a very physical-yet-efficient tackler, he covers a lot of space and his ability in pass defense is underrated. As a high school prospect, he was a top 50 kid and his quick-twitch ability was our main question and likely the biggest question mark for NFL scouts.
31. QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis | Deltona (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy (three-star, 2012)
The skinny: Lynch was a three-star, but was not ranked nationally, at his position or in Florida. While Florida kept a close eye on Lynch during the days leading up to his National Signing Day, the Gators never offered. This led Lynch to commit to Memphis, his lone FBS offer. The Tigers are still thankful that the Gators never offered, as Lynch became one of the biggest stories of the year. While helping Memphis to a memorable season, he finished with 3,778 yards passing and 28 touchdowns, while completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing only four interceptions.
Farrell’s take: Florida A&M was his only other offer, but Lynch shows what can happen when a huge quarterback with mobility and a big arm takes time to develop and slow down the game, and when he has great coaches working with him. We liked his potential enough to make him a three-star because of those raw abilities and I don't think anyone saw this coming. He's emerging as one of the top quarterbacks to NFL scouts after an amazing season, despite a poor bowl game against Auburn.