I've stayed with safe picks here - most of the players are the same that everyone else will have as selections on their preseason All-America teams. It makes for a somewhat boring All-America team ALTHOUGH when you read over some of these names you should remember their play from last year and at least feel a little bit better about the offseason, yes?
Maybe that's just me, but then again, maybe not. I mean, Kyle Van Noy may not be a Cornhusker but that guy can sure as hell play some football. Ryan Shazier... there's no undefeated Ohio State season without him. Jadeveon Clowney is a guy that you hope your team doesn't have to play against.
Those players, as are many included below, are a joy to watch if you're a college football fan.
Last year I included Purdue's Kawann Short, Michigan State's William Gholston and Ohio State's John Simon and Johnathan Hankins as potential All-America selections on the defensive line. Those four are gone, all taken in the NFL draft. There will be some decent defensive linemen in the Big Ten this coming season, but they'll have to make a name for themselves instead of relying on the past season. Minnesota's RaShede Hageman may be the best in conference, but, ha, Minnesota.
Bottom line - there's a lot of new blood in the Big Ten, but not everywhere else.
DE - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Clowney is the best player currently in college football. He is Ndamukong Suh - a freak of a player who probably won't win the Heisman but deserves it more than anyone else.
DE - Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Notre Dame's defense finished last season as the #2 scoring defense behind Alabama. Manti Te'o got the headlines, but Tuitt and teammate Nix were a big reason for the defensive success.
Tuitt had 12 sacks with 47 tackles and three forced fumbles for the year.
DT - Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
Nix is a massive force in the middle for Notre Dame. He totaled 50 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, five passes batted and one forced fumble last season. Projected as a NFL first-rounder next year.
DT - Anthony Johnson, LSU
Another highly rated prospect, Johnson had 30 tackles last season, 10 for loss. He also had three sacks. He's quick for a big guy, and he's from LSU so he gets the nod over Daniel McCullers from Tennessee.
As you'd expect, the Big Ten has some darned good linebackers. It seems like Chris Borland from Wisconsin and Max Bullough from Michigan State have been around forever. Both were first-team All-Big Ten selections last season.
Inside LB - Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Borland totaled 104 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and six passes broken up last year. Probably could have picked C.J. Mosley from Alabama in his place, but I'm a Big Ten homer here.
Inside LB - Max Bullough, Michigan State
Bullough had 110 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. 40 career games and 27 consecutive starts.
Outside LB - Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Shazier was second-team All Big Ten last season. Barring injury he'll be earning a lot more awards this season. He had 115 tackles, 17 for a loss, one interception, 11 passes broken up, five sacks and three forced fumbles.
Outside LB - Kyle Van Noy, BYU
53 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles (school record), two interceptions, eight quarterback hurries, five pass breakups, two blocked kicks and one fumble recovery. He also scored two touchdowns on defense.
CB - Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Purifoy has gained attention as a potential first-round NFL draft pick and has shown such playmaking abilities that the Gators had him spend time at receiver this spring.
CB - Bradley Roby, Ohio St
Roby was selected as a first-team All-American by ESPN last season and is ranked as the top cornerback if he comes out for the 2014 NFL draft.
S - HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama
I don't think it's legal to pick an All-America defensive team without including at least one player from Alabama. His real name is Ha'Sean, but is referred to as "HaHa".
S - Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
If Zimmerman seems like he's been around forever it's because he has. He's started 36 games over the past three years, and this year he's Bill Snyder's only returning starter on defense. That puts a spotlight right on him.
K - Chris Boswell, Rice
I'll be completely honest here - I selected Boswell because he's ranked as the highest rated NFL prospect, not because of anyone I know about watching him. Rice, for crying out loud. Boswell had six field goals over 50 yards, and punted as well.
P - Kyle Christy, Florida
Christy was a first-team All-SEC selection last season as a sophomore. He was first in the SEC in punting average and fifth nationally.
Returner - Kyle Locket or Tramaine Thompson, Kansas St or Venric Mark, Northwestern
I picked one of the Kansas State guys, and now can't remember which. It's kind of a toss up, though because Thompson was the best punt returner in the nation last season with a 19.75 yard average, putting KSU at third nationally in punt returns. Locket was fourth in the nation in kick returns with the Wildcats leading the nation in that category.
All Purpose - Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois or Venric Mark, Northwestern
Lynch shot his mouth off before playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl, then went out and sucked. Otherwise, he was the reason the Huskies were in the game.
I went with Mark, however, because he has a weird name, and because he's excelled at both running back and in the return game. He had 1,366 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns last season, and was second in the nation to KSU's Thompson in punt returns where he averaged 18.67 per punt and scored two more touchdowns.