Three College Football Players To Watch During Tonight’s National Championship Game

Which players should Eagles fans keep an eye out during tonight's winner-take-all game?

Tim Williams. (USA TODAY Sports)

Tim Williams. (USA TODAY Sports)

Brace yourselves for the grand finale, as Clemson and Alabama meet once again in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. Last year in Glendale, the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers in a thrilling game, 45-40, after trailing after three quarters. Alabama has one of the best defenses in recent college football memory, as they defeated Washington in the Peach Bowl, 24-7. On the other hand, Clemson put up a shocking performance in New Year’s Eve, as they shut out Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, 31-0.

Here are three players Eagles fans should keep an eye out for during tonight’s college football finale.

1. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

Williams is one of the top linebackers in the NFL Draft coming up in a few months. He’s an edge rusher, which would fit Jim Schwartz‘s system and could be a possible option to replace Connor Barwin if the Eagles decide to let him go. He has elite quickness, especially on his first step, and is very athletic to win many one-on-one battles. There are some things he needs to improve, such as working on his technique and defending on the run. You’ll only see him on a limited amount of snaps, and in those set of snaps, it’s mainly passing plays. He was arrested earlier this season on gun charges, which could be a red flag for some teams. He’s still a solid first round pick, along with Reuben Foster, who’s more of a traditional linebacker.

2. Tyrone Crowder, OG, Clemson

Crowder is one of the top offensive guards that’s draft eligible, and he is excellent on the run game. A big guy at 6-2, 340 pounds, the redshirt-junior was an All-ACC First Team choice in 2016, helping pave the way for the success of Wayne Gallman, as well as protecting Deshaun Watson while he’s in the pocket. He faces a ferocious defensive line tonight, which would be a great showcase for him to prove that he can compete against some of the top players in the nation. He’s currently projected to go somewhere in Day 2 of the draft.

3. Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama

Tomlinson is a great run-stopper and has done a great job taking over for A’Shawn Robinson. Although Jonathan Allen gets most of the credit on the defensive line, Tomlinson is overshadowed, yet still gets the job done, which is similar to Bennie Logan being overshadowed by fellow tackle Fletcher Cox. If the Eagles decide not to re-sign Logan, whose contract expires in the offseason, Tomlinson is a great and cheap option in the second or third round if he’s still available.

PREDICTION: I expect this game to be another entertaining game, but I think the Crimson Tide come out on top. We saw what their defense did to Washington’s offense, and the Clemson offense is just as good, if not better, as the Huskies. Deshaun Watson will be the most important player on the field for any team in the game, and has played in this kind of atmosphere before. Alabama has to limit mistakes when they’re on offense, with freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts leading the way. He had some jitters early on in the Peach Bowl, so it will be interesting to see how he comes out early on. Keep an eye out on running back Bo Scarbrough, who had a Crimson Tide bowl record 180 yards rushing to go with two touchdowns in their win.

ESPN’s family of channels will provide a megacast for the game, like they have for the past couple of years. ESPN will have the traditional broadcast, while ESPN2, ESPNEWS, and ESPNU will have alternative ways to watch the game, such as a Homers Telecast, Coaches Film Room, and ESPN Voices. The Coaches Film Room will have Temple’s last two head coaches on the telecast in Steve Addazio (Boston College) and Matt Rhule (Baylor).

Here are the players we’ve previously highlighted (any player in italics are playing in tonight’s game):

December 31

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama

James Quick, WR, Louisville

December 24

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

December 17

Nico Siragusa, OL, San Diego State

Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo

Greg Ward Jr., WR, Houston

December 3

Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple

Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson 

Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

November 26

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

November 19

Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

November 12

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

November 5

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Tarean Folston, RB, Notre Dame

Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

October 29

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (Division I-AA)

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

October 22

Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

Marquis Haynes, OLB/DE, Ole Miss

October 15

Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt

Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State

Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss

October 8

John Ross, WR, Washington

Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina

October 1

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

September 24

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

September 17

Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

September 10

Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech

Desmond King, CB, Iowa

Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee