Ranking the 50 greatest college football players so far this century, including legendary players, Tim Tebow, Baker Mayfield, Reggie Bush and Cam Newton.
Taking hundreds of players over 18 seasons and narrowing the list down 50 individuals sounds like a daunting task. Once you dig in and compare all the great players, all the outstanding seasons and careers, then attempt to rank them, it becomes clear that daunting is quite an understatement.
There is no formula for comparing quarterbacks to defensive tackles to wide receivers. The game has evolved so much year to year and styles of play vary so much conference to conference that using statistical comps and grading with complete objectivity is nearly impossible. Taking on this list requires defying conventional wisdom and doing something that’s always been said could not be done — comparing apples to oranges, or more accurately, comparing Peppers to Berry.
Post-season awards, stats, and wins are all key factors, but they don’t tell the entire story. These weighed heavily into determining which players made this list and how they were ordered but overall dominance on the field, influence on the game, performances in big games, sustained success, career highs vs. lows, level of competition, and the impact players had on their respective teams were all taken into consideration as well.
Draft position and performance at the next level had no bearing. Each player’s collective body of work from college, whether over one season or four, was analyzed, compared, debated, and used to determine their place on this list.
Befitting of college football, the ultimate determination came down to decisions made by a committee (of one) and there will undoubtedly be room left for debate.