With the college football season set to get underway soon, ESPN on Wednesday released its ranking of the best players in the sport, regardless of position, based on their football abilities alone.
A slew of Clemson standouts made ESPN’s ranking of the top 100 players in college football for 2022 — seven to be exact — with redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Bresee (No. 13) and junior defensive end Myles Murphy (No. 18) both making the top 20.
Here’s what ESPN’s article had to say about those two forces on Clemson’s defensive front:
We got a glimpse of what Bresee could do as ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2020, when he had 33 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He was on his way to another big year as a sophomore, but he tore his ACL in the fourth game of the season and was out for the year. Still, he earned third-team All-ACC honors in a nod to his dominance over such a short stretch. He is back and healthy and figures to have his best year yet.
It’s possible the biggest obstacle to Murphy’s dominance at defensive end is that he has to share the wealth with so many other talented linemen at Clemson. Still, Murphy is the best of the bunch, finishing last season with seven sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 12 runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. Murphy is a future first-round pick anchoring a line that might have two or three of them.
Junior linebacker Trenton Simpson (No. 38) is the next-highest-ranked Tiger on ESPN’s list, followed by fifth-year senior defensive end Xavier Thomas (No. 53), sophomore running back Will Shipley (No. 55) and senior defensive tackle Tyler Davis (No. 63).
Sophomore safety Andrew Mukuba also cracked ESPN’s list of college football’s top 100 players, coming in at No. 99.
“When Lannden Zanders went down in Clemson’s opener against Georgia last year, Mukuba — a true freshman — was thrust into a starting job,” the ESPN article stated. “He didn’t miss a beat. For the season, Mukuba held opposing QBs to less than 50% completions, had seven pass breakups, allowed just three completions of 20 yards or more and surrendered less than half a yard per coverage snap. Meanwhile, he finished fourth on the team with 48 tackles. His role in 2022 gets even bigger, however, as he’s the only established starter in Clemson’s new-look secondary.”
Like Clemson, Georgia also seven of the top 100 players in college football according to ESPN. Only Alabama (eight) has more.