Thursday, December 1, 2011

My All-American Team and Other Awards


Quarterback:  Robert Griffin III, Baylor, Jr.-  Some years it's difficult to find even one worthy quarterback to be named First Team All-American but this year Griffin, Andrew Luck (Stanford), Matt Barkley (USC), Case Keenum (Houston), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Kellen Moore (Boise State), and Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) are all worthy.  I assume Luck will be the consensus pick, but I would have to go with Griffin, who is criminally underrated in my opinion.  How this guy is not considered a top 10 pick in the NFL draft is another mystery.  He's fast, he can throw, and he's a winner with a huge amounts of guts.  By the way, I think Luck is deserving of the NFL attention he's getting, but my second team pick would be Wilson who is probably two fluky plays from being the Heisman winner.

Running Back:  Trent Richardson, Alabama, Jr.-  Had big shoes to feel when Mark Ingram left, but he lived up to his potential with 1,583 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season.  He's even had 27 receptions.

Running Back:  Monte Ball, Wisconsin, Jr.- This was really hard and if LaMichael James (Oregon) is a consensus pick, which I assume he will be, nobody can complain.  He did, after all, lead the country in rushing yards per game.  The tie breakers for me was that the Big Ten has better defenses than the Pac 12, and Ball had 29 touchdowns to James' 14 touchdowns.  Plus, Ball ended the season with 156 yards and four touchdowns against Penn State's great defense.

Wide Receiver:  Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, Sr.-  Not only does he have 83 catches, 1,157 yards, and 10 touchdowns in just 9 games, he now also holds the record for the most career receptions in major college football history.

Wide Receiver:  Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, Jr.-  I usually take the numbers in pass happy offenses with a grain of salt, but Blackmon is the real deal with his 103 catches, 1,241 yards, and 15 touchdowns.

Tight End:  Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, Jr.-  This is a three person race with Stanford's Coby Fleener and Clemson's Dwayne Allen, but Eifert leads all tight ends in receptions and is second in yards.  And he did it against the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, USC, and Stanford.

Offensive Tackle:  Barrett Jones, Alabama, Jr.-  Somebody had to be blocking for Richardson, and Ingram before him, and this guy has done it for three years.  This year he moved to left tackle after spending the last two seasons starting at guard.

Offensive Tackle:  Nate Potter, Boise State, Sr.- Kellen Moore gets sacked once in a blue turf.  This is the reason.

Offensive Guard:  David DeCastro, Stanford, Sr.-  The main reason why Luck can stand in the pocket with ease and hit receivers all over the field.

Offensive Guard:  Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin, Sr.-  The best player on the Badgers big, powerful line.  Ball runs behind him often.

Center:  David Molk, Michigan, Sr.-  The heart and soul of Michigan's team, he's been a starter for three seasons and he's a major reason why Denard Robinson has been so successful.


Defensive Lineman:  Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, Jr.-  More than just a cool name, he leads the nation in sacks with 14.5 and forced fumbles with 9, while also accumulating 19.5 tackles for loss, 6 QB hurries, and 52 tackles.

Defensive Lineman:  Devon Still, Penn State, Sr.- The leader of the excellent Penn State defense with 55 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 17 tackles for loss.

Defensive Lineman:  Vinny Curry, Marshall, Sr.-  It would take a lot for a defensive player from Marshall to be named a first team All-American but Curry does just that with 11 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, 8 QB hurries, 6 forced fumbles, 72 tackles, and even three blocked kicks.

Defensive Lineman: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma, Sr.- One of two Sooners on my team and he's much deserving with 51 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 7 QB hurries, 3 forced fumbles, and 6 pass break ups.

Linebacker:  Luke Kuechly, Boston College, Jr.-  Tackling stats are often overrated but not in this case.  His 191 tackles this season so far are ungodly.  In fact, the next highest amount in the country is 147.  He also has 12 tackles for loss and 3 pass breakups.

Linebacker: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, Sr.-  The leader of one of the best defenses in recent history with 45 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 11 QB hurries.

Linebacker:  Jarvis Jones, Georgia, So.-  The USC transfer was a first time starter and wow did he produce with 66 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and 7 QB hurries.

Defensive Back:  Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, So.- The Honey Badger does not only possesses the coolest nickname in the country, but is also one of the most opportunistic player to ever play defense with 6 forced fumbles and 4 recovered fumbles to go with 66 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 7 pass breakups.

Defensive Back:  David Amerson, North Carolina State, So- His 11 interceptions lead the country by far and he even returned one for a touchdown.  He also chipped in 54 tackles and 5 pass breakups.

Defensive Back: Mark Barron, Alabama, Sr.-  The best safety in the country and the spiritual leader for the Tide, the third Alabama member of my team has 61 tackles this year and 2 interceptions.

Defensive Back:  Morris Claiborne, LSU, Jr.- The Tigers have one of the best secondaries ever so it only seems right that two of them are All-Americans.  Claiborne deserves it with 5 interceptions, 5 breakups, and 43 tackles.


Placekicker:  Caleb Sturgis, Florida, Jr.-  He made all 28 extra points and 21 of 25 field goals including two 55 yarders.  Of the four he missed, two were over 50 yards and one was 49 yards.

Punter:  Brad Wing, LSU, Fr.-  A legend already, the Aussie made headlines when he taunted while scoring a touchdown on a fake, but his numbers are legendary.  His 43.0 yard average may not sound highly impressive but that's only because he's usually kicking on a short field.  The result is that he has kicked 21 of his 42 punts inside the 20, kicked over a dozen longer than 50 yards including a 73 yarder against Alabama, and has given up a total of 6 yards on returns this year.  Yes, you've read that right.

Kick Returner:  Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Fr.-  Nobody really stands out here but he leads the nation with a 35.2 average and has returned two for touchdowns in 16 returns.

Punt Returner:  Joe Adams, Arkansas, Sr.- This one is much easier with a 16.2 average and an NCAA best three touchdowns, including one against Tennessee that will go down as one of the best returns of all time.

Player of the Year:  Robert Griffin III, Baylor, Jr.-  He's No. 2 in passing efficiency while throwing for 3,678 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions while completing an insane 72.6% of his passes.  He also ran for 612 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Even more impressive is that he was his best in big games throwing for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns against TCU, 346 yards and 5 touchdowns against Kansas State, 430 yards and 3 touchdowns against Texas A&M, 425 yards and a touchdown against Oklahoma State, and 479 yards and 4 touchdowns against Oklahoma.  He also led Baylor to an 8-3 record which in itself is a sign of his real greatness.

Defensive Player of the Year:  Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, So.- I almost went with Kuechly but Mathieu has proven to be a combination of Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, and his crucial big plays are why LSU is about to find themselves playing for the national championship.

Coach of the Year:  Mark Richt, Georgia-  The Bulldog faithful have been trying to force Richt out for the past few years and after losing the first two games at home, it looked like they would soon get their way.  Instead Richt's team has rattled off ten straight wins and are playing in the SEC championship game.  That took a lot of resolve on his part.

True Freshman of the Year:  Sammy Watkins, Clemson-  Already one of the most exciting players in the nation with 72 catches, 1,073 yards, 10 touchdowns, 174 yards rushing, and 26.4 yards a kickoff return, including another touchdown.

Most Pleasantly Surprising Team:  Houston-  The Cougars were ranked No. 36 in the preseason but Kevin Sumlin rode Case Keenum all the way to a 12-0 season and a No. 7 ranking.

Most Disappointing Team:  Texas A&M-   The No. 8 preseason team now stands at 6-6 after losing 4 out of the last 5.

Best Job by a New Coach:  James Franklin, Vanderbilt-  Franklin was the coach in waiting for Ralph Friedgen at Maryland but realizing that the university was so cash poor that they were close to moving into a bunch of cardboard boxes, he bolted at the first job he was offered.  He did wonders by leading the Commodores to a 6-6 record, which is almost unheard of for the program.

Worse Job by a New Coach:  Randy Edsall, Maryland-  Ironically with Franklin moving on the Terps turned to the former UConn coach when Friedgen was let go after a 9-4 season.  The result is that Edsall has led them to a 2-10 record and has become public enemy No. 1 amongst both fans and the local media.


  1. Out of curiosity, where would you rank Ray Graham had he not been hurt?

  2. I know where you'd rank Tino.

  3. Graham could definitely have made Second Team if he stayed on his pace.

  4. I am surprised to see Devon Still on your first team defense. Penn State played a weak Big 10 schedule, losing to the two best teams in the league that they played - Nebraska and Wisconsin. Still looked especially bad, along with the rest of the defensive line, in the Wisconsin game, being dominated time and again by the Badgers offensive line, which allowed Monty Ball to have a huge game.

  5. Hey Chris -

    Have you heard any more about where Pitt stands with recruiting on Rooks and some of the other guys?

    Also, do you have any explanation for what Zeise is so much less critical of Tino than anyone else. Is it about maintaining access to the team?

  6. Rooks has a few visits yet but Pitt has a good shot for now. There really is no news as far as potential recruits moving closer or further away from Pitt.

    As for Zeise, he's entitled to his own opinion, and while I don't agree with him, he's a good reporter and he's entitled to that opinion.