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Titans Fan Guide: The Tides of the Crimson Tiger Edition

Who are some of the top prospects in a game loaded with elite draft talent?

Ohio State had a frequent sight of Mike Williams in this fashion. Run to Nashville, Mike!
Ohio State had a frequent sight of Mike Williams in this fashion. Run to Nashville, Mike!
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

#2 Clemson vs. #1 Alabama 8 PM ESPN / ESPN Ocho

"CFP National Championship Game Pres. by AT&T"

- The long awaited rematch of last year's thrilling national title game is here! Both sides feature a plethora of future NFL prospects in their ranks. Can the Tigers pull off an upset over the favored Crimson Tide? Will Alabama alum Dabo Swinney win a title of his own to go with the ring he won at Bama? Is Nick Saban going to continue the unstoppable rolling tide of the current Alabama dynasty? Two of the best defenses in the country square off in this one. The wild card is newly minted Tide OC Steve Sarkisian who took the job this week after Lane Kiffin departed for Florida Atlantic. Freshman QB Jalen Hurts has looked increasingly like a freshman in recent weeks. A fact that superstar DC Brent Venables will look to exploit repeatedly with his ferocious defense. Will Bama's elite secondary take away Clemson's top weapon Mike Williams? Watch out for Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt against Alabama's rolling wave of stud defensive lineman. My prediction: Alabama 35 Clemson 26.

Clemson prospects to watch

1. Cordrea Tankersley 6'0 200 Senior Clemson

- Mackensie Alexander who? Tankersley has displayed that kind of ability. He is the veteran stalwart of the youthful Tigers defense that has led them to yet another playoff appearance. Fundamentally sound and instinctive as a tackler. Work ethic is a major plus. No character questions. Second best senior corner prospect this year. Early second round prospect.

2. Mike Williams 6'3 225 RS Junior Clemson

- Martavis Bryant who? Sammy Watkins who? Williams is that good. A big play machine. Has great athleticism and can burn defenders that are caught unawares looking for something else in his game. A much better route runner than he is given credit for. Footwork is excellent. Goes up and gets the ball at the high point with little regard for his own safety or the defender. Knows how to box out the defender on the short routes nearly every time. Has shown no ill effects of the terrible neck injury suffered last year but still a thing to watch for as with all head/neck injuries. Arguably the best receiver prospect in this year's class. Has already declared for the draft.

3. Deshaun Watson 6'2 215 Junior Clemson

- Heisman Trophy finalist again this year after coming on strong during the second half of the season. Athleticism is very good. Has regressed some in 2016. Watson has above average football IQ and can process reads very quickly. Occasionally he turns into Jay Cutler 2.0 in terms of ridiculous turnovers. Arm talent is good but not great. Has enough arm to make every throw but it's a process getting there. Toughness is unquestioned as he has played on a torn ACL in the past. Terrorized Alabama's feared defense during last year's national title game and will look to do the same this year. Declared for the draft.

4. Carlos Watkins 6'3 305 DT RS Senior

- The next great Tigers defensive lineman in the factory. Not the best athlete in the world but gets the job done in steady manner. Knows how to use his size to leverage his lack of athleticism. Projects as a nose tackle in a 3-4 or needs to be paired with a more athletic tackle in a 4-3.

5. Jordan Leggett 6'5 255 TE Senior

- Leggett moves like a gazelle despite his size. He's a perfect safety valve for Deshaun Watson. Above average hands. Blocking is a plus to his game as well. Doesn't get targeted often due to other weapons around him but makes all the impact catches when you need him to.

6. Mitch Hyatt 6'5 295 OT Sophomore

- Hyatt is considered to be one of the best tackles in the country already at such an young age. Started every game as a freshman and didn't look lost like typical freshmen lineman do. A dominant road grader with some pass blocking refining to do. Footwork is impressive along with football IQ. A name to watch out for next season.

7. Dexter Lawrence 6'5 340 DT Freshman

- The former 2016 five star and second overall ranked HS recruit has made another freshman star in Houston's Ed Oliver irrelevant. He has been a force to reckon with since the day he stepped foot on campus. Possibly the Tigers best lineman on a line that is stacked with talent. The future that the Tigers will mold their scheme around. Fits as a true Nose Tackle or can slim down to play Defensive Tackle. Has the potential to make people say, Gerald McCoy who? Suh who?

Alabama prospects to watch

1. Johnathan Allen 6'3 294 DL Senior

- The best defensive lineman in college football, no questions asked. Athleticism is elite for his position group. Instincts are above average. Tackling fundamentals are a major plus. Allen had a monstrous 2015 but chose to stay in school and he hasn't lost a step this year. He would be a seamless fit for the Titans' 3-4 defense but is versatile enough to play in any scheme. Type of player you mold the scheme around him instead of the other way around. Could argue that he is the best player in all of college football. Surefire Top 10 pick barring any surprises.

2. Reuben Foster 6'1 236 LB Senior

- Foster is in a tight contest with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham for the title of best ILB in the country. A former five star recruit (aren't they all at Bama?) has more than lived up to his lofty billing. Reggie Ragland who? Foster has great athleticism for a guy his size. Big hitter that can get lost in the wash at times. Overall as a 'backer, he's between C.J. Mosely and Ragland. Instincts aren't as good as Mosley but his athleticism is better than Ragland's. Top 15 pick.

3. Marlon Humphrey 6'1 196 CB RS Sophomore

- Possibly the best corner in this year's class but he's in the discussion at the very least. Has the size that NFL teams love in their corners. Athleticism isn't the best but he's good enough at it to keep up with more fleet footed receivers. A sound technician at the position. Ball skills will have to be coached up but it can be worked on. A better prospect than previous Alabama corners. Top 10 pick.

4. Dalvin Tomlinson 6'2 305 DT RS Senior

- The unheralded glue guy that keeps the star studded defensive line humming. Tomlinson is having a pretty solid 2016 campaign doing the dirty work inside so his teammates can go make plays. Underrated athlete that's stuck in between the 4-3 DT and 3-4 NT positions. Round 3-5 projection.

5. O.J. Howard 6'5 242 TE Senior

- Howard was the breakout star of last year's national title game and reverted back to virtual anonymity in 2016 due to a myriad of factors, including breaking in a freshman QB. He's an underrated athlete and has a deceptive gear. Blocking is an issue that needs further evaluation. He's built like a classic tight end similar to that of Shannon Sharpe instead of the modern day sleek racehorses like a Antonio Gates or the godfather, Tony Gonzalez. Round 2-3 projection.

6. Minkah Fitzpatrick 6'1 203 CB Sophomore

- The former five star all everything corner has struggled a bit with consistency this year after rapidly coming along as a freshman. He's a game changing ball hawk when on, scoring multiple times on interceptions. However, like most young corners, inconsistency is an issue. On a more positive note, he played big minutes last year as a true freshman, which is difficult to do under Nick Saban. Athleticism is above average. Look for a big 2017.

7. Cam Robinson 6'6 327 OT Junior

- Robinson, when truly on his game, is one of the best tackles in the country, regardless of age. His off games were a bit glaring in 2016, however. He is a master of run blocking, getting to the second level while maintaining balance and good footwork. Where he is most deficient (well for a dominant franchise tackle) is the passing game. Little tweaks here and there are needed in his footwork flowing backwards. His feet tend to get a bit crossed and loses leverage as a result. Anchors down very well for a big guy. Goes from one extreme to the other in terms of wins and losses. Wins are excellent while the losses are spectacular. Top 20 pick.