The good folks at the Mothership are compiling a list of 2013 Preseason All-Americans and submitted requests for each SBN site to vote on their picks. I had the distinct honor of compiling our list here at The Smoking Musket. Since national coverage on the Mountaineers is a bit light right now and there isn't much to report on the recruiting front (though we'll have an update there in the near future), I figured I would pass along my picks for some feedback. Without further adieu:
QB: Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
RB: De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon)
RB: T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)
RB: Lache Seastrunk (Baylor)
WR: Marqise Lee (USC)
WR: Sammy Watkins (Clemson)
C: Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
G: David Yankey (Stanford)
G: Spencer Long (Nebraska)
T: Jake Mathews (Texas A&M)
T: Taylor Lewan (Michigan)
The skill positions weren't that difficult. Manziel is the reigning Heisman winner and the only quarterback to beat Alabama since Jarrett Lee (3/7, 24 yards, 2 INT) and Jordan Jefferson (6/10, 67 yards) picked apart a porous Tide secondary in November 2011. He's going to get the nod until someone unseats him. I considered going with K-State running back John Hubert instead of Seastrunk, but if you watched Baylor at the end of last year, you know what kind of runner Seastrunk is. He can be special as the Bears break in a new quarterback. The wideouts were fairly easy to pick as well, as Lee was a beast last year and actually (wrongfully) beat out Stedman Bailey for the Biletnikoff Award. Watkins wasn't as electrifying as he was his freshman year, but should be featured this year as he continues to work with Tajh Boyd in a very potent Clemson offense. Other than Jake Mathews, I couldn't name another offensive lineman to put on the list. I did some research, and the names I picked are the ones that popped up most. They all play for good teams with quality offenses, so I figure they're legit. Feel free to bicker.
DE: Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
DE: Devonte Fields (TCU)
DT: Louis Nix (Notre Dame)
DT: Dominique Easley (Florida)
LB: Ryan Shazier (Ohio State)
LB: Kyle Van Noy (BYU)
LB: C.J. Mosley (Alabama)
CB: Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma)
CB: Bradley Roby (Ohio State)
S: Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State)
S: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama)
Almost as bad as picking the offensive line, I had Clowney, Fields, and a bunch of Alabama players before I did some more research. Clinton-Dix and Mosley are studs, so I kept them. Ohio State's defense flew under the radar a bit due to the Buckeyes' bowl ban, but Roby and Shazier are as good as they come. You may want to argue with the rest of my picks, but if you do, at least back up your reasoning.
Name another kicker besides Josh Lambert. No, really. Try it. Martin helped lead Duke to a bowl game last year, so at least there's that. Van Der Kamp made the list because I'm going to choose an Iowa State guy over any other non-WVU player any chance I get. Lockett was electric last year and should be solid again, and Archer was somehow picked by some media over Tavon Austin last year. He's pretty good, I guess, but that's still a crime that Austin wasn't a consensus AA.
HC: Urban Meyer (Ohio State)
OC: Chad Morris (Clemson)
DC: Kirby Smart (Alabama)
I had Nick Saban as my head coach, but opted for Meyer instead. What Meyer did with the Buckeyes in just one year is nothing short of remarkable and he's been known to work miracles in his second year at a school (Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida all made significant jumps in year 2 AU). Most of the good offensive coordinators left for head coaching jobs within the last few years, so Morris is here almost by default. I'm not sure if Bama's defensive prowess is due to Saban or Smart. That D is so far above everyone else that it doesn't really matter, though.
1st: Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
2nd: Braxton Miller (Ohio State)
3rd: Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
See above for my explanation on Manziel. Same with Miller as the captain of the Buckeye express now that they are bowl eligible. I had Teddy Bridgewater at 3 until I remember he plays for Louisville. Plus, Clowney is garnering plenty of preseason hype in a year after Manti Te'o was a finalist. If there's ever a time for a pure defensive player to win the Heisman, this might be it.
Okay, gang, hit me with your thoughts. And no, Joe DeForest is not eligible for defensive coordinator of the year.