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August 18, 2010

Rivals.com 2010 preseason All-America team

Picks by Rivals.com staff; text by Olin Buchanan

If great players indeed create great teams, then beware of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Georgia Bulldogs, TCU Horned Frogs, North Carolina Tar Heels and Alabama Crimson Tide.

Each of those schools has four players listed on the Rivals.com preseason All-America team, which includes the reigning Heisman winner, a quarterback who could be the first to pass for 6,000 yards in a season and the nation's leaders in interceptions and sacks.

Running back Mark Ingram, who last season became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman, aims to build on a spectacular sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,658 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.

Duplicating a season that productive won't be an easy task, but it's certainly seems more likely than matching the standard that Houston quarterback Case Keenum set for himself. Keenum passed for more than 400 yards in seven games in '09 on the way to leading the nation with 5,671 yards and 44 touchdown passes and helping the Cougars post 10 victories.

He could post even gaudier statistics this season. The Cougars' schedule includes six opponents that ranked 98th or worse in the nation in pass defense last season.

Keenum threw 15 interceptions in '09 (an average of one in every 46.7 passes), and nine occurred in the last two games. That will be a point of concern when the Cougars travel to face free safety Rahim Moore and UCLA on Sept. 18; Moore led the nation with 10 interceptions last season.

At least Keenum won't have to worry about facing the pass rush of Texas A&M linebacker/end Von Miller, who is aiming to follow up a breakout season in which he led the country with 17 sacks.

Every league except the Sun Belt is represented on the three preseason teams. The Pac-10 has the most selections with 15, followed by the SEC with 13, the ACC and Big Ten with 11 each, the Big 12 with nine, the Big East with six, Conference USA and the Mountain West with four each, the Western Athletic with three and independents and Mid-American with one each.

Here are the three preseason teams.

QB Case Keenum, Houston (6-2/210, Sr.)
Abilene (Texas) Wylie
RB Mark Ingram, Alabama (5-10/215, Jr.)
Flint (Mich.) Southwestern Academy
RB Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh (5- 8/195, Soph.)
Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy
WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh (6-5/230, Jr.)
Aliquippa (Pa.) High
WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (6-3/227, Jr.)
St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall
WR A.J. Green, Georgia (6-4/205, Jr.)
Summerville (S.C.) High
T Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin (6- 7/315, Sr.)
Cottage Grove (Wis.) Monona Grove
T Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh (6- 4/305, Sr.)
Pittsburgh Baldwin
G Justin Boren, Ohio State (6-3/320, Sr.)
Pickerington (Ohio) High
G Rodney Hudson, Florida State (6-2/282, Sr.)
Mobile (Ala.) B.C. Rain
C Mike Pouncey, Florida (6-4/310, Sr.)
Lakeland (Fla.) High
K Kai Forbath, UCLA (6-0/192, Sr.)
Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
PR Jeremy Kerley, TCU (5-10/192, Sr.)
Hutto (Texas) High
E Adrian Clayborn, Iowa (6-4/285, Sr.)
St. Louis Webster Groves
T Jurrell Casey, USC (6-1/295, Jr.)
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
T Stephen Paea, Oregon State (6-1/311, Sr.)
Snow College (Utah),
E Robert Quinn, North Carolina (6-5/270, Jr.)
North Charleston (S.C.) Ft. Dorchester
LB Greg Jones, Michigan State (6-1/235, Sr.)
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller
LB Von Miller, Texas A&M (6-3/240, Sr.)
DeSoto (Texas) High
LB Quan Sturdivant, N. Carolina (6-2/235, Sr.)
Oakboro (N.C.) West Stanly
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU (6-1/214, Jr.)
Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely
CB Aaron Williams, Texas (6-1/195, Jr.)
Round Rock (Texas) McNeil
FS Rahim Moore, UCLA (6-1/195, Jr.)
Los Angeles Dorsey
SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (6- 1/215, Sr.)
Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby
P Drew Butler, Georgia (6-2/203, Jr.)
Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge High
KR Chris Owusu, Stanford (6-2/202, Jr.)
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian

First team analysis: A year ago, Pittsburgh boasted one of the nation's highest-scoring teams, and that doesn't figure to change with running back Dion Lewis, offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin back in the fold. Lewis rushed for nearly 1,800 yards last season, while Pinkston made some All-America teams and Baldwin averaged 19.5 yards per catch.

One thing to watch: All three first-team receivers -- Baldwin, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd and Georgia's A.J. Green -- are working with new starting quarterbacks.

North Carolina has two defenders on the first team: end Robert Quinn and linebacker Quan Sturdivant. UNC is one of just two teams that held Pittsburgh to fewer than 20 points last season.

QB Kellen Moore, Boise State (6 -0/187, Jr.)
Prosser (Wash.) High
RB LaMichael James, Oregon (5-9/180, Soph.)
Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau
RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (5-10/211, Soph.)
Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson
WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (5- 11/183, Sr.)
Norman (Okla.) High
WR Julio Jones, Alabama (6-4/211, Jr.)
Foley (Ala.) High
WR James Rodgers, Oregon State (5-7/188, Sr.)
Rosenberg (Texas) Lamar Consolidated
T Marcus Cannon, TCU (6-5/350, Sr.)
Odessa (Texas) High
T Anthony Castonzo, B. C. (6-7/295, Sr.)
Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military Academy
G Andrew Jackson, Fresno State (6-5/295, Sr.)
Grass Valley (Calif.) Nevada Union
G Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State (6-3/297, Sr.)
Pittsburgh Central Catholic
C Colin Baxter, Arizona (6-4/295, Sr.)
Rolling Hills (Calif.) Palos Verdes Peninsula
K Blair Walsh, Georgia (5-10/191, Jr.)
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons
PR Greg Reid, Florida State (5- 8/174, Soph.)
Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes
E Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue (6-4/263, Sr.)
Muncie (Ind.) Central
T Jared Crick, Nebraska (6-6/285, Jr.)
Cozad (Neb.) High
E Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh (6- 6/270, Sr.)
Coral Springs (Fla.) Coral Glades
LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State (6-3/245, Soph.)
Corona (Calif.) Centennial
LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (6- 4/260, Jr.)
Lewisburg (Tenn.) Marshall County
LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma (6-2/232, Jr.)
San Antonio Lee
LB Korey Williams, Southern Miss (6-2/233, Jr.)
New Orleans Edna Karr
CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska (6 -1/205, Sr.)
Glendale (Ariz.) Apollo
CB Trevin Wade, Arizona (5-11/182, Jr.)
Round Rock (Texas) Stoney Point
FS Tejay Johnson, TCU (6-1/212, Sr.)
Garland (Texas) South Garland
SS Tyler Sash, Iowa (6-1/210, Jr.)
Oskaloosa (Iowa) High
P Tress Way, Oklahoma (6-1/220, Soph.)
Tulsa (Okla.) Union
KR Tyron Carrier, Houston (5-8/163, Jr.)
Houston Worthing

Second team analysis: Many observers believe Boise State is a legitimate national championship contender. Second-team quarterback Kellen Moore is a big reason for that.

In two previous seasons leading the Broncos, the extremely poised and accurate Moore has passed for 7,022 yards and 64 touchdowns (against just 13 picks). Even more impressive, Boise State is 26-1 with Moore as its starter.

The second team also includes two of the nation's most explosive running backs, Oregon's LaMichael James and Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams.

The defense is headed by Nebraska tackle Jared Crick and Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who is coming back from an injury that forced him to miss most of last season.

QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (6-6/238, Jr.)
Texarkana (Texas) Texas
RB John Clay, Wisconsin (6-1/248, Jr.)
Racine (Wis.) Washington Park
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State (5-7/188, Jr.)
Rosenberg (Texas) Lamar Consolidated
WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati (6- 4/200, Jr.)
Pasadena (Calif.) High
WR Austin Pettis, Boise State (6- 3/201, Sr.)
Orange (Calif.) Orange Lutheran
WR Devier Posey, Ohio State (6- 2/200, Jr.)
Cincinnati La Salle
T Clint Boling, Georgia (6-5/310, Sr.)
Alpharetta (Ga.) Chattahoochee
T Nate Solder, Colorado (6-9/300, Sr.)
Buena Vista (Colo.) High
G Zach Hurd, Connecticut (6- 7/316, Sr.)
Waterford (Conn.) High
G John Moffitt, Wisconsin (6- 5/323, Sr.)
West Haven (Conn.) Notre Dame
C Kristofer O'Dowd, USC (6-5/300, Sr.)
Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic
K Alex Henery, Nebraska (6-2/175, Sr.)
Omaha (Neb.) Burke
PR LaVon Brazill, Ohio U. (5-11/189, Sr.)
Lake Worth (Fla.) High
E Marcell Dareus, Alabama (6- 4/306, Jr.)
Huffman (Ala.) High
T Marvin Austin, North Carolina (6-3/305, Sr.)
Washington (D.C.) Ballou
E Cameron Heyward, Ohio State (6 -5/288, Sr.)
Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge
LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA (6-4/254, Jr.)
Los Angeles Verbum Dei
LB Tank Carder, TCU (6-2/232, Jr.)
Sweeny (Texas) High
LB Casey Matthews, Oregon (6-2/237, Sr.)
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
LB Mike Mohamed, California (6-3/238, Sr.)
Brawley (Calif.) High
CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (6-2/205, Sr.)
Chesapeake (Va.) Deep Creek
CB Brandon Harris, Miami (5-11/195, Jr.)
Miami Booker T. Washington
FS Deunta Williams, N. Carolina (6-2/210, Sr.)
Jacksonville (N.C.) White Oak
SS Mark Barron, Alabama (6-2/210, Jr.)
Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's
P Chas Henry, Florida (6-3/215, Sr.)
Dallas (Ga.) East Paulding
KR Dwayne Harris, East Carolina (6-0/205, Sr.)
Tucker (Ga.) High

Third team analysis: Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, one of two Michigan transfers to appear on the preseason All-America team (first-team selection Justin Boren is the other), looks to improve on a strong first season as a starting quarterback.

Mallett passed for 3,627 yards and 30 touchdowns with just seven interceptions as a sophomore. He should be even better with a year of experience running Bobby Petrino's offense.

The running backs also are extremely productive juniors. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers has exceeded 1,000 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons, while Wisconsin's John Clay is coming off a 1,500-yard performance in '09.

On the defensive side, Miami cornerback Brandon Harris and Alabama strong safety Mark Barron were among the nation's leaders in pass breakups last season.

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