With the 2021 season approaching, we are starting to see preseason award watch lists released as well as certain college football sites release their top-50 players.
Every year, we speculate about the best players in the country and usually, it’s someone from Clemson, Ohio State, or Alabama gracing the top of the list. This year, it’s a familiar face from Oregon football as Kayvon Thibodeaux has been earning national recognition and hype for months now, starting with Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay naming him the top prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Even more respect has been dished his way recently as 247Sports‘ writer Chris Hummer posted his top-50 players in college football ahead of the 2021 season and Thibodeaux came in at No. 1.
Although this is just one man’s opinion, he said he got feedback before he made the list from many college football experts. So this No. 1 ranking isn’t out of the ordinary and more of a consensus feeling.
Here’s what Hummer had to say about Kayvon:
"Thibodeaux emerged as a starter late in the 2019 season and has been consistently dominant since, posting multiple tackles for loss in nine of his last 12 games. This includes overwhelming efforts in back-to-back Pac-12 Championship games – 12 QB pressures against USC in 2020 and a Pac-12 title game record 2.5 sacks against Utah in 2019. Thibodeaux is CFB’s premier EDGE rusher and can change a game in an instant. He’s the most feared defensive player in college football."
All of this echoes what fans have been saying about him for years and no one can say he didn’t live up to his lofty recruiting ranking from 2019 because he’s widely regarded as college football’s most feared defender.
Other Oregon football players who could be top-50 players
Being named one of the top-50 players in college football is quite the honor seeing as there are thousands to choose from. Oregon having the No. 1 overall player just goes to show how well Mario Cristobal has recruited over the past few cycles, but he could have even more top-50 caliber players by the time the 2021 season is over.
Which other Ducks have the potential to be top-50 players by the end of the 2021 season?
- Noah Sewell, LB, Freshman
- Justin Flowe, LB, Freshman
- Mykael Wright, CB, Sophomore
- Mase Funa, LB, Sophomore
- CJ Verdell, RB, Junior
I would have included some of my favorite players on the team who I think will have huge seasons such as Mycah Pittman, Johnny Johnson III, Devon Williams, Alex Forsyth, Jamal Hill, Troy Franklin, and Dont’e Thornton but I think they’re all a year away from top-50 range (minus the senior Johnson III).
Thibodeaux is going to be one of those rare defensive Heisman contenders and the Ducks should have plenty of talent in 2021.
It feels nice to have the No. 1 player in college football on your side.