The 2022 College Football All-Bowl Season Team

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2023

The 2022 College Football All-Bowl Season Team

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    Dee Winters
    Dee WintersChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Bowl season has come to a close, but Bleacher Report is looking back at the best individual performances of the 2022 showcases.

    TCU is prominently featured with a trio of defenders who played integral roles as the Horned Frogs upset Michigan to reach the national championship game against Georgia.

    Millions of eyeballs watched TCU, but many players had standout games outside of the spotlight. Southern Mississippi running back Frank Gore Jr. set a bowl record, for example, and Memphis cornerback Sylvonta Oliver was the only player with multiple interceptions.

    We're highlighting the best of the best, emphasizing production but not necessarily factoring in team results.


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    BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 27: East Carolina Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers (12) passes during the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl between the East Carolina Pirates and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, AL on December 27, 2022. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Holton Ahlers, East Carolina

    Easily the toughest decision was quarterback. Only one player can receive the nod, and many players had terrific games.

    You could pick Kansas' Jalon Daniels because of his 565 total yards and six touchdowns in a Liberty Bowl loss to Arkansas. Alabama's Bryce Young scorched Kansas State for an efficient 321 passing yards and five scores in a Sugar Bowl rout. Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams threw for 462 yards and five touchdowns in USC's loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.

    But the arrow landed on Holton Ahlers, who guided East Carolina to a 53-29 win over Coastal Carolina.

    The left-hander completed 26 of 38 passes for 300 yards and five scores, adding 48 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Ahlers also notched a 14-yard reception in the Birmingham Bowl.

    Notably, ECU earned the program's first bowl victory since 2013.

Running Backs

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    Frank Gore Jr.
    Frank Gore Jr.Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Frank Gore Jr., Southern Mississippi

    The son of NFL legend Frank Gore, Frank Gore Jr. propelled Southern Miss to a 38-24 victory over Rice in the LendingTree Bowl. Gore piled up a bowl-record 329 rushing yards and scored twice, including a 55-yard scamper that sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter. He also completed two of three passes for 19 yards and a touchdown.

    Tyjae Spears, Tulane

    Tulane wrapped up its incredible season with a 46-45 comeback upset of USC in the Cotton Bowl. Tyjae Spears gashed the Trojans for 205 yards and four touchdowns, adding a 14-yard reception to his line. Shortly after the celebration, Spears announced he's entering the 2023 NFL draft. Pretty good end to his college career.

Wide Receivers and Tight End

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    Johnny Wilson
    Johnny WilsonPeter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    WR: Johnny Wilson, Florida State

    The only thing Johnny Wilson didn't manage is a touchdown. Still, he provided a clutch 58-yard catch late in the fourth quarter to set up Ryan Fitzgerald's winning field goal. Wilson grabbed eight passes for a bowl-best 202 yards in a 35-32 win against Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.

    WR: Trea Shropshire, UAB

    Trea Shropshire nabbed the first touchdown of bowl season and played a key role in UAB's securing the first victory. The graduate student reeled in an early 10-yard score opposite Miami (Ohio) in the Bahamas Bowl. Late in the fourth quarter, his 49-yard catch led to the Blazers' winning touchdown. Shropshire totaled 183 yards and the score on six receptions.

    WR: Dalvin Smith, Jaylen Hall and Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky

    Absolutely cheating here, but Dalvin Smith, Jaylen Hall and Malachi Corley all deserve a shout. Each one surpassed the century mark. Smith tallied six catches for 145 yards and one touchdown, while Hall notched nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. Corley rounded out the group with 11 grabs for 114 yards and two scores as WKU smashed South Alabama 44-23 in the New Orleans Bowl.

    TE: Beau Johnson, Georgia Southern

    Georgia Southern lost a close Camellia Bowl to Buffalo, but Beau Johnson ended bowl season as the lone tight end to crest the 100-yard barrier. He grabbed five passes for 118 yards, making a 42-yard reception on a fourth down to help the Eagles score a late touchdown and climb within the 23-21 final margin.

Offensive Linemen

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    MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 28: Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 28, 2022 at the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, TN. (Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Luke Jones, Brady Latham, Beaux Limmer, E'Marion Harris and Dalton Wagner, Arkansas Razorbacks

    You hear about players with big numbers. And in a triple-overtime win over Kansas in the Liberty Bowl, the Razorbacks had impressive stats.

    KJ Jefferson threw for 287 yards and rushed for 130, tallying two touchdowns each way. Rashod Dubinion scampered for 112 yards and two scores, while AJ Green added 99 and a touchdown. Matt Landers caught three passes for 121 yards and a trip to the end zone.

    What you typically don't see is praise for offensive linemen.

    From left to right, Arkansas leaned on Luke Jones, Brady Latham, Beaux Limmer, E'Marion Harris and Dalton Wagner. Ty'Kieast Crawford also started at right guard before leaving with an injury. Behind this group, the Hogs bulldozed Kansas for 681 yards in a 55-53 victory.

Defensive Linemen

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    Dylan Horton
    Dylan HortonChris Coduto/Getty Images

    Edge: Durrell Johnson, Liberty

    What a day for Durrell Johnson. Despite the Flames' loss to Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl, he racked up five tackles for loss and a sack. Johnson, who notched nine tackles, including seven solo stops, ended the season as the nation's leader with 27.5 takedowns in the backfield.

    DL: Dylan Horton, TCU

    Part tackle, part edge, Dylan Horton made life miserable for the Michigan offensive line. Among the senior's six tackles, he collected four sacks, one pass breakup and a forced fumble in the 51-45 Fiesta Bowl win.

    DT: Jay Toia, UCLA

    Prior to the Sun Bowl, first-year starter Jay Toia hadn't registered more than four tackles in a game. During a 37-35 loss to Pitt, he exploded for 10 tackles with two for loss. Toia will return to UCLA in 2023 as a key member of the defensive front.

    DE: Keshawn Banks, San Diego State

    Given that Middle Tennessee tallied just 170 yards, you can't blame the SDSU defense for a 25-23 loss in the Hawai'i Bowl. Longtime starter Keshawn Banks was a force in his final college game, posting career-high marks of seven tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.


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    Aaron Beasley
    Aaron BeasleyPeter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Aaron Beasley, Tennessee

    The leading tackler for the UT defense, Aaron Beasley again carried the Vols in their 31-14 triumph over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He gathered 12 tackles and set career highs with four tackles for loss and two sacks, adding one pass breakup.

    Dee Winters, TCU

    Senior Dee Winters frustrated Michigan throughout the Fiesta Bowl. He was a constant in run support, registering seven tackles with three for loss. Winters provided a critical play with a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter and broke up another pass.

    Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati

    The Bearcats lost 24-7 to Louisville in the Fenway Bowl, but All-American Ivan Pace Jr. put together one more tremendous day. He tallied 16 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble, elevating his season totals to 20.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Defensive Backs

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    Sylvonta Oliver
    Sylvonta OliverAP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.

    CB: Sylvonta Oliver, Memphis

    Memphis cruised to a 38-10 triumph over Utah State in the First Responder Bowl, and Sylvonta Oliver ended his college career in style. Along with six tackles, he grabbed two interceptions—the only defender with two picks in bowl season.

    S: Bud Clark, TCU

    Bud Clark sparked the Horned Frogs with a 41-yard pick-six in the first quarter. In the second, he jumped on Michigan's goal-line fumble. Clark finished the victory with five tackles. Not insignificantly, he also tracked down Donovan Edwards on his 54-yard first-quarter run before TCU forced a turnover on downs.

    S: Brian Branch, Alabama

    Brian Branch spent much of the Sugar Bowl frustrating Kansas State no matter where he lined up. The versatile junior posted career bests of 12 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and an interception.

    CB: Reddy Steward, Troy

    After falling behind UTSA 12-0 in the Cure Bowl, Troy mounted a comeback behind its defense. Reddy Steward locked down his assignments throughout the game, ending with seven tackles and a bowl season-best four pass breakups.


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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 31: Jake Moody #13 of the Michigan Wolverines kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 31, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
    Chris Coduto/Getty Images

    K: Jake Moody, Michigan

    Though Michigan fell short of TCU, 2021 Lou Groza Award winner Jake Moody showed out. Moody belted a 59-yard field goal, the second-longest kick of the season. He also converted kicks of 42 and 21 yards and buried both of his extra points.

    P: Kyle Ulbrich, Middle Tennessee

    Since the offense struggled, MTSU's defense and special teams provided the backbone of a 25-23 victory over San Diego State in the Hawai'i Bowl. Kyle Ulbrich punted seven times with a net average of 48.6 yards, pinning SDSU inside its own 20 three times. We'll forgive him for two touchbacks, considering both punts traveled 60-plus yards.

    KR/PR: Ta'ron Keith, Bowling Green

    Ta'ron Keith provided a much-needed jolt to Bowling Green after New Mexico State extended its lead to 17-0 in the Quick Lane Bowl, taking the kickoff 75 yards to the house. BGSU lost a 24-19 result.