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The 2009 Preseason HP All-American Team, Offense

Quarterback

Colt McCoy, Texas–With so many great quarterbacks returning in 2009, this wasn’t an easy choice.  But McCoy is coming off a record-setting season where he completed 77 percent of his passes and was just a last-second Texas Tech upset away from clinching the Heisman and a berth in the national title game.  I think it’s time to give him his due.

colt

Running Back

Jahvid Best, California–Best is the closest anyone has come to being the next Reggie Bush.  He rushed for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true sophomore and averaged an amazing 8.14 yards per carry.  He’s a classic breakaway back with angle-crushing speed.  If he can stay healthy, he’ll flirt with the 2,000-yard mark.

jahvid best

Fullback

William Rose, Florida Atlantic–At HP, we recognize that there is still such a thing as a fullback in football and so therefore there must be an All-American at this spot.  Rose, a senior, rushed for 307 yards and caught 23 passes for 168 yards in 2008. 

rose

Tight End

Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma–The best college tight end since Kellen Winslow, Jr.  He should’ve won the Mackey Award last season, when he caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns.  A superior talent.

jermaine-gresham-p1

Wide Receivers

Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State–The most dominating wide out in college football.  He can take over a game.  Also a brilliant return specialist.  A dark horse Heisman candidate who caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Kansas St Oklahoma St Football

Arrelious Benn, Illinois–A long-time HP favorite (he was an HP preseason AA last year), he has the best combination of size, speed and strength of any receiver in college football.  Should have huge year with continued improvement by his quarterback, Juice Williams.

ArreliousBenn_001

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 almost solely based 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 USC, which returns five starters plus two part-time starters–including three seniors–from a group that went 12-1 and paved the way to 195 rushing yards per game while allowing only 18 sacks.  Congrats Trojans.

O-LINE

We’ll have our preseason HP All-American defensive team tomorrow…

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The 2008 HP All-American Team–Defense

We did the 2008 HP All-American Offense team on Friday, now the defense:

Defensive Ends

1st team–Brian Orakpo, Texas; Aaron Maybin, Penn State

2nd team–Brandon Graham, Michigan; Jerry Hughes, TCU

3rd team–Clay Matthews, USC; Nick Reed, Oregon

Orakpo and Maybin wreaked havoc all year long for two teams that just missed out on the national title game.

Defensive Tackles

1st team–Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma; Peria Jerry, Ole Miss

2nd team–Fili Moala, USC; Terrance Cody, Alabama

3rd team–Mitch King, Iowa; Brian Price, UCLA

McCoy was the main cog in the middle for the Sooners while Jerry was a pariah to SEC offenses.

Outside Linebacker

1st team–Brian Cushing, USC; Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

2nd team–Sergio Kindle, Texas; Clint Sintim, Virginia

3rd team–Kaluka Maiava, USC; Rennie Curran, Georgia

Cushing was the most outstanding backer on the No. 1 defense, while Weatherspoon was one of the few bright spots for the Tigers on that side of the ball.

Inside Linebacker

1st team–Brandon Spikes, Florida

2nd team–Rey Maualuga, USC

3rd team–James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

Spikes was a preseason HP All-American and did not disappoint, as he led a resurgent Gator defense.

Cornerback

1st team–Vontae Davis, Illinois; Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

2nd team–Trevard Lindley, Kentucky; Alterraun Verner, UCLA

3rd team–Cary Harris, USC; Syd’Quan Thompson, Cal

Davis and Jenkins were not only the best corners in the Big Ten, but also the country.  Both will be first-round picks.

Safety

1st team–Taylor Mays, USC; Eric Berry, Tennessee

2nd team–Rashad Johnson, Alabama; Kevin Ellison, USC

3rd team–Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech; Michael Hamlin, Clemson

Both Mays and Berry were on the HP preseason team and both had magnificent seasons.

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The 2008 HP All-American Team–Offense

It’s time for the fifth edition of the very prestigious HP All-American squad.  First, the offense:

Quarterback

1st team–Colt McCoy, Texas

2nd team–Sam Bradford, Oklahoma

3rd team–Tim Tebow, Florida

This was a very tough choice, obviously.  But I thought McCoy was the best all-around quarterback in 2008

Running Back

1st team–Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State

2nd team–Knowshon Moreno, Georgia

3rd team–Jahvid Best, Cal

Not a great year for backs, but I thought Kendall Hunter foreshadowed what should be a fantastic career, as he went for 1,518 yards and 14 TDs while averaging almost 7 yards per carry as just a sophomore.

Fullback

1st team–Eric Kettani, Navy

2nd team–Stanley Havili, USC

3rd team–Brannan Sutherland, Georgia

Other All-American teams forget the fullback spot.  Not us.  It’s a position on the football field and should have a representative.

Tight End

1st team–Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

2nd team–Rob Gronkowski, Arizona

3rd team–Dennis Pitta, BYU

I thought this was a no-brainer.  Gresham is a true tight end and a physical phenom.  No other tight end was as dominant as this guy.

Wide Receiver

1st team–Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech; Austin Collie, BYU

2nd team–Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State; Jordan Shipley, Texas

3rd team–Jeremy Maclin, Missouri; Eric Decker, Minnesota

Crabtree is one of the greatest college wide outs of all time after just two seasons.  Collie paced an exciting BYU passing attack.

Offensive Line

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 600 starting offensive linemen in Division One.  It’s almost impossible to have seen enough of them to know who is really the best. So, while other All-American teams choose linemen almost solely based 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 Oklahoma, which was the cornerstone of an attack that scored over 700 points.  These guys kept Sam Bradford’s jersey clean.  And we all know what happens when Bradford has time to throw.

Coming later, the HP Defensive All-Americans...

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The 2008 HP All-American Defensive Team

Yesterday, we unveiled the All-American offensive squad, now here are the defenders:

Defensive End

1st Team–Everson Griffen, USC; Greg Middleton, Indiana

Middleton was a 2007 HP All-American and should have another great year. Griffen is a physical phenom who is ready to explode on the college scene.

2nd Team–Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; George Selvie, USF

3rd Team–Nick Reed, Oregon; Ricky Sapp, Clemson

Defensive Tackle

1st Team–Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma; Ricky Jean-Francois, LSU

McCoy will key the interior of the Sooner defense, while Jean-Francois is a unique jumbo athlete who should finally put it all together on the field (just like he did in the BCS Title Game) for a whole season.

2nd Team–Fili Moala, USC; Geno Atkins, Georgia

3rd Team–Brian Price, UCLA; Marvin Austin, North Carolina

Outside Linebacker

1st Team–Brian Toal, Boston College; Marcus Freeman, Ohio State

Seems like Toal has been making tackles forever. Freeman is underrated playing in the shadow of Laurinaitis.

2nd Team–Brian Cushing, USC; Rico McCoy, Tennessee

3rd Team–Clinton Snyder, Stanford; Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma

Middle Linebacker

1st Team–Brandon Spikes, Florida

Spikes did it all for the Gators last year, accumulating 131 tackles, including 14.5 for losses.

2nd Team–Rey Maualuga, USC

3rd Team–James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

Cornerback

1st Team–Walter Thurmond, Oregon; Vontae Davis, Illinois

Thurmond had 103 tackles, 8 TFL, 18 deflections and 5 interceptions. Vontae Davis is a future first-rounder who was a shut-down corner for the Illini.

2nd Team–Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State; Eric Berry, Tennessee

3rd Team–Syd’Quan Thompson, Cal; Victor Harris, Virginia Tech

Strong Safety

1st Team–Patrick Chung, Oregon

Chung had 117 tackles and 7.5 TFL last year.

2nd Team–Chad Jones, LSU

3rd Team–Kevin Ellison, USC

Free Safety

1st Team–Taylor Mays, USC

Mays is a physical freak who will probably be the first safety taken in the next draft.

2nd Team–William Moore, Missouri

3rd Team–Rashad Johnson, Alabama

Sorry, no punters or kickers or return guys on this team.

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The 2008 HP All-American Offensive Team

It’s time for the fourth edition of the very prestigious preseason HP All-American team.

First, the offense:

Quarterback

1st Team–Tim Tebow, Jr., Florida–Once again, the best player in the country, bar none.  Doesn’t mean he’ll win the Heisman again, though.

2nd Team–Pat White, Sr., West Virginia

3rd Team–Chase Daniel, Sr., Missouri

Running Back

1st Team–Chris Wells, Jr., Ohio StateThe Heisman front runner.  A power back with speed coming off a 1,600-yard sophomore season.

2nd Team–Noel Devine, So., West Virginia

3rd Team–Stafon Johnson, Jr., USC

Fullback

1st Team–Eric Kettani, Sr., Navy: Led the Middies with 880 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

2nd Team–Brannan Sutherland, Sr., Georgia

3rd Team–Stanley Havili, So., USC

Wide Receiver

1st Team–Percy Harvin, Jr., Florida; Arrelious Benn, So., Illinois: Harvin is the most dangerous playmaker in the country, while Benn has the size and speed to develop into a great one.

2nd Team–Michael Crabtree, So., Texas Tech; Michael Thomas, Sr., Arizona

3rd Team–Jeremy Maclin, So., Missouri; Vidal Hazelton, Jr., USC

Tight End

1st Team–Jermaine Gresham, Sr., Oklahoma–An elite talent who snagged 11 touchdowns last season.

2nd Team–Ed Dickson, Jr., Oregon

3rd Team–Travis Beckum, Sr., Wisconsin

Offensive Line

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. So, while other All-American teams choose linemen almost solely based 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 Oklahoma, which returns five starters–all seniors–from a group that went 11-3 and paved the way to 191 rushing yards per game while allowing only 14 sacks.  Congrats Sooners.

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