ESPN values Alabama football players highly in All-America Team projection
There is no normal in this Alabama football season. The same is true for the other 75 FBS teams playing this fall. More abnormal are the ‘maybe’ fall or possible spring seasons for the remaining FBS schools.
Something normally straightforward becomes complicated with any ranking of college football’s best players. In a recent ranking of the 50 Best Players in CFB, players from all conferences were included. ESPN took a different approach in projecting what a December All-America Team will be. No players from conferences opting-out of fall are included.
Evaluating the current projection with those done in the past is impossible. When players from only 76 FBS teams are considered, some individual schools will have more players selected.
Except for a few NAIA conferences, the only fall football will be by SEC, ACC, Big 12, Conference USA, American Athletic and Sun Belt teams. Given the SEC always dominates team and player rankings, the trend for 2020 is even stronger than past seasons.
ESPN projected 26 All-America players for 2020. They chose 12 on offense, 11 on defense and three on special teams. How those 26 selections break down is impressive for Alabama Football. The Alabama Crimson Tide received six, pre-season All-America votes. Combined, the other 13 SEC schools had five players selected. Besides Alabama, only four other SEC schools had players chosen. The other four are LSU, with two and Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky with one each.
With 11 of the 26 players coming from the SEC, only 15 players were selected from the five other conferences competing this fall. Those 15 players are eight from the ACC and seven from the Big 12. Among the ACC and Big 12 schools, only Clemson had more than one player selected.
Note: Notre Dame’s one player selected was included in the ACC number
Alabama Football Players – ESPN Pre-Season All-America Team
- Wide Receiver: DeVonta Smith
- Offensive Tackle: Alex Leatherwood
- Offensive Guard: Deonte Brown
- All-Purpose: Jaylen Waddle
- Linebacker: Dylan Moses
- Cornerback: Patrick Surtain II
Other SEC Players – ESPN Pre-Season All-America Team
- Offensive Tackle: Trey Smith, Tennessee
- Linebacker: Jabril Cox, LSU
- Safety: Richard LeCounte, Georgia
- Cornerback: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
- Punter: Max Duffy, Kentucky
What should Alabama football fans take from the ESPN projection? Joy and pride are warranted. ‘No Aubies’ can be chanted for fun. Conversely, pre-season rankings of teams or players do not win football games. As good as the Tide’s chosen six are, it takes dozens of players at varying skill levels to win championships.