KillerFrogs College Football All America Team: Re Thinking The AP Selections

The Associated Press releases their All America team following conference championship weekend annually. This year, the 2021 edition was dropped on Dec. 13. It features plenty of good selections, led by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and a myriad of future first-round draft picks.

However, football hierarchies and preexisting notions about players, teams, and competition can skew the results. I didn't agree with all the selections, so I made my own.

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First of all, the AP list has plenty of solid picks. I agreed with most of it, but it's hard to understand what basis this list is on without a brief explanation.

My list is built on players that accomplished the most with what they had. Individual awards were certainly considered. Off the bat, Bryce Young is not on my list because this was the weakest Heisman group in recent memory. While deserving of the award, I don't believe he had the strongest year of any quarterback in the nation.

I did take into account bowl performance or lack thereof. While the AP list comes out before bowls happen, I weighed into account player performance under postseason pressure.

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Stats matter, but weren't the only deciding factor. That said, let's take a look.

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KillerFrogs 2021 All America Team: Offense


Quarterback: Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky. This guy broke the all-time single season passing records for both yards and touchdowns. He did it with a notably less-talented receiving group than Joe Burrow at LSU (which featured not one, but two first-round receivers). Even more impressively, Zappe did it in one fewer game.

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Running back: Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State. Walker won the award for the nation's best running back for good reason. He torched Michigan to the tune of five full touchdowns– a defense that was strong against the run– and left no questions.

Running back: Hassan Haskins, Michigan.Haskins, I thought, was more impressive than AP's selection, Breece Hall (Iowa State). Haskins found the promised land five times himself against Ohio State and led Michigan to their most important win in the last 20+ years. Haskins finished the season with 20 touchdowns.

Wide receiver: Jameson Williams, Alabama. When Williams went down with a torn ACL in the National Championship game, Alabama's offense came to a screeching halt. He posted over 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns, impressive marks for not being the only receiving option on his own team.

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Wide receiver: Jordan Addison, Pitt. The Fred Biletnikoff award winner was the nation's best receiver as a sophomore. There wasn't a defensive back in the nation that could slow Addison down. The scariest part for the rest of the ACC: Addison returns next season.

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Wide receiver: David Bell, Purdue. I agree on all of the AP selections for the best receivers. David Bell was so instrumental to his team that the offense collapsed when he couldn't get going. As a freshman, Bell breached 1,000 yards. This year, he pushed over 1,200. Bell also went for over 200 yards not once, but twice in a game.

Tight end: Brock Bowers, Georgia. Colorado State's Trey McBryde was the AP selection and he played an admirable year. But Bowers utterly destroyed the SEC as a true freshman. Bowers is a superstar in the making and his accomplishments this season are large and by far the most impressive of any tight end.

Offensive tackle: Ikem Ekwonu, NC State. I won't pretend to be a good offensive line evaluator or even have a solid eye for OL talent. However, Ekwonu is a projected top-five NFL draft pick and that's an easy pick for me.

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Offense tackle: Evan Neal, Alabama. Again, this isn't an original pick for an All American, but Evan Neal is a BIG DUDE. He's powerful and is another highly-projected draft pick. I'll let the draft experts and NFL executives direct these decisions.

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Offensive guard: Thayer Munford, Ohio State. Interior offensive linemen rarely get drafted in the first round. Usually, college offensive tackles are converted inside for one reason or another, but Munford is a late-first to second-round projected pick.

Offensive guard: Zion Johnson, Boston College. Full transparency: A draft expert I really trust has been pounding the table for Zion Johnson for months. That's all.

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Center: Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa. You don't need to be an offensive line aficionado to see just how good Tyler Linderbaum is. Smart, seasoned, athletic, earnest. Even fewer centers get drafted in the first round and, if they do, they're truly transformative players. Linderbaum isn't just projected to go in the first round, but the first half of the first round.

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All-purpose back: Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State. To the chagrin of the Big 12, Vaughn is returning to Kansas State this upcoming year. He stands a whopping 5' 6" tall but looks just like former NFL workhorse back Darren Sproles. He scored four touchdowns against LSU in the Texas Bowl, including one through the air. He's a danger in the return game, out of the backfield, and as a rusher.

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Kicker: Noah Ruggles, Ohio State. Ruggles missed one field goal this year. One. He was excellent in the Rose Bowl, coming up clutch with the winning kick as time expired. The fourth-year starter was money and the most clutch kicker in the nation.

KillerFrogs 2021 All America Team: Defense


Edge rusher: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon. Thibodeaux has been pinned as a potential first overall draft pick since high school. While his stat sheet might not blow the world away, he is in the same vain as the Rams' Aaron Donald; he draws so much extra attention that teams actively change game plans to avoid him. Certified freak.

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Edge rusher: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan. While potentially under-deserving, Hutchinson was a Heisman Trophy finalist. He terrorized opposing offensive lines, but none more so than Ohio State's. Big players perform in big spots and his valiant effort against the arch-rival Buckeyes gets Hutchinson a huge boost. He's also the favorite to be picked first overall in the NFL Draft.

Defensive line: Jordan Davis, Georgia. Davis became just the third player to be awarded both the Outland Trophy (given to the nation's best defensive player) and the Bronko Nagurski Award (given to the nation's most outstanding lineman). Even against stout SEC offensive lines, Davis often drew double and triple teams. He'll be drafted in the first round of the upcoming draft.

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Defensive line: George Karlaftis, Purdue. Karlaftis was one of the lone bright spots on Purdue's defense this year. When he didn't wreck shop, Purdue gave up tons of points and usually lost. When he got loose, Purdue won. The meaningfulness to his team gives Karlaftis major points.

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Linebacker: Will Anderson Jr., Alabama. No player made the same splash that Will Anderson did in Tuscaloosa this year. He finished 2021-22 with 34.5 tackles for loss– more than double second place. Anderson also led the nation in sacks, a feat almost always achieved by edge rushers. He may be the most transformative defensive player to play for Alabama in years. That's a HIGH honor.

Linebacker: Nakobe Dean, Georgia. Dean was awarded the Butkis Award, given to the nation's top linebacker. Hard to argue with that. He's the fastest sideline-to-sideline linebacker in the country and is a budding NFL star. Dean is projected to be a first-round draft pick with top-10 potential. He exhibits shades of the Buccaneers' Lavonte David.

Linebacker: Devin Lloyd, Utah. Lloyd is in contention for the most athletic linebacker in the nation. While was schemed out of usefulness in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State, Devin Lloyd single-handedly destroyed Oregon twice this year. He was head and shoulders the best linebacker in the Pac-12 and will thrive as an NFL linebacker.

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Cornerback: Riley Moss, Iowa. It came as a pleasant surprise to Hawkeye fans that Riley Moss will return to Kinnick next season. A true ball-hawk, Moss has fantastic hands, lightning-fast closing speed, and a nose for the football. He led the charge for an Iowa defense that led the nation in turnovers forced per game.

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Cornerback: Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Cincinnati. Maybe the most ridiculous stat in all of college football: Gardner played over 1,100 snaps in his college career and gave up zero touchdowns. Not one. This season, he allowed eight receptions total. There's no debate as to who the nation's top defensive back was and Sauce was it.

Safety: Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame. Nobody could cover 52 yards faster than Kyle Hamilton (the width of a football field, for those wondering). He has unbelievable ball skills and soft hands. Hamilton is a big safety, standing 6' 4." He's a hard hitter, a sure tackler, and a player you don't throw at, period. He's also a top-three NFL prospect.

Safety: Jalen Pitre, Baylor. Pitre was the anchor of a Baylor defense that routinely shut down offenses from Oklahoma to Ole Miss. He was such an effective safety that his position coach Matt Powledge was hired by Dan Lanning to be Oregon's defensive coordinator.

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Punter: Matt Arazia, San Diego State. Arazia wasn't just the best punter by far in the nation, he broke records. For San Diego State, he recorded an 81-yard punt. Rarely are punters considered weapons, but Matt Arazia was one of the best weapons in the nation.

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