Mid-Season NCAA All-American List
College football season is already more than halfway over, allowing plenty of new players to forge a name for themselves in the college football world. As such, this is KCOU’s Mid-Season All-American team. The offense is lead by college football superstars Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley, two players that could very well be competing for the Heisman trophy in the coming weeks. Stanford’s Bryce Love has placed himself squarely in the mix as well, refusing to give Barkley even a slight edge in the Heisman race. A pair of Big 12 receivers lead the way for the nation’s pass catchers and the SEC is the only conference with two selections on the offensive line.
On the defensive side of things, Bradley Chubb heads an impressive quartet of defensive linemen that includes fellow ACC player Austin Bryant. Georgia’s Roquan Smith helps lead the way for a group of linebackers that are as good as any All-American list in recent years, with the Big 10 owning the other two players selected at the group. The secondary is just as impressive, with the SEC once again being the only conference to have multiple selections in the position group. Utah State’s Jalen Davis is the only non-Power 5 player to make the cut.
QB- Baker Mayfield
A Heisman favorite going into the season, Mayfield is on course to return to New York. His ability to extend plays with his feet and throw on the run is exceptional. He leads the country in total QBR (91.9) and passing efficiency (200.4) and is second in completion percentage (.738), although he has twice as many attempts as the leader in that category.
RB- Saquon Barkley
Another Heisman hopeful, Barkley has shredded some of the toughest defenses in college football this year. Poised to be potentially a top ten pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Barkley can do it all. He has 448 receiving yards so far to go with his 752 rushing yards, and has even been compared by some to hall of famer Barry Sanders.
RB- Bryce Love
Love has been nothing short of a statistical anomaly in 2017. Bursting onto the scene, Love is currently averaging an FBS best 10.3 yards-per-carry and also leads college football with his 1,387 rushing yards. The next closest is more than 200 yards behind.
WR- David Sills V
Possibly the most interesting story in college football, Sills has achieved greatness after committing to USC at 13, de-committing, committing to West Virginia to play quarterback, transferring to community college, transferring back to West Virginia, and leading the country in touchdown catches as a wide receiver. Sills’ 15 touchdown receptions are six more than the nearest competitor.
WR- James Washington
Being the top receiver for Mason Rudolph, another potential all-American, has its perks. Washington averages a whopping 24.1 yards-per-reception due in part to his quarterback’s ability to put the ball on the dot, but also because of his run after the catch ability.
TE- Mike Gesicki
You won’t find Gesicki at the top of the list in receptions or yards, but in an offense that operates primarily through the aforementioned Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trayce McSorley, who can blame him? His big play ability and clutch hands in the red zone more than make up for his volume, and his 4 touchdowns are good for third so far this year among tight ends.
OL- Quenton Nelson
A second team all-American at guard last season, Nelson has continued that momentum into 2017. He has helped propel his team to a healthy 7.1 yards-per-rush average along with an average of 4 rushing touchdowns per game
OL- Orlando Brown
No, this is not the same Orlando Brown that used to star in “That’s So Raven” on the Disney Channel. This Orlando Brown is a 6’8 345 lb. beast that is the primary pass protector for Baker Mayfield, one of college football’s biggest stars. Funny enough though, his late father, Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown played in the NFL… for the Ravens.
OL- David Edwards
Would you believe that a high school quarterback could turn into a 6’7 315 lb. all-American lineman? That very well may happen if Edwards continues the solid work he’s put in over the first half of the season. The Badger team as a whole has only conceded 8 sacks so far this year.
OL- Braden Smith
Smith has been outstanding at right guard all year long for the Tigers, helping the team rack up 1,900 yards on the ground and 24 touchdowns already this season. What’s more, his consistent play has helped the rushing attack remain highly effective under such high volume, averaging 5.1 yards-per-rush.
C- Bradley Bozeman
The igniter of every play for the nation’s top ranked team, Bozeman has steadily improved in his second year starting for the Crimson Tide. On the watch list for the Rimington Award this pre-season, Bozeman is an irreplaceable cog in a high powered ‘Bama offense that’s averaged 500 yards per game and over 7 yards per play
DL- Austin Bryant
At the start of the season, the Bryant that had Clemson fans talking was Kelly Bryant. However, halfway through the year, there’s another Bryant that plays for the Tigers that’s been unmistakably dominant. So far, he’s combined for 6 sacks, an interception, and 30 combined tackles, 11.5 of which have been for a loss.
DL- Mo Hurst
The devil is in the details for Hurst, who’s been a solid player at Michigan for a while, but has just recently exploded into the national spotlight. Like Bryant, Hurst has 30 combined tackles, adding 7 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. As an interior defender, his ability to take on double teams and plug up running lanes has been invaluable for the Wolverines.
DL- Bradley Chubb
Chubb has quite literally been a game wrecker this season for opposing offenses. If the Wolf Pack has any chance at running the table in the ACC, they’ll need every one of Chubb’s game changing plays. His 7 sacks are good for best in the ACC and his 2 tackles for loss average is second in all of college football.
DL- Hercules Mata’Afa
Being named after a mythological Greek demi-god probably comes with a fair amount of pressure, but it’s safe to say Mata’Afa has more than lived up to his billing. Weighing only 250 lbs., he’s been able to consistently beat bigger offensive lineman to the tune of 1.6 tackles for loss per game, adding 7 sacks as an interior defensive lineman.
LB- Roquan Smith
Georgia’s defense has been outstanding this season, and Smith is the centerpiece. He has no less than 8 tackles since the start of SEC play, and his lone sack of the season was instrumental in Georgia’s win against ninth ranked Notre Dame.
LB- Josey Jewell
Jewell has been all over the field for the Hawkeyes through the first half of 2017. He’s fourth in the nation with a 70 total tackles, which is good for an astounding 11.7 per game average.
LB- Devin Bush
No one has been more appreciative of Maurice Hurst’s ability to take on double teams more than Bush, although it’s not like he’s necessarily needed the help. At only 5’11, what Bush lacks in size he makes up for in speed. He plays sideline to sideline and is solid against both the run and the pass, collecting 52 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 6 pass break-ups just halfway through the season.
CB- Carlton Davis
Davis has been solid for Auburn this year, providing them a corner with lockdown capabilities. He has 10 total passes defensed with one interception. He also exhibited his tackling ability against Clemson, tallying 11 total tackles in that game alone.
CB- Jalen Davis
Say whatever you want about the level of competition Utah State has faced, but there’s no denying Davis’ exceptional talent. He’s already collected 5 interceptions, all of which came in September, signaling that his drought in recent weeks is more likely a product of offenses purposely avoiding him than anything else.
S- Minkah Fitzpatrick
Perhaps the best player on the nation’s best team, Fitzpatrick, much like Devin Bush, has contributed across all categories this season. The Crimson Tide iron man has 35 tackles 5 of which went for a loss, three pass break-ups, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble. He’s also probably the best hope for defensive representation in New York for the Heisman ceremony this season.
S- Derwin James
James entered the year as perhaps the most highly touted defensive player in the nation. Although it’s already safe to say that Florida State’s season has by and large been a failure, James has still been a bright spot adding his 42 total tackles and 4 passes defensed.
S- Deshon Elliott
Perhaps the most talented defensive back to come through UT since Earl Thomas, Elliott has been nothing short of outstanding for the longhorns this season. He collected 5 interceptions in a span of three games, becoming the first Longhorn to pick off balls in three consecutive games since Thomas back in 2009.
CB- Denzel Ward
OSU’s defense has been an area of criticism in Columbus this fall, but Ward has had little to do with that blame. He’s been a major contributor defending the pass with 10 total pass break-ups and one interception. He’s also shown an ability to come up and support in run defense adding 20 tackles from his corner spot.
K- Matt Gay
Utah has found a legitimate weapon in Matt Gay. He has gone 17 of 19 on field goal attempts and has been perfect on extra points so far in 2017. Those 17 makes are the most in the country and good for almost 90%.
P- Johnny Townsend
Townsend has arguably been one of the Gators’ best players this season. He’s definitely been the most consistent, averaging a fine 48.4 per punt average this fall for Florida and seemingly pinning offenses inside their own 20 at will.
R- Dante Pettis
While Pettis may not be as much of a pure receiving threat as the speedy John Ross was for the Huskies last year, his return ability is second to none. Pettis is one of quarterback Jake Browning’s favorite toys on offense and a game-changer on special teams. He kicked off the season with return touchdowns in each of Washington’s first three games.
All-purpose- Jaylen Samuels
A complete wild card, Samuels has lined up all over the field for NC State this season. He’s reached the end zone in all but one contest thus far and he’s done it in different ways. The senior leader has recorded 3 touchdowns receiving and 7 rushing so far, turning himself into a true ironman.