Skip to main content

Top 25 CFB teams with most NFL talent in 2017: Nos. 11-15

Editor's note: analyst Lance Zierlein is previewing the 2017 college football season by counting down the 25 teams with the most NFL-caliber talent, continuing today with teams 11-15 in his rankings. Click through the tabs above to see the rest of the rankings.

In compiling this list of the most talented college teams, I weighed each team's roster with an emphasis on identifying players who are likely to be draftees in 2018, or in future years. Teams with prospects who are among the most talented in the game were bolstered in the rankings.

15. Wisconsin

Players to watch: OG Beau Benzschawel, C Michael Deiter, S D'Cota Dixon, OLB Garret Dooley, LB T.J. Edwards, TE Troy Fumagalli, QB Alex Hornibrook, DE Chikwe Obasih, WR Jazz Peavy, FB Austin Ramesh, NT Olive Sagapolu, RB Bradrick Shaw, CB Derrick Tindal

The outlook: Wisconsin will boast one of the most senior-laden starting lineups in college football, although it took a hit with the loss of LB Jack Cichy, who suffered an ACL tear last week. Troy Fumagalli has good size and will be the safety blanket for Alex Hornibrook. The Badgers always know how to pound the ball -- they feature a solid offensive line and a masher at fullback. They also boast a front seven that might end up being as productive as any in the Big Ten with T.J. Edwards leading the way. In the secondary, D'Cota Dixon and Derrick Tindal are bona-fide ballhawks.

14. Penn State

Players to watch: S Marcus Allen, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Saeed Blacknall, LB Manny Bowen, LB Jason Cabinda, CB Christian Campbell, TE Mike Gesicki, WR DaeSean Hamilton, OG Brendan Mahon, C Connor McGovern, QB Trace McSorley

The outlook: The obvious headliner for this team is Saquon Barkley. Barkley is a special running back with good size and great skill, but he's also indicative of the type of physical traits that Penn State has obviously been cultivating in recruiting. Mike Gesicki, Saeed Blacknall and DaeSean Hamilton are all targets with good size who can run. Marcus Allen has to clean up his inconsistencies as a tackler, but he has great size. Keep an eye on Christian Campbell, who has good size and could be ready to take another step forward as a cornerback.

13. Miami

Players to watch: TE Christopher Herndon, DE Joe Jackson, LB Zach McCloud, OG KC McDermott, DT RJ McIntosh, DT Kendrick Norton, LB Michael Pinckney, LB Shaquille Quarterman, WR Ahmmon Richards, DE Chad Thomas, RB Mark Walton

The outlook: Miami has decent talent in its senior and junior classes, but its younger players stand out. Ahmmon Richards, Joe Jackson, Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney are all sophomores. They posted impressive production last season and much more is expected this year. Mark Walton is an elusive runner who lacks some size, but he should find a home as a change-of-pace runner at the next level.

12. Georgia

Players to watch: OLB Davin Bellamy, OLB Lorenzo Carter, RB Nick Chubb, QB Jacob Eason, RB Sony Michel, TE Isaac Nauta, DT Trenton Thompson, OG Isaiah Wynn

The outlook: Georgia had only one player drafted in 2017 (WR Isaiah McKenzie), but it will have more talent this season. Trenton Thompson is one of those talented players, although he needs to mature. Edge players Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter are more consistent worker bees who might lack Thompson's raw potential. Nick Chubb was incredible two seasons ago, but looked a step slower in 2016 after his gruesome leg injury in 2015. Sony Michel is a grinder who should play at the next level.

11. Notre Dame

Players to watch: RB Josh Adams, TE Alize Mack, OT Mike McGlinchey, LB Nyles Morgan, OG Quenton Nelson, TE Durham Smythe, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, DT Jerry Tillery, LB Drue Tranquill

The outlook: The strength of the team will be along the offensive line and specifically the left side with Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. Nelson might be the most effective run blocker I studied on tape this summer and McGlinchey is an ace in pass protection. Notre Dame has two quality tight ends and exciting young prospects in Equanimeous St. Brown and Josh Adams. Defensively, the Irish are a little light on talent with Jerry Tillery, Nyles Morgan and Drue Tranquill as some of the draftable talent.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content