Miami's Sean Spence Leads Preseason All-American Squad
College football fever is upon us. Each and every summer, we begin speculating about who is the favorite to win the BCS title, who is the dark horse to bust the BCS system, and which players are bound to have great seasons.
2011 will be a season led by spectacular defensive players. Florida State defensive end Brandon Jenkins is arguably the best pass rusher in the nation, but the likes of linebacker Sean Spence (Miami) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina) help make the defensive All-American unit stand out.
The offensive side isn't too shabby either. The All-American team is anchored by the likes of offensive tackle Nate Potter (Boise State) and center David Molk (Michigan).
All in all, the players that will make the 2011 season great begin here, with the preseason All-American team. Some names are sure to surprise while other favorites may be left off of the list.
Preseason All-Americans: Second Team
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The Second Team is disgustingly talented in that it consists of a couple of Heisman Trophy candidates, as well as some potential NFL prospects who could be top twenty picks in next year's draft.
Quarterback—Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
Running Back—Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina)
Running Back—Chris Polk (Washington)
Wide Receiver—Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M)
Wide Receiver—Robert Woods (USC)
Wide Receiver—Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
Tight End—Orson Charles (Georgia)
Offensive Tackle—Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State)
Offensive Guard—Joel Foreman (Michigan State)
Center—Mike Brewster (Ohio State)
Offensive Guard—David DeCastro (Stanford)
Offensive Tackle—Andrew Datko (Florida State)
Defensive Line—Kheeston Randall (Texas)
Defensive Line—Marcus Fortson (Miami)
Defensive Line—Mike Martin (Michigan)
Defensive Line—Jared Crick (Nebraska)
Linebacker—Vontaze Burfict (Arizona State)
Linebacker—Luke Kuechly (Boston College)
Linebacker—Courtney Upshaw (Alabama)
Linebacker—Keenan Robinson (Texas)
Cornerback—Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska)
Cornerback—Morris Claiborne (LSU)
Safety—Ray Ray Armstrong (Miami)
Safety—T.J. McDonald (USC)
Kicker—Dustin Hopkins (Florida State)
Kick Returner—Damaris Johnson (Tulsa)
Punter—Jeff Locke (UCLA)
Punt Returner—Greg Reid (Florida State)
First Team All-America: Offense
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Quarterback—Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Running Back—LaMichael James (Oregon)
Running Back—Trent Richardson (Alabama)
Wide Receiver—Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)
Wide Receiver—Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma)
Wide Receiver—Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina)
Tight End—Michael Egnew (Missouri)
Offensive Tackle—Nate Potter (Boise State)
Offensive Guard—Ryan Miller (Colorado)
Center—David Molk (Michigan)
Offensive Guard—Barrett Jones (Alabama)
Offensive Tackle—Jonathan Martin (Stanford)
Notes: Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in the country. With Landry Jones landing on the second team, one can only argue and debate all day long about the importance of Boise State's Kellen Moore and where he ranks among the top three.
LaMichael James & Trent Richardson are the cream of the running back crop. There is no debate there.
There is also no debate as to who the top three receivers are in the nation.
At tight end, Michael Egnew is the most gifted among the crop. While some guys could break out and surprise many, Egnew will likely lead the way and continue with the fine tradition of Missouri producing quality tight ends.
Nate Potter & Jonathan Martin protect two of the best passers in the country. Barrett Jones dominates the trenches for Alabama while Ryan Miller paves the turf with interior defensive linemen. David Molk is the best center in the nation, regardless of how successful the Wolverines are.
First Team All-American: Defense
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Defensive Line—Brandon Jenkins (Florida State)
Defensive Line—Devin Taylor (South Carolina)
Defensive Line—Jaye Howard (Florida)
Defensive Line—Quinton Coples (North Carolina)
Linebacker—Kenny Tate (Maryland)
Linebacker—Travis Lewis (Oklahoma)
Linebacker—Dont'a Hightower (Alabama)
Linebacker—Sean Spence (Miami)
Cornerback—Cliff Harris (Oregon)
Cornerback—Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina)
Safety—Mark Barron (Alabama)
Safety—Robert Lester (Alabama)
Notes: All around, Brandon Jenkins may be the best defensive player in America. Quinton Coples is a quick, off the edge rusher who will make plenty of noise this year.
Devin Taylor is a disruptive force on the front line. Jaye Howard is a bit of an unknown nationally, but the success Florida has in stopping the run will be in part to his performance.
Maryland's Kenny Tate made the move from safety to linebacker and is expected to put up Lavar Arrington-like numbers there. Sean Spence and Travis Lewis are business as usual types who like to make things happen defensively. Dont'a Hightower leads a strong and determined group of linebackers for the Crimson Tide.
Cliff Harris is one of the best cornerbacks and punt returners in the country. He is being billed as the next Devin Hester but his coverage skills are better than that of the former 'Cane's.
South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore will make a splash in the SEC this year. If you don't know who he is yet, pay attention, because the SEC East will loathe his playmaking abilities.
Alabama's Mark Barron & Robert Lester form the best tandem at safety that college football has seen in some time.
Special Teams All-American First Team
Kicker—Danny Hrapmann (Southern Miss)
Kick Returner—Quincy McDuffy (UCF)
Punter—Quinn Sharp (Oklahoma State)
Punt Returner—Cliff Harris (Oregon)