Farrell 50: The best players of the 2021 season

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It’s that time of year. The college football season is almost over, so it’s time for a look at the Farrell 50 — the top 50 players in college football and how they were ranked as recruits. We begin today with Nos. 41-50.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

50.

WR Drake London, USC

The skinny: London committed to USC during the summer leading up to his senior season. He actually committed for both football and basketball, which was an important factor in his decision. After grabbing 72 receptions during his first two seasons with the Trojans, London finished 2021 with 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns despite suffering a season-ending injury during the eighth game of the season.

Farrell’s take: London had emerged as arguably the best receiver in college football before his injury with his size and catch radius. He is likely to be a first-rounder and reminds many of Mike Evans.

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*****  

49.

TE Trey McBride, Colorado State

The skinny: McBride received a ton of late interest, with Power Five programs like Kansas State, Colorado and several others offering. But McBride elected instead to stay close to home and play for Colorado State, committing during his senior season. Having already established himself as one of the top returning tight ends in the country, McBride took his game to an even higher level this fall with 86 receptions for 1,017 yards and a touchdown for the Rams.

Farrell’s take: McBride was a local two-star recruit out of high school who wasn’t heavily recruited but quickly emerged as a pass-catching threat. He was the most productive tight end in the country this year.

*****  

48.

WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

The skinny: Ohio State beat Texas and others for Wilson, who played at Austin (Texas) Lake Travis but lived in the Columbus area until he was 12-years-old. Wilson committed to the Buckeyes in the spring before his senior season. Wilson made an immediate impact at Ohio State, but enjoyed his best season in 2021 with 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Buckeyes.

Farrell’s take: Wilson had another very good season and was especially effective getting into the end zone. He has a first-round grade for most in the NFL Draft next season and started slowly due to a new quarterback but really came on midseason.

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*****  

47.

DE Sam Williams, Ole Miss

The skinny: The JUCO recruit committed to Ole Miss during the spring leading up to his final season at Northeast Mississippi C.C., but then took an official visit to Florida State in December. Despite this late look at the Seminoles, he stuck with the Rebels on National Signing Day. After two very productive seasons in Oxford, Williams became one of the top defensive players in the SEC this fall with 56 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Farrell’s take: Williams was a four-star linebacker out of JUCO and quickly became one of the best pure pass rushers in the SEC. Not only does he pursue well but he has a knack for making big plays at big times.

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*****  

46.

WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

The skinny: Perry took an early December official visit to Wake Forest and committed to the Demon Deacons soon after. He chose Wake over Iowa State, Appalachian State, Liberty, UAB, Southern Miss and several other offers. Expectations were high that Perry would become a more important part of the Wake Forest offense this fall, but not many expected him to total 61 receptions for 1,166 yards and 14 touchdowns for the explosive Demon Deacons offense.

The skinny: A two-star with great size but lacking polish, he only had two Power Five offers out of high school despite playing in Florida. He’s added speed and his hands are excellent as he’s become a nightmare matchup.

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*****  

45.

LB Damone Clark, LSU

The skinny: At the time of his decision in early January, soon after the conclusion of his junior season, Clark also held offers from Florida, Miami and Mississippi State, but committed to LSU due to its proximity to his home. He did take a late official visit to Texas, but stayed committed to the Tigers. While the season did not go as expected in Baton Rouge, Clark’s play was a constant bright spot. Finishing with an SEC-leading 135 tackles, to go along with 15 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception, he became one of the top defensive playmakers in the SEC.

Farrell’s take: A local somewhat undersized linebacker in high school, he was still a four-star and has taken his time to develop. This season was a breakout for him and he’s shown he can tackle, cover and anticipate.

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*****  

44.

RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

The skinny: Initially, it was Virginia Tech and Virginia that were the top contenders for Henderson, followed by Ohio State, North Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas. With COVID-19 shutting down options for additional visits Henderson committed to the Buckeyes in late March after establishing a strong relationship with the coaching staff. After some initial questions in Columbus as to who would be the lead back in 2021, Henderson rose to the occasion as a true freshman and totaled 1,457 offensive yards and 19 touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: Henderson came in with a lot of hype, and he lived up to it and then some. We were criticized for not having him as a five-star, and that’s certainly looking like a big mistake. He has explosive speed and looks like a future Heisman winner and is one of the few true freshmen on this list.

*****  

43.

QB Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

The skinny: Armstrong initially committed to Minnesota, but after re-opening his recruitment, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana and Cincinnati were in contention before his commitment to the Cavaliers in late November. After a promising 2020 season, Armstrong had a dynamic performance in 2021 with 4,444 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also rushed for nine touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: A mid-level three-star from Ohio, Armstrong was lightly recruited but found a great fit with the Cavaliers. His accuracy has improved greatly over the past couple of seasons and despite an average arm he can fit the ball in.

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*****  

42.

WR Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky

The skinny: Sterns committed to Army, as a quarterback recruit, during his senior season, but then decided to stay closer to home and signed with Houston Baptist. Navy, Princeton and Davidson had also offered. Transferring to Western Kentucky during the offseason, Sterns had no issues adjusting to FBS football this fall. Combining with fellow transfer, and ex-teammate quarterback Bailey Zappe, he finished with an amazing 150 receptions for 1,902 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: Talk about a journey, the former two-star went from quarterback to wide receiver and found his home at Western Kentucky as the main target in a prolific offense. His numbers are ridiculous.

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*****

41.

OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

The skinny: Green was an early commitment to LSU, but after re-opening his recruitment and announcing a top 10, he surprisingly made a commitment to Texas A&M approximately a month later. Being two hours from his home was a big factor for Green in choosing the Aggies. In his final season with the Aggies, as he recently declared for the NFL Draft, Green earned multiple All-American honors while being the only player in the NCAA to log 80 or more plays at four different offensive line positions.

Farrell’s take: Green was a five-star who has emerged as one of the most versatile players in the country. He can play inside or outside and has a first-round grade.

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