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Connor Williams, Malik Jefferson named in NFL.com’s ‘Top 25 college football players of 2017’

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NFL.com writers and analysts name two Longhorns among the nation’s Top 25 players entering 2017.

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The general consensus is that Texas Longhorns’ offensive tackle Connor Williams and linebacker Malik Jefferson will play just one more season in Austin before departing for life in the NFL. Each have undeniable tools and no shortage of long-term upside, although they’ve experienced varying degrees of success while boasting burnt orange.

In any case, it’s not much of a surprise that NFL.com’s ‘Top 25 college football players of 2017’ list features the star left tackle and linebacker dubbed “The Predator” as they enter their junior seasons.

As part of a list that named the nation’s No. 25 - No. 10 players, Williams headlined with Jefferson rounding out the Top 25:

Connor Williams, No. 10

Connor Williams, a starter at left tackle since his freshman year, enters his junior season as arguably the top offensive lineman in college football.

A mauling run blocker and athletic technician in pass protection, the 6-foot-6, 315-pounder (school measurements) has been likened to the 49ers’ Joe Staley and the Falcons’ Jake Matthews. He's one of just four offensive linemen that were selected to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, which goes to CFB's top player.

Malik Jefferson, No. 25

A third-year starter for the Longhorns, Malik Jefferson has been on the radar of NFL scouts since his first season at Texas, when he earned Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. He makes his debut in the #CFBTop25 countdown after making 62 tackles, including 8.5 for loss (5.5 sacks), as a sophomore.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder (school measurements) is a rare athlete who's yet to fully unlock his potential. New Texas coach Tom Herman is moving Jefferson from inside to outside linebacker this year, which could help him take his game to another level.

The only other Big 12 products to be named were a pair of Oklahoma products in quarterback Baker Mayfield and offensive tackle Orlando Brown at No. 13 and No. 19, respectively.