And now for something not quite completely different, but almost: the Pro Football Weekly All-American team.
As you might expect, the criteria for making an NFL-driven media outlet's All-America team differs dramatically from making most others. In its statement announcing the team, the PFW writes that:
The team annually honors the most talented players in college football and is selected based on considerable feedback from NFL evaluators taking into consideration a player’s pure talent and contribution to his team. Unlike many other teams rewarding the best college football players, PFW places an extra premium on true talent and draft value in the selection process. However, participants are expected to have contributed for the bulk of the season, leaving off some talented prospects who were limited this season. Extra attention was paid to qualities such as toughness, competitiveness and work ethic.
QuarterbackA few comments:
Andrew Luck, Stanford
HONORABLE MENTION: Matt Barkley, USC, Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Trent Richardson, Alabama
HM: Montee Ball, Wisconsin, David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Jay Prosch, Illinois
HM: Braden Wilson, Kansas State
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Kendall Wright, Baylor
HM: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Coby Fleener, Stanford
HM: Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Matt Kalil, USC
Riley Reiff, Iowa
HM: Barrett Jones, Alabama, Taylor Lewan, Michigan, Zebrie Sanders, Florida State, Cordy Glenn, Georgia
David DeCastro, Stanford
Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
HM: Chance Warmack, Alabama, Alvin Bailey, Arkansas
Peter Konz, Wisconsin
HM: David Molk, Michigan, Ben Jones, Georgia
Sam Montgomery, LSU
Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
HM: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Vinny Curry, Marshall, Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Devon Still, Penn State
HM: Michael Brockers, LSU, Brandon Thompson, Clemson, Josh Chapman, Alabama, Dontari Poe, Memphis
Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
HM: Luke Kuechly, Boston College, Lavonte David, Nebraska
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
HM: Gerald Hodges, Penn State, Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.)
Morris Claiborne, LSU
Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
HM: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State, Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, David Amerson, North Carolina State
Mark Barron, Alabama
T.J. McDonald, USC
HM: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, Bacarri Rambo, Georgia, Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, John Boyett, Oregon
Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
HM: Caleb Sturgis, Florida
Steven Clark, Auburn
HM: Brad Wing, LSU
Joe Adams, Arkansas
HM: Taveon Rogers, New Mexico State
S-E-C! S-E-C! (D-E-F-E-N-S-E). Certainly the pro scouts don't think the SEC's reputation for defense is overblown; only two of their 11 first-team defenders hail from any other conference. They would also tend to lean towards Alabama over LSU when it comes to naming the nation's most talented defense; four Tide defenders make the first team to LSU's two, though three Tigers do make honorable mention (to the Tide's one).
But not offensively. Of course, the opposite is true on the other side of the ball, where Trent Richardson is the SEC's only first-team representative. Perhaps most surprising is that the league's offensive linemen are given such short shrift; instead four of the five first-team OLs hail from the Big Ten, including a pair from Wisconsin.
Sammy power. Only two freshmen made the team at all, and only one landed on the first team: Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins, who doesn't boast prototypical NFL wideout size but has nonetheless clearly caught the eyes of the pro scouts.
Did the Ray Guy get that right? No. But maybe the award's decision to include Auburn sophomore punter Steven Clark over LSU's Brad Wing (the other freshman honoree) as one of three finalists makes a little more sense given that the pros favor Clark's towering moonshots over Wing's, well, better all-around productivity/statistics.
Major notoriety for mid-major players. Marshall's Vinny Curry has gotten some press, but you won't see many other All-American teams with players from Memphis and New Mexico State honored, we don't think. We'll take the scouts' word for it on Tiger tackle Dontari Poe and Aggie returner Taveon Rogers; congrats to them.