SB Nation is putting together our 2012 pre-season All-American football team. After the jump are my potential selections, as I await your feedback before voting.
To be completely honest, picking an All-America team is like putting together a pre-season poll. If you pick someone off the wall, you lose credibility, so it's just safer to pick (mostly) the same guys that everyone else is picking.
Matt Barkely is a good example. How can you seriously not pick that guy as the top quarterback entering the 2012 season?
Matt Barkley, USC
He's the RGIII/Andrew Luck heir-apparent playing for one of the top preseason teams in the nation. He's an easy pick, even easier because he has one of the best receivers in the nation (Robert Woods) as a target.
I don't believe he'll win a national title, though. I'm not sold on Lane Kiffin as a coach, nor Monte Kiffin as a defensive coordinator.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Another easy pick. Seems like forever ago that Jones took over for an injured Sam Bradford, and since then he's worked his way into potentially becoming the winningest quarterback in Oklahoma history. He's also on his way to setting gobs of records, yet he didn't even get selected as the top quarterback in his conference this preseason. That's not right.
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Hey, if Martinez comes anywhere close to that 70% completion percentage he'll be a valid All-America candidate, won't he?
Denard Robinson and Braxton Miller have been rated ahead of him, but that's largely based on Robinson's style (he's not been much of a better passer than Martinez to this point, and without a horrid throwing motion to improve, his upside is limited) and Miller's potential (great athlete, URBANMEYERIZATION!).
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Ball should lose some points for changing his name from "montee" to "montay". You wait ‘til you're a senior, really? He's going to be the featured back on a team that's nearly assured a place in the Big Ten Championship game before the season begins.
Begin a Big Ten homer (it's required, most All-America voting is regional whether you want to believe that or not), Ball is my pick for best running back in the nation.
WR/TE/RB - Four Total
Normally, an All-America team has a format of two running backs, two wide receivers and a tight end, but in this case we're not 100% sure of what kind of offense we're running, so why not give wide receivers more due (because we're in the Big Ten, and there isn't a B1G receiver that'll be worthy of pre-season All-America honors). Besides that, who uses a tight end anymore?
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore was a stud for the Cocks last season until he suffered a knee injury against Mississippi State. Question is - can he come back?
Robert Woods, USC
Woods set records last season (111 receptions - Pac-12 and USC school record for receptions in a season) playing on an injured ankle. He's missed a lot of spring ball, but should be at 100% or close by the time the season comes around. Given no other injuries, he's an easy selection to an All-America team right?
Some guy from Alabama or Oregon
Kejon Barner, Duck, or Eddie Lacy, Alabama. Oregon's backs will gain a bazillion yards, and Nick Saban will run a horse to death given the chance to win a game.
Marquess Wilson, Washington State
As a sophomore last season, Wilson had 82 receptions for 1,388 yards and 12 TDs, BEFORE Mike Leach came along. What's the ceiling now?
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Edwin Baker are all gone (although Baker didn't have a good 2011) - the Spartans have to get their points from somewhere. Maybe Bell is that guy, pulling a Ball and getting tons of touchdowns in the process.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
As much as I love the man, he's not an All-America pick. First, Nebraska can't afford to ride him like South Carolina will ride Lattimore. Offensive production requires "multiple", which means yards and points must be spread across several players.
Offensive Linemen - Five
I can just go all B1G homer here and pick our opponent's linemen, right? As much as I'd love to pick a Husker here, I don't see anyone besides Spencer Long in the running. Maybe Jeremiah Sirles can have an excellent season, but unfortunately there are too many other players with more credentials.
Barrett Jones, C - Alabama
So much for sticking with the B1G, but it wouldn't be a All-America team without a bona fide Crimson Tide player on the list, would it? Jones won the 2011 Outland Trophy and is coming back for his senior season even though he could have been a NFL first round draft pick if he'd have come out last season. He's at center this year after playing at tackle last season.
Ricky Wagner, T - Wisconsin
It wouldn't be a real All-America team if Wisconsin didn't have a guy on the offensive line, either. That gives Wagner the nod. Wagner started all 14 games last season, and 10 the year before that. And to think Wagner started as a walk-on.
Taylor Lewan, T - Michigan
Lewan is already projected to go in the top ten of the NFL draft once he finishes his college career. Started all 13 games last season at left tackle, and nine the year before that.
Omoregie Uzzi , G - Georgia Tech
How can I not select this guy, a guard, with a name like that? Uzzi was named second-team All-America by SI.com last season, and first-team All-ACC.
Chance Warmack, G - Alabama
Alabama lineman, blah blah blah. Already named to the 2012 pre-season All-SEC first team by the media and coaches. And he's EEESSSEEEEECCCCCC, so there.
What, no linemen from Stanford? Or what about Khaled Holmes, the center from USC?