When Texas A&M and Alabama get together on the field Saturday, it won't just be a matchup of Top 10 teams. It will feature two of the most loaded rosters in college football. A staggering amount of talent will be on display, with future first-round draft picks on both sides of the ball for both teams.
Here are the Top 20 players in Saturday's game.
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Ryan Anderson, LB, Redshirt Sr. (Alabama)
While Rueben Foster, Tim Williams and others on this defense get all the accolades, Anderson, a fifth-year senior, has quietly been one of the team’s most consistent players. He leads Alabama with 8.5 tackles for loss this year, and is sixth with 25 total tackles.
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Soph. (Alabama)
One of the youngest contributors on Alabama’s stout defensive front, Payne has 15 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss this year. A true sophomore, Payne won’t even be eligible to enter the NFL Draft until 2017.
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Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Redshirt Jr. (Texas A&M)
Seals-Jones was the top high school receiver in the class of 2013, but injuries and inconsistency have plagued his career in College Station. After a 45-catch season in 2015, he seemed to finally find his groove. And at a solid 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, someone will take a chance on him at the next level.
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Bo Scarbrough, RB, Redshirt Soph., (Alabama)
Like Seals-Jones, Scarbrough still hasn’t hit his groove since coming out of high school as one of the most highly acclaimed players in the class of 2014. But that seems to be changing this season. Scarbrough had the first 100+ yard rushing game of his career against Tennessee last week, and with his size (6-foot-2, 228 pounds) and intangibles, someone will take a chance on him when he declares.
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Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Sr. (Alabama)
Another steadying force along the defensive front, the senior has 22 tackles, with one tackle for loss this season. He might have been even better last season (34 total tackles).
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Damien Harris, RB, Soph. (Alabama)
While Scarbrough was expected the guy who received the bulk of the carries for Alabama this season, the role has instead fallen on Harris’ shoulders. He’s responded with three 100+ yard games, and tallied 94 last week against Tennessee. Because Harris is only a true sophomore, SEC defenses will be forced to deal with him for at least one more season.
Armani Watts, S, Jr. (Texas A&M)
Watts burst onto the scene last year when he led the SEC in total tackles (126), and has done nothing to disappoint in 2016 with 36 total tackles and two interceptions. His numbers are down this year only because Texas A&M’s offense is better, this guy is a football player. Any NFL team would be lucky to have him.
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Soph. (Alabama)
Humphrey had a monster freshman year with three interceptions, but has seen his numbers dip a bit in 2016 (just one interception so far this season). Still, at 6-foot-1 and nearly 200 pounds, this guy has “future NFL corner” written all over him and could be an eventual first-round pick.
Justin Evans, S, Sr. (Texas A&M)
Evans arrived in College Station from junior college a year ago and made an immediate impact. And he has taken things to the next level this season. One of the hardest hitters in college football, Evans has 48 total tackles to go along with three interceptions this season.
O.J. Howard, TE, Sr. (Alabama)
There are few criticisms of Lane Kiffin since he arrived as Alabama’s offensive play-caller three years ago, but one of them is his use of Howard at tight end. Howard showed why in last year’s national championship game, where he caught five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He has 14 catches and one touchdown this season and could be the first tight end taken off the board in next year’s draft.
Eddie Jackson, S, Sr. (Alabama)
Jackson broke out as the Defensive MVP of last year’s national championship game with an interception against Clemson, and had six picks on the season. He likely could have been a top pick in last year’s NFL Draft but decided to return for his senior year. Look for him to be a high-round pick this coming spring.
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Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Soph. (Alabama)
While Humphrey was this team’s star corner last year, Fitzpatrick has had a breakout 2016 campaign with three interceptions (after snatching only two all of last year) and is third on the team with 33 total tackles. Fitzpatrick could be the first cornerback off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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Daeshon Hall, DE, Sr. (Texas A&M)
Hall has been overshadowed a bit by another guy on this list (you’ll see his name toward the bottom) but has quietly been one of the most productive defensive linemen in college football over the past three years. It’s no different this year; he leads A&M in tackles for loss (nine) and is second in sacks (3.5).
Reuben Foster, LB, Sr., (Alabama)
How good is the talent in this game? Foster, the heart and soul of Alabama’s defense is only the seventh-best draft prospect playing! He leads the Tide with 40 tackles this season, after a junior year in which he had 73, but is playing in the shadow of Reggie Ragland. This guy is a stud at the college level, and will be in the NFL as well.
Christian Kirk, WR, Soph. (Texas A&M)
Kirk has been a monster since arriving in College Station, tallying 80 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving last year, with 40 more (and four touchdowns) in 2016. A skilled return man as well, Kirk could be the top wide receiver off the board when he is eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft.
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Calvin Ridley, WR, Soph. (Alabama)
The only guy who might keep Kirk from being the top receiver selected in the 2018 draft is Ridley. The true sophomore has been a star since arriving on campus, setting an Alabama freshman record with 89 catches last season. The only thing that could cause Ridley’s draft stock to drop between now and the spring of 2018 is his age. He is already 21 and will be 23 by the time the 2018 draft rolls along.
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Tim Williams, LB, Sr. (Alabama)
Williams has been the quiet star of Alabama's defense, tallying 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks last year, with 7.5. tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks this season. Williams has Top 15 NFL Draft talent, but will a gun possession charge earlier this season hurt his draft stock next spring?
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Cam Robinson, OT, Jr. (Alabama)
It’s hard to quantify the value of an offensive tackle with stats, but Robinson has started every game since arriving on campus as a true freshman and was named All-SEC last year. Like Williams, Robinson got in trouble with the law over the summer, but he will almost certainly be the first offensive tackle taken in the next NFL Draft.
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Jonathan Allen, DE, Sr. (Alabama)
Maybe the biggest surprise in all of college football came last winter when Allen elected to return for his senior year. His unbelievable 2015 season featured 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Considering he already has 5.5 and five, respectively, in 2016, he hasn’t hurt his draft stock one bit. Expect him to be a Top 5 pick in 2017.
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Myles Garrett, DE, Jr. (Texas A&M)
Garrett has been a star since he stepped on campus, with 24 total sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss in his freshman and sophomore years combined. Facing constant double-teams and a slew of nagging injuries, Garrett’s numbers have dropped just a bit in 2016, but he could end up as the first pick in this year’s NFL Draft.