4 Tigers ranked in Top 101 CFB Players for 2016

by - Assoc. Editor -
Watson and Gallman should be explosive in 2016
Watson and Gallman should be explosive in 2016

Pro Football Focus has released its latest article ranking the Top 101 players in college football for the 2016 season. The rankings were based on the future play for the upcoming season, not any projection of players for the NFL draft.

Clemson had four players ranked in the top 101 behind only Alabama (7) and Michigan (5).

Watson was ranked #6 overall behind RB Christian McCaffrey, DE Myles Garrett, RB Leonard Fournette, DE Derek Barnett, and S Derwin James.

"The nation’s most talented quarterback played like it from Week 9 through the end of the season when he posted the top overall grade in the FBS," PFF.com said. "Watson was inconsistent early in the year, but he has the big arm to make special throws and the athleticism to be a focal point for Clemson’s rushing attack. There’s still room to grow as his grade on short (1-10 yard) passes ranked 34th in the nation and he was one of the worst quarterbacks when pressured at -10.5 but he had the second-best grade on passes traveling 30-plus yards in the air. If Watson can improve his work under pressure while showing quicker decision-making and accuracy in the short game, he’ll live up to the first overall draft pick status for which he’s been pegged."

Watson finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting last season and will be one of the favorites in 2016. Watson completed 333-of-491 passes for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns and also had 207 rushes for 1,105 yards and 12 scores this past season.

He became the first player in NCAA FBS history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

Senior cornerback Cordrea Tankersley was the only Clemson defender ranked at #57 overall.

"At 6-1, Tankersley has the size the NFL will love and the on-field production is not far behind, PFF.com said. "Against Power-5 his +9.6 coverage grade tied for sixth nationally and he allowed only 41.5 percent of passes to be completed his way. For the season, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of only 44.4 when targeting Tankersley, eighth-best in the nation."

He had 48 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions (20th in the nation) including one for a touchdown and was the seventh-leading tackler on the team. He was also voted third-team All-ACC by the ACC coaches.

Wide receiver Mike Williams should be looking for a monster season as he is healthy after a serious neck injury last season. He was ranked #58 overall.

"Williams missed all of 2015, but he had the 12th-best overall grade among wide receivers in 2014," PFF.com said. "His 18.1 yards per reception were helped by his averaging 7.6 yards after the catch per reception to go with 11 forced missed tackles on his 57 receptions. A healthy Williams steps right back in as the top playmaker for Clemson."

Williams had 1,030 receiving yards and 6 TDs in 2014 and 77 catches for 1,346 yards and nine touchdowns in his collegiate career.

Workhorse running back Wayne "Train" Gallman was the last Clemson player ranked at #92 overall.

"Often lost in the mix of top running backs, Gallman’s +20.2 rushing grade ranked 14th in the nation and his 67 missed tackles forced were seventh," PFF.com said. "He finished 11th in elusive rating at 82.0 and his pairing with Deshaun Watson in the backfield will be one of the most-feared combinations in the country."

Gallman had 283 rushing attempts for 1527 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He also showed his all-around offensive talents with 21 receptions for 213 yards and a score. For his career, he has 444 rushes for 2296 yards and seventeen rushing touchdowns.

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