B1G stars among CBS Sports' top 50 impact players of 2016
It’s an age-old question. How does one compare the impact of an offensive lineman to a kick returner?
Evaluating the impact that a player makes on a game isn’t an easy task, but CBS Sports took on the challenge. They named the top 50 impact players entering the 2016 season.
That meant versatility was rewarded. Players like Will Likely, Desmond King and Jabrill Peppers — all of whom play major special teams roles — cracked the top 50. In fact, Peppers was rated higher than all nine B1G players who cracked the list.
If there was a surprising omission, it was probably All-American guard Dan Feeney, who has allowed just one sack in his last two seasons at Indiana. One also could’ve made a case for Michigan defensive lineman Chris Wormley and even versatile Rutgers senior Jarion Grant.
As it stands, here’s the complete list of B1G players with an excerpt of why they were ranked where they were from the CBS Sports staff. To see CBS’ complete list, click here:
50. Will Likely, Maryland CB/KR — “The 5-foot-7 cornerback is one of the most electrifying players in college football. Likely is a special talent when it comes to returning the football.”
46. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB — “Despite running behind a poor offensive line as a freshman, Barkley rushed for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. That was basically the best season any freshman running back has had in Penn State history, as Barkley broke or matched D.J. Dozier’s marks from 1983.”
36. Malik McDowell, Michigan State DT — “McDowell is going to be the face of the Michigan State defense, and he certainly has the talent and ability to become a household name in the college football world.”
31. Pat Elflein, Ohio State OL — “…Ohio State had a very good offensive line last year, Pat Elflein was the best player on it. He will be again this year, too.”
RELATED: Pro Football Focus ranks B1G players among top 101 in college football
29. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State LB — “He led Ohio State in tackles last season with 119 and was a Butkus Award (country’s best linebacker) finalist. With many of OSU’s top defensive players now gone, McMillan will take on an even larger role. It’s one he’s more than ready for as he’s already been named a captain. It’s time for Raekwon to put out his solo album.”
16. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB — “Ohio State will be centered around a redshirt junior who himself is ready to go out as one of the Buckeyes’ best players in the modern era and that should be comforting for Urban Meyer who has plenty of other holes to fill on his roster.”
13. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan CB — “Lewis has the ability to basically take away one-third of the field from the opposing offense. When you have a player who can do that, it makes everybody else’s job so much easier.“
11. Desmond King, Iowa CB — “King tied a school record with eight interceptions and broke up 13 other passes en route to winning the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football. He didn’t limit himself to defense, either, as he served as Iowa’s primary kick and punt returner as well.”
10. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan LB/S — “There aren’t many players in college football who can go from sideline to sideline stuffing the run and then on the next play stay step-for-step with a receiver running a post up the seam, but that’s what Peppers can and will do for the Wolverines in 2016.”