With the season less than a week from kicking off, I have decided against my better judgment to name the 2010 All Mack Team for the pre-season. Just to be clear on the criteria, this is THE team that I would choose if I had one game to play and win if my life depended on it. And with that, here is the 2010 Pre-Season All Mack Team.
QB - Christian Ponder - Florida St.
This guy is an interesting case. Seems like he's been at FSU forever, and I think minus a couple of bad breaks he could easily been mentioned in the same circles as the Ryan Mallets and Jake Lockers of the world. I think with the new regime at FSU (although they did do Bobby wrong), this will be a breakout year for Ponder. Think Chris Weinke's Heisman Trophy season.
Honorable mention: Ryan Mallet (Arkansas), Jake Locker (Washington), Jacory Harris (Miami), Andrew Luck (Stanford), Case Keenum (Houston)
RB - Mark Ingram - Alabama
Aside from the fact that this guy is the reigning Heisman trophy winner, he just gets it. He's a ball player through and through. He always seems to show up at the right time, whether it's in pass protection or taking a 2 yard dumpoff 73 yards. Last season, he had over 1000 yards rushing AFTER CONTACT. Absolutely amazing.
RB - Noel Devine - West Virginia
He made this team last season and righfully so, he makes it again this year. Probably the most explosive and exciting player to watch in all of college football. His juke & jerk running style is reminiscent of Barry Sanders and his break away speed rivals that of Bo Jackson. I'm looking for big things from Noel this season.
Honorable Mention: Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon St.), Trent Richardson (Alabama), Ryan Williams (VaTech), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma St.)
WR - A.J. Green - Georgia
Todd McShay just called him the best player in all of college football. And if you've ever watched AJ play, it's kind of tough to put many holes in that argument. He meant everything to his team offensively last season. He has soft hands, more than adequate separation speed, great leaping ability, and he runs crisp routes. I'm not sure what more you may want from your #1 WR.
WR - Michael Floyd - Notre Dame
I went on record last season and called this guy the real deal. Had he not gotten hurt, Jimmy Clausen would've probably gone higher in the draft than he did and Charle Weis would still be Notre Dame's head coach. But as the saying goes, if IF was a 5th, we'd all be effed up (hammered, drunk, smashed, etc.). Either way, this guy has all the tools. I'm not too sure what starting QB Dayne Crist will do, but I do know that Brian Kelly's offense should make Floyd a household name this fall.
WR - Julio Jones - Alabama
After a superb freshman season, Julio ran into the proverbial sophomore slump in terms of numbers. But based on the criteria for this list, I don't know if I'd want any other football player, let alone a WR, more than Julio if my life depended on it. In two of Alabama's toughest games last season (LSU & Auburn), it was Julio that was the difference in both of them, taking a bubble screen 50+ yards for a TD against LSU and turning into a possession receiver and catching 5 short passes converting them for 1st downs on the decisive game winning drive against Auburn. In addition to that, Julio can also be credited with great downfield block for last year's Heisman Trophy Winner.
Honorable Mention: James Rodgers (Oregon), Darvin Adams (Auburn), Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma), Greg Childs (Arkansas)
TE - D.J. Williams - Arkansas
It seems to me like this guy has been at Arkansas forever. Before Mallet. Before Petrino. And he's been a terror in the middle of the field since before they had a real passing threat. Arm him with a mammoth QB with a laser arm and a head coach/offensive coordinator hell-bent on throwing the ball 50 times a game, and in DJ Williams you have the college version of Tony Gonzalez.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame), Luke Stocker (Tennessee), Dwayne Allen (Clemson), Wesley Saunders (S. Carolina)**
T- Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin
T - Bo Thran - Oregon
Both of these guys are big, aggresive and have good feet.
Honorable Mention: Lee Ziemba (Auburn), Marcus Cannon (TCU), Demarcus Love (Arkansas)
C - Mike Pouncey - Florida
Probably the undisputed leader of the team now that Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, and his twin brother Maurkice have departed for the NFL's greener pastures. He's been the stout centerpiece of the offensive line at Florida for the past 2 seasons and I see him continuing that this season.
Honorable Mention: William Vlachos (Alabama), Ben Jones (Georgia), Kristofer O'dowd (USC)
G - Rodney Hudson - Florida St.
Considered by many the best offensive lineman in college football going into the season, Hudson is the perfect combination of size, agility, strength, speed, and intelligence. He has received All-ACC honors his previous 3 seasons at FSU and is on the verge of becoming the most decorated offensive lineman in Florida St. history.
G - Thomas Claiborne - Boston College
Another intelligent road grader at the guard position. He led a line last season that blocked for a back who ran the rock 308 times (4th most nationally).
Honorable Mention: Barrett Jones (Alabama), Bryant Browning (Ohio St.), Alan Pelc (North Carolina), Ryan Miller (Colorado), Carl Johnson (Florida)
DE - Marcel Dareus - Alabama
Probably the best kept secret in college football until last year's national championship game. Everyone in the state of Alabama who has watched Marcel since his high school days, knows that he's virtually unblockable. A rare combination of size, strength, agility, and speed, Marcel is Alabama highest rated NFL prospect (over the likes of Mark Ingram and Julio Jones).
DE - Adrian Clayborn - Iowa
I can't quite put a finger on who this guy reminds me of. He's big, ripped to shreds, and has a mean streak on the field that's unmatched. He's an absolute terror any opposing QB and looks to put Iowa in serious contension to win the Big 10 this season.
Honorable Mention: Sam Acho (Texas), Allen Bailey (Miami), Greg Quinn (UNC)
DT - Sam Acho (Texas)
This guy is so good and versatile that he's listed as both DT and DE. Texas's defense under Will Muschamp has been stellar and I don't see it being any different this season with Acho anchoring.
Honorable Mention: Marvin Austin (UNC), Jared Crick (Nebraska), Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson)
LB - Dont'a Hightower - Alabama
There's been many whisperings that last year's Heisman Trophy winner wasn't even the best running back on his own team. Well, last year's Butkus Award winner,Rolando McClain, may not have been the best linebacker on the team, either. That distinction probably would've gone to Dont'a Hightower had his season not been cut short by a nasty knee injury against Arkansas. This season, Dont'a is the undisputed man on defense. He can play every linebacker position and even some defensive end. Look for Dont'a to have a special season.
LB - Greg Jones - Michigan St.
Two words for this guy: Tackling Machine...the end..that's all you need to know.
LB - Josh Bynes - Auburn
When I watch this guy play, two former Alabama linebackers, ironically, come to mind. Saleem Rasheed and Brooks Daniels. Josh is not the biggest guy, but he has a nose for the ball. And typically when he gets to you, you go down. If not, he has enough strength to hold on until the rest of his teammates arrive. He's a gamer, and a playmaker.
LB - Kelvin Sheppard - LSU
A bigger, faster version of Josh Bynes. He very rarely misses tackles and because he's so good in the open field, it allows John Chavis to take more chances with his guys up front.
Honorable Mention: Quan Sturdivant (UNC), Greg Lloyd (UConn), Tank Carder (TCU), Bruce Carter (UNC), Sean Spence (Miami), Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
CB - Patrick Peterson - LSU
Without question the closest thing to a shutdown corner as there has been in college football for a long time. Size, speed, fluidity in the hips, great feet, great vertical, and a solid tackler. The only thing he's missing is soft hands. But then again, that's why he's a DB and not a WR. He's my first pick at DB for any team I'm choosing this year.
CB - Stephon Gilmore - South Carolina
I like Gilmore's style. He has the mindset to be a great DB. I've seen him get beat on a play and get up acting as if he'd made a pick 6. In addition to his mindset, he also has the physical tools to be one of the best in the country.
Honorable Mention: Jenoris Jenkins (Florida), Brandon Harris (Miami), Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio St.), Rashad Carmichael (VaTech), Aaron Williams (Texas)
S - Mark Barron - Alabama
When you're on the same team with Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Dont'a Hightower, and you're deferred to as the best overall athlete on the team regardless of position,you're definitely worth keeping an eye on. Coming into last season having to replace the heart & soul of Alabama's defense Rashad Johnson, Barron filled in nicely leading the SEC in interceptions with 7. This season, he takes over as one of the leaders on a defense that lost 9 starters.
S - Rahim Moore - UCLA
Probably the best returning safety in the country. Led the nation last year with 10 interceptions. And ranked second in the country in passes defended. A fast ranger defender who can cover a lot of ground on the backside of a defense.
Honorable Mention: Jeron Johnson (Boise St.), Blake Gideon (Texas), Quinton Carter (Oklahoma), Jermale Hines (Ohio St.), Will Hill (Florida), Ahmad Black (Florida)
K - Grant Ressel - Missouri
Emerged last season from virtual obscurity to being named an All-American by most services at the end of last season. Has a big leg and is accurate (was 96.3% accurate last season). On top of that, he has ice water running through his veins as he displayed against Mizzou's arch-rival Kansas last season on his game winning field goal with no time remaining.
Honorable Mention: Wes Byrum (Auburn), Blair Walsh (Georgia), Joe Phillips (Utah), Kevin Goessling (Fresno St.), Kai Forbath (UCLA)
P - Chas Henry - Florida
Not really much to say other than this guy can pin you so far back into your endzone that you're in the endzone when you take your snap...and he can do it on a consistent basis. He was as much a part of Florida's success over the past few seasons as Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes. He's the closest thing to a big name punter outside the Colquitt dynasty at Tennessee.
Honorable Mention: Rob Long (Syracuse), Peter Caldwell (Utah State), Drew Butler (Georgia)
KR/PR - T.Y. Hilton - Florida International
I got a chance to see this guy up close & personal last season and he's a PURE threat to score every time he touches the ball. I have him here for both punt returner and kick returner, but he's also an offensive threat! He's not the biggest guy in the world, but you won't find too many football players who are better.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Locke (Kentucky), Dennis Johnson (Arkansas), Warren Norman (Vanderbilt), Brandon Boykin (Georgia), Chris Owusu (Stanford)