Mid-Season All-American Team: Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen Leads the Elite

Pete Dymeck@PeteDymeckAnalyst IOctober 21, 2009


We are inches past the halfway point in the 2009 season and thus it has been a roller-coaster ride.

Oklahoma's Sam Bradford will opt to have surgery on his shoulder which has deteriorated more quickly than the Detroit economy.

Fans from Ohio State are not so quick to defend quarterback Terrelle Pryor's play on the field anymore.

Boise State, Iowa, Cincinnati, and TCU are all ranked in the top ten of the Bowl Championship Series rankings. Penn State, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Oklahoma are not.

California's Jahvid Best has fallen off of the map after rushing for five touchdowns at Minnesota.

Notre Dame's offensive strategy is officially a mess. Charlie Weiss is officially on the hot seat, and quarterback Jimmy Clausen has officially saved his head coach's job at least twice this season, with no thanks to the playbook.

Regardless, how the BCS rankings stand today will not matter at the end of November.

One thing that usually does not change too much is the mid-season All-American lists.

Instead of sticking with the obvious, I will bring a harsh reality view into who should be honored and why. Those that disregard the mainstream media on these kind of views will love this.

First Team All-America: Offense

OT Jason Fox - Miami Hurricanes

  • Fox has anchored an offensive line in Miami that has been shredded in years' past. In 2009, it has become one of the better lines in protecting the quarterback and ensuring that 'Canes passer Jacory Harris stays within reach of the Heisman Trophy discussion.

OG Jeff Byers - USC Trojans

  • Jeff Byers is the "Van Wilder" of college football. I swear he has been around forever. 2009 is his sixth-year of eligibility and Byers looks better than he was before all of his injuries.

OC John Estes - Hawaii Warriors

  • You may have never heard of this guy but if you get a chance to catch Hawaii on your flatscreen TV, watch how Estes dominates the opposing interior linemen. He would be earning his due within the mainstream media if he played for Florida, USC, or Texas.

OG Mike Johnson - Alabama Crimson Tide

  • No offensive line is as dominant in the nation as Alabama's. They keep the chains moving and keep the opposing defense on the field. Mike Johnson can be credited as the leader of this unit. He is often seen pancaking defenders while paving the way for 'Bama running back Mark Ingram.

OT Dace Richardson - Iowa Hawkeyes

  • After missing most of 2007 and all of 2008 with injuries, Dace Richardson has bounced back onto the scene as the foremost unknown offensive tackle in football. He is one of the main cogs for a Hawkeyes squad that controls their own destiny in regards to running the table.

TE Aaron Hernandez - Florida Gators

  • Hernandez has more of an impact for the Florida Gators than tight end Dennis Pitta has for the BYU Cougars. Hernandez can be utilized with the shuffle pass, out of the backfield, or on screens and gadget plays. Hernandez has bailed Tim Tebow's offense out when it mattered most.

WR Golden Tate - Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Notre Dame's "golden child," properly named Golden Tate is averaging 135 total yards per game. He has torched anybody and everybody as his quarterback Jimmy Clausen has leaned on him in crucial moments.

WR Freddie Barnes - Bowling Green Falcons

  • Ideally, many will point to the system Barnes plays in but let's look at the numbers. Barnes, through seven games, has hauled in 85 receptions. The next closest is Keith Smith at Purdue with 54 receptions. At 6'2", Barnes has the best hands we may have ever seen on the collegiate level. He just does not drop a pass.

WR Mardy Gilyard - Cincinnati Bearcats

  • No one has a clue about Cincinnati outside of their star quarterback Tony Pike. Well, senior wide receiver Mardy Gilyard is having one of the best seasons for a wide-out in America that one can have. He averages 113 total yards per game and has scored nine total touchdowns through six outings.

RB Toby Gerhart - Stanford Cardinal

  • When a defense can stop Gerhart for four quarters, let me know. Gerhart has trampled, demolished, and broken defenses now for two years in a row but is only now gaining some recognition. He is fifth nationally in rushing.

RB Ryan Williams - Virginia Tech Hokies

  • This freshman will lose some star-power in regards to the Heisman Trophy since the Hokies now have two losses on the year but it is remarkable that his numbers are comparable to Adrian Peterson's of his freshman season.

QB Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • How about Jimmy Clausen rebounding after his first two years, two difficult years, as the starting quarterback in South Bend. Things are not easy as the playcalling has been questionable but Clausen has persevered and shouldered this team to a 4-2 record.

First Team All-America: Defense

DE Jerry Hughes - TCU Horned Frogs

  • As a junior, Jerry Hughes led the nation in sacks while making the Horned Frogs a top ten team in America without having BCS credentials. Now as a senior, he has eight sacks through six games and the Horned Frogs control their own destiny in terms of the BCS.

DT Ndamukong Suh - Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • No player on defense has had the kind of impact Suh has had in the Big 12 for his Nebraska 'Huskers. This big man is toying with defenders. He even has an interception this year.

DT Jared Odrick - Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Penn State's defense ranks fifth nationally and it can all be attributed to the play of defensive tackle Jared Odrick. Penn State lacks an elite pass rush from its defensive ends but Odrick has made up the difference by punishing opponents via the interior.

DE Nick Perry - USC Trojans

  • This freshman is might be playing in sunny southern California but he is making his hometown of Detroit, Michigan smile bright. He is dominating the trenches and earning his stripes while putting up numbers in sacks that could land him as nation's top sack leader by season's end.

LB Rolando McClain - Alabama Crimson Tide

  • 6.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, and two interceptions later, McClain is proving that he is the most gifted linebacker in America. At a jaw-dropping 6'4", 258 lbs., McClain has lined up as an inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and even defensive end this season.

LB Eric Norwood - South Carolina Gamecocks

  • After accumulating six sacks through his first four games, Norwood has been awfully quiet in terms of knocking the quarterback down. He has been forced to help more in the run-stopping department. Still, Norwood has played up to the skill level necessary to dominate in the SEC.

LB Greg Jones - Michigan State Spartans

  • Greg Jones is the best tackler in football. He leads the nation with 85 tackles through seven games. Add in his five sacks and we have a recipe for Michigan State that would blow all other defensive chef's out of the water in the Big Ten.

LB Travis Lewis - Oklahoma Sooners

  • Lewis is not producing with sacks like we though he would but as a tackler and helping stop the run and prevent opponents from making crucial passing plays on third and long, Lewis foots the bill as one of the top four linebackers nationally. He is always mixing it up on a crucial down.

S Max Suter - Syracuse Orange

  • Odds are that you have never read this guy's name or seen any of his tackles. Suter has 50 tackles this year. He also has one interception. Suter can be found making plays anywhere on the turf as he has the best lateral quickness in America next to the other safety on this list.

CB Amari Spievey - Iowa Hawkeyes

  • With two touchdowns and 32 tackles under his belt, coaches are becoming with Spievey more and more as the leaves continue to change colors. Spievey has shut-down every wide receiver he has went up against the last two seasons.

CB Brandon Harris - Miami Hurricanes

  • If there is a five-tool cornerback in the country, it is Brandon Harris. He is fundamentally sound as a tackler, can grab the interception, force a fumble, make a stop for a loss against the running back, and sack a quarterback. He is leading the way for Miami's defensive resurgence at "Cornerback U."

S Eric Berry - Tennessee Volunteers

  • Enough has been publicized about Eric Berry for people to know that he is the real deal. This year, he has eclipsed USC's Taylor Mays as the best safety in the country. Just look at the film from the Florida-Tennessee game and you will see how much of an impact Berry has had for the Vols defense.

First Team All-America: Special Teams

KR C.J. Spiller - Clemson Tigers

  • His straight-line speed from end zone to end zone registers in light years. C.J. Spiller is averaging almost 38 yards per kick return.

PR Antonio Brown - Central Michigan Chippewas

  • This Miami native has two punts returned for a touchdown so far this season. He is also averaging 21 yards per return for CMU.

K Leigh Tiffin - Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Tiffin is a steady resource of points if the Crimson Tide offense falters in the red zone due to the inexperience of quarterback Greg McElroy. Tiffin has a touchback percentage of 14%.

P Drew Butler - Georgia Bulldogs

  • Drew Butler leads the nation in average yards per punt at a little more than 49 yards per try.



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