Top 10 International Players in College Football

Taking a look back at the historic college football season, there were storylines galore as the transfer portal, NIL, and playoff expansion may be at the forefront of most fans’ minds. Another storyline was the impact that international college football players had on a wild 2022 season.

Let’s take a look at 10 exceptional international players who made big-time contributions to their respective NCAA DI FBS teams.

10: Adam Korsak P (Rutgers)

The Australian punter recently capped off his illustrious college football career with a well-deserved honor bringing home the Ray Guy award as the nation’s top punters. Korsak topped the NCAA record books in career punting yards (15,318) and net punting yards in a season (45.25 in 2021). In 2022, he led the Big Ten in fair catches (35), pinned 32 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and gave up -11 return yards on the season. Korsak is the best of a large group of punters from down under. However, for the purposes of this list he’ll be the only international specialist mentioned.

9.  Julius Welschof DT  (Michigan)

Welchof is massive German defensive lineman with a very unique athletic background. A former champion skier turned pass rusher, the 6’7 defender gives the Wolverines an intriguing athlete to move around. Welchof’s frame screams Sunday potential and his athleticism has flashed on both defense and special teams. Once a raw prospect, the German is now a productive part of Michigan’s intimidating defense, following in the footsteps of NFL pass rushers Adrian Hutchinson, David Ojabo, and Kwitty Paye. The fifth year Wolverine was recently added to the Senior Bowl Watch list and should have a shot at the pro’s next year.  

8: Habbakkuk Baldonado DT (Pitt)

The 6’5 Italian has been a key fixture on the Pitt Panther’s defense the past few seasons. In 2021 he made nine sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, 41 tackles, and All-ACC Honors. This year, the Rome native has notched two sacks, five tackles for a loss, 25 tackles, and a blocked kick in only nine games. The redshirt senior hopes to take his skills to the NFL this spring as he is projected as a late-round draft pick and has accepted a spot in the East-West Shine Bowl All-Star game.

7: Richard Jibunor Edge (Troy)

A native of Nigeria, Jibunor is a former track star whose speed flashed off the edge. After earning all-conference honors in 2021, the junior racked up 39 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and six and a half sacks for an 11-win Trojans team this fall. Jibunor earned second-team All Sun-Belt Honors in December, making it his third season earning all-conference honors.

6. Hugo Klages DT (Umass)

The Spanish and German defensive lineman was one of few positives on a bad Umass Minutemen team in 2022. The 6’3″, 295 defensive tackle started every game for the Minutemen racking up 29 tackles and one sack in his third year in the program. Klages was once ranked a three-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 5 player in Germany, who also held offers from Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic and Kent State.

5. Isaac Moore OT (Temple)

Not much has been consistent in the Temple program the last four seasons, with the strong exception of Swedish tackle Isaac Moore. An alumni of the
Örebro Black Knights, Moore stepped in as into the Owls’ program in 2018 and immediately became a staple in their offensive line starting as a true freshman. Since then, Moore has racked up numerous game starts and earned national recognition being named All-American Athletic Conference five straight seasons. The 6’7 graduate player has one the top resumes of offensive lineman in the country. The Swede is a projected NFL Draft Pick next spring. More than just a brawler Moore has the footspeed to compete with the NFL’s speedy pass rushers.

4. Jeffrey M’ba DT (Auburn)

Mb’a entered his first season in the SEC with sky-high expectations. The 6’6 defensive tackle was the top player in junior college in 2021 before committing to War Eagle last spring. However, a shoulder injury has held back the Gabon-born, France-raised defender, preventing him from truly unleashing his talent on a big stage. The former French national team player was limited to only five games, but still made a big impact in a short time notching one sack, seven tackles, and one forced fumble. Fans can expect M’ba to be one of the starters for the Tigers next season.

3: Ruke Orhorhoro DT (Clemson)

This season, Orhorhoro earned third-team All-ACC selection by Pro Football Focus, notching 22 tackles, three sacks, seven tackles for a loss, and five pass deflections. The Lagos, Nigeria born defensive tackle played his high school football in Michigan before joining the Clemson Tigers in 2019. Orhorhoro is seen as a solid pro prospect and has been invited to the prestigious Reeses Senior Bowl in January.

2: Seydou Traore TE (Arkansas State)

The 6’4 true sophomore put up 50 catches for 655 yards and four touchdowns earning first-team All-Sun-Belt honors. A big body with receiver skills, Traore is a classic modern tight end who can block in line, separate from linebackers, and win contested catches. Born and raised in London, England, Traore is a product of the NFL Academy, and blazing a trail for one of Europe’s top youth programs. Traore recently entered the transfer portal and is expected to be picked up by a power five program soon.

1: Kilian Zierer OT (Auburn)

Like many international players, Zeirer was not recruited heavily as a teenager and had to prove himself at the junior college level. After putting up great tape at the College of Canyons, the Munich native chose Auburn over several other blue-chip programs and was ranked as the 3rd best tackle in his junior college class. Two seasons later, the massive German earned the starting spot for the Tigers at the left tackle spot. NFL scouts love his aggression and ability to move bodies in the run game. The 6’7 tackle could have a NFL future as Pro Football Focus tabbed him as a breakout player to watch in 2022. The former number one player in junior college is seen as an NFL draft pick this spring. 

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and