College football season is fast approaching and the preseason rankings and ratings of programs, teams, coaches and players are coming fast and furious. This afternoon, USA Today rolled out their Top 50 players countdown and Michigan State had two players who cracked the top 30.
27. Connor Cook [QB – Michigan State] NFL scouts love him. Track record, tools and a 24-3 record with transition around him give them little reason not to. He’s one of the reasons the Big Ten has been on an upswing.
24. Shilique Calhoun [DE – Michigan State] Had a bit of a down year last year. Turned down being a probable late first round pick to come back. Should ease the transition with Pat Narduzzi’s departure.
Of course, it should be no surprise that the defending national champion, Ohio State Buckeyes, would dominate the top of the list:
18. Taylor Decker [OT – Ohio State] Insert valued offensive line trait here. Could argue he’s Ohio State’s most important offensive player, which is saying something.
14. Darron Lee [LB – Ohio State] Finished 2nd on Ohio State with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 TFL as a true freshman. He’ll disrupt your backfield and your relatively benign Twitter game.
5. Jones/Barrett/Miller [QB – Ohio State] Does Urban go with the fifth-year senior who was a Heisman favorite before getting injured in 2014, the sophomore who finished Top 5 in Heisman voting or the raw, talented junior who just led Ohio State to a National Championship? Guessing some frightening combination of the three.
3. Ezekiel Elliot [RB – Ohio State] Zeke got healthy. The offensive line coalesced. He ran for 696 yards and eight touchdowns over Ohio State’s three post-season games. May be to blame for some unfortunate crop top situations in Ohio gyms.
1. Joey Bosa [DE – Ohio State] Bosa had 13.5 sacks and 21 TFL as a sophomore last season. Theoretically, he may get better. The Buckeyes are loaded, and the pressure to repeat will be immense. The POTUS is a fan.