College football’s biggest stars will be on display Monday night when No. 1 Georgia (14-0) and No. 3 TCU (13-1) take the field at SoFi Stadium in the College Football Playoff National Championship in this year (7:30 p.m.). ET).
Georgia, the nation’s top-ranked team, has lived up to its reputation as one of, if not the the deepest and most talented team in the country. TCU also has plenty of star power on its roster, despite being the smallest school to ever play in the CFP title game and a huge 12.5-point underdog, according to FOX Bet.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU quarterback Max Duggan and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett were both Heisman Trophy finalists, but which signal man would you want under center if you had to pick just one?
On the defensive side of the ball, both Jalen Carter (Georgia) and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU) were named AP First Team All-Americans, but which team has the edge at other defensive positions?
To answer these questions, we combined the two teams’ projected starters to create a definitive national championship starting 11 on both offense and defense.
Quarterback: Max Duggan, TCU
The Horned Frogs’ senior quarterback has enjoyed a breakout season, throwing for 3,546 yards and 32 touchdowns while adding 461 yards and eight scores on the ground. He was named the 12th Offensive Player of the Year and received the Davey O’Brien Award, while also being named the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
Current return: Kendre MillerTCU
The junior back was a dominant force in TCU’s backfield during the 2022 season. Miller led the Horned Frogs with 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns, both of which ranked in the top 15 in the nation. Miller ranked second in the Big 12 in yards per carry (6.25) and topped the 100-yard mark in seven games this season. The talented running back injured his knee in the first half of TCU’s Fiesta Bowl win over Michigan and is listed as questionable before Monday’s game.
Wide receiver: Quentin JohnstonTCU
Johnston is a big wide receiver who is expected to be one of the first pass catchers taken in April’s NFL Draft. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, the junior wideout has the ability to stretch the field and come down on 50/50 balls thrown his way. He was named first-team All-Big 12 this season after making 59 catches for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns. Johnston was outstanding in TCU’s Fiesta Bowl win, catching six passes for 163 yards and a score.
Wide receiver: Ladd McConkeyGeorgia
Like Miller, McConkey is also dealing with an injury heading into Monday’s game, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he enjoyed an outstanding sophomore campaign. The 6-foot, 185-pound wide receiver caught 53 passes for 674 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. He recorded more than four catches in 10 of the Bulldogs’ 14 games this season.
tight ends: Brock BowersGeorgia
Considered by many to be the best tight end in college football, Bowers is one of the most accomplished players in the country regardless of position. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Bowers is a two-time All-SEC member, the 2021 SEC Freshman of the Year, a two-time All-American and the 2022 John Mackey Award winner. He caught a career-best 56 passes on the team for 790 yards and six touchdowns this season.
tight ends: Darnell WashingtonGeorgia
It’s not every day you see a team with two dominant tight ends lined up together on the field, but that’s the case with Georgia’s Bowers and Washington. At 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, Washington is one of the most physically imposing players in college football. He is an asset as both a blocker and pass catcher, totaling 27 catches for 426 yards and two scores this season for the Bulldogs.
Offensive line: Broderick JonesGeorgia
Jones was a former five-star recruit in the class of 2020 who has enjoyed an outstanding redshirt sophomore campaign, starting 12 games at left tackle and responsible for protecting Bennett’s blind side. Jones was an AP All-SEC First Team selection this year.
Offensive line: Warren McClendonGeorgia
A three-year starter at right tackle, McClendon is one of the top offensive linemen in the SEC. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman has started every game at right tackle for the Bulldogs this season and was a 2022 first-team All-SEC selection.
Offensive line: Steve AvilaTCU
One of the top inside linebackers in the country, Ávila has been a force on TCU’s offensive line throughout his career. He is a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was named a consensus first-team All-American this season.
Offensive line: Tate RatledgeGeorgia
After missing all of last season with a foot injury suffered on the first day of the year, Ratledge bounced back big time this season. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Georgia native has been a staple at right guard for the Bulldogs all year.
Offensive line: Cedric Van PranGeorgia
Van Pran has started every game under center for the Bulldogs this season, helping pave the way for a Georgia rushing attack that averages more than 200 yards per game on the ground. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound redshirt sophomore was voted second-team All-SEC in 2022.
Can TCU’s offense overcome Georgia’s defense?
Defensive line/short edge: Robert BealGeorgia
Beal is a stat sheet liar, recording 22 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two tackles for loss this season for the Bulldogs. Had his best game of the season in Georgia’s 50-30 win over LSU in the SEC Championship, recording four tackles, four QB hurries and a strip sack.
Defensive line: Dylan HortonTCU
Horton enjoyed an outstanding senior season, recording 44 tackles and a team-high 10 sacks, which ranked first in the Big 12. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound edge rusher was named honorable mention All-Big 12 this season. .
Defensive line: Jalen Carter, Georgia
Considered by many to be the most dominant interior defensive lineman in college football, Carter is a first-team All-American and could be the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft. He’s a towering force amid a Georgia defense that held opponents to just 12.8 points per game this season.
Defensive line: Nazir StackhouseGeorgia
Stackhouse has started every game for the Bulldogs this season, recording 31 tackles en route to being named second team All-SEC. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound junior played a pivotal role in a Georgia defense that held opponents to just 3 yards per carry this season, which ranked fifth in the nation.
Linebacker: Dee WintersTCU
Winters is a speedy but undersized linebacker who has enjoyed an outstanding 2022 campaign. The 6-foot, 230-pound senior totaled 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks and a memorable pick-six in the Horned Frogs’ win over Michigan in the CFP semifinals. He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2022.
Linebacker: Jamon Dumas-JohnsonGeorgia
The 6-foot, 245-pound middle linebacker has enjoyed an outstanding sophomore season. He has recorded 66 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble. Dumas-Johnson was a second-team All-SEC member in 2022.
Linebacker: Johnny HodgesTCU
Hodges transferred to TCU after two years at Navy and made an immediate impact for the Horned Frogs in 2022. He totaled 81 tackles, while adding two sacks on the season. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior was named to the second team 12 this season.
Defensive back: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better cornerback in college football than Hodges-Tomlinson. He was the recipient of the 2022 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Hodges-Tomlinson isn’t a big corner by any means, listed at 5-foot-9 and 177 pounds, but he has plenty of big-play skills and a knack for shutting down the opposing team’s best receivers. He recorded 45 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble en route to being named a first-team AP All-American this season.
Defensive back: Kelee RingoGeorgia
From a pure talent standpoint, Ringo is one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. He is one 6-foot-2, 210-pound cornerback with 4.3 speed, making him an ideal fit at the next level. He will likely have the challenge of trying to shut down Johnston, which should be a fascinating matchup. The talented sophomore had a memorable 79-yard pick in last year’s national title game that sealed the victory over SEC foe Alabama.
Defensive back: Christopher SmithGeorgia
Smith is one of the top defensive backs in the nation and the quarterback in the Georgia secondary. He was named to the All-SEC first team and was a finalist for the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player. The senior defensive back totaled 57 tackles, one sack and six interceptions for the Bulldogs this season.
Defensive back: Great StarksGeorgia
This talented freshman was a finalist for the 2022 Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award this season. The 6-foot, 205-pound Starks ranked second on the team with 68 tackles, while also adding two picks in his freshman campaign.
Can TCU threaten Georgia in the national title game?
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