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Midseason Farrell 50: Countdown rolls on with Nos. 11-15

The Midseason Farrell 50 is here, my list of the top 50 players in college football and I can say that this season has been like no other so far.

Here’s Nos. 11-15:

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15. LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia 

The skinny: Dean took official visits to Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Alabama before committing to the Bulldogs during the early National Signing Day. Ole Miss also made a serious late push. The former five-star began to showcase all of his abilities in 2020 and has taken it to the next level this fall with 30 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one interception for the No. 1 Bulldogs.

Farrell’s take: Dean was in the discussion as a five-star but a lack of size left him short of that status. He’s played like one though and is not only explosive to the ball but can get skinny whenever needed.

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14. OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State 

The skinny: Ekwonu committed to NC State during the summer leading up to his senior season. He held upwards of 15 offers, including from North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia. The Wolfpack established themselves as one of the more physically dominant offenses in the country this fall, and that has been led by Ekwonu, who is having an All-American caliber season in Raleigh.

Farrell’s take: Arguably the most efficient tackle in college football today, he has been key to the NC State offense with his ability to open holes and pass protect and the NFL is noticing.

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13. WR Josh Downs, North Carolina 

The skinny: After initially planning to wait out the recruiting process a few more months, Downs committed to North Carolina during the spring after multiple visits to Chapel Hill. He committed to the Tar Heels over Michigan, Georgia Tech and NC State. With North Carolina losing a multitude of offensive weapons from last year’s team, hopes were high that Downs would take his game to the next level. He has accomplished that with 60 receptions for 837 yards and eight touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: We knew Downs would take a step up this season but he’s surpassed my expectations and has become the go-to guy in the Tar Heels' offense. We loved him as a slot receiver.

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12. QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati 

The skinny: Cincinnati was the first program to offer Ridder in early May, and after an unofficial visit to campus he committed to the Bearcats less than two weeks later. Now in his fourth season as a starter with the Bearcats, Ridder has Cincinnati undefeated and at No. 2 in the national polls. This fall he has passed for 1,444 yards, 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has also rushed for three touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: Ridder has taken that next step as we expected and has been much more careful with the football which was needed. He’s one of the hardest quarterbacks to scheme for.

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11. QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss 

The skinny: Corral initially committed to USC and then to Florida during the summer leading up to his senior season, but then took official visits to Ole Miss and Alabama. A few days after his visit to Oxford he flipped to the Rebels. Now one of the more dynamic offensive players in the country, Corral has done it all at Ole Miss this fall with 1,728 yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception. He has also been explosive on the ground with 450 yards and eight touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: Corral has not only cut down on turnovers but he’s become an efficient runner as well as his stock for the NFL Draft continues to soar.

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