When the TCU Horned Frogs and Georgia Bulldogs take the field for the national championship, the star-studded rosters are expected to put on a show. Taking a look at their places on our list of top college football player rankings indicates just how strong each roster is.
Top College Football Players To Watch in the National Championship Game
These rankings clarify which players are the best of the best, regardless of position, and tie in their expected impact on the national championship.
1. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
There isn’t a much bigger man, nor bigger player persona on the field in the 2023 National Championship than Georgia’s Jalen Carter. The larger-than-life big man commands double-teams and wins with speed, strength, instincts, and an incredible motor. Carter is the player to watch when the Dawgs are on defense.
2. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
The expected battle between Georgia CB Kelee Ringo and TCU WR Quentin Johnston is must-see television for college football fans and NFL draft enthusiasts alike. Both are considered the top at their position on the Pro Football Network Big Board and are top-tier athletes.
Ringo has size and ball skills that rival any top cornerback in recent memory. He uses his frame well in his backpedal through the catch point and is absolutely fearless in coverage.
3. Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Perhaps the best athlete on the field at any given point, Brock Bowers is the man who makes the Georgia offense run. Picking up blocking assignments, running routes like a receiver, and dominating defenders in space after the catch, Bowers does it all.
4. Broderick Jones, LT, Georgia
Another Georgia Bulldog with next-level prospects, Broderick Jones is arguably the most physically dominant left tackle in college football. Whether pass protection or planting defenders into the ground on run plays, Jones just simply dominates.
5. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The biggest playmaker for the Horned Frogs, Quentin Johnston is perhaps one of the best big-play receivers in the country. Yet, that doesn’t define his game quite accurately, as he’s a sure-handed receiver with crafty routes and an ability to defeat defenders with speed and catch-point ability. Given the fact that he could be the first receiver drafted in April, whenever Johnston is on the field, he’s must-see TV.
6. Dee Winters, LB, TCU
If Dee Winters’ performance in the Fiesta Bowl against Michigan didn’t open your eyes to his elite level of play, then nothing will. Winters is second on the team in sacks, second in solo tackles, and has recorded 14.5 tackles for loss this season. Combine that with his coverage prowess and general patrolling of the middle of the field, and you’ve got one elite linebacker to watch.
7. Christopher Smith, S, Georgia
The definition of a ball hawk, Christopher Smith put the nation on notice of his skills early on in 2022. Smith has backed up even the loftiest expectations of his game every week since, continuing to shatter his preseason projections.
He’s a safety with terrific man coverage skills and the ability to float around the field. Smith is also dangerous when he gets his hands on the ball, no matter how he does so, and can take it the distance the other way all the same.
8. Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
All Stetson Bennett does is win, right? After exploding for nearly 400 yards against Ohio State, Bennett is entering his second national championship in two years as the Dawgs’ starter. He’s fresh off a Heisman Trophy finalist season and may still be underrated nationally.
Bennett doesn’t have the strongest arm. He doesn’t wow anyone with his stature. But none of that matters when the whistle blows. Every team would covet a player like Bennett on their roster.
9. Max Duggan, QB, TCU
Not much more can be said about the leading man for the Horned Frogs. Max Duggan‘s 2022 season was nothing short of remarkable as it all came together for him. His pocket presence took a massive step forward, and he became a magician from the pocket.
Saving his gutsiest performances for last, the crafty veteran has seen it all on the field, and his resolve has shown multiple times this year. When the game is on the line, there are few quarterbacks you’d prefer to have than Duggan.
10. Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
The impact Kendre Miller has on the field for TCU’s offense is impressive. They go as he goes and utilize his speed, acceleration, and elusiveness at the heart of their run game. By averaging 6.2 yards per carry this season, Miller reached 17 touchdowns and 1,399 yards in the blink of an eye.
11. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
A TCU legacy, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson has left his own lasting mark on the program just a few short decades after his uncle did the same. Hodges-Tomlinson has tremendous ball skills and is never out of a rep due to his amazing length, closing speed, and instinctual play. Watching him blanket any receiver in coverage has been a treat this season.
12. Malaki Starks, S, Georgia
Exploding onto the scene, true freshman Malaki Starks lived up to his high school billing and then some in 2022. Starks played an elevated game this past season, making highlight-reel plays look ordinary. He’s terrific in coverage, floating around the field with tremendous skill, speed, and instincts.
13. Warren McClendon, RT, Georgia
Pairing with Jones to make one of the nation’s top bookend tackle units, Warren McClendon is no slouch in either facet. He’ll plant defenders in the run game but dominates in pass protection. The stalwart has given up very little in the way of pressure, presenting a wall of defense for Bennett to throw from in the pocket.
14. Sedrick Van Pran, C, Georgia
The man in the middle for Georgia, Sedrick Van Pran is one of the top players at his position in the nation. Van Pran is a stellar communicator at center and presents an incredibly-gifted athlete in both facets. He’s balanced, strong, and knows how to attack both on the ground and in pass protection.
15. Brandon Coleman, LT, TCU
The leading man on the TCU offensive line mans the left tackle spot, as Brandon Coleman is a mountain of a man. Anchoring as talented of an offensive line as we’ve seen from the Big 12 in some time, Coleman stands 6’6″ and 325 pounds, yet is a magician on his feet. The massive man moves incredibly well in the run game and is a stalwart in pass protection.
16. Dylan Horton, EDGE, TCU
Leading the way with 10 sacks on defense, Dylan Horton wins all over the field. At 6’4″ and 275 pounds, he’s too big for smaller interior linemen to block, yet he’s fast enough to speed around tackles. Horton is an enigma to solve because of his all-around ability but also because he lines up as far inside as he does outside and wins all the same.
17. Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
It’s hard to imagine the Georgia offense without Kenny McIntosh this season. Though McIntosh and Daijun Edwards feature a near-even split on the ground, it’s been McIntosh’s pass-catching prowess that gives him the advantage here. McIntosh has turned 42 receptions into 505 yards and two scores to go with his 779 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
18. Steve Avila, LG, TCU
A mauler on TCU’s interior, Steve Avila is a well-rounded blocker with highlight-reel moments in both the pass and run game. The move to left guard has gone incredibly well for Avila after years at center, and he’s put his name on the national map both as a college football road grader and a potential next-level NFL starter.
19. Smael Mondon Jr., LB, Georgia
Leading the Bulldogs in tackles, Smael Mondon Jr. has put forth an impressive campaign. To lead the team in tackles is one thing, to be as sure of a tackler as Mondon has been is another. Combine that with his coverage prowess and blitzing ability, and you’ve got one talented linebacker at the second line of defense.
20. Josh Newton, CB, TCU
Not getting lost in a talented secondary is TCU’s Josh Newton. With as many plays on the ball as the much more polarizing Hodges-Tomlinson, Newton’s ability in coverage has been tested, and he’s shown up time and time again. He limits receivers in his coverage at the catch point and after the catch at the same time.
21. Robert Beal Jr., EDGE, Georgia
Among an embarrassment of riches on their defensive line, Robert Beal Jr. has flashed brilliantly during his Georgia career. He plays all over the field, making highlight-reel moments a reality when rushing the passer or even dropping into coverage.
22. Bud Clark, CB, TCU
Making his mark on the 2022-23 College Football Playoff, Bud Clark was dominant against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. He pulled down his team-high fifth interception, returning it for a touchdown in the process. Clark’s emergence down the stretch has been crucial for TCU’s defense
23. Johnny Hodges, LB, TCU
Tackles don’t make the linebacker, the linebacker makes the tackles. And as far as volume tacklers go in college football, Johnny Hodges may be one of the best. Leading the way with 81 total tackles, Hodges has over 30 tackles for a defensive stop. He also blitzes well and perhaps covers even better.
24. Mark Perry, S, TCU
Playing the role of last line of defense, Mark Perry somehow acts like a fourth linebacker for TCU; that’s how talented he is in terms of instincts and read-and-react ability. Perry runs the alley like a linebacker but covers like a true free safety. He’s a hard defender to make any progress on.
25. Alan Ali, C, TCU
Making the most of his first year in Fort Worth, Alan Ali excelled with TCU in 2022. He elevated his game after four great years as the starter at SMU, playing over 4,000 career snaps to date. Ali has seen it all and knows how to handle any type of defender. Despite his 4,000-plus snaps, the Georgia defensive line may be his toughest test yet.
26. Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
It just simply doesn’t matter where Ladd McConkey lines up or who defends him, he’s going to find an advantage. McConkey runs terrific double-move routes and finds open spots in all kinds of defensive schemes. He may not be the fastest or the biggest player on the field, but his tracking ability, natural separation, and safe hands are going to make him a threat on every down.
27. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Speaking of larger-than-life players in this game, if you haven’t seen Darnell Washington yet, you’re in for a treat. The refrigerator of a man stands at 6’7″ and 270 pounds while somehow still having the ability to hurdle defenders.
People of Washington’s size and frame shouldn’t be able to move the way he does, and he has also developed a three-down tight end game over the past few weeks of the year.
28. Jamon Dumas-Johnson, LB, Georgia
Despite the incredible roster in front of him, Jamon Dumas-Johnson actually leads the Bulldogs in sacks this season. His perfectly-timed blitzes from his LB spot are a thing of brilliance, as he combines speed with a terrific bend around the edge or power through the middle.
29. Jamoi Hodge, LB, TCU
A well-rounded linebacker, Jamoi Hodge rounds out one of the best linebacking trios in college football for TCU. Hodge is third on the team in tackles and sacks and has made his mark on multiple games with his well-rounded, three-down ability.
30. Xavier Truss, LG, Georgia
Big Xavier Truss is one to watch on Georgia’s interior. Mainly because you can’t miss him, but also because of how dominant he can be on the move. At 6’7″ and 320 pounds, Truss is a mountain of a man who uses controlled speed and power to get the job done at the second level.
31. Taye Barber, WR, TCU
Averaging 16.8 yards per catch, Taye Barber has become one of Duggan’s go-to receivers at any level of the field. Barber has a long stride and uses that to stack defensive backs in off-coverage while his routes are neat and tidy, allowing him to create separation in the blink of an eye.
32. Mykel Williams, EDGE, Georgia
Though Mykel Williams may not get the credit he fully deserves just yet, he’s still become a dominant player right in front of our eyes in 2022. The true freshman has feasted on offensive linemen this year, winning with power and size. At 6’5″, 265 pounds, Williams moves like a much lighter man and possesses an incredibly fast get-off. He’s a star in the making.
33. Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
Don’t let ball production fool you when discussing DBs; Kamari Lassiter is downright sticky in coverage. The second-year cornerback was battle-tested in 2022, yet left more battles on the winning side than the other. Against TCU, he’ll show off his speed, ball skills, and range against a wide variety of pass catchers.
34. Derius Davis, WR, TCU
As shifty as they come, don’t let the drop against Michigan haunt you when you discuss Derius Davis. Prior to dropping a crucial pass against the Wolverines, Davis was credited with just two on the season. He’s an eclectic man with the ball in his hands, either from the slot or when returning kicks.
35. Andrew Coker, RT, TCU
Rounding out the right side of the Horned Frogs’ offensive line, Andrew Coker has started every game and played his best season to date. At 6’7″, 315 pounds, he’s long and powerful, and yet somehow has a refined balance to his game to avoid getting knocked over or out of the play.
36. Tate Ratledge, RG, Georgia
Keeping a clean pocket after clean pocket in 2022, Tate Ratledge has put his name on the map during his first full-time starting season with the Dawgs. Ratledge is strong and uses a great base to keep the pocket free from debris, as he rarely loses his 1-on-1 battles.
37. Jared Wiley, TE, TCU
Occupying the middle of the field very well, Jared Wiley’s first year with the Horned Frogs has been a revelation. He’s hauled in a career-high four touchdowns and shown he’s fully capable of playing a three-down role at tight end.
38. Daijun Edwards, RB, Georgia
A terrific north-to-south runner, Daijun Edwards has shown a great ability to make the most of his carries all season long. He’s turned 135 carries into 739 yards, consistently generating first downs and chunk plays. Edwards maximizes his runs better than most in the country.
39. Javon Bullard, CB, Georgia
Playing on the inside, Javon Bullard has also flashed brilliance in 2022. The second-year CB is a tailormade slot cornerback with the ability to blitz off the edge and cover a variety of pass catchers.
40. Emari Demercado, RB, TCU
Spelling Miller all season long, Emari Demercado was ready for his big moment against Michigan just a week ago. Showing glimpses of what he could do at times during the 2022 season, Demercado exploded for an incredible 8.8 yards per carry and 150 yards on just 17 carries against Michigan’s stout defense.
41. Wes Harris, RG, TCU
Wes Harris is home at right guard for the Horned Frogs. He’s a terrific pass protector and does his part in carving up large lanes for TCU’s rushing attack. After splitting reps early on, Harris has latched onto the RG spot in his fifth year in the program with great success.
42. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, WR, Georgia
The security blanket for Bennett, Marcus Romsey-Jacksaint is one of the most sure-handed receivers in all of college football. There aren’t many routes he can’t run, and despite being fourth in total targets, he’s turned 29 catches into 337 yards this season.
43. Kearis Jackson, WR, Georgia
It feels like we’re a few catches away from the Kearis Jackson breakout performance, as he’s currently averaging 15.0 yards per catch this year and over 14.0 yards per catch in his career. A big-play threat, Jackson is a bigger slot receiver with the ability to win over the middle of the field.
44. Adonai Mitchell, WR, Georgia
The amazing statistical line reads eight receptions for two touchdowns this year in just three full-time appearances for Adonai Mitchell. At 6’4″ and 190 pounds, Mitchell is a lean and speedy machine on the outside. He gives the Bulldogs a legitimate deep threat when he’s healthy in the lineup.
45. Savion Williams, WR, TCU
A fourth TCU receiver and sixth skill player, Savion Williams has produced four receiving touchdowns and wins quickly on the outside. He’s not the fastest receiver out there, but the big man can certainly reach top gear if he’s given the space to do so.
46. Tykee Smith, S, Georgia
Injuries have slowed Tykee Smith’s impact on the Georgia defense since transferring two seasons ago. Yet, Smith will always present one of the most impressive sets of coverage instincts, closing bursts, and all-around ball skills you’ll find anywhere else on the field.
47. Damonic Williams, DT, TCU
When Damonic Williams pins his ears back and rushes the passer, few are going to be able to hold him in place. He commands double-teams as his massive frame gets moving. The true freshman has flashed brilliance and has an incredibly bright future with the program.
48. Warren Brinson, DT, Georgia
Spelling the talented Georgia interior, Warren Brinson has done nothing but win whenever he’s on the field. Given the chance to make an impression on a game, Brinson has taken those opportunities and run with them. Except he’s usually running quarterbacks around and forcing them to flee the pocket.
49. Nazir Stackhouse, DT, Georgia
Another talented player who has flashed when his limited chances have shown, Nazir Stackhouse is a larger-than-life individual who can push the pocket with ease. Yet, Stackhouse has a nimbleness to his feet and can dance around blockers all the same.
50. Terrell Cooper, EDGE, TCU
There isn’t much Terrell Cooper hasn’t seen on a football field. He’s an experienced pass rusher with the ability to win all over the defensive front. No matter where he lines up, Cooper is a potential mismatch for undersized or slower offensive linemen.
Griffin Kell, K, TCU
Jack Podlesny, K, Georgia
Abraham Camara, CB, TCU
Tramel Walthour, EDGE, Georgia
Tymon Mitchell, DT, TCU
Millard Bradford, S, TCU
Caleb Fox, EDGE, TCU
Shadrach Banks, LB, TCU
Namdi Obiazor, S, TCU
Jaionte McMillan, CB, TCU