Mid-Season Superlatives by John Harris
The college football season has reached its midpoint and, as always, there have been some pleasant surprises and shocking disappointments. Here are some mid-season superlatives.
Best team – Alabama
Still. The Crimson Tide have produced 11 non-offensive touchdowns. True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has been dynamic from the series he went under center. Well, okay, his second series because he fumbled on his very first series. The defense hits everything that moves and might just be finding its stride after demolishing Tennessee 49-10 in Knoxville.
Best offensive player – Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson His numbers are grotesque (in a good way) and he nearly willed the Cardinals to a scintillating win over the undefeated Clemson Tigers on a Saturday night in October. He’s a highlight waiting to happen and all I can think when I see him is that’s what a right handed Michael Vick would’ve looked like.
Best defensive player – Ohio State safety Malik Hooker The first year starter has played out of his mind for the Buckeyes. He has four interceptions, but it’s his ability to close on the ball carrier that caught my attention. There are a ton of players for this spot, but Hooker has played at THAT level all season long.
Best all-around player – Michigan safety/linebacker/returner/quarterback/running back Jabrill Peppers He can play nearly every single position on the defense and that would be enough. But, throw in his ability to return kicks, play quarterback, run the rock and catch passes and it’s clear that he’s the best multiple threat in the game today.
Game of the half-year – Clemson’s 42-36 win over Louisville.
Ending of the half-year – Tennessee’s “Dobbsnail Boot” Hail Mary over Georgia
Biggest disappointment – Notre Dame, Michigan State and Oregon
Most underrated unit in the nation – Washington’s defensive line This group put on a show against Stanford’s young offensive line on national television. Joe Mathis running over a Stanford tackle became the Vine video of the night. But, he’s just one cog in a stout machine.
Biggest Upset – Navy 46-40 over #6 Houston. It was Navy’s first win over a top 10 team in its history.
Coach of the Half-season – Chris Petersen, Washington Honorable Mention – Mike MacIntyre – Colorado, Willie Taggart – USF, P.J Fleck – Western Michigan
Half-season All-American team
QB – Lamar Jackson, Louisville
RB – Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
RB – Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Power RB – D’Onta Foreman, Texas
WR – Corey Davis, Western Michigan
WR – James Washington, Oklahoma State
WR – John Ross III, Washington
TE – Evan Engram, Ole Miss
OL – Dan Feeney, Indiana
OL – Billy Price, Ohio State
OL – Trey Adams, Washington
OL – Mason Cole, Michigan
OL – Connor Williams, Texas
ATH – Greg Ward Jr., Houston
Edge – Ejaun Price, Pitt
IDL – Christian Wilkins, Clemson
IDL – DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
Edge – Derek Barnett, Tennessee
OLB – Haason Reddick, Temple
ILB – Reuben Foster, Alabama
ILB – Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
ILB – Azeem Victor, Washington
Nickel – Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
CB – Marlon Humphrey/Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama S – Malik Hooker, Ohio State S – Justin Evans, Texas A&M CB – Quincy Wilson, Florida ATH – Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Freshman defensive player of the half-season – Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver Freshman offensive player of the half-season – Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams