No Shortage of Pro Prospects
The college football season will be capped Monday with No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 TCU colliding at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium for the national championship. The Bulldogs are defending their crown and looking to establish themselves as the new dynasty. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs are enjoying their best season in program history on an odds-defying run, going from unranked in the preseason to playing for a national title.
Alongside the tradition and pageantry, the national championship is usually loaded with NFL-bound players. This season’s edition is no exception. As many as five first-round picks will duke it out on Monday night. Check out several notable NFL prospects that will compete in the biggest college football game of the season.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU is the biggest underdog of the College Football Playoff era at +12. Of course, there is a notable talent discrepancy between the rosters. However, the Horned Frogs still have plenty of NFL talent, especially on the offensive side.
WR Quentin Johnston
Wide receiver Quentin Johnston is the most talented player on TCU’s roster. He is projected as a top-15 pick and could be the first wideout off of the board.
He brings unusual speed and elusiveness in a 6-foot-4 frame. Johnston’s 18.1 yards per catch ranks in the top 25 nationally. Johnston put everything on display in the 51-45 win over Michigan with 163 receiving yards.
Running back Kendre Miller is another skill position player to watch. He is questionable with a knee injury. If he goes, Miller will showcase his second-to-third-round upside.
QB Max Duggan
Of course, the Heisman Trophy runner-up is another talented player heading for the league. In fact, quarterback Max Duggan already declared for the 2023 NFL Draft before the CFP Semifinals.
Duggan has consistently shown exceptional leadership and grit. The senior signal-caller thrives as a scrambler and playmaker. Plus, he’s displayed NFL accuracy at times. Duggan is tracking as a day-three pick but could help his stock against Georgia’s loaded defense.
TCU’s QB also gets the luxury of throwing behind guard Steve Avila, who could be a day-two selection.
CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson
The Horned Frogs are not known for their defense. The stats say enough. TCU ranks seventh in points per game and 63rd in allowed points per game. However, the defense features several players with NFL upside. Defensive linemen Dylan Horton and linebacker Dee Winters are standouts who will likely be day-three picks.
Cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, who is LaDainian Tomlinson’s nephew, is the gem of the unit. He is an exceptional athlete, which makes up for his undersized 5-foot-9 frame. Hodges-Tomlinson also has the ability to press with good ball skills. He could bring great value as a second– or third-round pick.
We know the kind of talent Georgia has. The Dawgs recruit at the highest level year in and year out alongside Alabama and Ohio State. Last season, Georgia’s defense was one of the best in college football history. Five defenders were drafted in the first round and 15 Bulldogs were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, which set the record for a seven-round draft.
Georgia reloaded, as perennial powers do. The Bulldogs’ loaded roster is oozing with NFL talent.
DT Jalen Carter
The best NFL prospect in the national championship by a landslide is defensive tackle, Jalen Carter. In the semifinals, Ohio State managed to minimize his impact by consistently moving the pocket and deploying double teams. However, don’t expect the projected top-three pick to be silenced once again.
Carter is a generational three-technique defensive lineman. You name it, he has it – especially as a pass rusher. Carter has plenty of pass-rush moves in the toolbox, great power and unbelievable quickness. We often heard Carter was the best player on Georgia last season. It’s his time to shine.
CB Kelee Ringo
The Bulldogs’ secondary has underperformed over the last two games. The unit has no lack of talent though with cornerback Kelee Ringo and safety Christopher Smith. Ringo is the leader in the clubhouse.
From the start of the season until now, the third-year defensive back has been projected as the first cornerback off of the board. After trading blows with Marvin Harrison Jr. in limited snaps, Ringo only helped his stock. He draws another tough matchup against TCU’s Johnston.
TE Darnell Washington
Georgia’s offense will produce several draft picks in April. Quarterback Stetson Bennett will likely be a day-three pick along with running back Kenny McIntosh. Offensive tackle Broderick Jones is trending toward a first-round selection.
Tight end Darnell Washington is the one player you cannot miss. On Georgia, a team full of athletic freaks, Washington stands out at 6-foot-7, 270 pounds. He is questionable with a lower-body injury. If Washington plays, you can’t miss the potential first-round pick.
We could go on and on about potential NFL draft picks in the CFP championship, even ones who are not draft eligible. Don’t forget names like Carter, Ringo, Johnston and Washington. They could be future NFL stars.