The RTC 2011 College Football All-Americans (with a Hoops Twist)Posted by rtmsf on August 30th, 2011
Andrew Murawa is the RTC Pac-12 and Mountain West correspondent and a frequent columnist.
It’s that time of year again. Off in the distance, it could be a mirage, or it could be the start of college basketball season. It’s probably a mirage, but the Great Sports Desert (you know, that time of year between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of college football when normal American males actually have time to get stuff done) ends Thursday, as college football kicks off its 142nd season. And given the offseason that college football has had, it couldn’t come any sooner. Unfortunately, given all the scandals and arrests and the like, according to my source at the NCAA, it appears that literally every college football player will be ineligible for the coming year (at least I assume that is true – it’s not a very good source). As a result, football programs across this great nation have been scrambling for some last minute replacements. And, since we here at RTC are nothing if not diligent, we’ve spent the last few weeks scouring college football camps across the country while other lesser outlets have been reporting on things like a little scuffle in Baton Rouge and something-or-other about Miami (I’ll admit, I never got through that whole article, but I think I got the gist of it – Miami is a nice place to go to school, right?). Anyway, since we’re the only ones who seem to be on top of this sea change in college football, we’ll let you all in on some of our wisdom as we preview college basketball’s richer, more-spoiled sibling, with RTC’s official 2011 College Football All-American team.
- QB: Aaron Craft (6’2″, 190 lbs), Ohio State: In light of the Buckeye football program’s recent troubles, new head coach Luke Stickell turns the reins over to the sophomore Craft. He’s not the quickest or fleetest of foot, but he is accurate, he’s tough and he’s a leader. There has been plenty of talk about the Heisman Trophy campaign of North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, but until he takes better care of the ball (last year, he turned the ball over on almost 30% of all possessions), we’ll give the nod to Craft, who at least has the advantage of having played QB for three years in high school.
- RB: Jordan Taylor (6’1″, 195 lbs), Wisconsin: The newest Badger tailback may not have the size of former greats like Ron Dayne and John Clay, but Taylor is a tough and smart runner who excels at finding a crease and finishing through contact.
- RB: Darryl “Truck” Bryant (6’2″, 195 lbs), West Virginia: Sure, I’ll admit, Bryant is probably only on this list because I like the idea of a football player named “Truck,” but if he can stay healthy, he’s a tough runner who doesn’t mind mixing it up with bigger players.
- WR: Harrison Barnes (6’8″, 210 lbs), North Carolina: Barnes is a big target across the middle for the Tar Heels, with an electric QB throwing him the ball. While Barnes may not have clicked with previous Tar Heel QBs, the Marshall to Barnes combination could be deadly this season.
- WR: Joe Jackson (6’0″, 175 lbs), Memphis: We’ve already got the big WR target in Barnes, so we’ll take Joe Jackson over other candidates (like A&M’s Khris Middleton and UCLA’s Reeves Nelson) in the interest of adding a receiver who is not only a deep threat, but a threat on an end-around or in the return game. Jackson has jitterbug moves in the open field, and came make even the best tackler miss.
- TE: John Henson (6’10″, 210 lbs), North Carolina: An absurdly big target who runs like a gazelle in the open field gives Marshall another dangerous target.
- C: Jae Crowder (6’6″, 235 lbs), Marquette: The former high school signal caller is now on the opposite side of the center/quarterback exchange for the, um, newly formed Golden Eagles football squad. He may be a bit undersized compared to most offensive linemen, but he is fully capable of completing the snap and then getting out on the move to place downfield blocks.
- G: Trevor Mbakwe (6’8″, 240 lbs), Minnesota: Not only is Mbakwe’s frame imposing, but he’s got a mean streak in him that takes well to mixing it up at the line of scrimmage.
- G: Deniz Kilicli (6’9″, 260 lbs), West Virginia: The Istan-Bull doesn’t shy away from getting physical inside where he can use his power to run block and his footwork to keep his QB clean.
- T: Jared Sullinger (6’9″, 280 lbs), Ohio State: Another reason Craft gets the nod as our All-American QB is the fact that he’s got Sullinger (in a bit of a role reversal) to protect his blind size. His massive frame and reach combined with quick feet make him a tough matchup for any edge rusher.
- T: Davante Gardner (6’8″, 290 lbs), Marquette: Another Golden Eagle big man gives Marquette the most imposing offensive line in the country.
- NT: Joshua Smith (6’10″, 305 lbs), UCLA: Smith will be the Bruins’ version of Terrence Cody this season, a run-stuffing big man capable of either tying up several offensive lineman or running through, over or around a single-team.
- DT: Draymond Green (6’7″, 230 lbs), Michigan State: Feed this guy a hamburger or two (wow, I never thought I’d suggest that Green needed to bulk up) and this athletic and savvy interior lineman could be a game-changer for Mike D’Antonio’s bunch.
- DE: Festus Ezeli (6’11″, 255 lbs), Vanderbilt: The Commodores defense will hinge on Ezeli’s ability to be a disruptive force on the edge.
- DE: Perry Jones (6’11″, 235 lbs), Baylor: Though a little thin, Jones’ speed and quickness can give opposing tackles problems, causing offensive coordinators to gameplan around him.
- MLB: Mike Bruesewitz (6’6″, 222 lbs), Wisconsin: Doesn’t “Bruesewitz” just sound like a middle linebacker’s name?
- OLB: Terrence Jones (6’9″, 252 lbs), Kentucky: Jones is a safety in a linebacker’s body; although he has the size and skill to mix it up inside against the run or get to the QB on a blitz, he is equally adept at hanging out on the edges and wreaking havoc in the passing game.
- OLB: Thomas Robinson (6’9″, 240 lbs), Kansas: A physical specimen with outstanding athleticism, he can fly from sideline to sideline, defend against pass or rush the QB.
- CB: Marquis Teague (6’2″, 189 lbs), Kentucky: Our lone freshman All-American, Teague is a speedy and athletic cover man at the corner, able to use his burst to make up for any mistakes, while strong enough to stick his head into a running play.
- CB: Ray McCallum (6’1″, 195 lbs), Detroit: Yup, Detroit Mercy is fielding a Division I football team this year too, hadn’t you heard? And McCallum is their star player, a great athlete who is not only their shutdown corner, but a threat who will get a few snaps on offense while returning punts as well.
- SS: Jorge Gutierrez (6’3″, 195 lbs), California: The Golden Bears firebrand is the player opposing fans love to hate. With his long curly hair flowing out the back of the helmet and the way he’s always either causing or picking up loose balls, he’s liable to remind some people of Troy Polamalu.
- FS: Jeremy Lamb (6’4″, 220 lbs), Connecticut: He’s impossibly long and lean, flying all over the court, errrr, field and making plays. While he’s rarely going to lay a hat on an opposing receiver, he’ll break up passes and come down with more than a few interceptions this year.
Of course, with all those guys busy playing football this year, we’ll have a bit of a shakeup on the basketball side of things, so I might as well churn out a hoops All-American team, while I’m at it, to keep this post relevant, right? At first glance, the Gamecocks look to be a tough out this year, what with junior small forward Alshon Jeffrey and junior center Devin Taylor taking up a couple slots in my basketball All-American team. Missouri’s Michael Egnew rounds out the frontcourt, checking in at the power forward spot. Oregon’s LaMichael James is the obvious choice for the first team point guard (although that kid from Boise, Kellen Moore, gets the job done as well), with Oklahoma State’s explosive Justin Blackmon joining him in the backcourt.