Picking a single All-America team is quite a tall order when you really look at it. It's not that difficult when you do it like Phil Steele does and pick four full teams, but if you're picking one it can be rather difficult to do UNLESS you go with "safe" picks across the board (This is the same thing I said last year, but in real life I'm a businessman and in business, we re-iterate until someone stops us especially when we're billing by the hour).
Even then, you're looking at over 120 teams and selecting the best player in each position. That's being pretty damned picky, don't you think?
BTW, last year's top quarterback was USC's Matt Barkley. Second was Oklahoma's Landry Jones. No one knew about Johnny Football. Who'll come along this year?
QB - Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
I don't really need to explain this pick, do I? I see Manziel as the next Tim Tebow - not in athleticism so much as polarization. By the time we're at 2013 mid-season, you will either love or hate Johnny Football and I'm betting on the latter for most of you. You want him shot into space, don't you?
Underdog: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
RB - Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Is this a homer pick? Yes, it is, but I can justify it. Nebraska's offense is going to be damned good in 2013 and despite the Huskers having the best receiving corps in their history the offense will be predicated on the run. Abdullah isn't a household name, yet, but this year that will change.
A safer (better?) pick here would be sophomore Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona who had 1,929 yards last season. I probably should have swapped him in place of either Abdullah or Oregon's Thomas, below.
WR/TE/RB - RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Will Oregon be the same without Chip Kelly leading the way? I wouldn't expect a radical change, and that means tons of ground yardage for Thomas, who is one of the fastest players in college football.
WR/TE/RB - RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Including Alabama's starting running back on your All-America team is always a safe bet. They tend to get a ton of work and they're always good otherwise Nick Saban wouldn't be playing them.
WR - Kenny Bell, Nebraska
Another homer pick, perhaps, but Bell has established himself as a game breaking receiver who can deliver big blocks downfield when needed WOOOHOOOO!! Do you realize that Nebraska has never had a receiver break 1,000 yards in a season? It's true. The season record holder is still Johnny Rodgers with 942 yards on 55 receptions in 1972. That's pretty sad, isn't it?
Maybe instead should have selected: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington.
WR - Marqise Lee, USC
1,721 yards on 118 receptions last season as a sophomore while playing on a Lane Kiffin-coached USC team that turned into a train wreck by the end of the season.
WR - Sammy Watkins, Clemson
As a freshman, Watkins had 1,225 yards on 83 receptions. Last season, his production dropped to 57 receptions and 708 yards, but missed the first two games due to suspension. He also dropped to the team's #2 receiver. He's a running threat and a returning threat as well.
WR - Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Evans is 6'5" and 225 pounds. He's fast. He's strong. He's Johnny Football's top target. Evans had 82 receptions for 1,105 yards last season as a freshman.
Understand that 98% of the media has no clue as to what they're looking at when it comes to offensive linemen and there are not stats for guidance. I typically rely on career starts as a determining factor. If you get up around 30 career starts, you've proven that you've either learned how to play through pain, are damned lucky or possibly invincible.
C - Bryan Stork, Florida State
27 starts, 35 games, Rimington Award watch candidate for 2013. Stork can play center, guard or tackle.
G - Spencer Long, Nebraska
Homer pick? Not really. Long started as a walk-on, and has already made First Team All-Big Ten honors and been selected as a second-team All-American last season. Long is not only good, but he's one helluva story and that story would be better if he were selected as an All-America teamer.
G - Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Another versatile lineman, Richardson is capable of playing guard or center. 29 starts, 38 games, 2012 All-American.
T - Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Lewan was already projected last season as a top ten NFL draft pick, but came back for his senior year at Michigan. 35 starts, 37 games, already an All-American.
T - Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
When you're good enough to displace Barrett Jones you deserve some recognition (Jones moved to center last year so Kouandjio could play tackle).