Sporting News 2020 college football All-Americans

SN 2020 All-Americans-SN-FTR
(Maddie Kiebel/SN Illustrations)

Sporting News' 2020 All-American team selection features players from all 10 FBS conferences.

The four College Football Playoff teams combined to put 16 players on our first and second teams. Alabama led all schools with seven selections, including six first-team players. Quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris and receiver DeVonta Smith were among those picks. Ohio State, Notre Dame and Clemson combined for nine players across our first and second teams.

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The SEC led all conferences with 13 selections, followed by the ACC with 12. SN is one of five outlets used to determine consensus All-American status. With that in mind, our 2020 All-American Team.

Sporting News 2020 All-American team

First-team Offense

QB: Mac Jones, Alabama

Jones led the FBS with a 76.5 completion percentage, 11.4 yards per attempt and 202.3 passer rating — a mark that’s slightly higher than Joe Burrow's 202.0 rating last season. The Crimson Tide quarterback did that while totaling 3,739 yards, 32 touchdowns and four interceptions. Jones operated the Alabama offense with remarkable efficiency and stood out in big games. He set the SEC championship game record with 418 passing yards against Florida.

RB: Najee Harris, Alabama

Harris rushed for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns, breaking Alabama's all-time records for rushing yards (3,639) and touchdowns (44). Harris is a well-rounded running back who continues to be an asset in the receiving game (32 receptions, 316 yards, three touchdowns). Harris capped that season with five scores in the SEC championship game against the Gators, which ensured his spot on the team this season.

RB: Breece Hall, Iowa State

The Cyclones were one of the surprise stories of 2020, and Hall's dynamic talent was a big part of that success. He led the FBS with 1,606 yards from scrimmage. The sophomore opened the season with eight straight 100-yard games, and he scored at least one touchdown every contest. That consistency stood out all season.

WR: DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Smith led the FBS in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,511), using that production to amass 17 receiving touchdowns. He emerged as the best receiver in college football and took over games. That included a 15-catch, 184-yard, two-touchdown performance in the SEC championship game. As a bonus, Smith averaged 24.9 yards per punt return adding a score. Smith is SN's Player of the Year — the first receiver to win the award since Michigan's Desmond Howard in 1991.

WR: Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

The Ole Miss receiver pipeline is running smoothly, and this could be a sign of things to come under Lane Kiffin. Moore totaled 86 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, nabbing at least 10 receptions in all but one game. He also had three games of 200 receiving yards or more. Moore evolved from a red zone target into a big-play receiver, and his 91-yard touchdown against South Carolina showcased that big-play ability.

TE: Kyle Pitts, Florida

Pitts scored four touchdowns in the opener against Ole Miss, and the 6-6, 246-pound tight end remained a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses throughout the year. He had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns — an average of 17.9 yards per catch. Despite batting injuries during the season, Pitts managed three games with 100 yards or more. He's a Biletnikoff Award finalist, which demonstrates his value as a dominant pass-catching option.

OT: Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame

Eichenberg made the decision to stay in school, and that helped maintain an experienced offensive line at Notre Dame that plowed through the ACC in the regular season. The Irish have other deserving options up front, but Eichenberg stood out at tackle on a unit that averages more than 200 yards passing and rushing per game. He is a 2020 Outland Award finalist, which is given to the top interior lineman on either side of the ball.

OT: Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

The left tackle lived up to his first-round billing as a veteran presence on Alabama's offense. Leatherwood played 600 snaps this season with just one penalty and two sacks allowed. He's the outside anchor for Jones, and his versatility will continue to pay off at the next level.

G: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

Davis is the only two-time SN first-team All-American on this list. He opted back into the season when the Big Ten returned to play, and he picked up where he left off in 2019. Ohio State averaged 275.7 rushing yards per game, and the interior paved the way for Trey Sermon's 331-yard performance in the Big Ten championship game.

G: Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

The sophomore built on an impressive first year to become a dominant run-blocking force as a sophomore. That contributed to an improved Aggies' offense that averaged 202.9 yards rushing per game. Kellen Mond took fewer sacks, and Green was one of the reasons for that marked improvement. Watch his stock continue to rise as an upperclassman.

C: Landon Dickerson, Alabama

Dickerson's value could be seen when he suffered a season-ending injury in the SEC championship game against Florida. He was a dominant force on the interior for an Alabama offense that averaged 189.8 rushing yards per game. Dickerson emerged as a team leader, and is one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy. That would continue a tradition set by past Alabama winners Barrett Jones (2012) and Ryan Kelly (2015).

ATH: Travis Etienne, Clemson

Etienne's role in Clemson's offense evolved in 2020. He rushed for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns, giving him a 7.3 yards-per-carry average for his career. The Tigers also used Etienne more on the perimeter, however, and he rewarded that with 44 catches for 524 yards and two touchdowns. He added 24.7 yards per kick return, too. Etienne has 6,011 yards from scrimmage for his career.

First-team Defense

DL: Patrick Jones II, Pitt

Jones totaled 8.5 sacks last season, and he showed the same consistency as part of a pass-rushing tandem with Rashad Weaver. He improved in 2020 with nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss — both single-season highs — while totaling 42 tackles for the Panthers. Jones had two games with three sacks this season and at least one tackle for loss in six games.

DL: Daviyon Nixon, Iowa

Nixon is an Outland Trophy finalist after an all-around season with the Hawkeyes that included 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in eight games. He even added a 71-yard interception for a touchdown against Penn State. The 6-3, 305-pound defensive tackle emerged as one of the biggest playmakers in the Big Ten.

DL: Cade Hall, San Jose State

San Jose State was a surprise unbeaten team this season, and Hall earned Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as a result of a 10-sack campaign. Hall became a dominant player down the stretch, earning two sacks in the MWC conference championship game against Boise State. He's one of the surprise breakout performers of 2020.

DL: Darius Stills, West Virginia

The Mountaineers showed improvement on defense, and Stills had a hand in that. He was a disruptive force on the interior, finishing with 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. The 285-pound defensive tackle also emerged as a run-stopper en route to earning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year honors.

LB: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

The Butkus Award winner was a constant playmaker for the Irish in their first season in the ACC. He totaled 56 tackles and 11 tackles for loss, but notched three forced fumbles and an interception. In two games against Clemson, Koramoah had 16 tackles — 4.5 for loss — a forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Irish will count on him in their return to the Playoff.

LB: Zaven Collins, Tulsa

Collins enjoyed a remarkable season in leading the Golden Hurricane to the AAC championship game. He had a full line of 54 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss, but it was the four sacks and four interceptions — including a walk-off pick-six against Tulane — that earned the Nagurski Award winner some more notoriety. He took advantage of the spotlight.

LB: Chazz Surratt, North Carolina

The Tar Heels had ups and downs on defense, but Surratt was a consistent playmaker in the middle. He finished with 91 tackles, six sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and an interception. The converted quarterback lived up to the preseason hype with 10 or more tackles in four of North Carolina's last six games.

CB: Shaun Wade, Ohio State

Wade also made the decision to opt back into the Big Ten season, and he follows Jeff Okudah as the second straight Ohio State cornerback to be named to our first team. Wade had two interceptions this season, including an interception return for a touchdown at the right time against Indiana. The Big Ten's Defensive Back of the Year finished with 20 tackles and three pass breakups, and he'll get another chance against Clemson in the CFP semifinals.

CB: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Surtain was Pro Football Focus' top cornerback for most of the season, and was a consistent lock-down defender in a year where Alabama improved against the pass. The Crimson Tide didn't allow a passing touchdown for a five-game stretch at one point, and Surtain finished with an interception return for a touchdown and seven pass breakups.

S: Talanoa Hufanga, USC

Hufanga enjoyed a breakout season for an improved Trojans team. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year put up 62 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, but emerged with the help of four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Hufanga closed the season with back-to-back games with double-digit tackles.

S: Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

Northwestern had one of the best defenses in the FBS, and the redshirt freshman played a major role in that success on the back end. He had six interceptions, including an acrobatic one-handed pick in the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State. He had two picks each in key Big Ten West games against Wisconsin and Iowa, too. Joseph added 43 tackles on top of that.

First-team specialists

K: Jose Borregales, Miami

Borregales became a difference-maker for the Hurricanes. He hit 90 percent of his field goal tries, tied for the highest mark among FBS kickers with at least 20 attempts this season. Borregales also hit 8 of 10 from 40 yards or more and was clutch in shootout victories against N.C. State and Louisville, going a combined 7 for 7 on field goal attempts.

P: Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech

Harvin — all 255 pounds of him — led the FBS with a 48.0 yards-per-punt average this season. That included just three touchbacks, helping the Yellow Jackets to finish second in the FBS in net punting. Almost half of Harvin's punts traveled 50 yards or more.

RET: Avery Williams, Boise State

Williams is an easy choice. He returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns this season for the Broncos, combining for 762 return yards in just seven games. He closed his career with nine total return touchdowns.

Second-team offense

QB: Kyle Trask, Florida
RB: Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
RB: Jaret Patterson, Buffalo
WR: Jonathan Adams Jr., Arkansas State
WR: Jaelon Darden, North Texas
TE: Hunter Long, Boston College
OT: Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
OT: Brady Christensen, BYU
G: Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
G: Ryan Neuzil, Appalachian State
C: Josh Myers, Ohio State
ATH: Javonte Williams, North Carolina

Second-team defense

DL: Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina
DL: Rashad Weaver, Pitt
DL: Patrick Johnson, Tulane
DL: Haskell Garrett, Ohio State
LB: Devin Lloyd, Utah
LB: Mike Rose, Iowa State
LB: Joseph Ossai, Texas
CB: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
CB: Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State
S: Tykee Smith, West Virginia
S: Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Second-team specialists

K: Will Reichard, Alabama
P: Lucas Dean, UTSA
RET: Trestan Ebner, Baylor

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