Top 30 college football players of the midseason
Who are the 30 best college football players at the halfway point? It might be the year of the running back, but the pass rushers have stepped up to go with a usual array of top-shelf quarterbacks.
1. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
The most dominating offensive player in the game, Fournette is playing like the mega-recruit from the 2014 class. Through six games, he has 14 touchdowns and has yet to be held under 150 yards on the ground.
2. QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
The Frog defense has been besieged by injuries, so Boykin is stepping on the pedal with a little extra force this season. He's second nationally with 25 touchdown passes, while piloting his team to shootout road wins over Texas Tech and Kansas State.
3. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
If Cook hasn't been the best player of the opening half, he certainly has been the most valuable. In a year that the quarterback and the O-line is new in Tallahassee, Cook has ignored a bum hamstring and hoisted the Nole offense on his shoulders.
4. DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
The classic try-hard overachiever, Nassib has evolved from one-time walk-on to the country's leader in sacks with 11.5. And he's been ultra-consistent, too, bagging a quarterback at least one time in all seven games to go along with 35 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss.
5. S Jeremy Cash, Duke
The former Ohio State Buckeye has become one of the nation's most versatile—and disruptive—defensive backs as a Blue Devil. Playing a hybrid of safety and linebacker, he's registered 47 tackles, 11.5 stops for loss, 1.5 sacks, seven hurries and three forced fumbles.
6. DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
In a little over a year, Garrett has already outgrown the competition at this level. He's the most dominating defensive force in the college game, using his length, speed and motor to amass 11.5 tackles for loss and an SEC-high 8.5 sacks.
7. RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
Henry is making the most of his first chance to be the feature back of the Bama offense. Not only has he rushed for 901 yards and a dozen scores, but his best games have come against Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Georgia and Texas A&M.
SEE MORE: Alabama vs. Tennessee prediction
8. WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
Coleman has been to receivers in 2015 what LSU's Leonard Fournette is to the backs. Coleman has been freakishly potent through six games, catching 16 touchdowns to lead the nation in scoring. He was Michael Crabtree or Larry Fitzgerald-good in the first half.
9. WR Josh Doctson, TCU
Everyone knows that the ball is going to No. 9, yet no one can stop him. Doctson has been toying with defensive backs all season long, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards and catching at least two touchdown passes in each of the last five games.
10. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Quarterback play in Columbus has been spotty. The ground game is as solid as ever. Elliott has essentially picked up where he left off in 2014, ranking third nationally with just under 1,000 yards and three scores.
11. QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Yeah, it's been a quieter year for Prescott and the Bulldogs than in 2014. But the senior is still getting it done in Starkville, leading MSU in rushing and throwing 11 touchdown passes without a pick.
12. QB Seth Russell, Baylor
Russell hasn't skipped a beat as the heir to Bryce Petty in Waco. The first-time starter leads the nation with 27 touchdown passes, while chipping in with 338 yards and five more scores on the ground.
13. CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
Lewis, without a lot of advanced notice, is playing as well as any college cornerback so far in 2015. His next-level cover skills are one of the huge reasons why the Wolverines have yielded just three touchdown passes and lead the country in pass efficiency defense.
14. RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Cardinal has a presence in the running game again after a one-year hiatus. McCaffrey has been the face of Stanford's in-season resurgence, cranking out big plays as a runner, receiver and return man.
15. LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
Schobert has played with a chip on his shoulder ever since being completely overlooked coming out of high school. It's impossible to not pay attention now that the senior ranks second nationally with 14.5 stops for loss and 9.5 sacks.
16. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Ragland is the latest in a long line of Tide veterans to thrive as Nick Saban's middle linebacker and defensive playcaller. Ragland has 25 more tackles than his nearest teammate and is the heartbeat of the nation's sixth-ranked defense.
17. DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Given an opportunity to play regularly in the first time in his career, Lawson has made the most of it. He leads the Tigers with 10.5 stops for loss, and he abused the heralded Notre Dame front wall on Oct. 3.
18. LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Smith is the most athletically gifted linebacker in the country, particularly now that UCLA's Myles Jack is no longer in the discussion. His 56 stops alone don't do justice to his range as a run defender and a cover guy.
19. LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
Brothers is running away with this year's tackle title, racking up 91 stops. He's been everywhere for the Tiger D, showcasing tremendous instincts and the intensity to always be around the ball.
20. QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Every resurgent program needs a catalyst. Lynch is that guy for Memphis, which is undefeated and in the Group of Five driver's seat. The junior ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency, throwing 13 touchdown passes and only one pick.
21. CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Hargreaves is having another terrific season in Gainesville, likely his last before turning pro. He has three interceptions, despite being avoided at all costs, and is the cornerstone of the country's 31st-ranked pass efficiency defense.
22. RB Devontae Booker, Utah
Blue-collar, physical and unrelenting. Booker is quintessential Utah football. And the most valuable offensive player on the nation's third-ranked team.
SEE MORE: USC vs. Utah prediction
23. WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk is today's Sammy Watkins, explosive in all phases in just his first year out of high school. He's lethal with the ball in his hands, scoring twice on punt returns and leading the Aggies with 39 receptions for 609 yards and four touchdowns.
24. LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
After scratching the surface of his prodigious potential, McMillan has emerged into a Buckeye star as a sophomore. He leads the team with 67 tackles, and is tied for No. 10 in the country.
25. DT A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Nah, the production isn't there, but it's not supposed to be for an interior lineman of Robinson's ilk. He's a powerful run-stuffer and the anchor of a Crimson Tide run defense allowing 2.4 yards per carry.
26. CB Desmond King, Iowa
King has been one of the heroes of the Hawkeyes' unexpected 7-0 start. He's second nationally with six interceptions, headlining a defensive backfield allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 53% of their passes.
27. QB Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Johnson is the point man of Bowling Green's high-octane attack. After missing most of 2014, he's bounced back to account for 26 touchdowns, while leading the Falcons to wins over two Group of Five teams, Maryland and Purdue.
28. RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
In a season of so much fluidity and upheaval in Eugene, Freeman has been one of the few constants. At three yards shy of 1,000, he leads the Pac-12 in rushing and has scored 11 times.
29. DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
Now that Washington has cleaned up some of the missed tackles that plagued him a year ago, he's having a salary run finale for the Buckeyes. He has 34 stops, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and a pick-six, while absorbing plenty of double-teams.
30. RB Tyler Ervin, San Jose State
The passing game is no help. And everyone knows the ball is going to Ervin, yet he's rushed for 896 yards and 11 scores, reaching the 300-yard mark in the Sept. 26 rout of Fresno State.
MORE: Midseason Power Five Championship Picks