College football has always been more of a team sport than an individual one, but that doesn’t mean player rankings aren’t one of the most debated subjects for fans. ESPN released their list of the top 50 players heading into the 2018 season, and interestingly, there’s no Big Ten players in the top five. Leading the list is Houston’s star defensive tackle, Ed Oliver. Then there’s Bryce Love, Will Grier, and two separate members of Clemson’s talented defensive line.
Where does Ohio States’ Nick Bosa rank?
The first Big Ten player, Nick Bosa, comes in at number six. A junior with big potential ahead of him, Ohio State fans will gladly tell you that Bosa isn’t just on the team because of his last name. He has the talent to stand alone, and would probably be at the same spot on this list even without the famous brother.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t help to have some name recognition. His play style definitely reminds people of Joey Bosa, who also starred at Ohio State during his college football days. With Ohio State losing some talent to the draft, most notably defensive end Sam Hubbard, Bosa will get more snaps and more chances to back up his ranking this season.
While he was the first Big Ten player to show up in the top ten, he wasn’t the only one. Wisconsin’s top running back, Jonathan Taylor, is next on the list. There’s no surprise there, as one could make an argument that Taylor, who is only a sophomore, is the best back in the country. During his freshman season, he rushed for almost 2,000 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. The entire nation will be watching to see if he can improve on that in 2018.
There’s two more Big Ten players in the top 20: Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. One of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this year, McSorley is the second highest rated QB on the list behind West Virginia’s gunslinger Will Grier. Of course, these are just preseason picks. One of the interesting parts of college football is looking back each season and seeing which seemingly safe predictions turned out to be wildly wrong.
With most college football teams opening their seasons during the first week of September, we’ll soon get to see which players rise and which ones just can’t keep up with the expectations.