The list of players in any college football season, a sport with more than 100 teams and at least 25 percent turnover each year, is long.
Nonetheless, Pro Football Focus has released an extensive ranking of the sports’ top 101 players in 2016, and that list includes two Oregon Ducks.
Not surprisingly, the highest rated Duck is running back Royce Freeman, coming in at No. 14. Here are PFF’s comments on the junior:
Freeman may not be as talented as some of the other top running backs on the list, but he has impressive speed for 230 pounds and he’ll be right in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race in 2016. His +28.5 rushing grade ranked fourth in the nation after finishing 16th as a true freshman in 2014 and his 80 forced missed tackles were third-most in the FBS. Only Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette picked up more yards after contact than Freeman (1,067) as he brings a downhill, power-running presence to Oregon’s spread attack. While the offense will give him favorable looks at times, Freeman takes advantage by making tacklers pay and as Oregon goes through yet another transition at quarterback, look for him to carry the offense in 2016.
Then at No. 77 comes offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby, another Oregon star expected to have a standout season:
Crosby was one of the nation’s best run-blocking offensive tackles, finishing third at +26.8. He still has some work to do in pass protection as he surrendered 19 pressures for a slightly-above average pass blocking grade, but his overall body of work was impressive for a true sophomore.
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey earned the top overall spot from the site, and was the only Pac-12 player ranked above Freeman. Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook (No. 11) and Georgia's Nick Chubb (No. 12) also outranked Freeman at the running back position.
Freeman and Crosby have been recognized by PFF before, being named Pac-12’s toughest to tackle and best run blocker earlier this week.