As the college football season approaches, publications are beginning to unveil their preseason projections and sports books are setting the odds on the awards’ favorites for the 2020 season. Notably, in the past few weeks, some of the All-America team selectors are releasing their favorites for the preseason teams. And, of note for the Canes faithful, some selectors are pegging a few Miami players as the preseason favorites for the All-American rosters.
The College Football All-America Team honors have been awarded since 1889. But, as of 2009, the All-America Team is composed of first teams chosen by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly, ESPN, CBS Sports, College Football News, ProFootballFocus, Rivals.com, and Scout.com. In that same year, the NCAA officially recognized the All-America Teams chosen by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Foundation, where players selected by these organizations could receive “Consensus” and “Unanimous” distinctions, depending on the distribution of first team honors at certain positions.
Dating back to the 1950’s, Miami has produced 35 consensus All-Americans, and even more in the individual publications, but has not had a Consensus first-team All-American since Antrel Rolle in 2004, who was also a unanimous selection. In the past ten years, however, the All-American distinctions has been barren of Miami representation. Duke Johnson received all purpose/return specialist All-America honors by College Football News in 2012 and Clive Walford received tight end honors from FOX in 2014. Walford and fellow teammate, Denzel Perryman, were named third-team All-Americans by the Associated Press that year, the first Canes to receive AP Honors since Kenny Phillips received the Third Team distinction in 2007.
Needless to say, in the past five years, Miami has been on the outside looking in for their pursuit of National Honors. However, for select names who have appeared in the early preseason All-America 2020 projections, it appears the tide may be turning in the U’s favor.
On June 11, Walter Camp Football Foundation, which is named after the legendary coach, Announced their 2020 Preseason All-American Team. The preseason Walter Camp selections named DL Gregory Rousseau, who is the most likely Cane to receive his fair share of recognition in 2020 to their First Team and another DL, Quincy Roche, to their Second Team. Rousseau arguably could have been an All-American in 2019 after he compiled 18 Tackles for Loss, 14 sacks, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles, and one recovery. However, for at least one of the defensive line spots, Rousseau was competing with the number two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and unanimous selection, Chase Young.
Here are the players from the state of Florida to earn a spot as Walter Camp preseason All-American honors:— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) June 11, 2020
TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (1st team)
DL Gregory Rousseau, Miami (1st team)
DL Marvin Wilson, FSU (1st team)
DL Quincy Roche, Miami (2nd team)
The only other selector to unveil their preseason projections that is subject to the NCAA Consensus/Unanimous distinction has been The Sporting News. The Sporting News included Rousseau on their First Team and Roche on their Second Team, but also included Miami’s Tight End, Brevin Jordan, to their Second Team, over one of the nation’s top Tight Ends and Gator, Kyle Pitts. The three choices for the Canes in The Sporting News’ preseason favorites is tied for the second most for a team behind Alabama, who had seven (!) players listed.
Clemson had two studs on the First Team All-American in QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne (they likely could have had a third in that group in WR Justyn Ross, but he will be missing the 2020 season due to a spinal issue). The only other ACC players recognized by Walter Camp’s or Sporting News’ First Team were Florida State DL, Marvin Wilson, on both First Teams, and Pitt DL Jaylen Twyman, UNC LB, Chazz Suratt, and Syracuse DB, Andre Cisco, all on the Sporting News’ First Team.
#FSU DL Marvin Wilson and #Canes DL Gregory Rousseau were named a preseason first-team, all-American selections by Sporting News. #Gators DL Tedarrell Slaton and Miami TE Brevin Jordan and DL Quincy Roche are 2nd team selections.https://t.co/JCn393TcyB— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) June 25, 2020
In the coming weeks, the other major selectors will likely release their Preseason Projections, the Associated Press being the most well-respected decider. Rousseau will be frequently recognized in not only the preseason All-American projections, but will indubitably be coined as favorite for Defensive Player of the Year awards and other ACC honors.
Snubs? The only other national-caliber talent on the Canes is QB D’Eriq King, who is slated by some oddsmakers as the fourth most likely to win the Heisman award. The Preseason QB position rightfully should be occupied by Clemson’s Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, until further notice. But, if King maintains the Heisman odds throughout the season, then All-American recognition is not completely out of question.
Fittingly, I am writing this All-American piece on July 4th weekend. With that being said, there is still a lot of time and a lot of football to be played before the Canes’ fireworks are flying. Even so, having Miami individual players back in the hunt for National Honors should bring the Canes, as a team, back into the national limelight. Regardless, as my State of the U colleague wrote, a resurgent Miami Hurricanes Program is College Football’s Nightmare. That nightmare may soon be a reality when led by players like Rousseau, Roche, Jordan, and King.