We’re counting down the list of the 50 most important college football players in Texas and we’re starting from the top.
Picking just 50 players from all the great college football programs in this state isn’t easy. For our purposes, we take into account previous production and anticipated roles for each player. Just as importantly, we’re looking at the players who will make and break their teams’ seasons in 2021.
Here are spots 50 through 41 of the most important college football players in Texas headed into the 2021 season. We’ll be releasing the next 40 spots over the next week on TexasFootball.com.
50. WR Xavier Gipson, Stephen F. Austin
For the second year in a row, Gipson starts us off. The Dallas native followed up his strong freshman year with 841 yards and nine touchdowns despite a difficult 10-game season. Expect even bigger things in the first year of the WAC.
49. OL Spencer Burford, UTSA
Burford is the anchor of an offensive line that adjusted beautifully to block for the top runner in the state. Even as UTSA flipped through multiple quarterbacks, Burford kept the line on track and paved the way for a tremendous offensive improvement.
48. DB Devin Hafford, Tarleton
Calling Hafford an old pro is an understatement. The Atascocita product is entering his sixth season and he played in all of them. As the Texans enter their first year in the WAC, Hafford will team up with Ronnell Wilson to play a formative role on defense.
47. OL Jacob Brammer, North Texas
Brammer’s development helped the North Texas unit jump from a weakness to one named to the Joe Moore Award Honor Roll. Brammer didn’t allow a sack, per PFF, and led the way for an offense that ranked No. 8 in total offense and No. 13 in rushing offense.
46. WR Rashee Rice, SMU
His partner in the receiver room gets most of the credit, but Rice has transformed himself into a tremendous player. His speed, route running and separation ability allow him to affect the game in a number of ways – even when he doesn’t have the ball. Rice will be important as SMU breaks in a new quarterback.
45. DB Marquis Waters, Texas Tech
There are two transfers that I was told would be all-conference picks by the end of the year. One is a Baylor that will show up later. The other was “Muddy” Waters. The fifth-year player started 35 games at Duke and was highly effective in his first two years as a starter. Waters posted 212 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 16 pass breakups in his final three years with the Blue Devils.
44. WR Marcell Barbee, Texas State
This time last year, Barbee was a nobody in college football. What a different 12 months makes. Even though Texas State worked through multiple quarterbacks, Barbee was a steadying force with 40 receptions, a quarter of which went for touchdowns.
43. DE Ochaun Mathis, TCU
The only reason that Mathis is not higher on this list is because his fellow defensive linemen – Khari Coleman, Terrell Cooper and Corey Bethley – all had a case to be here too. That said, Mathis will emerge as the face of the defense with three players off to the NFL with nine sacks in 10 games.
42. DB Demani Richardson, Texas A&M
One of the coverboys of Texas Football, Richardson has turned into a dynamic playmaker on the back end of the Aggie defense. Richardson played at least 100 slots in the box, at slot corner and at free safety spots according to PFF. His versatility on the back end makes him one of Mike Elko’s most dynamic players.
41. LB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
After moving a base 3-4 system under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas loaded up on linebackers via the transfer portal. However, Overshown gives the Longhorns a reliable piece. With his background as a defensive back, Overshown has a unique skill set that allows him to impact the game anywhere from pass rusher to deep coverage.
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