theScore counts down the top 20 players heading into the 2019-20 college football season.
A second-team All-American a season ago, Thomas is set to take the next step in 2019. The anchor of Georgia's offensive line consistently opened up holes for star tailback D'Andre Swift and Co., leading the Bulldogs to the SEC's top-ranked rushing attack. Thomas' pass protection, however, is catching the eyes of NFL scouts. The junior allowed just 11 total pressures all of last year, according to Pro Football Focus, despite matching up with a number of talented edge rushers. He must be at the forefront of the Bulldogs' offensive game plan if they're to succeed in 2019.
Brown's return to the Tigers after floating a jump to the NFL completes a stout defensive line. The senior offers elite strength and explosion for a college player, translating to a complete game. He's dominant in run defense, rarely missing tackles and consistently disrupting the point of attack. Few interior linemen tally as many tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-5, 316-pounder rushes the passer just as well, as his 52 total pressures over the last two seasons rank fourth in the entire nation, according to PFF. Brown's a matchup nightmare who will command a number of double-teams in 2019.
"Hollywood" Brown received most of the attention among Sooners receivers last season, but Lamb may be a more complete player. His sure hands, shifty route-running, and innate ability to high-point the ball enable Lamb to make ridiculous catches look easy. Oklahoma's sure-fire top target certainly has all the tools to improve upon a 65-catch, 1,158-yard, 11-touchdown sophomore year. Lamb is guaranteed to frighten opposing defenses in Lincoln Riley's offense, especially in the Big 12, and will help Jalen Hurts acclimate to a new football climate. Outside of Alamaba's stud pass-catchers, Lamb might be college football's top receiver.
Epenesa broke onto the scene in 2018 as a sophomore, recording 10.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles. The junior defensive end is incredibly refined for a player of his experience, displaying explosion, stout pad level, and a diverse repertoire of pass-rush moves against the top Big Ten linemen. We expect Epenesa to take a giant leap into college football's elite in his first draft-eligible campaign. He could very well lead the NCAA in quarterback takedowns this season.
Likely a future top-10 pick, Herbert is arguably the nation's most natural, polished passer. Though he took a slight step backward in terms of efficiency last season, the quarterback flashed touch and accuracy rarely seen in a college prospect. His ability to make every throw on the field while limiting turnovers is unmatched and perhaps his greatest strength. With an effective running game and an elite offensive line, Herbert should have his best campaign as a senior. He'll be tested with Oregon's schedule and a competitive Pac-12, but the star pivot has every chance to emerge as a legitimate Heisman candidate.