NCAA Football

2022 College Football Playoff: Ranking the top 20 players from four teams

2022 College Football Playoff: Ranking the top 20 players from four teams

The College Football Playoff takes center stage on New Year’s Eve later this week with the No. 1 Georgia fight number 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl semifinals and no Michigan meeting #3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl semifinals. As is usually the case, the four-team field features some of the best players in the country. Three of this season’s Heisman Trophy finalists at quarterback are on the CFP’s top 20 players to watch from the field: Ohio State CJ StroudGeorgia Stetson Bennett IV and TCU Art Max Dagan. However, only one landed near the top.

In 2022, many award winners are presented Student football Playoffs too, including the Davy O’Brien Award (Duggan), the John Mackie Award (Brock Bowers), Outland Trophy, Thorpe Award (Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson) and the Burlesworth Trophy (Bennett).

While this group of 20 players stands out as the most prolific in Saturday’s semifinal games, many more will join the list with outstanding performances on the biggest stage. Without further ado, here are the 20 most influential players on the 2022 College Football Playoff field.

McCarthy is fittingly the last name on this list because his resume is still somewhat of a mystery. The sophomore had the game of his life against Ohio State, completing three touchdown passes of over 45 yards in a 45-23 victory. However, McCarthy has also completed 12.4 assists per game and is 52.1% over the last five games. Which McCarthy will we get in the college football playoffs?

Ringo takes a few chances, but the sophomore has the knack for making the big play. Last year, Ringo was the sixth pick to win the national championship. In a highly publicized matchup against then-No. 1 Tennessee this season, Ringo took Hendon Hooker in the end zone to effectively end the game at halftime. Georgia could use some of his heroics against CJ Stroud.

Kelly Ringo was once again a force to be reckoned with for the undefeated Doug.

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Miller is not a workhorse like other running backs in the College Football Playoff, but he is very effective when called upon. The junior has rushed for 1,342 yards and 17 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per attempt and is one game away from tying LaDainian Tomlinson’s school record for most consecutive games with a touchdown. Against TexasMiller intercepted a 75-yard touchdown to seal the win Sesame Robinson and beat the Longhorns. Miller is dynamic enough to keep offenses on their toes.

17. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett IV

The quarterback that was once just a feel-good story has turned into a legitimate weapon. Bennett is completing over 68% of his passes and has rushed for more touchdowns in 2022 (7) than he did in the first three years of his career (4). Offensive coordinator Todd Monken has found ways to make the game easier for Bennett, and the senior remains one of the nation’s most efficient pass rushers.

There are some predictions here, but Tuimolov turned in perhaps the best individual performance by a quarterback in college football this season. Against Pension state, Tuimolov had three tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. Few quarterbacks in the playoffs are capable of delivering such an individually devastating game. Ohio State needs Tuimolau to come up big.

The Wolverines defense will be built differently in 2022 with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojaba NFL. However, Morris is the only defender who ensures that opposing offenses still keep their eyes open. Morris posted 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as the top front seven member on Michigan’s roster. He had 35 tackles and 19 hurries. The only thing keeping him on the roster: zero pressures against Ohio State. It won’t be against TCU.

The difference between Ohio State’s defense in 2021 and 2022 may come down to the dynamic Eichenberg, who became a superstar with 112 tackles and 12 tackles for loss as the nose of Jim Knowles’ defense. Eichenberg excels as a tackler and makes it difficult for opposing offenses with his nose to the football. Ohio State’s defense against Georgia will play a role in whether or not the Buckeyes can stop UGA.

13. TCU CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson

Hodges-Tomlinson became TCU’s second Thorpe Award winner in the last three years after being a dynamic cover for the Big 12 runner-up. Hodges-Tomlinson recorded a career-high three interceptions with 42 tackles as part of a strong corner unit with Josh Newton. If he can keep Michigan Ronnie Bell down in man coverage, it makes the Wolverine defense a little easier.

Georgia has a number of leaders on defense, but none may be bigger than fifth-year Smith in the backfield. In 2022, Smith went from being a starter in the rotation to one of the nation’s top linebackers with 50 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defensed for America’s No. 1 defense. Against a dynamic Ohio State team, Smith must keep the game in front of him and create difficult windows for Stroud.

Few players in college football have transformed their reputations more completely than Avila in 2022. The DFW native was shuffled around the offensive line in the previous lineup, but finally found a home at left guard under Sonny Dykes. Near the center Alan Ali, Avila helped make the interior offensive line one of the team’s strengths and earned All-American honors. His versatility will be key against the Michigan defense Know Smith.

10. Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

Stroud was named a Heisman finalist for the second consecutive season after throwing for more than 3,300 yards and finishing in the top five with 37 touchdown passes despite missing the conference title game. When Stroud is on point, he is one of the most dynamic and accurate passers in the sport today – at any level. His destruction from the air State of Michigan in 2021 remains a thing of beauty. However, Ohio State needs him to reach another level of individual skill to have a chance against Georgia.

9. Michigan DL Mazie Smith

His numbers don’t jump off the page, but Smith’s efforts are crucial to Michigan’s rushing defense, which ranks third in the nation — and leads Georgia in yards per carry. Smith lists at 337 pounds and fills the gaps against even the most physical hitters. His presence allows teammates to wreak havoc elsewhere.

8. Ohio State OL Parris Johnson

The Buckeyes’ offensive line is one of the most underrated units on the roster, and Johnson is considered the leader. Johnson was a top-10 national recruit who also made more than 25 starts for Ohio State. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Johnson holds his own against even the most physical linebackers and has made Stroud one of the least sacked players in America despite playing a traditional passing game.

Edwards was the backup running back at Michigan until the regular season finale. Since then, Edwards has been arguably the most effective running back in the country. The sophomore posted 401 rushing yards and three touchdowns in wins over Ohio State and Purdue as Michigan cruised to the Big Ten title. At his best, Edwards is a complete running back who should be able to create opportunities behind a strong offensive line.

6. Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Bowers has a case to go down in the history books as the best player in college football after his sophomore season. Bowers caught 52 passes for 726 yards and six touchdowns, but that doesn’t tell the full story of how much offensive coordinator Todd Monken relies on Bowers as a pass catcher and blocker to create his game plans. Expect a heavy dose of Bowers and other tight ends Darnell Washington against Ohio State in the Peach Bowl semifinals.

Johnston’s numbers won’t jump off the page due to injuries, but he has a real case as the most talented wide receiver in America. At 6-foot-4 with surprising length and athleticism, Johnston is considered a likely first-rounder The NFL Draft to choose Johnston had 139 yards on four catches in the Big 12 Championship Game and almost singlehandedly won Oklahoma State and Kansas with nearly 400 yards gained through those two wins. When Johnston is on, TCU’s offense is nearly unstoppable.

Quentin Johnston has emerged as one of the most dynamic receivers in the country this season.

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Not many players on Georgia’s defense make the list simply because it’s a unit characterized by sensational teamwork. However, Carter is a force in the middle that disrupts opponents’ plans. Carter was named the Power Five Defensive Player of the Year and helped lead a Georgia defense that was once again ranked No. 1 in the nation. Georgia doesn’t have a lot of irreplaceable players, but Carter is on the list.

Consider it a single award, but Virginia the show deserves a special mention. In 2021, Oluwatimi emerged as one of the best centers in college football, but won the Rimington and Outland Trophies after a masterful senior season in Ann Arbor. If the Heisman favorite Blake’s Choir out with an injury, Oluwatimi’s offensive line stepped up to make backup Edwards one of the nation’s most effective linebackers. Michigan was the dominant team and Oluwatimi was the anchor.

If Jackson Smith-Njigba — the top receiver in the nation — entered the season, Ohio State simply replaced him with another top receiver in the nation. Harrison was a revelation, catching 72 passes for 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Buckeyes. He posted six receptions for 100 yards and was by far the most consistent source of offense against Michigan. Stroud is the name on Ohio State’s offense, but Harrison is the better player.

1. TCU QB Max Duggan

Simply put, no team in the College Football Playoff is more influenced by individual excellence than TCU with Duggan. Its final drive adjustment vs Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, Duggan was the runner-up for the Heisman as the one-time backup had 3,300 passing yards, 400 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. Duggan’s ability to spread the field with his hands and feet gives offensive coordinator Garrett Riley the unique ability to finish any play anywhere on the field.





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