Ranking college football players is an inherently dangerous task. With the number of different manners a player can contribute—quantitative ways like sacks, yards and interceptions or qualitative ways like sound blocking and tight coverage—it’s difficult to gage who makes the most impact. On top of that, with players limited to four-year careers, there’s a significant amount of guesswork to assess how players will develop from one season to the next.
So, with those acknowledged limitations, SI.com’s college football staff presents its top 100 players for the 2016 season.These rankings are not just an assessment of what the players have done so far but how they’ll perform this fall. And rather than simply rank players by their expected production, we attempt to discern who is the most valuable. Essentially, if you were starting a team from scratch, whom would you want the most?
Linebackers made up the largest portion of any position group in our rankings, with 15 earning selection, trailed closely by 14 running backs. Wide receivers were next with 12 honorees, followed by quarterbacks with 11 and defensive ends and cornerbacks with 10 each.
Amongst teams, Alabama drew the most selections, a whopping nine players, followed by Clemson with seven, and Florida State, LSU and USC with five apiece.