The 2020 college football season has already started, so yeah we’re a week or so behind schedule, but that’s because there’s so much doubt clouding the entire season. For one, the season might not (probably won’t) even finish; for another, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed their seasons, so I’m not sure how that affects All-American and Heisman voting; and lastly, these lists will be missing additional players who have opted out of the season, who receive honorable mention below.
QB: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There’s really only one option here. Trevor Lawrence is the consensus #1 pick, an All-American candidate since his freshman year, and all the talent in the world. He has improved every year in college, and without Justyn Ross, he will need to make a star out of a new receiver.
RB: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
The Canadian wunderkind has been productive his entire college career, and with Oklahoma State uncharacteristically shaky at QB, Hubbard is the lynchpin of Mike Gundy’s offense. He is a threat for a 2,000 yard season.
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson
Etienne has to be the prettiest runner in CFB. He has some of the best burst I’ve ever seen, and he cuts soon the dime. Etienne is a senior this year after withdrawing from the draft, and he will get even more touches this year in Clemson’s offense.
WR: DeVonta Smith, Alabama
The latest in a disgustingly long chain of Alabama wide receivers, DeVonta Smith has patiently waited for his shot at the top of the food chain. Physically complete with no real flaws, Smith is a load for anyone to cover.
WR: Tylan Wallace, OSU
Wallace is a jump ball master with a huge frame and plenty of skill. He is not the fastest wide receiver in the country, but speed doesn’t get yards on its own. You have to catch the ball and get open first, and Wallace is amazing at both of those things.
AP: Najee Harris, Alabama
Despite being the top-ranked high school prospect in the class of 2017, Najee Harris might be underrated across the nation. With Tua Tagovailoa and all his receivers destroying every defense, it was easy to miss Harris’s 1,528 total yards and 20 scores. He should be the focal point of the Crimson attack.
TE: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
There’s no better place to find an elite tight end than in the Hawkeye State. Charlie Kolar has a huge frame at 6’6, runs smooth routes despite that size and has soft hands for Brock Purdy to find. After putting up 697 yards and 7 touchdowns, Kolar figures to be the Cyclones’ primary receiver this season.
OT: Samuel Cosmi, Texas
You wouldn’t believe it if you saw him play, but Samuel Cosmi was a diamond-in-the-rough discovery for the Longhorns. Just a local three-star prospect, Cosmi has worked tirelessly to become the rock-solid tackle he is today.
OT: Alex Leatherwood
Alex Leatherwood’ve been a first- or second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but opted to return for his senior year. If Alabama is as good with Mac Jones at quarterback, it will be because of his superb offensive line.
OG: Trey Smith, Tennessee
I don’t recommend watching Tennessee football, but hot damn Trey Smith will level some people.
OG: Deonte Brown, Alabama
As noted above, Alabama’s offensive success will begin with their line play. Deonte Brown is a massive guard who is surprisingly adept at making plays in space, often as the pulling lead blocker. As Najee Harris churns out yards, watch for Brown paving the way.
C: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Perfect name for a center, just beautiful. Humphrey is smart, solid and a leader. If you want further offensive line study, please don’t ask us.
Honorable mentions: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU; Penei Sewell, Oregon; Justin Fields, Ohio State; Rondale Moore, Purdue; Rashod Bateman, Minnesota; Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
DE: Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
It says a lot when you rack up 10 sacks and people still think you have untapped potential. Basham is an absolute freak at 6’5, 275-lbs. His combination of strength and explosiveness is unfair for the ACC tackles who have to contain him.
DE: K.J. Henry, Clemson
An athletic freak that’s putting it together, Henry is one of the best pass rushers in the country. A huge 6’5 frame that can contort in strange ways, Henry bends the edge so well and he is starting to stand up against the run.
DT: Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Marvin Wilson is this blog’s favorite non-CU player. He is an unbelievable leader, on and off the field, and he stands up for himself and his teammates. Not only that, he eats interior linemen all day and alters an offensive gameplay. Top-tier talent and person.
DT: Darius Stills, West Virginia
Imagine being 6’1, 281-lbs. and you’re considered “undersized”. Well, Stills excels at defensive tackle because of his quickness and leverage advantage. He had 12 tackles for loss and 6 sacks as a junior. He should improve on both as the Mountaineers look to grind out Big 12 wins.
LB: Dylan Moses, Alabama
A projected first round pick until a preseason knee injury, Dylan Moses shouldn’t even be here, but he came back for his senior year with something to prove. Tall and rangy, Moses is a versatile linebacker who can do everything, and better yet, he loves the game and relishes making great plays.
LB: Carlton Martial, Troy
The only G5 representative on this list (we’re sorry, Sun Belt), Martial has had a productive career. With over 100 tackles and 3 INTs last year, he plays the run and the pass superbly. Martial looks primed to repeat as a very productive and solid MLB.
LB: Chazz Surratt, North Carolina
A great name usually belongs to a great player. Chazz Surratt was a QB three years ago, and has completed the super weird okay-QB-to-All-American-LB transition. Definitely doesn’t happen often. He is the best player on one of the ACC’s best teams.
CB: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. was arguably the best defensive back in the nation as a true freshman. Fortunately for college football fans, we still have two more seasons to watch this prodigy lead some ultra-talented LSU defenses.
CB: Partick Surtain II, Alabama
Another underclassmen standout, Surtain starred as a true sophomore last year. He’s a physical specimen on the outside and he’s only getting more experienced and more refined.
S: Caden Sterns, Texas
Caden Stearns is one of my favorite players to watch in the country. He is a complete player at the safety position and really excels in coverage. He has excellent ball skills and will fly out of nowhere to make a play in the air.
S: Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State
Another physical freak, Hamsah Nasirildeen is an absolute unit as a 6’4, 220-lbs. safety/linebacker hybrid. He may play on an awful team, but he (and Marvin Wilson) is worth watching for the kinds of jaw-dropping plays he will make.
Honorable mentions: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech; Micah Parsons, Penn State; Gregory Rousseau, Miami; Shaun Wade, Ohio State; Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon; Hamilcar Rashed, Oregon State; Jaylen Twyman, Pitt
K: Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma
P: Max Duffy, Kentucky
Returner: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Honorable mention: Keith Duncan, Iowa