My AP preseason All-America ballot
Now that the AP's preseason All-America team has been released, I'll share what I submitted.
Some picks were easy (Lamar Jackson, Derwin James, both running backs). Others were much tougher.
Houston's Ed Oliver was a no-brainer at defensive tackle, but the other one came down to which Clemson player I liked more. I chose the older one (junior Christian Wilkins) over the younger one (sophomore Dexter Lawrence) strictly due to experience. Hey, it's more justifiable than a coin flip, right?
Receivers were challenging, too, after Oklahoma State's James Washington. I went with Texas A&M's Christian Kirk ahead of Calvin Ridley of Alabama. I thought about putting Ridley or Kirk as my all-purpose player but instead went with Pasco High alumnus Janarion Grant. Picking anyone from Rutgers is an outside-the-box selection, but here was my rationale: Before Grant suffered a season-ending ankle injury, he averaged 163.75 all-purpose yards per game. That would have been the second-highest figure among returning players nationally (behind Middle Tennessee State's Richie James). All-purpose, to me, also factors in the return game, and Grant's next punt/kickoff return for a touchdown will break the NCAA career record.
QB - Lamar Jackson, Louisville
RB - Saquon Barkley, Penn State
RB - Derrius Guice, LSU
OT - Connor Williams, Texas
OG - Cody O'Connell, Washington State
C - Billy Price, Ohio State
OG - Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
OT - Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
TE - Mike Gesicki, Penn State
WR - James Washington, Oklahoma State
WR - Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
All-purpose - Janarion Grant, Rutgers
K - Daniel Carlson, Auburn
DE - Harold Landry, Boston College
DT - Ed Oliver, Houston
DT - Christian Wilkins, Clemson
DE - Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
LB - Arden Key, LSU
LB - Azeem Victor, Washington
LB - Tegray Scales, Indiana
CB - Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
S - Derwin James, Florida State
S - Quin Blanding, Virginia
CB - Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State
P - Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah