We are just over half way through the 2019 college football season and fans are wondering, who would be All-Americans if the season ended right now?
Many players have already had notable seasons—we’re looking at you Jonathan Taylor—but what about the other positions? This week I’ll take a deeper dive into the players that are on their way to becoming a first team All-Amereican.
Joe Burrow, Senior, LSU – 2484 passing yards, 29 TDs, 3 INT and 79.4% completion.
The quarterback position is a three man race right now with Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. In my opinion, and that’s why you’re here, Burrow edges out guys like Tua and Hurts because of one stat in particular – that 79.4% completion rate. The yards and touchdowns are comparable, but a completion percentage nearly five points higher than the others, really stands out when you take into account the yards after catch bump Alabama and Oklahoma get from their receivers.
Jonathan Taylor, Junior, Wisconsin – 957 yards, 15 TDs, 6.1 yards per carry
Chubba Hubbard, RsSo, Oklahoma State – 1265 yards, 15 TDs, 6.5 yards per carry
Running back was the easiest position to choose. Both Hubbard and Taylor have more than excelled this year and lead the nation with 15 rushing touchdowns each, while also being on pace to finish the year near 2000 yards. The numbers clearly standout but you cannot measure their importance with numbers alone. Breaking in new starting quarterbacks at both schools has been made much easier by being able to hand the ball off to these backs.
CeeDee Lamb, Junior, Oklahoma – 31 catches, 681 yards, 10 TDs
Justin Jefferson, Junior, LSU – 48 catches, 759 yards, 9 TDs
Omar Bayless, Senior, Arkansas State – 53 catches, 993 yards, 10 TDs
A lot of receivers have made big plays and a big impact for their team but none to the level of CeeDee Lamb. Lamb doesn’t have the numbers of Jefferson or the unknown Bayless, but his impact can be seen every week. From making the sideline grab to escaping six Texas defenders, Lamb is must-see TV. Justin Jefferson is starting to make a name for himself too. Many people, and I mainly mean me, were slow to believe the hype surrounding the LSU offense. Well, in the words of Shrek, “I’m a believer.” Jefferson leads the LSU receivers and is establishing himself amongst the nation’s top receivers. The unknown man, Omar Bayless, leads the nation in receiving yards and touchdowns and you cannot overlook that level of dominance in college football.
Giovanni Ricci, Senior, Western Michigan
Not many tight ends are the number one target on their team, but that is exactly what Ricci has done this season. Ricci leads his team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns while also being the leading tight end in the nation in all three categories. Having already played in eight games has definitely benefited Ricci, but so has down tight end play across the nation.
Penei Sewell, Sophomore, Oregon
Andrew Thomas, Junior, Georgia
Wyatt Davis, Sophomore, Ohio State
Matt Hennessy, Junior, Temple
Tyler Biadasz, Junior, Wisconsin
The star of this group, and possibly the best tackle in the nation, is Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. Sewell is a true sophomore and will not be draft eligible until 2021 but he is already turning heads of college football fans and scouts. His ability to reach the second level in the run game and anchor in pass protection is what the NFL has been waiting for since Laremy Tunsil in the 2016 draft.
EDGE / DE
Chase Young, Junior, Ohio State – 9.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss
Curtis Weaver, Junior, Boise State – 9.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss
Chase Young is, and has been, the number one player on my 2020 draft board since its existence. Young is an exceptional pass rusher with athleticism and technique that few before him have possessed. The ability to bend, use his hands, and play the run will make him a top five pick and a finalist for this year’s Bednarik Award. Curtis Weaver from Boise State is a similar player that has also racked up a nation leading 9.5 sacks this season. His 30 career sacks jump off the stat line almost as fast as he gets off the ball.
Interior Defensive Line:
Derrick Brown, Senior, Auburn
Javon Kinlaw, Senior South Carolina
The defensive linemen aren’t posting crazy sack totals (three for Brown, five for Kinlaw) but they are disrupting offenses every week, with both of them seeing double teams nearly all game. I cannot wait to get a closer look at these two in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl when they are lined up across from offensive linemen in one on ones. I would also like to send my condolences to any guy trying to block either guy one on one.
Isaiah Simmons, Junior, Clemson – 59 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 6 sacks
Kenneth Murray, Junior, Oklahoma – 51 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks
Evan Weaver, Senior, Cal – 104 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks
The 2020 draft could have a haul of linebackers and it all starts with Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is a swiss army knife on defense and the MVP of the defending national champion Clemson Tigers. Simmons often plays linebacker, safety and nickel corner for defensive coordinator Brent Venebles and has also shown the ability to rush the quarterback this year.
Kennth Murray is no slouch. After bullying his way onto the scene with 155 tackles last year, Murray has looked even better in 2019 despite not putting up the crazy tackle numbers—yet. He may not be able to play as many positions as Simmons, but no one is better in run defense than Murray.
Evan Weaver leads the nation in tackles this year with 104 so far after finishing second in the nation last year. Weaver nearly single handedly stopped Washington from scoring points and led his team to a huge upset over the ranked Huskies with 18 tackles and a forced fumble.
Jeff Okudah, Junior, Ohio State
Derek Stingly Jr., Freshman, LSU
Both corners are the early favorites to be CB1 of their respective draft classes (Okudah in ‘20, Stingley in ‘22) and have already shown an exceptional ability to find and defend the ball, even though Stingley is just a true freshman. Length and ball skills will not be overlooked at corner and at 6’1” both guys are ideal shutdown corners.
Antoine Winfield Jr, Junior, Minnesota
Douglas Coleman III, Senior, Texas Tech
When naming All-Americans in the secondary, the guy leading the nation in interceptions has to be on the list. That is senior safety Douglas Coleman III. After splitting time at wide receiver, Coleman looks like he has found a home at safety. Antoine Winfield has been plagued with injuries the last two seasons but seems to be healthy this year while leading the undefeated Gopher defense. Although undersized, Winfield isn’t afraid to mix things up in the run game or as a blitzing defensive back. Add in his ability in coverage and you have yourself an All-American safety.