The final game of the College Football season is finally here, the game that every FBS team has been working toward playing in since last spring.
Over the last decade or so, it has felt as though the rest of the country has been playing for the right to play the Alabama Crimson Tide for a title shot. And once again, for the third year in a row, and the sixth time in the previous decade, the National Championship game will feature Alabama.
This year the challenger is the SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs.
These two teams boast an enormous number of future NFL players, and as always, we will take a look at this game through the lens of the New York Giants and the NFL draft.
National Championship Game: Georgia (3) vs. Alabama (4)
ESPN - 8 p.m.
Alabama Crimson Tide
- Calvin Ridley (WR) - Alabama’s top offensive prospect, Ridley has been well-coached, possesses the speed to take the top off the defense, and the body control to expand his catch radius and haul in off-target passes. His will be a common name when debating the top receivers in the class.
- Damien Harris (RB) - Harris is certainly the more explosive of Alabama’s two running backs, with far more twitch, balance, and agility than Scarbrough. He is much more likely to be able to make something out of nothing or break off a big gain than his bruising teammate.
- Bo Scarbrough (RB) - While he isn’t as explosive as Harris, Scarbrough is definitely more intimidating. He has major injury red flags after a pair of torn ACLs and broken legs, but when Scarbrough can get through the offensive line with a head of steam, he punishes a defense.
- Ross Piersbacher (OG) - The best (draft eligible) offensive lineman for Alabama. Piersbacher is powerful and technically sound up front. He doesn’t have a ton quickness or range, but plenty of nastiness.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB) - Fitzpatrick is probably the best prospect in the game. He has good size, the versatility and experience to play multiple positions, and sky-high intangibles. You also have to respect his toughness to play in the championship with a bruised kidney.
- Da’Ron Payne (DT) - Alabama is a factory for big, powerful defensive tackles. Payne is capable of dominating the point of attack and clogging up running lanes as a 2-gap defender. If he develops as a pass rusher, he could be a defensive cornerstone at the next level.
- De’Shawn Hand (DE) - Listed as a defensive end in Alabama’s base 3-4 defense — whic he could certainly play in the NFL — Hand would also fit nicely as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. He has good size at 6’4,” 290 pounds and the ability to control blockers as well as attack gaps
- Rashaan Evans (LB) - Evans has replace Reuben Foster as the nerve center of Alabama’s defense. At 6’3,” 235 he has good size and plenty of range in the middle of the field. He relies a bit more on athleticism than power, but as long as the defensive line does its job occupying blockers, he is a true three-down linebacker.
- Ronnie Harrison (S) - Harrison gets lost in the shuffle of his talented unit, but he is an intriguing safety. A bit undersized as a strong safety, he still plays like an enforcer.
- Nick Chubb (RB) - Georgia boasts the best running back duo in the nation, and each one is capable of being an impact player at the next level. Chubb is a back in the mold of Georgia alum and current member of the Los Angeles Rams, Todd Gurley. He has power back size at 5’11,” 235 pounds, as well as track speed and exceptional explosiveness (the picture of him casually showing off his 40-inch vertical before a track meet went viral). He is a one-cut, downhill runner with the power to run through arm tackles, but the speed to break big chunks of yardage. Chubb is one of the feel-good stories of the draft after coming back from a devastating knee injury in 2015, but that is also something teams will have to investigate closely.
- Sony Michel (RB) - Chubb’s backfield mate, Michel was one of the stars of the Rose Bowl. He is smaller (5’10,” 215), but quicker and more agile than Chubb. Michel is more able to create on his own behind the line of scrimmage or make a defender miss and make plays in the open field. He is also a capable receiver out of the backfield.
Which of the two running backs teams prefer might just come down to which team is drafting where, and what their offensive scheme calls for.
- Isaiah Wynn (OG) - Wynn was Georgia’s left guard the previous two seasons before moving to left tackle in 2017. He turned out to be a good left tackle for Georgia, but at 6’2,” 302, he is just too small to play the position at the next level and will move back to guard. However, that his feet are good enough to play tackle bodes well for him in the NFL. He would be a good fit in a zone scheme or as a pulling guard in a power run scheme.
- Javon Wims (WR) - A pleasant surprise for Georgia, Wims has stepped up as a major offensive contributor and pass catcher for Jake Fromm. Listed at 6’4,” 216, Wims is a big-bodied receiver who uses his frame and wingspan to win the catch point in the red-zone. He should fit well as a flanker at the next level, using his size to bully “number two” corners, keep the chains moving, and be a threat in the end zone. He also has the reputation as a hard-nosed blocker, willing to do the dirty work for his teammates.
- Roquon Smith (LB) - Smith is probably Georgia’s top prospect and the top linebacker in the draft. He is undersized at 6’1,” 225 pounds, but he is rangy, athletic, smart, and instinctive. Smith is easily Georgia’s leading tackler and the leader of their defense. He is also a fearsome hitter.
- Lorenzo Carter (OLB/EDGE) - Carter is a long, lean outside linebacker at 6’6,” 240 pounds, with a similar game as former Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Carter has the tools to be a threat coming off the edge as a pass rusher (or blitzing linebacker) as well as the athleticism to drop into zone coverage and keep offenses on their toes.
- Trenton Thompson (DT) - Like De’Shawn Hand, Thompson has the size and athleticism to fit as either a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 front or a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 front. He is a fluid and athletic defender with a versatile 6’4,” 295-pound frame
- Deandre Baker (CB) - Baker is gaining notoriety after being one of the unsung heroes of the Georgia defense. A smaller corner at 5’11,” 180 pounds, he is feisty and doesn’t hesitate at all to get physical in press coverage or in run support. His size holds him back against bigger receivers and making solo tackles, but he has good ball skills with two interceptions and nine passes defensed this season. He could be a candidate to move into the slot at the next level.