The Campus Insiders 2016 All-American Team is headlined on offense by Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and on defense by Alabama DL Jonathan Allen.
With the 2016 college football regular season complete and the postseason set to begin, it’s time to take a look at the Campus Insiders All-American First and Second Teams.
Not surprisingly, Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson tops the first-team list at quarterback after his outstanding 2016 campaign. Defensively, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen leads the first-team defense after headlining a dominant Crimson Tide defense.
Below are the premier players from the 2016 college football season.
First Team Offense
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
The electric Cardinal accounted for 51 total touchdowns, 3,390 passing yards and 1,538 rushing yards in a season that saw him become the sixth player who was either a redshirt freshman or a sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He was the third player in FBS history to have 30 passing touchdowns and 20 or more rushing scores in one season, joining fellow Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow. Simply put, he was the best player in the country.
RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas
The Longhorn crushed Big 12 defenses, rushing for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns on 323 carries. He was a workhorse back who deserved a better fate than a 5-7 season. He will enter the 2017 NFL Draft after surpassing 100 rushing yards in each of his past 13 games at Texas, and he became the second 2,000-yard rusher in school history. Ricky Williams was the first.
RB Dalvin Cook, FSU
The Seminole recorded 1,620 yards on the ground, and another 426 yards on 30 catches out of the backfield. He finished tied for 10th in the Heisman voting and is the leading rusher in FSU history with 4,319 yards and 45 touchdowns in just three seasons. Cook passed Warrick Dunn’s career rushing record of 3,959 yards against Syracuse earlier this season.
WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
The Sooner was a big-play machine, averaging 19.8 yards per catch and finding the end zone 16 times on the year. He was a catalyst for the run that OU made after its early season stumbles, and earned an invite to the Heisman ceremony for such efforts. Westbrook led all Power Five players with 1.33 receiving touchdowns per game and set a school record with 16 scores through the air. In his last nine games, he has racked up 1,311 yards.
WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
He made his presence felt immediately in Kalamazoo, having been a top producer for the Broncos dating back to his freshman year. For his career, Davis has over 5,000 receiving yards, and caught 91 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 scores for undefeated WMU this season.
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
With Laquon Treadwell gone, Chad Kelly needed a No. 1 weapon. Engram seamlessly slid into that role, finishing second in the SEC in receiving yards. On the year he caught 65 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns. For his career, Engram recorded 162 catches for 2,320 yards and 15 scores.
All-Purpose Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
The multi-dimensional Sooner ran for 1,183 yards and had 449 receiving yards while also returning a kick for a touchdown. He was a big-play threat that probably should have received even more touches than he accumulated. His running and pass-catching abilities, along with his kick-return skills, will make him a valuable commodity in the NFL.
OL Pat Elflein, Ohio State
The former guard excelled as a center this fall, earning first-team all-Big Ten recognition for the third straight season. His play was needed on a line that had some issues in 2016. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy (awarded to the best interior lineman in college football) and was the winner of the Rimington Trophy (awarded to the best center in the game).
OL Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
The massive redshirt sophomore Sooner burst onto the scene last year when Bob Stoops and Co. were on their run to the College Football Playoff. The tackle is one of the best blockers in the country, and he was a key component to an offense that flourished after a tough beginning. Brown confirmed Tuesday that he will return for his redshirt junior season rather than enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
OL Ethan Pocic, LSU
The Tigers have had help in their run game because of Pocic’s strong play at center. The Rimington Trophy finalist has been one of the SEC’s best offensive linemen the last few years and is one of the top O-Linemen in LSU’s history. Pocic started all 11 games for the Tigers in 2016, with 10 coming at center and one at right tackle. He led all Bayou Bengals linemen in total snaps played and allowed just one sack all season.
OL Chad Wheeler, USC
The Trojans gave up a mere 11 sacks in 12 contests this fall, and the senior left tackle was a big reason for such strong protection. He has been a great ally to young quarterback Sam Darnold, who had a clean pocket quite often during the team’s win streak to close the regular season.
OL Dorian Johnson, Pitt
The Panthers guard is a three-year starter who helped pace a strong rushing attack as well as protect quarterback Nate Peterman. He is arguably the best Pitt O-Lineman since College Football Hall of Famer Ruben Brown. Johnson was a key part of an offense that compiled 508 points and was the nation’s No. 10 scoring offense at 42.3 points per game. Additionally, he did not surrender a single sack this year.
First Team Defense
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Consider for a moment that Allen received more first-place Heisman Trophy votes than Michigan defenders Jabrill Peppers despite not receiving an invite to the ceremony. The senior was a dominant player on a dominant defense, scoring two defensive touchdowns and recording 13 tackles for loss.
DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee
The junior had 12 sacks this fall, giving him 32 for his career, as well as two forced fumbles and an interception. It was a beat-up Vols defense that needed to lean heavily on their star D-Lineman, and he should get credit for playing well despite losing so much help on that side of the ball.
DL Ed Oliver, Houston
The Cougar lived up to the high expectations of being a five-star freshman in a Group of Five league, as he stood out tremendously and was a real factor in the team’s win over Oklahoma and Louisville. He logged 19 tackles for loss, nine pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
The Aggie only played in 10 games this past fall due to injury, but he was still able to log 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He should easily be a Top 5 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Another ‘Bama linebacker, another Butkus Award winner for Nick Saban. Just par for the course. Foster had 94 tackles, including 12 for loss, as well as four sacks and two pass breakups for the nation’s best defense.
LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
The Commodore had two of the best plays from the 2016 SEC season—a fourth-down tackle against Georgia that secured a Vandy upset win, and a blocked field goal against Auburn that almost led to an upset. He finished with 119 tackles, including 16.5 for loss, along with three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
LB T.J Watt, Wisconsin
The Badgers remained in the College Football Playoff conversation because of their speedy and physical defense, which remained at a high level even when the injury bug bit. The younger brother of Houston Texans star J.J. Watt played outstanding in his first season as a starter, leading the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks and also recording an interception return for a touchdown.
DB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
While he did miss three games this season, Lewis is sometimes overlooked because of the freakish athletic ability of Jabrill Peppers. He was tasked with defending the opposition’s top receiver, and recorded two interceptions and 10 pass breakups this past fall for a stout Woverines defense.
DB Sidney Jones, Washington
The Huskies had a nasty defense this past fall despite losing a couple of key players to injury. Cornerback Jones has three interceptions and six pass breakups on a unit that has allowed less than 6.0 yards per pass in 2016.
DB Malik Hooker, Ohio State
All the Buckeyes do is reload. The first-year starter recorded six interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. He added 67 tackles, including five for loss, and is one of the reasons why the Buckeyes are in the College Football Playoff.
DB Jamal Adams, LSU
The hard-hitting Tiger is adept versus both the run and pass, and he recorded 70 tackles (including 6.5 for loss), three pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble in 2016.
All-Purpose, Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Did you see what he was able to do to Notre Dame in the regular-season finale? The Trojans track and field star is not only one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, logging four interceptions and 11 pass breakups, but he has four return touchdowns as well as a 52-yard scoring grab. In the win over the Irish, Jackson alone returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns and caught a scoring pass.
First Team Special Teams
K Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
The Sun Devil connected on 23 of 25 field goals in 2016, showcasing his accuracy and strong leg. This past fall he hit from 53, 54 and 59 yards.
P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
The Utes lost two-time Ray Guy Award winner Tom Hackett, but Wishnowsky did his very best Hackett impression. He averaged 48 yards per punt, including dropping 14 of them inside of the 10-yard line.
Second Team Offense
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
RB Jeremy McNichols, Boise State
WR John Ross, Washington
WR Zay Jones, East Carolina
TE Adam Breneman, UMass
All-Purpose Quadree Henderson, Pitt
OL Connor Williams, Texas
OL Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
OL Nico Siragusa, San Diego State
OL Cody O’Connell, Washington State
OL Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Second Team Defense
DL DeMarcus Walker, FSU
DL Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State
DL Carlos Watkins, Clemson
DL Hunter Dimick, Utah
LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
LB Ben Boulware, Clemson
LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF
DB Teez Tabor, Florida
DB Tre’Davious White, LSU
DB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
DB Budda Baker, Washington
All-Purpose Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Second Team Special Teams
K Daniel Carlson, Auburn
P Johnny Townsend, Florida