Given what the players across the country have endured and the sacrifices they have made for just one season of university football, we may have to award prizes to all members of the team.
But we’ve reduced the ESPN 2020 American team to 26 players and, not surprisingly, the attack has a distinctly Alabama flavor. The Crimson Tide, the No. 1 seed in the university football play-offs, is in second place nationally in terms of points (49.7 points per game) and has scored more than 40 points in 10 of this season’s 11 games. The leadership of the Alabama All-America team was in the hands of quarterback Mac Jones, defender Najee Harris, receiver DeVonte Smith, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and center Landon Dickerson and defensive cornerback Patrick Stein II.
Ten players are on the varsity football playoff teams, and Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis is the only offensive guard who was re-elected a year ago. This is the whole team.
QB : McJones, Alabama.
Who would have thought a few years ago that Jones would win the honor of the First Team All-America when he was on the depth chart behind Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Hurts? It was a dream season for the 1.80m, 75kg junior. Jones led the nation with a score of 202.3 setters and threw for 3,739 yards, 32 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
RB: Najee Harris, Alabama.
Yes, Alabama was on the offensive, and Harris added a little more for the Crimson Tide with its 6-2,230 pounds in a sensational high season. He walked for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns and caught 32 passes, including three touchdowns. Harris scored five touchdowns in the SEC championship game against Florida and finished third in the country with 40 races of 10 meters or more.
Fault! The file name is not specified. UA Athletics/Collegiate shots/Getty Images
RB: Brace Hall, Iowa.
Hall, a 6-1 215-pound student, ran 100 yards or more this season in all races except three for the Cyclones, finishing with a 1,436-meter run for the FBS. He also ran for 19 touchdowns and caught 21 passes for two more touchdowns. Hall was a physical runner between the suits and was able to pick up the yards with dedication. He ran eight races of 30 meters or more to come in third place nationally.
WR: DeVonta Smith, Alabama.
Smith was just the best school soccer player of the season. The 6-1, 175-pound senior, played some acrobatic game, got caught up in traffic and ran away from the defenders after the catch. No one’s been able to beat it this season. He took 98 passes, including 17 with touchdowns, and made an 84-yard return for a touchdown against Arkansas.
WR: Milestone Darden, North Texas.
The 5-9-year-old 174-pound senior finished the regular season at the top of the national rankings for touchdowns (19), third for touchdowns (1,190) and fourth for touchdowns (74). Darden led the nation with 14 strikes for 30 yards or more and has three or more touchdowns in four of Mean Green’s nine regular season games this season. Darden’s consistency sets him apart from the others. He’s scored at least one touchdown in nine games.
TE : Kyle Pitts, Florida.
Pitts has been a nightmare for the defense this season with his size, speed and ability to play, even when he seemed to be covered. The 6-6 year old junior of 246 pounds was by far the most dynamic in the country and led all the close games with 12 touchdown receptions. If Pitts didn’t get a touchdown, he usually caught the touchdown that led to Florida’s first touchdown.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Kyle Pitts is a nightmare for the opposing defense in 2020, with 12 touchdown receptions among all FBS teams. AP Foto/John Bazemore
OT : Brady Christensen, BYU.
Quarterback Zach Wilson wasn’t the only star of BYU’s powerful attack. Christensen, a 6-6, 300-pound Cougar left tackle, combined during a dominant junior season as both a running blocker and pass guard and became the cornerstone of a BYU offensive line that ranked among the best in college football. The Cougars have an average of 322.8 yards per pass and 187.2 yards per run per race.
OG: Wyatt Davis, Ohio.
A year ago, the general consensus among the All-Americans was that Davis was again a dominant force in an attack by the State of Ohio that divided the teams both in the race and in the pass. The 6-4, 315-pound junior was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and was the center of one of the best offensive lines in the country from the right waiting position.
C : Landon Dickerson, Alabama.
Dickerson is as smart and smart as he is strong and powerful, and he has occupied the middle of Alabama’s offensive line with an advantage that will affect the entire team. The 6-6, 325-pound senior player in red with a knee injury against Florida in the SEC championship game was a big blow. Dickerson allowed only one quarterback and no bag in over 600 regular season catches. A transfer from the state of Florida, Dickerson played defense and center in 2019, but has moved to the center this season.
OG: Aaron Banks, Notre Dame…
Banks, a 6-5 year old senior weighing 330 pounds, was a force on the Notre Dame offensive line, which is one of the strongest in the country. He’s in his own class, he runs back from the right guard post, but he’s as good as a passer-by. Banks, nicknamed Dancing Bear, allowed only two bags out of 844 catches as a junior and has been an even more complete offensive lineman this season.
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OT : Alex Leatherwood, Alabama.
Alabama’s massive offensive line gave Harris 1,262 yards and Jones 3,739 yards, and Leatherwood was the cornerstone of this offensive line in the left tackle position. The 6-6, 312-pound senior was a mainstay of the Alabama lineup during the 2018 season and was as strong as a tackler as a guard when he entered the starting line-up.
Universal: Travis Etienne, Clemson…
The senior 5-10 years old and 205 pounds is as consistent as he has been explosive this season. There was a big game waiting for him, and he had 18 games of 20 yards or more. Etienne was also the only player in the country with more than 800 yards (882) and more than 500 receiving yards (524). His 1,635 all-purpose yards were the fourth best in the country and he scored 12 running touchdowns and two touchdowns.
THE : Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina.
Jackson, a 6-2, 260-pound fifth-year-old, was the catalyst for the defense of Coastal Carolina, who took 16th place nationwide in terms of defensive scores. Despite a seasonal two-handed game, Jackson led the undefeated Chanticleers with 13.5 packs for the loss, including 8.5 packs, and forced three messes. It’s just as devastating to stop the race.
Fault! The file name is not specified. TheTarron Jackson led undefeated Carolina on the coast with 13.5 loss packs, including 8.5 bags. John Rivera/Icon Sportswire
DT : Davien Nixon, Iowa.
Nixon is not only one of the best indoor liners in university football this season, but he has also been one of the team’s biggest stars. A year ago, he was pitching for the Hawks. In 2020 he was named Big Ten Defender of the Year. The 6-3, 305-pound junior led the Big Ten with 13.5 tackles for the loss, including 5.5 sacks, and had one of the best games of the year with a 71-yard interception to return for a touchdown against Penn State.
DT : Darius Stills, West Virginia.
Stills has been on West Virginia’s defensive line since his first season in Morgantown, but he has become one of the top indoor linebackers in college football over the past two seasons. The 6-1, 285-pound senior player was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this season and plays with incredible leverage and speed. He ended the season with 7.5 loss packages, including 3.5 bags, and intercepted a pass.
THE : Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh.
The Panthers had the best defensive finish in the country with Weaver and Patrick Jones II. This season has been especially good for Weaver, who missed out all last season due to a knee injury he suffered in the preseason. The senior, dressed in a red shirt and weighing 6 to 5 years and 270 pounds, returned 14.5 loss packages, including 7.5 bags, and had to make three messes. According to Pro Football Focus, his 48 quarterbacks led the nation.
LB: Zaven Collins, Tulsa.
What hasn’t Collins done this season? The 6-4, 260-pound junior intercepted four passes, including two touchdowns, including one of 96 yards in the victory over Tulane. A rare combination of size and speed – Collins was a high school quarterback – he had 11.5 defeat suits, including four sacks, and helped Hurricane Golden win 6-2.
LB: Joseph Ossai, Texas.
Ossai ended his college career with his best season ever. The 6-5, 243-pound junior, who introduced the NFL draft, led the Big 12 with 16 loss packs, including five bags, and forced three tampering. In Texas’ 41-34 victory over Oklahoma State this season, Ossai became the first Power 5 player to record at least 12 tackles, six tackles for defeat and three sacks in one game since Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009.
LB: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoa, Notre Dame…
Clemson’s loss in the CCA championship game was a disappointment for Notre Dame, but what a loss in the regular season of Owusu-Coramoa for the Irish. The 6-1, 215-pound senior is versatile enough to play anywhere on the court and has made changes throughout the season to play for Notre Dame. He led the team by 57 points, including 11 in the loss, and forced three messes.
SIBI: Patrick Stein II, Alabama.
Nick Saban had a number of talented cornerbacks in Alabama, and Save was on an equal footing with each of them. There aren’t many opponents with the size, range and ability to reach the 6-2, 202-pound Surtain, which started 36 times in a row for the Crimson Tide. The opponents stayed away from Surtain for most of the season – and with good reason.
SIBI: Sean Wade, Ohio.
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Wade has gone from a cornerback to an outside corner for the Buckeyes this season and hasn’t posted the numbers he posted a year ago, especially during the shortened lock-out season. But he was still called Big Ten Defensive End and is the cornerback that makes everyone around him look a lot better in defense.
S : Talanoa Hufanga, USC.
The 6-1, 215-pound junior led the Trojans with 62 tackles in six games and was a playmaker whether defending a pass or stopping a run. He was also an effective passer-by when USC used him as a blitzer (three sacks) and ended the season with four interceptions and two forced tampering.
S : Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Meurig, who in recent years has been one of the best safetykeepers in university football, has shown his versatility this season, whether it’s making big hits in space or keeping receivers in the blanket. The 6-2, 202-pound junior finished third at TCU with 47 tackles, including two for loss, and intercepted nine passes.
P.K: Cade York, LSU.
York was at its best from a distance for the Tigers. He made 8 out of 10 field attempts of 40 yards or more, including 5 out of 6 out of 50 yards or more. His biggest goal of the season was a school record of 57 meters in thick fog to lead the LSU to a 37-34 victory over Florida. York, a sophomore, has achieved 14 of 17 field goals this season and has nine field goals of 50 meters or more in his career.
P : Presley Harvin III, Georgia Tech.
Harvin ended his excellent career at Georgia Tech with his best season ever. His 48-yard average earned him the top position (among players who have played five or more games), and he broke the school record of 45.6 yards set more than 20 years ago. From Harvin’s 45 moves came 22 for 50 yards or more and 18 for 20 yards. The yellow coats came third in the FBS ranking for net betting.
KR: Jeremiah Heidel, Texas.
Haydel, a 170-pound, six-foot senior receiver, made a splash this season. His one-handed touchdown against SMU was one of the best touchdowns of the special teams, but he kept some of his best elements for the special teams. He had a 91-yard intercept back for a touchdown that sent the UTSA game into overtime, and he returned a clumsy 97-yard for a touchdown against Georgia Southern.
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