Welcome back to our ongoing build-up to the 2018 college football season which is now less than 2 weeks away! Before we get to the previews & predictions for all of the major power conferences, we have scoured the country high and low to find the best players heading into the 2018 season, and compiled our picks for Preseason All-Americans. We've compiled a 1st-Team, 2nd-Team, and Honorable Mention selections, and chances are your favorite school has an individual somewhere on the list. Everyone of the 10 FBS conferences are represented, and a total of 43 different schools have at least 1 individual that appears somewhere on the list.
The SEC unsurprisingly leads everyone with a total of 5 players on the 1st Team. Not far behind is the Big Ten with 4, the Big 12 with 3, and the ACC with 2. Alabama, Wisconsin, and LSU are the only schools with multiple selections on the 1st Team as each program landed (2) players each on the 1st Team.
There are several familiar names on the list, and some not-so familiar names on the list. The biggest surprise to many on the 1st-Team may be San Jose State LB Frank Ginda, who gets easily over-looked for a couple of reasons. SJST has been in a prolonged period of struggles, and they play on the west coast in the Mountain West Conference. The lack of exposure surely will limit Ginda's appearance on a lot of publications' preseason All-American lists, but his numbers are simply mind-boggling. He led the nation a season ago with 173 total tackles, 13 of which went for a loss, and forced 3 fumbles. For his SJST career, he's registered 351 total tackles, 29 for loss, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 forced fumbles, and a defensive TD. He's simply a tackling machine.
Looking around the rest of the first team, UCF QB McKenzie Milton is our pick for the 1st-Team, edging out Drew Lock of Missouri and Will Grier of West Virginia. The RB position was a no-brainer with a pair of Heisman Finalists from a season ago on the 1st-team in Stanford HB Bryce Love, and Wisconsin HB Jonathan Taylor. Love was the runner-up in the Heisman voting a season ago, and Taylor set the FBS Freshman rushing record while helping the Badgers to an undefeated regular season and matchup with Ohio State in the Big 10 Title game.
Grier's best friend and favorite target at West Virginia, David Sills V is a 1st Team choice at WR after hauling in 18 TD receptions a season ago for the Mountaineers. Trey Quinn of SMU joins him, and has been surprisingly over-looked on a lot of these preseason lists. He had 114 receptions a year ago, easily the most of any returning pass-catcher in the nation. Iowa TE Noah Fant lands on the 1st-Team after catching 11 touchdowns last year as a Sophomore, and will be a big part of the Hawkeyes' red zone plans this season.
The Wisconsin Badgers landed a total of 3 lineman on the list. Michael Dieter finds himself on the first team, while David Edwards and Beau Benzschawel both landed on the second team. The Badgers are projected to have the best offensive line in all of college football, which isn't much of a surprise at this point. The Badgers return everyone up front from a team that won a program-record 13 games a season ago.
The defensive side of the ball features a defensive line chalked full of NFL talent, led by Ohio State defensive tackle Nick Bosa, who should contend for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Honors, and perhaps the best D-lineman in all of college football in Houston's Ed Oliver, who has been a force for a couple of seasons now. Oliver is projected to go high in next year's NFL draft, and rightfully so. Christian Wilkins of Clemson is poised for another standout season. The defensive tackle was a beast in the middle for the Tigers a season ago, racking up 60 tackles and 5 sacks.
LSU's combo of LB Devin White and CB Greedy Williams lands them two players on the defensive 1st-Team. Williams picked off 6 passes a season ago as a freshman to lead the SEC, and White posted 133 total tackles, including 13.5 for loss. The duo should compete for SEC defensive player of the year. Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard, who has over 300 tackles for his career under his belt already, including 114 a season ago, joins Miami (FL) safety Jaquan Johnson to round out the defensive 1st Team. Both should go high in next year's draft. Johnson was a big part of the Hurricanes' revitalized D a season ago that nearly got them into the playoff.
Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic squad is well-represented between the 2nd Team and Honorable Mention selections as well with 3 total players. FAU set a record with 10 victories a season ago in Kiffin's first year in Boca Raton, and could contend for a "New Years Six" Bowl game this year. Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis is the headliner of the 2nd Team, after 69 total tackles and 8.5 sacks as a Sophomore.
Lastly, before we unveil our All-American selections, one player on the 'Honorable Mention' portion of the list that you've probably never heard of, but should check out if you get the opportunity, is Appalachian State cornerback Clifton Duck. He had 50 tackles, and picked off 6 passes a season ago as a Sophomore, and he recorded 57 tackles and 5 picks as a freshman. He's one of the best corners in the entire country, just without the heightened exposure and fan-fair of some of the others on this list.
Traditional powers: check. Major conferences: check. NFL Draft talent: check. Heisman hopefuls: check. 'Group of 5' conferences: check. Players you've definitely heard of: check. Some players you've definitely not heard of: check. Looks like our list has everything you could want when discussing the best players in the entire nation, so without further ado, here is our full list of 2018 Preseason All-Americans: (position, player, year, school, statistics from last year)
2018 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS
QB McKenzie Milton JR UCF 4037yds, 37TD, 9INT; 613rush yds, 8TD
HB Jonathan Taylor SO WISC 1977yds, 13TD, 6.6ypc
HB Bryce Love SR STAN 2118yds, 19TD, 8.1ypc
WR Trey Quinn SR SMU 114rec, 1236yds, 13TD
WR David Sills V SR WVU 60rec, 980yds, 18TD
TE Noah Fant JR IOWA 30rec, 494yds, 11TD
C Ross Pierschbacher SR BAMA All-SEC 1st Team in 17'
OL Michael Dieter SR WISC 1st Team All-BIg 10 in 17', 2nd Team All-American
OL Greg Little JR MISS 6'6" 325 lbs; Outland Trophy Watchlist
OL Dalton Risner SR K-STATE 2-time 1st Team All-Big 12; All-American in 17'
OL Jonah Williams JR BAMA 1st Team All-SEC in 17'
DE Sutton Smith JR NIU 63 tot tkls, 30.0FL, 14.0sks, 3FR, 3FF, 1TD
DL Nick Bosa JR OSU 34 tot tkls, 16.0FL, 8.5sks, 1FF
DT Ed Oliver SR HOU 73 tot tkls, 16.5FL, 5.5sks, 1FR, 2FF
DT Christian Wilkins SR CLEM 60 tot tkls, 9.0FL, 5.0sks
LB Frank Ginda SR SJST 173 tot tkls, 13.0FL, 2.0sks, 3FF
LB Devin White JR LSU 133 tot tkls, 13.5FL, 4.5sks, 1INT
LB Khalil Hodge SR BUFF 153 tot tkls, 6.5FL, 3.0sks, 2INT, 2FF
CB Greedy Williams SO LSU 38 tot tkls, 1.5FL, 6INT, 10PD
CB Brian Peavy SR ISU 88 tot tkls, 6.0FL, 2INT, 2FR, 1FF, 9PD
S Andrew Wingard SR WYO 114 tot tkls, 8.0FL, 1.0sk, 5INT, 1FR, 2FF
S Jaquan Johnson SR MIA FL 96 tot tkls, 3.0FL, 1.0sk, 4INT, 2FR, 3FF, 1TD
QB Drew Lock SR MIZZ 3964yds, 44TD, 13INT, 57.8%, 165.7 rating
HB Devin Singletary JR FAU 1918yds, 32TD, 6.4ypc
HB A.J. Dillon SO BC 1589yds, 14TD, 5.3ypc
WR Anthony Johnson SR BUF 76rec, 1356yds, 14TD, 17.8ypc
WR Deebo Samuel SR S CAR 6 total TDs in 3 games in 17' before injury
TE Albert Okwuegbunam SO MIZZ 29rec, 415yds, 11TD
C Tóa Lobendahn SR USC Battling back from injuries; Outland Award watchlist
OL Mitch Hyatt SR CLEM 1st Team All-ACC; 2nd Team AP All-American 17'
OL David Edwards JR WISC 2nd Team All-Big 10 in 17'
OL Beau Benzschawel JR WISC 1st Team All-Big 10 in 17'; projected 1st Rd pick
OL Trey Adams SR WASH 1st Team All-Pac 12 in 16'; 2nd Team All-Am in 16'
DE Curtis Weaver SO BOISE 33 tot tkls, 13.0FL, 11.0sks, 1INT, 1FR, 1FF, 1TD
DL Raekwon Davis JR BAMA 69 tot tkls, 10.0FL, 8.5sks, 1INT, 1FR
DE Clelin Ferrell JR CLEM 66 tot tkls, 18.0FL, 9.5sks, 2FF, 1PD
DL Maxx Crosby JR EMU 57 tot tkls, 16.5FL, 11.0sks, 2FR, 4FF, 1TD
LB T.J. Edwards SR WISC 81 tot tkls, 11.0FL, 2.0sks, 4INT, 1TD
LB Joe Giles-Harris JR DUKE 125 tot tkls, 16.0FL, 3.5sks, 1INT, 1FF
LB Devin Bush Jr. JR MICH 95 tot tkls, 10.0FL, 5.5sks, 1INT
CB Mark Gilbert JR DUKE 35 tot tkls, 3.0FL, 6INT, 15PD
CB Deandre Baker SR UGA 44 tot tkls, 1.0FL, 3INT, 9PD
S Lukas Denis SR BC 83 tot tkls, 0.5FL, 7INT, 2FF, 10PD
S Jalen Young SR FAU 77 tot tkls, 2.5FL, 7INT, 1FF, 1PD
QB Will Grier SR WVU 3490yds, 34TD, 12INT, 64.4%, 162.7 rating
QB Mason Fine JR NT 4052yds, 31TD, 15INT, 63.4%, 144.2 rating
QB Khalil Tate JR ZONA 1591yds, 14TD, 9INT; 1411rush yds, 12TD
QB Trace McSorley SR PSU 3570yds, 28TD, 10INT, 66.5%, 153.7 rating
QB Brett Rypien SR BOISE 2877yds, 16TD, 6INT, 62.6%, 143.8 rating
HB Miles Gaskin SR WASH 1380yds, 21TD, 6.2ypc; 19rec, 232yds, 3TD
HB Justice Hill JR OK ST 1467yds, 15TD, 5.5ypc
HB J.K. Dobbins SO OSU 1403yds, 7TD, 7.2ypc
WR A.J. Brown JR MISS 75rec, 1252yds, 11TD, 16.7ypc
WR Diontae Johnson JR TOL 74rec, 1278yds, 13TD, 17.3ypc
WR N'Keal Harry JR ASU 82rec, 1142yds, 8TD, 13.9ypc
TE Matt Bushman SO BYU 49rec, 520yds, 3TD
C Tyler Gauthier SR MIA FL All-ACC Hon. Men. 17'; Rimington watchlist
OL Michael Jordan JR OSU 1st Team All-Big 10 in 17'; Fresh. All-Am in 16'
OL Andrew Thomas SO UGA Fresh. All-Am 17'; started all 15 games last yr
DL Montez Sweat SR MISS ST 48 tot tkls, 15.5FL, 10.5sks, 1FR
DL Chase Winovich SR MICH 73 tot tkls, 19.0FL, 8.5sks, 2FR, 2FF
DE Carl Granderson SR WYO 78 tot tkls, 16.0FL, 9.5sks, 2INT, 1FR, 2FF, 1TD
DE Oshane Ximines SR ODU 44 tot tkls, 14.0FL, 8.5sks, 4FF
DE Austin Bryant SR CLEM 50 tot tkls, 15.5FL, 8.5sks, 1INT, 2FF
LB Landis Durham SR TA&M 55 tot tkls, 11.0FL, 10.5sks, 1FR, 3FF
LB Azeez Al-Shaair SR FAU 146 tot tkls, 10.0FL, 2.5sks
LB Cameron Smith SR USC 112 tot tkls, 11.0FL, 0.5sks, 1INT, 1FR
LB Shaq Quarterman JR MIA FL 83 tot tkls, 7.0FL, 2.5sks, 1FR, 5PD
CB David Dowell JR MICH ST 51 tot tkls, 5INT, 2FR, 4PD
CB Clifton Duck JR APP ST 50 tot tkls, 3.0FL, 1.0sk, 6INT, 6PD
CB Monquavion Brinson JR GA SO 34 tot tkls, 5INT, 12PD
S D'Cota Dixon R-SR WISC 58 tot tkls, 3.5FL, 1INT, 1FF, 3PD
S Mark McLaurin SR MISS ST 79 tot tkls, 3.5FL, 1.5sks, 6INT, 1FF, 6PD
S Jordan Fuller JR OSU 62 tot tkls, 2.5FL, 2INT, 2PD
Thanks for checking out our 2018 College Football Preseason All-Americans, please share your thoughts below and let us know who you think are the best in college football heading into the 2018 season. We still have much more coverage to come including the power conferences previews & predictions, our preseason Top 25, Heisman hopefuls, and much, much more, so make sure to check back!
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