Each week, Daniel Jeremiah hits on a topical top five list of college football's best players. This week he takes a look at the five most explosive players.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Clowney is one of the most explosive football players I've ever evaluated. He has rare first-step quickness and he can generate a tremendous amount of force with his bull rush. Everyone has seen his hit against Michigan a million times but there were plays in every South Carolina game that left me shaking my head in amazement.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
Thomas was a highly regarded recruit coming out of Southern California and he's more than lived up to the hype during his two seasons in Eugene. He is averaging almost nine yards per carry during his career and he's racked up 36 total touchdowns (18 rushing, 14 receiving, four returns). He is dynamic with the ball in his hands, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Thomas was a track star in high school and he's been a contributor on the Ducks' track squad as well.
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Shazier has a lean build for a linebacker, but he is extremely explosive as a tackler. He accelerates right before contact and creates some "wow" shots on tape. He has the range to make plays from sideline to sideline because of his outstanding speed and burst. He is also a very explosive blitzer for the Buckeyes. He racked up five sacks last fall.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Watkins saw a dip in production last season, but he's still worthy of a spot on this list. He is explosive in his release and he can find another gear when the ball is in the air. He destroys pursuit angles in the return game because of his outstanding burst and explosiveness. There aren't many (if any) college cornerbacks who can press and keep up with Watkins on vertical routes. His speed and explosiveness demands attention from opposing safeties to help out their cornerbacks.
Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State
Archer is one of the most enjoyable players to watch in all of college football. He isn't quite as wiggly as Tavon Austin, but he has the same explosive burst as the former West Virginia star. Archer put up silly numbers last season, averaging nine yards per carry and 36.9 yards per kick return. He had three kick-return touchdowns from at least 98 yards. Kent State has already launched a Heisman campaign for Archer, and he will deserve some serious consideration for the award if he duplicates his numbers from last fall.