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Titans Fan Guide: National Championship Edition

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia
Roquan Smith. Do Want.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

#4 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia 8 PM ESPN

College Football Playoff National Championship pres. by AT&T

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta, GA

- We have finally arrived to the game that everyone has been waiting for. Traditional SEC powers collide in their ancestral home of Atlanta to settle who will reign supreme throughout the land. This is the real life version of that Spider-Man twins pointing at each other meme. Both programs are built in similar fashion to another. Alabama promptly dispatched defending champ Clemson with very little effort while Georgia took two overtimes to finally put away the pesky Sooners offense. The Tide are looking to do the Atlanta to Atlanta dance (they beat Florida State in Atlanta this year). Georgia is the most recent visitor to Atlanta between the two teams as they were crowned the SEC champions. Interesting storyline: Nick Saban will open and close the season against a former assistant this season. Can the teacher outfox the pupil once again? Or will the student prove to the teacher that he is ready for the show?

Alabama prospects to watch:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick 6’1 203 DB Junior

- The nation’s best cornerback / safety prospect and it isn’t particularly close, either. Impact day one starter even as a freshman. Elite athlete. Position versatile. Possibly the most talented of the Bama corners of recent lore. He;s been dealing with a kidney issue so it remains to be seen how much it affects him.

2. Calvin Ridley 6’1 188 WR Junior

- The Tide’s WR1 this year. Pretty good athlete. Outstanding route runner. Above average blocker. Has varied from WR1 to WR4 depending on which report you read. Has improved upon 2016 numbers but still dealing with Jalen Hurts’s inconsistencies and more attention due to being the guy. He should declare for the draft and is likely to do so.

3. DaRon Payne 6’2 308 DL Junior

- The machine that is the Bama defensive linemen room continues with Payne. Above average athlete. Has really stood out thanks to Da’Shawn Hand’s injury. Has posted 96 tackles and five sacks thus far. Fits perfectly as a 3-4 defensive end. He will have some questions to answer about going pro early. Payne had a standout semifinal against Clemson in which he could have won both offensive and defensive MVP honors. He scored on a goal line receiving touchdown on the immediate possession after he picked off a pass. He’s been a dominant force in 2017.

4. Rashaan Evans 6’4 234 LB RS Senior

- Evans is a beast. He got next in the long line of great Tide linebackers that are inevitable pros. He is a playmaker all over the field and the stats show it. Had a monstrous season all year. He very well could be my favorite linebacker in this year’s class. LB1 regardless of outside and inside. He has improved upon his numbers every year so the production is without question. The leader of the Crimson Tide defense.

Georgia prospects to watch

1. Roquan Smith 6’0 225 LB Junior

- Smith might be the best linebacker in the SEC if not the whole country. He has really blossomed under the stewardship of HC Kirby Smart. He is the defensive leader for the Bulldogs fearsome stop unit. A tackling machine with great fundamentals. Position versatile as he can play both in and out. I have size concerns as he is only a listed 225 (which isn’t too light by any means but still). He had a monstrous game in the semifinal against Oklahoma, effectively neutralizing the Sooners so the Bulldogs could match blow for blow.

2. Nick Chubb 5’10 225 RB Senior

- Two words: He Back. Chubb is back to being the NICK CHUBB that we know after struggling with post injury recovery last year. He’s threatening UGA’s career rushing records held by the venerable Herschel Walker. He’s been that good. Made a smart business decision (in hindsight) to return for a senior season. Medicals will be interesting to keep an eye on during the offseason process. Looked good in the semifinal, just going bananas against an overmatched Sooners run defense.

3. Lorenzo Carter 6’5 243 EDGE Senior

- Carter has finally solidified his presence as a defensive force as a senior after showing glimpses in the past. A former five star recruit that took some time develop into the monster that he is today. Can be used as both an end and outside linebacker. Has lined up pretty much everywhere. Best suited as a standup OLB in the pros.

4. Davin Bellamy 6’4 245 OLB RS Senior

- Bellamy is a former five star recruit that got going during his junior season but really has developed nicely as a senior. Fundamentally sound as most Bulldog defenders are under Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker. He doesn’t have the production numbers but is generally a reliable defender that eats up blocks so that teammates can go make plays.

5. Sony Michel 5’11 215 RB Senior

- The “lightning” part of the Bulldogs’ impressive backfield. He’s just as equally talented as Nick Chubb but slightly faster. More of the big play threat than Chubb. Surprisingly came back to school as a senior when other backs would’ve gone pro. He carried the load effectively as The Man when Chubb was lost for the season as a sophomore. Can score from anywhere on the field in an instant. Should be a Day 2 pick. He went bonkers in the Rose Bowl, running 11 carries for 181 yards and three touchdowns. Scored the game winner in double overtime.

6. Isaiah Wynn OL 6’2 302 Senior

  • Wynn is the anchor of the much improved Bulldogs offensive line. He has played pretty much everywhere on the line so position versatility is a major plus. Projects more inside at guard than outside at tackle for the next level.