CFB: Predictions for 2013 All-American Team and Every Major Award
Becoming an All-American is one of the highest honors a college football player can earn, as is any one of the major awards.
With the 2013 season barely on the horizon and the spring-game cycle approaching quickly, predictions are a favorite distraction for many.
The season can't start soon enough, but the offseason is a necessary evil that all fans must endure. After all, it's the offseason that builds the tension that the football season relieves.
From the Heisman Trophy on down, here are predictions for every major award and every position on the All-American team.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Boyd, who will lead the Clemson Tigers to the Orange Bowl during his senior season. will leave little question as to who should be the All-American quarterback.
Considering one of his targets also will be an All-American, his selection makes even more sense.
Boyd will go head-to-head against Georgia's Aaron Murray early in the season. If he has a great performance against the Bulldogs, he'll be at the top of many watch lists for the majority of the year.
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Yeldon burst on the scene as a true freshman in 2012, rushing for more than 1,000 yards, even though he split carries with Eddie Lacy.
He will be the go-to tailback for the run-first Crimson Tide now that Lacy is gone, and he will be an All-American.
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Carey rushed for more than 1,900 yards in 2012, and there's no reason to believe that he won't do it again in 2013.
Oregon, USC and Arizona State are the toughest teams on Arizona's schedule, and none of those teams will be able to keep Carey from his inevitable 1,500-plus-yard season.
He is a shoe-in as an All-American and will probably be on the Heisman watch list for a few weeks as well.
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Watkins will lead Clemson in receiving yards yet again in 2013. As Tajh Boyd makes his way to the Senior Bowl (amid other honors), Watkins will be his go-to target.
Watkins will make headlines against defenses like Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina. His appearance on the All-American team will not be a surprise.
Amari Cooper, Alabama
Cooper was the second freshman to earn high acclaim for Alabama in 2012. He led the Tide in receiving and he caught what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.
Cooper was an integral part of the Tide's repeat national championship, and he will not be underused next year. Expect to hear his name a lot.
Chris Coyle, Arizona State
Coyle is the go-to tight end for Arizona State, and he will finally have his 15 minutes of fame during the 2013 season.
After the mass exodus of headlining tight ends to the 2013 NFL draft, Coyle is a giant among men as far as raw talent is concerned.
He didn't have as many yards as some of the other tight ends, but he averaged 12.2 yards per catch in 2012. Since Arizona State actually had wide receivers who could catch the ball more than adequately, Coyle didn't get as many accolades as a Tyler Eifert-type end.
But he should be an All-American in 2013.
Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Since Luke Joeckel will be playing on Sundays next season, Matthews will be the headliner on the Aggies' offensive line.
Matthews will be blocking for Johnny Manziel, the most recent Heisman winner, and the attention will help fuel the hype machine.
As long as he lives up to the hype, the attention will lift him to star status. The Aggies have a tough game early in the season against Alabama, which will be coming off a bye week.
Other than that, the Aggies have a rough schedule, but every game is winnable for the team that almost earned a national title in 2012.
Matthews has a prime opportunity to earn more than just first-round draft status. He can be a top-five pick in the 2014 draft. Before that, he will be an All-American.
Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Lewan was an All-American in 2012 and will reappear in 2013. Barring injury or a complete meltdown, he is a solid pick for the first team.
Lewan helped Michigan rush for almost 200 yards per game last season, and the 2013 season should see Michigan top that mark.
With healthy players and fewer SEC teams on the schedule, Michigan's offensive line will have the chance to shine against Big Ten competition.
Spencer Long, Nebraska
Long will protect Taylor Martinez again in 2013. Martinez, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, will need all the protection he can get to avoid the letdowns that plagued the 'Huskers in 2012.
Long will be the leader of the 'Huskers offensive line. If he stays healthy, he'll be an All-American.
Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Richardson's blocking helped teammates Lache Seastrunk and Terrance Williams make names for themselves last season, and Seastrunk is returning for the 2013 season.
Richardson, who is one of the most talented players on the Baylor squad, will be back to lead the Bears' offensive line next year.
Baylor was not expected to fare well after the departure of Robert Griffin III, and that was understandable. You can't lose a Heisman winner without feeling that loss.
But the Bears proved in 2012 that there was more going on with this team than just a stellar quarterback. From the offensive line to the new starting quarterbacks, Baylor was outstanding.
It was even good enough to knock off then-No. 1 Kansas State. Baylor is not to be trifled with, and Richardson is a big factor in the equation.
Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
Ikard is another beneficiary of the 2013 NFL draft. The draft will decimate the ranks of the center position, and Ikard's talent will finally be recognized.
Ikard was the snapper for Landry Jones in 2012 and will anchor the Oklahoma Sooners' offensive line as they attempt to replace Jones.
Ikard's ability to pull and block for the outside running game will be heavily relied upon as the new quarterback works out his inks. In the process, Ikard will earn a berth on the All-American team.
Trey Flowers, Arkansas
Flowers played on a disappointing squad in 2012. The Razorbacks were dealing with the loss of Bobby Petrino as head coach, and the result was a 4-8 debacle that Arkansas would love to forget.
Flowers will be a shining star on the defensive line again and will be an All-American s long as Arkansas can quickly shake off the failure of last year.
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
After the 2012 season that culminated in a monster performance in the Outback Bowl, Clowney's name will be all over the place in 2013.
Sure, it will be on plenty of preseason lists, such as this one. But Clowney is good enough to back up any hype. As a result, his making the All-American team will not even be his most impressive accomplishment.
In fact, his name appears more than any other player on this list.
Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
Notre Dame's 2013 schedule is arguably more difficult than the 2012 gauntlet the Irish faced on the way to the BCS title game against Alabama.
Louis Nix was one of the nation's best linemen last season, and a lot of his competition for All-American honors will leave for the NFL this offseason. That will leave the door wide open for him to climb his way up the ladder of recognition.
He will find himself on the All-American team, and he will probably ride that right into the 2014 NFL draft.
Will Sutton, Arizona State
Sutton had a great 2012 season, finishing the year ranked No. 3 nationally with 13 sacks.
He is not the only talent on Arizona State's defense, but he's certainly one of the best tackles in the country. After the dust settles in 2013, the Sun Devils will be near the top of the Pac-12.
Sutton will be at the top of the rankings at his position, and he'll earn awards other than being an All-American. If their opponents don't account for Sutton, the Sun Devils may end up in the Rose Bowl.
Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
Jeremiah Attaochu was an unsung hero in 2012, but his presence was definitely felt throughout the year. He had a slightly underwhelming 69 tackles, but he also had 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
Attaochu will return even better than before in 2013. He may not have the most raw talent of all the linebackers, butt he will translate his talent to actual results better than the others and earn a spot on the All-American team.
Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Kyle Van Noy is a freakishly good linebacker, proving it most in the Poinsettia Bowl against San Diego State. Van Noy scored two of BYU's three touchdowns, recovering a fumble in the end zone and returning an interception for another score.
Points don't tell the entire story, of course, but they certainly set him apart from his peers that night. If Van Noy can score more points against San Diego State than the rest of the team combined, it's easy to place him on the All-American team.
C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Alabama has a history of producing great linebackers recently, and the All-American selectors have noticed it.
C.J. Mosley was on the 2012 edition, and he will return in 2013 with another stellar season. Mosley may seem like just another piece of the juggernaut that Alabama has become, but he's a key part of its success.
Mosley will be another first-round draft pick from Alabama, and he will not be left off the All-American team.
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Purifoy is one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the country, and he will have ample opportunity to shine in 2013.
The Gators' 2013 schedule is rough, as usual, and they will have a tough time getting to the conference championship game. Just from the SEC, Florida faces LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina.
Purifoy will be tested, and he will pass the exams with flying colors. Regardless of what Florida does, Purifoy will be on the All-American team.
Ricardo Allen, Purdue
Ricardo Allen will help the Purdue Boilermakers overcome the loss of two talented quarterbacks. Naturally, he won't be doing this on offense, but he will be taking the enemy's opportunities away via tackles, sacks and interceptions.
Allen will step up in a big way in 2013, and Purdue will live or die by his performances each week. Of his 45 tackles in 2012, 42 were solo. He is a superstar when he's left on an island.
Purdue will have to stop relying on him if it wants to contend for the Big Ten's Rose Bowl berth, but he will continue to be a rock for the Boilermakers as long as he's there. Team success has little to do with the All-American selection process. Allen will prove that in 2013.
Tre Boston, North Carolina
Boston's 86 tackles and four interceptions made him one of the best all-around safeties in 2012, and he will come back stronger in 2013.
Boston will take his rightful spot near the top of his positional rankings next season, and his overall play will earn him a spot on the All-American team. UNC may even make it to the ACC title game in the process.
Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Washington State didn't have many things to be proud of last year, but Deone Bucannon was one of them.
He was a great last-resort defender, posting 106 tackles—and even threw in a sack for good measure.
As the last line of defense, he was counted upon far too many times, but he came up with an admirable number of stops.
If the Cougars can tighten the rest of the defense, perhaps his tackles can lead to more wins next year. Regardless, his talent will not go unrecognized. He will be an All-American.
Kicker: Adam Griffith, Alabama
Griffith has yet to see the field for the Tide, but this is his spot to lose if he's as good as advertised. Granted, kicking skills don't always translate well at the next level, whether it's college or the NFL. But Griffith's leg is good enough to replace Cade Foster.
If his accuracy is good enough to also replace Jeremy Shelley, he has a guaranteed spot on the All-American team.
Punter: Kyle Christy, Florida
Fortunately for Christy, all four were seniors. He was only a sophomore. That fact, along with his expected improvement from another year of practice, has Christy's name written all over this spot on the All-American team.
All-Purpose Player: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
If he repeats these feats (or improves on them) in 2013, he will be a no-brainer for this position on the All-American team.
Disney Spirit Award
The Rebels turned that success into the nation's No. 5 recruiting class.
For being fearless, committed and keeping a positive outlook at all times (even when accused of cheating, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger), the Rebels will receive the Disney Spirit Award at the end of the season.
Paul Hornung Award
De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Thomas will bring home the most versatile title. He was already selected as the All-American team's wild card due to his accomplishments in 2012 and how they project in 2013.
Thomas will be a superstar for Oregon, and that says a lot. He will share the field with incredibly talented quarterback Marcus Mariota, but Thomas will outshine Mariota by the end of the season.
Mariota may not win awards for his play in 2013, but Thomas has this title in the bag.
Lott IMPACT Trophy and More
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Clowney will earn a slew of awards in 2013 in what will be his final college season, unless injury forces him to return for his senior year.
Clowney's name is synonymous with "impact," and the hit he made during the Michigan game solidified that fact. Clowney may or may not have been ready for the NFL straight out of high school, but there is little doubt that he's ready for the pro level now.
At the end of the 2013 season, Clowney will accept the following awards:
Lott IMPACT Trophy: Outstanding Defensive Player
Ted Hendricks Award: Defensive End of the Year
Bronko Nagurski Award: Defensive Player of the Year
Chuck Bednarik Award: Defensive Player of the Year
It may seem ridiculous to project one player for four awards, but Manti Te'o received seven in 2012. If Clowney plays to his full potential, he could even make the trip to New York for the Heisman presentation.
Frank Broyles Award
Mike Bobo, Georgia
Bobo, Georgia's offensive coordinator, will have plenty of talent to work with in 2013. He'll have a senior quarterback who had the second-highest efficiency rating in the FBS last season, and he'll have his tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to assist.
At the end of the regular season, Georgia will earn a berth in a BCS bowl and will be ranked in the Top 10.
If South Carolina doesn't edge out Georgia for a berth in the SEC title game, the Bulldogs will get a third straight shot at the SEC West champion in Atlanta.
The first time (2011), Georgia lost to LSU. The second time (2012), Georgia barely ran out of time against Alabama. The Bulldogs are on track to win the crown this season.
Whether it's a conference championship appearance or a berth in a BCS bowl, Bobo will bring home the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach.
Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews
Matthews will not have as much competition for the title of "marquee player" at Vanderbilt n 2013 as he did in 2012.
Quarterback Jordan Rodgers and running back Zac Stacy are gone, leaving Matthews, a wide receiver, free to shine both on and off the field.
As he helps break in the new signal-caller, he also will be taking classes at one of the best academic institutions in the country. Vanderbilt is often referred to as the Harvard of the South, and it's easy to envision a Campbell Trophy winner, given to the nation's to scholar-athlete, sporting the Commodores' logo on his helmet.
Ray Guy Award
Kyle Christy, Florida
Already an All-American on this list, Christy should be no surprise as the pick for the Ray Guy Award.
With punters like Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech)out of the way, Christy is now the most accomplished punter entering the 2013 season.
He will have plenty of competition, but he was a sophomore last season when he finished fifth in the nation in average yards per punt. With another offseason of training and practice, he should be good enough for the top spot in the FBS.
Lou Groza Award
Adam Griffith, Alabama
Already an All-American kicker on this list, Adam Griffith is the logical choice for this award.
He was the No. 1 kicker in his class, and all he has to do is live up to the accolades. Alabama is saying goodbye to Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster. If Griffith is good enough to replace both kickers, he'll at least be a local hero.
If he truly is the next Leigh Tiffin, he will be a household name. That's a serious accomplishment for a kicker.
Jim Thorpe Award
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Purifoy is one of the best cornerbacks in America, and the Gators will need every bit of talent they have on the roster to make up for less-than-stellar quarterback play.
Purifoy can help the Gators get over the final hurdle between them and greatness. Florida was ranked No. 3 in the BCS immediately before the bowl games were played, but the Gators tanked against the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl.
If Purifoy steps up and becomes the captain of the defense and it again ranks in the top five nationally, he will claim the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive back.
Dick Butkus Award
Kyle Van Noy, Brigham Young
Van Noy was the leading scorer in the Poinsettia Bowl—and he played on defense. He's a lethal mixture of skill, energy and sheer force.
Van Noy is underrated, and that's making a huge statement. He was not unnoticed in 2012, and he will earn the Dick Butkus Award in 2013, which goes to the nation's best linebacker.
Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
Ikard will be the center for the Oklahoma Sooners again, and it will be his responsibility to set the offensive line in position to make up for the loss of star quarterback Landry Jones.
Ikard will have a lot on his plate, including helping a new quarterback learn the ropes on the fly. If Oklahoma finishes anywhere near the top of the Big 12, Ikard is a lock for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation's best center.
It may be a long, arduous road for the Sooners, but Oklahoma will not be left out of every award ceremony next year.
Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award
Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Matthews has the unenviable responsibility of replacing Luke Joeckel on the Texas A&M offensive line.
The good news for the Aggies is that Matthews is talented enough to do so. For Matthews, the bright side is that he will be heavily scrutinized all season long.
This means that he will not be able to do anything without being noticed. Considering he's already played at an All-American level, the leap to the Vince Lombardi Award is a short one.
The award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football.
Expect to see Matthews being honored at the ceremony.
Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Richardson helped Baylor to back-to-back excellent seasons. One had Heisman winner Robert Griffin III at the helm, and the other (2012) had his replacement, Nick Florence.
Richardson is one of the best offensive guards in college football, and the 2013 season will be yet another opportunity for him to ease the burden of a new quarterback.
If he can anchor an offensive line that goes to a third straight bowl game, he will cement himself as one of the best in the country.
It's one thing to go to three straight bowl games—plenty of teams like Alabama and even Texas can expect that. It's another thing entirely to go to three in a row with three different quarterbacks.
Richardson will have to be an excellent influence on the rest of the line in order to do that, but he's capable. The Outland Trophy, given to the nation's best interior offensive lineman, is waiting for him at the end of that road.
John Mackey Award
Chris Coyle, Arizona State
Coyle will be the preseason favorite to win the John Mackey Award, as most of his competition at tight end has left for greener pastures.
Coyle will be the headliner of the Arizona State offense if it uses him to his fullest. Coyle is the best tight end in the nation who didn't declare for the draft.
Unless someone on another team steps up as a freshman or sophomore, Coyle can clear a spot on his shelf for the Mackey Award.
Fred Biletnikoff Award
Amari Cooper, Alabama
Cooper made waves as a freshman, and he did it for the team that won the national championship in 2012. If that weren't already impressive enough, his quarterback is returning for one final run through the SEC.
As Alabama's leading receiver in 2012, he has little reason to believe he won't be targeted frequently next season. With the level of talent he displayed last season, the Tide can also expect him to reward them almost every time he's targeted.
Cooper will win the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top wide receiver, but he will have some serious competition. Marqise Lee is still at USC, and there are plenty of receivers who won't let Cooper take this award without a fight.
Davey O'Brien Award
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs have had great seasons the past two years. Murray and his cohorts have stepped closer and closer to a national championship each year.
Murray is a great quarterback, and may even be the No. 1 quarterback of the 2014 draft. That remains to be seen, but he will not get through his senior season without winning a major award for his efforts.
He finished second to A.J. McCarron in passer efficiency last season, and there is a good chance that Murray will get another shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship Game this coming year.
With or without a conference championship, Murray will get the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top quarterback.
Doak Walker Award
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Carey rushed for more than 1,900 yards last season, and Arizona faces few defenses capable of stopping him in 2013.
Carey may be stopped by a few teams, but he will run roughshod over the vast majority of his opponents.
Carey will have fierce competition for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back, from Storm Woods of Oregon State, T.J. Yeldon of Alabama and Lache Seastrunk of Baylor. But Carey's sheer numbers should give him more than just a little edge.
Since players like Yeldon will be splitting carries, Carey's edge should be even bigger. The most important thing that could interfere with Carey's winning this award is Carey himself.
The Home Depot Award
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Beginning with the previously mentioned recruiting class and ending with the improved record, the Ole Miss Rebels will own one of the most interesting narratives of the 2013 season.
Freeze has proved himself a mastermind as a coach. From orchestrating one of the biggest recruiting coups in college football history to improving every team he coached by epic proportions, Freeze should have been given this award a long time ago.
Unless Notre Dame's Brian Kelly actually wins a national championship in 2013, this award, which goes to the nation's top coach, will go to Freeze.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Boyd and the Clemson Tigers are poised to make a memorable run through the ACC all the way to the Orange Bowl.
Florida State has lost its starting quarterback, and the other teams in the ACC are still a good step behind the Tigers.
Georgia and South Carolina are both on Clemson's 2013 schedule, so the Tigers also are set up for a national title run.
With an undefeated season, the Tigers would simply have to be included in any BCS championship discussion. Boyd will finish his college career on a high note, regardless of whether it's a conference or national title.
Boyd will win the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player, and the Tigers will win the ACC.
Heisman Trophy and More
AJ McCarron, Alabama
Alabama will enter 2013 as the preseason favorite to win the national title. McCarron won his first national championship as a sophomore and his second last year.
As a senior, McCarron will attempt to do something that hasn't happened in college football history: win three national titles in a row.
Alabama joined the historical elite by winning three out of the last four championships, and McCarron was a vital part of that run.
The only thing he can't cross off his collegiate bucket list yet is a perfect season. If Alabama rides two bye weeks to a perfect season, McCarron will win a third national championship and the following awards:
Heisman Trophy: Outstanding Player
Walter Camp Award: Player of the Year
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award: Outstanding Senior Quarterback