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4 players from tonight's National Championship Game who could make a splash in the NFL

The biggest match-up in college sports takes place this evening.

Derrick Henry's final game in college takes place tonight.
Derrick Henry's final game in college takes place tonight.
Image: LM Otero/AP/Press Association Images

THE BIGGEST GAME in college sports takes place in the early hours of Tuesday morning (1.30am) as Alabama take on Clemson for the right to be crowned College Football Playoffs’ National Champions.

‘Bama are no strangers to the national title game, this is their fourth appearance in the last seven seasons and Nick Saban’s side has come out on top in the previous three with their last victory coming in 2013 over Notre Dame.

Clemson, on the other hand, are getting ready to take to college football’s biggest stage for the first time. They do, however, have one national championship to their name from 1981, when they beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Despite being unbeaten this year, the Tigers go into tonight’s game as 6.5-point underdogs with many pundits predicting Alabama will keep their perfect record in the National Championship Game in tact but just who are the players who could make it at the professional level?

We take a closer look.

Derrick Henry, running back — Alabama

The current holder of the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football — though some would argue he was very lucky to beat out Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey — Henry will be looking to extend his remarkable streak of games with a rushing touchdown to 20 when he lines up in the backfield tonight.

Source: Harris Highlights/YouTube

At the 6’3″ and 242lbs, Henry is predicted by some to be the first running back off the board in this year’s NFL draft having amassed 2,061 yards with 25 touchdowns on the ground this season and will play a major role in deciding tonight’s game.

Wayne Gallman, half-back — Clemson

Gallman may decide to return to college next year but, as a red-shirt sophomore, he is draft eligible and while he’s not as physically imposing as Henry — though still a big guy at 6’1″ and 215lbs — he makes up for it with his ability to create space where there seemingly is none.

Source: ACC Digital Network/YouTube

Against Oklahoma in the playoff semi-finals, Gallman ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns bringing his total to the year to 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns as a key cog in, by ranking, the best team in college football.

Another year in school wouldn’t do his development any harm at all but he has definitely done enough for NFL scouts to believe he can get the job done at the next level.

Reggie Ragland, linebacker — Alabama

The 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Ragland is one of those players who definitely benefited from staying in school an extra year. Regarded by many as a late round pick if he was to declare in the 2015 Draft, Ragland is now widely expected to go in the first round as the best linebacker in college.

Ragland’s key strength is in the run game where he has proven time and again he’s as comfortable dealing with north/south runners as he is going sideline to sideline:
https://vine.co/v/iharqdg3QMw

If there’s one criticism of the player, it’s that he’s not going to get to the quarterback very often but there isn’t an NFL running back who is going to look forward to meeting him at the line of scrimmage.

Mackensie Alexander, cornerback — Clemson

Alexander says he is the best cornerback in college football and, indeed, “it’s not even close.” That said, there’s some evidence to show he might be right as Alexander has given up just two touchdowns in his entire college career and just 14 receptions total in that time.

Source: Harris Highlights/YouTube

Alexander is very likely to go in the middle of the first round of this year’s Draft but the one question mark over him is that we just don’t know how good he really is as college quarterbacks and offensive co-ordinators seem unwilling to throw the ball in his direction. Will that change tonight?

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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