Now for the sixth edition of the very prestigious HP All-American squad. First, the offense:
1st team–Case Keenum, Houston
2nd team–Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
3rd team–Colt McCoy, Texas
Note: Obviously a very difficult decision on this one, but I think Keenum’s overall numbers–5,410 yards, 43 touchdowns, 9 picks, 71% completion percentage–are too amazing to ignore. Clausen had a brilliant season, too, while McCoy overcame the pressure of the spotlight to lead Texas to the title game.
1st team–Toby Gerhart, Stanford
2nd team–Mark Ingram, Alabama
3rd team–Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
Note: Gerhart was the most dominant and consistent tailback in the country, leading it in rushing yardage and touchdowns. Ingram was at his best in big games, while Rodgers was the most versatile back in the country.
1st team–Vince Murray, Navy
2nd team–Owen Marecic, Stanford
3rd team–Stanley Havili, USC
Note: At HP, I always pick an All-American fullback as the position exists on most rosters and therefore should be recognized as such. Murray had a huge year for Navy, rushing for 925 yards and six touchdowns. Marecic is simply an amazing blocker and he ploughed the way for Gerhart most of the time. Havili excelled as a pass catcher and runner but was slowed some by injuries.
1st team–Golden Tate, Notre Dame; Danario Alexander, Missouri
2nd team–Jordan Shipley, Texas; Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
3rd team–James Cleveland, Houston; Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas
Note: Golden Tate was unstoppable all year, catching 93 passes for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns. Alexander burst onto the scene with a monster season of 107 catches for 1,644 yards and 13 touchdowns. Shipley had a great season and helped Texas get to the promised land, while Gilyard was a playmaker extraordinaire for Cincinnati. Cleveland was Keenum’s main target while Briscoe was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal Jayhawk campaign.
1st team–Dennis Pitta, BYU
2nd team–Aaron Hernandez, Florida
3rd team–Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Note: Pitta was the best traditional tight end in the country, catching 56 balls for 766 yards and seven scores. Hernandez constantly displayed his impressive physical gifts for the Gators while Rudolph physically dominated at times against opposing defenders.
Offensive Line Unit
Per HP tradition, we will not choose individual All-Americans on the offensive line.
We refuse to do so because, unlike other people who pick All-Americans, we admit that we have no idea who really are the best offensive linemen.
There are no individual stats to go by. Highlights rarely show what they do. We could go off of hearsay, but wouldn’t that be dishonest? What’s more, there are 585 starting offensive linemen in Division One. It’s almost impossible to have seen enough of them to know who is really the best. Did anyone pick Baylor’s Jason Smith–the second pick in the draft–on their preseason team last year? I don’t think so. So, while other All-American teams choose linemen based almost solely on reputation, we will not.
However, we will choose the best line unit in the country, since this is a bit easier to quantify. That honor goes to Stanford, which led the nation in fewest tackles for losses allowed (39), was second in sacks allowed (7) and helped Cardinal backs go for 224 yards per game (11th nationally). Second team honors went to Boise State, which averaged 194 yards on the ground while allowing a nation-leading five sacks all season. Third team honors went to Nevada’s line, which helped the Wolfpack average 362 yards per game on the ground.
2nd team–Boise State