USC Football featured five players on NFL.com’s list of the Top 50 players in college football for 2017. Did the rankings get it right?
There is no better indicator that we have reached peak dog days of the offseason quite like a list, ranking either players or Teams.
The latest and most interesting list so far is NFL.com’s CFB 24/7 list of Top 50 college football players in 2017.
The list features five Trojans, some seem accurately ranked, while others are a bit low.
Let’s take a look at the players who made it into the Top 50:
Ronald Jones — No. 43
Ronald Jones is the lowest Trojan on this list. Right off the bat it feels that he deserves to be higher on the list.
There are a lot of great players in college football but No. 43 feels low for one of the most dynamic players in the country.
Looking at some of the names above him, like Mark Walton the running back from Miami and Christian Kirk, a WR from Texas A&M, he should at least be top 40.
Porter Gustin — No. 28
USC’s big time pass rusher Porter Gustin is the next Trojan to check in at number 28 in the top 50 players for 2017.
Gustin was second on the team in 2016 with 5.5 sacks and is a key member of what is one of the most talented linebacker groups in the country.
Having said that, the junior being ranked at 28 feels appropriate, especially when you think about the fact that Gustin is most likely the second-best linebacker on the team.
Iman Marshall — No. 16
With Adoree’ Jackson moving on to the NFL, Iman Marshall is the now the lockdown man for the Trojan’s secondary.
The big corner will have his work cut out for him in the upcoming season, but for now, he can take pride in being the 16th best player on CFB 24/7’s list.
Marshall was the most prized recruit of the 2015 recruiting class and has lived up to the high praise. For that reason,16 seems fair for Marshall, especially since he is the highest-ranking corner on the list.
Cameron Smith — No. 14
Cameron Smith is a throwback middle linebacker, watching him play is a reminder of the days when USC was making inroads to be called Linebacker U.
Any Trojan fan who remembers past middle linebackers like Lofa Tatupu and Rey Maualuga can appreciate Smith’s hard-nosed style.
Smith is ranked as the 14th best player going into 2017 and is the highest ranked USC defender and second-highest ranked linebacker, behind Texas’ Malik Jefferson who ranked 13th. Good thing USC plays Texas September 16th and we can see a side by side comparison for ourselves.
Sam Darnold — No. 3
When NFL.com began releasing their rankings, it was easy to predict that Sam Darnold would be somewhere near the top of this list. The only question was whether he would be placed in one of two acceptable spots — No. 1 or No. 2?
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Well, it turns out they did not place the Trojan gunslinger in first or second, they placed him third.
Going into this, it would have made sense for Darnold to be placed behind Lamar Jackson, which he is, because Jackson is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Even though Darnold might be a better player, the trophy matters.
However, to place Darnold and Jackson behind sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver is absolutely ridiculous.
From now until his name is called in the NFL draft, if a list of top college football players is made, every list maker should have to watch the throw Darnold made against Pen State, on repeat, until they realize he deserves the top spot.