Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley Headline 2017 AP All-America Team

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2017

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Running back Saquon Barkley #26 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball against the USC Trojans during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Associated Press released its 2017 All-America teams Tuesday.

Here's the full first team:

  • Quarterback: Sam Darnold, sophomore, Southern California.
  • Running backs: Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State; Derrius Guice, junior, LSU.
  • Tackles: Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Connor Williams, junior, Texas.
  • Guards: Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Cody O'Connell, senior, Washington State.
  • Center: Billy Price, senior, Ohio State.
  • Tight end: Mike Gesicki, junior, Penn State.
  • Wide receivers: James Washington, senior, Oklahoma State; Christian Kirk, junior, Texas A&M.
  • All-purpose player: Quadree Henderson, junior, Pittsburgh.
  • Kicker: Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn.
  • Defensive Ends: Harold Landry, senior, Boston College; Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State.
  • Defensive Tackles: Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Dexter Lawrence, sophomore, Clemson.
  • Linebackers: Arden Key, junior, LSU; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; Azeem Victor, senior, Washington.
  • Cornerbacks: Tarvarus McFadden, junior, Florida State; Jaire Alexander, junior, Louisville.
  • Safeties: Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama.
  • Punter: Mitch Wishnowsky, junior, Utah.

And here's the second team: 

  • Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville.
  • Running backs: Nick Chubb, senior, Georgia; Bo Scarbrough, junior, Alabama.
  • Tackles: Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama.
  • Guards: Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn.
  • Center: Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas.
  • Tight end: Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin.
  • Wide receivers: Calvin Ridley, junior, Alabama; Courtland Sutton, junior, SMU.
  • All-purpose player: Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State.
  • Kicker: Eddy Pineiro, sophomore, Florida.
  • Defensive Ends: Tyquan Lewis, senior, Ohio State; Rashan Gary, sophomore, Michigan.
  • Defensive Tackles: Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson; Vita Vea, junior, Washington.
  • Linebackers: Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tegray Scales, senior, Indiana; Cameron Smith, junior, Southern California.
  • Cornerbacks: Duke Dawson, senior, Florida; Iman Marshall, junior, Southern California.
  • Safeties: Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia; Godwin Igwebuike, senior, Northwestern.
  • Punter: JK Scott, senior, Alabama.

At quarterback, Darnold earned first-team honors after throwing for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2016. He's both a Heisman Trophy front-runner and a candidate to be the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft if he leaves college after this season.

Last year's Heisman winner, Louisville's Jackson, was a second-team selection.

There was little question who would slide into the first-team running back slots. Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016 and heads into the season as one of the favorites to win this year's Heisman. Guice, meanwhile, will step out of Leonard Fournette's shadow this season at LSU after Fournette was selected fourth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 draft. Even with Fournette on the Tigers roster, Guice rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

At wide receiver, Washington was a no-brainer. All he's done over the past two years is catch 124 passes for 2,467 yards and 20 touchdowns. Kirk's versatility—he's one of the nation's best receivers and returners (with five punt-return touchdowns the past two seasons)—has made the Texas A&M wideout a standout talent as well.

There weren't many surprises on the offensive line, where Notre Dame standout Nelson highlights a group of future first-round picks. 

On defense, Landry is fresh off a season with 16.5 sacks, while Lawrence was the best defensive lineman for the Tigers last season, a major distinction given how dominant that group was en route to a national championship over Alabama. Few players are more dominant in the trenches than Houston's Oliver, meanwhile.

Florida State is poised to have a superb secondary, with two first-team selections in McFadden (eight interceptions last season) and the versatile James. Back in Tuscaloosa, Fitzpatrick will lead Alabama's secondary in 2017.