Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, TE Mike Gesicki highlight All-America Team

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, TE Mike Gesicki highlight All-America Team

Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley put on a show at the Rose Bowl last season and established themselves as two of the biggest stars in college football coming into 2017.

The two Heisman Trophy contenders highlight the first preseason All-America team in the history of The Associated Press.

Darnold passed for 453 yards and five touchdowns in USC's 52-49 victory over the Nittany Lions. The sophomore comes into this season leading No. 4 USC on a nine-game winning streak. Barkley ran for 194 yards and scored three touchdowns against USC.

The AP All-America team is the longest-running annual honor roll of the nation's top college football players, dating to 1925, and is usually released after the season.

Darnold was voted to the first team by a panel of 51 Top 25 voters, edging out Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who is the second-team quarterback on the lists released Tuesday.

Joining Darnold and Barkley in the backfield is LSU running back Derrius Guice, who spent the last two seasons as back up to former All-America Leonard Fournette.

The first-team defense is led by two players who were postseason All-Americans in 2016: Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who made it to the first team as a freshman last season, and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Florida State placed two defensive backs on the first-team with cornerback Tavarus McFadden and safety Derwin James, who missed most of last year with a knee injury.

First-team offense
Quarterback -- Sam Darnold, sophomore, Southern California.

Running backs -- Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State; Derrius Guice, junior, LSU.

Tackles -- Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Connor Williams, junior, Texas.

Guards -- Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Cody O'Connell, senior, Washington State.

Center -- Billy Price, senior, Ohio State.

Tight end -- Mike Gesicki, junior, Penn State.

Wide receivers -- James Washington, senior, Oklahoma State; Christian Kirk, junior, Texas A&M.

All-purpose player -- Quadree Henderson, junior, Pittsburgh.

Kicker -- Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn.

First-team defense
Ends -- Harold Landry, senior, Boston College; Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State.

Tackles -- Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Dexter Lawrence, sophomore, Clemson.

Linebackers -- Arden Key, junior, LSU; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; Azeem Victor, senior, Washington.

Cornerbacks -- Tavarus McFadden, junior, Florida State; Jaire Alexander, junior, Louisville.

Safeties -- Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama.

Punter -- Mitch Wishnowsky, junior, Utah.

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley a 3rd-team All-American

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley a 3rd-team All-American

No. 1 Alabama placed four players on The Associated Press All-America team, most of any school, and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and fellow Heisman Trophy finalists Jabrill Peppers of Michigan and Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma were also first-team selections.

The Crimson Tide and No. 2 Ohio State tied for the most players on the three All-America teams released Monday with six. No. 3 Clemson had five players on the three teams, but none on the first team. Washington, which has a spot in the College Football Playoff team along with Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson, had two players on the second team.

Jackson won the Heisman Saturday , finishing well ahead of Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. The three quarterbacks lined up similarly on the All-America teams with Watson second-team and Mayfield third-team.

All-America points

• The Crimson Tide's top-ranked defense placed three players on the first team, one at each level: Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen; linebacker Reuben Foster; defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Offensive tackle Cam Robinson was the fourth Tide All-American. Outside linebacker Tim Williams and tight end O.J. Howard were second-team selections.

• Ohio State put center Pat Elflein on the first team with safety Malik Hooker and H-back Curtis Samuel, who was selected as an all-purpose player. Guard Billy Price and linebacker Raekwon McMillan made the second team.

• Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins joined Watson on the second team and the Tigers had defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and linebacker Ben Boulware on the third team.

• Washington's two second-teamers were safety Budda Baker and receivers John Ross.

Fabulous freshmen
Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver is the first freshman to be selected to the first-team since 2011 when Clemson's Sammy Watkins made it as an all-purpose player and LSU punter Brad Wing also was picked.

Oliver had 19 tackles for loss to help lead a defense that ranks second in the nation in rushing defense at 2.83 yards per carry.

Elflein was one of three players who made the second team last season to make the first team this season. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis also earned promotions.

There were no players who repeated as first-team All-Americans.

Watson went from first-team All-America last season as a sophomore to second this year and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey did the same. McCaffrey was first-team as an all-purpose player last year and a second-team pick at running back this season.


Quarterback -- Lamar Jackson, sophomore, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Louisville

Running backs -- D'Onta Foreman, junior, 6-2, 249, Texas; Dalvin Cook, junior, 5-11, 213, Florida State

Tackles -- Cam Robinson, junior, 6-6, 310, Alabama; Ryan Ramczyk, junior, 6-6, 314, Wisconsin

Guards -- Cody O'Connell, junior, 6-8, 354, Washington State; Dan Feeney, senior, 6-4, 305, Indiana.

Center -- Pat Elflein, senior, 6-3, 300, Ohio State

Tight end -- Evan Engram, senior, 6-3, 235, Mississippi

Wide receivers -- Dede Westbrook, senior, 6-0, 176, Oklahoma; Corey Davis, senior, 6-3, 213, Western Michigan

All-purpose player -- Curtis Samuel, junior, 5-11 197, Ohio State

Kicker -- Zane Gonzalez, senior, 6-1, 195, Arizona State

Ends -- Myles Garrett, junior, 6-5, 270, Texas A&M; Derek Barnett, junior, 6-3, 265, Tennessee

Tackles -- Jonathan Allen, junior, 6-3, 290, Alabama; Ed Oliver, freshman, 6-2, 290, Houston

Linebackers -- Reuben Foster, senior, 6-1, 228, Alabama; Zach Cunningham, junior, 6-2, 230, Vanderbilt; Jabrill Peppers, junior, 6-1, 205, Michigan

Cornerbacks -- Jourdan Lewis, senior, 5-11, 186, Michigan; Adoree' Jackson, junior, 5-11, 185, Southern California

Safeties -- Malik Hooker, sophomore, 6-2, 205, Ohio State; Minkah Fitzpatrick, sophomore, 6-1, 200, Alabama

Punter -- Mitch Wishnowsky, sophomore, 6-2, 220, Utah


Quarterback -- Deshaun Watson, junior, Clemson

Running backs -- Donnel Pumphrey, senior, San Diego State; Christian McCaffrey, junior, Stanford

Tackles -- Connor Williams, sophomore, Texas; Orlando Brown, sophomore, Oklahoma

Guards -- Billy Price, junior, Ohio State; Will Hernandez, junior, UTEP

Center -- Tyler Orlovsky, senior, West Virginia

Tight end -- Jake Butt, senior, Michigan

Wide receivers -- Zay Jones, senior, East Carolina; John Ross, junior, Washington

All-purpose player -- Quadree Henderson, sophomore, Pitt

Kicker -- Daniel Carlson, junior, Auburn

Ends -- DeMarcus Walker, senior, Florida State; Harold Landry, junior, Boston College

Tackles -- Carlos Watkins, senior, Clemson; Montravius Adams, senior, Auburn

Linebackers -- Raekwon McMillan, junior, Ohio State; T.J. Watt, junior, Wisconsin; Tim Williams, senior, Alabama

Cornerbacks -- Rasul Douglas, senior, West Virginia; Desmond King, senior, Iowa

Safeties -- Budda Baker, junior, Washington; Jamal Adams, junior, LSU

Punter -- Cameron Johnston, senior, Ohio State


Quarterback -- Baker Mayfield, junior, Oklahoma

Running backs -- Saquon Barkley, sophomore, Penn State; Aaron Jones, junior, UTEP

Tackles -- Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame; Forrest Lamp, senior, Western Kentucky

Guards -- Nico Siragusa, senior, San Diego State; Quenton Nelson, junior, Notre Dame

Center -- Ethan Pocic, senior, LSU

Tight end -- O.J. Howard, senior, Alabama

Wide receivers -- Amba Etta-Tawo, senior, Syracuse; Austin Carr, senior, Northwestern

All-purpose player -- Christian Kirk, sophomore, Texas A&M

Kicker -- Gary Wunderlich, junior, Mississippi

Ends -- Hunter Dimick, senior, Utah; Jordan Willis, senior, Kansas State

Tackles -- Christian Wilkins, sophomore, Clemson; Solomon Thomas, junior, Stanford

Linebackers -- Kendell Beckwith, senior, LSU; Jimmie Gilbert, senior, Colorado; Ben Boulware, senior, Clemson

Cornerbacks -- Teez Tabor, junior, Florida; Cordrea Tankersley, senior, Clemson

Safeties -- Nathan Gerry, senior, Nebraska; Weston Steelhammer, senior, Air Force

Punter -- Michael Dickson, sophomore, Texas