QB: Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma: Austin, Texas, 6-1, 210 Jr: The former walk-on has made a huge difference on this team and he has an interesting story which you can read here: Mayfield Mayfield had to sit out last year and the Sooners had a very disappointing season by their standards. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth in Sooner land. Enter Mayfield in 2015 and this is an entirely different team in spite of huge losses in the Offensive Line. Mayfield threw for 3,389 yards and entered the Heisman race in a big way. He is also a bit of a scrambler and ran for 420 yards with a bowl game awaiting, possibly the playoffs.
QB: Paxton Lynch – Memphis: Deltona, Florida; 6-7, 245 Jr: Like Mayfield, Lynch has an interesting story. Lynch The once unwanted Lynch is now the toast of the town and he is supposed to now be the first Quarterback picked. Of course, I blogged about Mayfield and Lynch last year before the media caught on. Lynch led his Memphis team to an incredible start including a win over SEC powerhouse Ole Miss before losing some games toward the end of the season and now
Memphis coach Justin Fuente has left for the greener pastures of Virginia Tech. Lynch threw for 3,670 yards and 28 Touchdowns against only 3 Interceptions. Lynch is super mobile and ran for 240 yards and 2 more Touchdowns.
QB: Deshaun Watson – Clemson: This one kind is blatantly obvious. Watson was phenomenal in the 2015 season leading his Tigers to places they haven’t been since 1981.
QB: Matt Johnson – Bowling Green: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 6-0, 215 Sr: Johnson was sensational in 2015 after missing 2014, and he didn’t do it only against MAC teams. He lit up SEC and Big 10 defenses with huge numbers. In fact, his least productive games came against MAC teams Western Michigan and Toledo. Must I remind anyone else that Toledo beat Arkansas as well as Bowling Green. Johnson threw for 4,465 yards and 41 Touchdowns with only 6 Interceptions. He’s not a mobile Quarterback like Mayfield and Lynch, but still managed to run for 149 yards and 4 Touchdowns. Scoff about a MAC player making All American, but Johnson is a talented player.
RB: Derrick Henry – Alabama: Yulee, Florida; 6-3, 245 Jr: Heisman front runner is a power runner extraordinaire. Before signing with Alabama, Henry broke the 60 year old national rushing record of the famous Sugarland Express Kenneth Hall. Sugarland Express During his first 2 seasons at Alabama, Henry had to split time with TJ Yeldon before Yeldon declared for the NFL after his junior year. Look for Henry to leave after this season as every player in the SEC currently does, but in 2015 he ran for 1,797 yards and a very impressive 22 Touchdowns. Bama still has the SEC Championship game and at least one playoff game which probably will put Henry over the 2,000 yard barrier. For his size, Henry has breakaway speed and is hard for one guy to bring down.
RB: Leonard Fournette – LSU: New Orleans; 6-1, 230 Soph: Fournette is another big, strong power runner with great speed. Last season, Fournette demonstrated that speed on Kick Off returns. This season Fournette exploded for 1,741 yards and 18 Touchdowns and that’s with the Tigers’ first game being canceled by lightening storms. Fournette was the leading candidate for the Heisman all season until the Tigers lost to Alabama and he was shut down. Team game and the Tigers were manhandled on both sides of the ball. Fournette is still as good as they come, regardless of what fickle media members believe.
RB: Dalvin Cook – Florida State: Miami, Florida; 5-11, 200 Soph: Far and away the most explosive Running Back in the country. He reminds somewhat of Kansas City Running Back Jamaal Charles with his incredible quickness and cutting ability. He missed a lot of playing time and one complete game this year because of injury problems, but he still ran for 1,658 yards and 18 Touchdowns. He ran for 194 yards against Clemson and 183 yards against Florida and those defenses were really outstanding. His best games came against Miami and South Florida where he crushed the 200 yard barrier. Clearly, he is not the biggest Running Back in the nation, but he is strong enough for his size and give him a small opening and he is going to the end zone. Cook is also a good receiver out of the backfield.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State: St Louis, Missouri; 6-0, 225: Yet another power back with breakaway speed. The Buckeyes did not have the greatest of seasons, but it’s still hard to get that image of Elliott running for 230 yards against a defense like Alabama’s that was built to stop the run. At 225, Elliott possesses the speed to pull away from even the talented Defensive Backs. In the 2015 regular season, Elliott ran for 1,672 yards and 19 Touchdowns. At over 200 pounds during his senior year of high school, Elliott won state championships in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 110 meter
High Hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles. Obviously, Elliott has some speed especially for his size, but he can run between the tackles as well as outrun defenders.
RB: Christian McCaffrey – Stanford: For some, Christian McCaffrey is one of the bigger surprises of the 2015 season. I started blogging about McCaffrey last year before the media figured out this guy could play. Read the blog post about his family: the McCaffrey Family
WR: Corey Coleman – Baylor: Richardson, Texas 5-11, 190 Jr: Media types were pushing Coleman for the Heisman up until the Baylor Bears lost to Oklahoma and Coleman was mostly shut down. All it takes is one loss sometimes for these flavor of the week types to pipe down. Coleman still put up huge numbers and especially when it comes to Touchdowns receiving. 20 Touchdowns receiving is a pretty huge number, but in all fairness after the Bears played their only 3 good teams on their schedule he had 0 Touchdowns. It’s well known he is done at Baylor.
WR: Josh Doctson – TCU: Mansfield, Texas 6-3, 195 Sr: Dominating receiver that missed the end of the season, but only after catching 79 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 Touchdowns. He has that size and the speed that the NFL is going to love, plus he has great hands and body control.
WR: Juju Smith-Schuster – USC: Long Beach, California 6-2, 215 Soph: My pick as the best receiver in the country. He is not quite as big as some, but he is big. He has the size, the strength and the hands, plus he is super explosive with, or without, the ball in his hands. So far on the season, Smith-Schuster has 74 catches for 1,302 yards and 10 Touchdowns. The Trojans have had a rough season, but still won the Pac 12 South with the game with Stanford remaining.
WR: Will Fuller – Notre Dame: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 6-0, 185 Jr: Already announced he is returning to Notre Dame for his senior season. He is one of the more explosive players in the country and is a threat to go all the way any time he catches the ball. On the season, he had 56 catches. But, they went for well over 1,000 yards and 13 Touchdowns. He averaged over 20 yards per reception.
WR: Nelson Spruce – Colorado: Westlake Village, California 6-0, 180 Sr: The most productive Wide Receiver in the history of the Pac 12, 10, or 8 Conference. Opponents knew he was going to be getting the ball and could do little about it. With 89 receptions, the 2015 season could have been something of a let down for him considering he had over 100 catches a season ago. But, he still went over the 1,000 yard barrier and scored 4 Touchdowns. The son of a bodybuilder and I wrote about him here: Spruce vs Marinovich
TE: Jake Butt – Michigan: Pickerington, Ohio 6-6, 250 Jr: Butt was a very productive Tight End of the Wolverines and an NFL type coach that uses a Tight End and a Fullback. Butt had 48 receptions and 3 Touchdowns on the season and he’s clearly a great blocker.
TE: Hunter Henry – Arkansas: Little Rock, Arkansas 6-5, 250 Jr: As far as the NFL is concerned, Hunter might be the best player at his position in the country and I would not argue that. He did not drop a single pass in the 2015 season while catching 46 passes. Playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks and their offense, you know he can block.
OT: Laremy Tunsil – Ole Miss: Lake City, Florida 6-5, 305 Jr: Probably should not be on this list
since he was suspended the first 7 games, but he is pretty much considered by everyone to be the top Offensive Tackle in the nation. He is able to move side to side extremely quickly and has those great feet that a great tackle needs. He doesn’t carry around that spare tire that a lot of Offensive Linemen have.
OT: Ronnie Stanley – Notre Dame: Las Vegas, Nevada: 6-5, 315 Sr: Another star athlete out of Las Vegas famous Bishop Gorman High School. Stanley is the best Offensive Lineman on one of the best Offensive Lines in the country. Tunsil and Stanley remind me much of each other.
OT: Jack Conklin – Michigan State: Plainwell, Michigan 6-6, 325 Jr: Conklin has already announced he has unfinished business at Michigan State so he will return for his senior season. Conklin was unranked coming out of high school as a recruit and iis one of the top Offensive Tackles in the country. He had a better sophomore season than junior year because of injuries. But, the entire team faced injury problems in 2015. He will be a 4 year starter at Michigan State and just not give up sacks.
OT: Taylor Decker – Ohio State: Vandalia, Ohio 6-8, 315 Sr: An absolute giant of a man that has held together the Ohio State Offensive Line for two straight seasons. He was a starter at Right Tackle as a sophomore and moved to Left Tackle last year when he was the only returning starter. This beastly man is one of the very best Offensive Linemen out there.
OT: Spencer Drango – Baylor; Cedar Park, Texas 6-6, 320 Sr: Known as one of the top Offensive Tackles in the country and a long time starter for the Bears. Intelligent player that also possesses a strong work ethic.
OT: Jason Spriggs – Indiana: Elkhart, Indiana 6-7, 305 Sr: Indiana surprisingly had one of the better Offensive Lines in the country and Spriggs is more than a solid NFL prospect at Left Tackle. The Hoosiers have had an exciting offense the past few years and Spriggs is one of the guys that makes it go.
OG: Dan Feeney – Indiana: Orland Park, Illinois: 6-4, 310 Sr: When talking about last year’s Running Back sensation, Tevin Coleman and any number of this year’s stars on offense most just say that Feeney is Indiana’s best offensive player and I have no problem with that. An outstanding run and pass blocker out of the Guard position for the Hoosier.
OG: Landon Turner – North Carolina: Harrisonburg, Virginia 6-4, 325 Sr: Turner elected to come back for his senior season and he’s an outstanding player, maybe the best in the nation at his position. He reminds so much of Duke’s star OG from last year, Lake Tomlinson except maybe better.
OG: Ben Braden – Michigan: Rockford, Michigan 6-6, 330 Sr: Braden bounced around the Offensive Line under the previous regime at Ann Arbor before Harbaugh came along. He found a home this season and excelled. He has outstanding size, strength and feet.
OG: Christian Westerman – Arizona State: Chandler, Arizona 6-4, 300 Sr: Westerman was a 5 star recruit that committed to Texas and then switched to Auburn and many labeled him a bust. Far from it, he is an absolute beast at Offensive Guard for the Sun Devils. Strongest guy on the team has elite strength and is quick enough to be more than effective in both the run and pass game.
OC: Kyle Friend – Temple: Carlisle, Pennsylvania 6-3, 295, Sr: Friend is an animal at Center for Temple. Possesses excellent strength and quickness and fared well against any competition he faced all season.
OC: Ryan Kelly – Alabama: West Chester, Ohio 6-5, 295 Sr: Midwestern Offensive Linemen can win you some titles. Kelly is a long term starter up front for the Tide and a team leader.
DE: Shaq Lawson – Clemson; Central, South Carolina 6-3, 270 Jr: Clemson lost a lot of players from their number one defense a year ago, but many others stepped up and they didn’t miss a beat. Lawson is one of the premier players in the country at any position and he was a close contender for player of the year. He gave Notre Dame All American Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley fits in their
game. He had over 20 tackles for loss so far on the year.
DE: Carl Nassib – Penn State: West Chester, Pennsylvania 6-7, 275 Sr: Former Walk-on player that started only one season but led the nation in sacks this year and with his size, quickness and athletic ability he should be considered a very likely player to make it in the NFL.
DE: Yannick Ngakoue – Maryland: Bowie, Maryland 6-2, 255 Jr: He had 13 Quarterback sacks and was effective coming off the edge this season. Sadly, the undersized Ngakoue has already declared for the NFL and I fear he will not be picked because of his size. He might succeed as an Outside Linebacker, but players his size are a dime a dozen. Should stay in college unless you are a 1st round pick.
DE: Emmanuel Ogbah – Oklahoma State: Houston, Texas 6-4, 275 Jr: Might be the most complete defensive lineman in the nation. Equally good against the pass and the run. He is super strong and quick coming off the edge. He had 13 Quarterback sacks and an incredible 19 QB hurries.
DE: Myles Garrett – Texas A%M: Arlington, Texas 6-5, 255 Soph: I love Garrett against the pass, but not so much against the run. He has as much athletic ability as anyone, but tends to take plays off and especially when the play does not involve him. Still, one of the nation’s best.
DE: DeForest Buckner – Oregon: Waianae, Hawaii 6-7, 300 Sr: Buckner is another excellent Defensive End that will be a first round pick. He was far more productive than Oregon’s last first round draft pick at Defensive End is equal in size. He possesses everything he needs to be a top NFL player, size, speed, quickness, brains and aggressiveness.
DE: Joey Bosa – Ohio State: Fort Lauderdale, Florida 6-6, 275 Jr: Bosa is one of the more
impressive players in the nation and could be the very first player picked in the next NFL Draft. He’s involved in almost every play whether he makes the tackle or not.
DT: Jonathan Allen – Alabama: Leesburg, Virginia 6-3, 285 Jr: Excellent Interior lineman and their best pass rusher from inside. Not bad against the run as well, but he can get a lot of pressure on the Quarterback. He has 9 Quarterback sacks on the season.
DT: Austin Johnson – Penn State: Galloway, New Jersey 6-4, 325 Jr: Most productive Defensive Tackle in the nation for the second straight season. He possesses great strength and quickness and can dominate the line of scrimmage. For the most part it has been a bad year for the Nittany Lions, but their Defensive Line is great. Johnson finished regular season with 70 tackles, 13 behind the line of scrimmage and 5.5 Quarterback sacks.
DT: Andrew Billings – Baylor: Waco, Texas 6-2, 310 Jr: Home town guy that plugs the middle really well. Very stout against the run, but not quite as much as a pass rusher. No doubt he will declare for the NFL and be a top round pick.
DT: Robert Nkemdiche – Ole Miss: Loganville, Georgia Jr; He doesn’t make a lot of tackles, but he is disruptive much of the time and he will change an Offensive Coordinator’s game plans. For that reason alone, he is on my All American team.
DT: A’Shawn Robinson – Alabama: Fort Worth, Texas 6-4, 315 Jr: Robinson is a monster for the Tide and especially great against the run. A three year starter and definitely will declare for the NFL after this year.
LB: Jaylen Smith – Notre Dame: Fort Wayne, Indiana 6-2, 240 Jr: Possibly the top Linebacker in the country. Smith is all over the field and is disruptive. Leads the Fighting Irish in tackles. Extremely athletic and fast Linebacker.
LB: Kentrell Brothers – Missouri: Guthrie, Oklahoma 6-1, 235 Sr: Brothers led the Tigers, the SEC and the nation in tackles this year. Bad season for the Tigers, but their defense was great most of the year and Brothers was their leader with 152 tackles.
LB: Reggie Ragland – Alabama: Madison, Alabama 6-2, 255 Sr: A rare senior on the Alabama
team and one of their top players. Ragland is the Tide’s top tackler and a leader on one of the nation’s great defenses.
LB: Blake Martinez – Stanford: Tucson, Arizona 6-2, 245 Sr: One of the best Linebackers in the country and the leader tackler on a good defense. Martinez learned from the great players from a few years back like Shayne Skov. He totaled 120 tackles in the regular season.
LB: Tyler Matakevich – Temple: Stratford, Connecticut 6-1, 232 Sr: Very tough Middle Linebacker that helped put Temple on the front page of the sports section this season. He is obviously good against the run, but he also had 5 Interceptions on the season. Very talented player and team leader.
LB: Raekwon MacMillan – Ohio State: Hinesville, Georgia 6-2, 240 Soph: A very talented sophomore that was a big contributor on last year’s national title winner. He led the Buckeyes in tackles this year and looks very much like the great Ohio State Linebackers of yesteryear.
CB: Jalen Ramsey – Florida State: Smyrna, Tennessee 6-1, 205 Jr: There are many differences of opinions on who the best Cornerback in the nation is, but the conversation is never far from Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is a perfect blend of size and speed for a CB and he is highly coveted by the NFL and he should be a very high draft pick.
CB: Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida: Tampa, Florida 5-11, 200 Jr: Outstanding athlete at Cornerback who it is best to avoid at all cost. But, the Gators have talent at the other CB position as well. He is a 3 year starter and has 4 Interceptions this year.
CB: Mackensie Alexander – Clemson: Immokalee, Florida 5-11, 195 Soph: Alexander is definitely one of the top Corners in the country and shut down Notre Dame super star Will Fuller like nobody else all season. Alexander does not make a lot of tackles, but he doesn’t need to because he is just
required to shut down a team’s best receiver.
CB: Desmond King – Iowa: Detroit, Michigan 5-11, 200 Jr: One of the most productive Defensive Backs in the country with 8 Interceptions, 61 tackles and 11 passes broken up. Helped lead the Hawkeyes to a resurgent 12-0 season.
CB: Jourdan Lewis – Michigan: Detroit, Michigan 5-10, 175 Jr: Smallish CB that is absolutely one of the top cover corners in the nation. He broke up an astounding 19 passes and was assigned to every team’s top receivers.
CB: Adoree Jackson – USC: Bellville, Illinois 5-11, 185 Soph: One of the nation’s most exciting players that excels at CB, WR and as a return man.
DB: Quin Blanding – Virginia: Virginia Beach, Virginia 6-2, 210 Soph: One of the nation’s best players playing on a bad team. He started from day one as a true freshman last year and led the team in tackles and is second this year to their LB, Micah Kiser.
DB: Jeremy Cash – Duke: Miami, Florida 6-2, 210 Sr: Very similar to Quin Blanding, in that he’s a big, strong and fast Defensive Back that is big enough to play Linebacker, yet fast enough to play in the defensive backfield. Also one of the more productive players in the country over the last 2 years.
DB: Jabrill Peppers – Michigan: East Orange, New Jersey 6-1, 205 Soph: Another one of the nation’s elite players. Peppers plays all over the field and is excellent wherever he is lines up. He plays Safety, Tailback, Wide Reciever, returns punts. One of the more exciting and explosive players in the country.
DB: Johnathan Ford – Auburn: Big Cove, Alabama 6-0, 205 Jr: The great Will Muschamp
experiment is probably over at Auburn and it might have failed, but Ford had a great season leading the Tigers in tackles. He had 2 Interceptions and returned 1 for a Touchdown while posting 113 tackles.
DB: Clayton Fejedelem – Illinois: Lemont, Illinois: Strange season for the Illini of Illinois with the firing of their coach just days before the season began. Fejedelem is a former walk on that wanted to prove he could play and he has. He lead the Big 10 in tackles during the 2015 season. As a safety, he broke up 7 passes and picked off 2 passes.
Kicker: Aidan Schneider – Oregon: He made over 90 % of his Field Goals and was perfect on Extra Points.
Punter: Tom Hackett – Utah: Australian guy can boot it.
Kick Returner: Evan Berry – Tennessee: 3 Touchdowns returning and nearly 40 yards average per return. Unbelievable.
Punt Returner: Christian Kirk – Texas A%M: Over 24 yards per return and 2 Touchdowns.
Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh – Michigan:
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry – Alabama: Henry is unstoppable and the probable Heisman winner.
Defensive Player of the Year: Carl Nassib – Penn State: Led the nation in sacks and in forced fumbles.
Offensive Freshman of the Year:
Josh Rosen – UCLA QB,
Mitch Hyatt – Clemson OT
Defensive Freshman of the Year:
Jordan Whitehead – Pittsburgh CB,
Cameron Smith USC LB