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Farrell Postseason 50: Nos. 36-40

With the college football regular season over and bowl games underway, it’s time for the final installment of the Farrell 50, National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell's ranking of the nation's top 50 college football players for 2016.

However, as usual here at, we take a quick look at how each ranked out of high school and if they are exceeding or simply living up to expectations.

The countdown continues with Nos. 36-40, led by three SEC defenders.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

Farrell postseason 50: Nos. 41-45 | 46-50


The skinny: Key was committed to South Carolina at two different points in his recruitment, but ended up taking official visits to South Carolina, LSU, Miami and Texas Tech before committing to the Tigers on National Signing Day. While he still does not get as much publicity as several other pass rushers in the SEC, Key's play in 2016 definitely made people pay attention. He finished the season with 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Farrell’s take: Key was a tall, skinny edge rusher who was a four-star just inside the Rivals250. His frame concerned us a bit as did as his strength in the run game, but there was never a question about his pass-rushing ability. However, I will admit that he’s been better at the other aspects of the game than I expected at this early stage. He has developed into one of the elite pass rushers in college football. LSU fans will feel this ranking is low and it could be. He’s had a very good year.

The skinny: Lawson committed during the spring but began to look at other schools after the coaching change at Auburn. Despite taking official visits to both Clemson and Tennessee in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day, Gus Malzahn was able to hold onto Lawson's pledge. After a big true freshman season, Lawson missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL and then was limited to seven games last season due to a lingering hip concern. Fully healthy this fall, Lawson totaled 28 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Farrell’s take: Lawson destroyed people at our first Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta and became a five-star as a result of that dominant performance. He’s had some injuries in college, but this season he has been healthy and leading one of the best defensive lines in college football. This could be low for Lawson, same as Key, but he had a very good season. He’s in that second-tier of SEC pass rushers.

The skinny: Tankersley committed to Clemson over Miami and South Carolina before his senior season. The Tigers actually offered him almost two years prior to his decision. While he may have been overshadowed by other stars on the Clemson team over the last two years, Tankersley has been as productive as any of them. He finished his senior season with 43 tackles, six tackles for a loss, three interceptions and 10 pass break-ups for the Tigers.

Farrell’s take: Tankersley needed an extra year at Hargrave Military to get ready for college. That scenario played out well for teammates Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd before him and now Tankersley is the next in line. He’s a long kid who saw a ton of action last year opposite Mackensie Alexander and was the only battle-tested defensive back for Clemson starting this season. The question out of high school and prep school was always corner or safety? He’s proven he’s a cornerback and is on the NFL radar because of his size and length.

The skinny: As a mid-year JUCO graduate, Douglas took official visits to West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers before committing to the Mountaineers in December. After making a minimal impact during his first season in Morgantown, Douglas burst onto the scene this fall with 62 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and eight interceptions, which was tops in the country.

Farrell’s take: Douglas was a very physical corner who loved to play press coverage and help in run support. One thing we didn’t see was his elite ball skills at the next level as he has become one of the best defenders in the country in that category. He closes on the ball much better than he did out of JUCO but remains as physical.

The skinny: Anderson picked up an offer from Alabama in April and waited only a few days to commit to the Crimson Tide during a visit to campus. Anderson had a big 2015 season and followed that up with an even better 2016 performance. He heads into the College Football Playoff with 51 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Farrell’s take: Anderson was a huge linebacker out of high school and was always moving with a great motor. He had a natural ability to get into the backfield. Anderson was explosive and had good pass-rushing technique from the start. He couldn’t be solo blocked when coming off the edge and was much faster than he looked, which is why he was a Rivals100 prospect in 2012.