Ranking CFB's top underclassmen

A look at 20 of the top freshmen and sophomores in college football

Originally Published: October 29, 2012
By Mel Kiper & Todd McShay | ESPN Insider
Miller/ClowneyUS PresswireBraxton Miller and Jadeveon Clowney are two of the undisputed top underclassmen in the nation.

During the college football season, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay kick off each week by settling a debate, then they discuss emerging NFL prospects and look ahead to next week.

The discussion: Rank the top underclassmen in college football

Todd McShay: We see a bunch of really talented underclassmen (true sophomores and freshmen) every year in college football, but it really does feel as though we have more than ever this season -- and at key positions, too. Just look at all the underclassmen starting at quarterback for top teams -- Teddy Bridgewater, Jeff Driskel, Everett Golson, Braxton Miller, Marcus Mariota. Knowing these players are going to be sticking around for at least one more season is very exciting for the future of college football.

So for this week's article, Mel and I ranked our top five underclassmen on each side of the ball (I took the offense, with Mel on the defensive players). If we based this purely on talent, it might look a little different (a guy such as Clemson's Sammy Watkins would have to be in the mix, for example), but when you factor in production and impact from this season, here is what our rankings look like.