The 2018 Sporting News All-American team is complete, and there were tough choices all across the board.
In the end, we selected Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa over Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray as a first-team All-American. Judging by the close race in the Heisman Trophy voting, you can go right either way. Tagovailoa is one of six first-team selections from Alabama, which takes a 13-0 record in the College Football Playoff. Clemson had three first-team selections, led by running back Travis Etienne and defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell.
Sporting News is one of five outlets that determines consensus All-Americans, along with the Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association. Sporting News has been part of that panel since 1959.
With that, your 2018 All-Americans:
QB: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Sporting News’ 2018 Player of the Year finished with 3,353 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions for a record-setting Alabama offense that tormented the SEC. He did not throw an interception until November and finished most games without needing to play in the fourth quarter.
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson
Etienne is efficient and prolific, and Dabo Swinney continues to manage the star running back’s workload. Etienne totaled 1,464 yards and 21 touchdowns this season on just 176 carries. In two seasons, he has 34 rushing touchdowns on 283 carries.
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Taylor leads the FBS with 1,989 rushing yards heading into bowl season, and he had 15 touchdowns on 7.1 yards per carry against defenses that were loaded up to stop the run. There hasn’t been a more consistent workhorse the last two seasons.
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Was there a more intimidating play this season than Tagovailoa to Jeudy on the post? Jeudy broke out with 1,103 yards and 12 touchdowns, but it’s the 18.7 yards per catch that stands out. The sophomore is a complete receiver with room to improve.
WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
The tradition of All-American receivers at Oklahoma State continues. Wallace, also a Biletnikoff finalist, averaged 17.7 yards per catch and 11 touchdowns while filling the void left by James Washington.
TE: Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
Sternberger led all tight ends with 10 touchdown catches in 2018. He developed into a reliable target in the seam by averaging 17.1 yards per catch for the Aggies.
OT: Jonah Williams, Alabama
Williams battled injuries this season, but there isn’t a better tackle when healthy. Williams lived up to the preseason expectations and is simply the next first-round pick for the Crimson Tide.
OT: Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Risner was a steady force for the Wildcats, and the four-year starter was the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. The Wildcats averaged 182.6 rushing yards per game with Risner leading the way.
C: Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
Pierschbacher had competition for this spot, but he was a consistent blocker who helped Alabama’s run offense average 5.3 yards per carry with 31 touchdowns.
G: Ben Powers, Oklahoma
Oklahoma had a prolific, balanced offense, and that’s because of athletic offensive lineman like Powers, who emerged as the Sooners’ best blocker up front.
G: Terronne Prescod, N.C. State
The 332-pound guard graded out higher than any other player at his position this season, forming a solid protection point for quarterback Ryan Finley in the passing game.
ATH: Darrell Henderson, Memphis
Henderson leads the FBS with 2,204 yards and 25 touchdowns from scrimmage, and is one of the most exciting players in the game. He managed that production on 233 offensive touches in 2018.
DL: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Ferrell was a second-team selection last season, but he bumps up to the first team after with 10.5 and 17.5 tackles for loss for the Tigers in 2018.
DL: Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Wilkins is now a two-time SN first-team All-American, and he anchored the Tigers’ defensive line with 46 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. Wilkins, who won the Campbell Trophy for his work off the field, also scored two rushing touchdowns.
DL: Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Williams developed into a dominant force on the defensive line for the Crimson Tide with eight sacks and 18 tackles for loss. That was a pleasant surprise for an Alabama defense that allowed just 14.8 points per game.
DL: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Sweat was a dominant pass-rusher in the SEC, and he finished with double-digit sacks for the second straight season.
LB: Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Nagurski Trophy winner was the heart of a Kentucky defense that enjoyed a nine-win season. Allen finished with 84 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in a remarkable senior year.
LB: Devin Bush, Michigan
There wasn’t a better side-to-side linebacker in the FBS this season. Bush is a fast, hard hitter who Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Bush had an all-around impact for Don Brown’s defense.
LB: Devin White, LSU
White lived up to the preseason billing as one of the best linebackers in the country with 115 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
CB: Deandre Baker, Georgia
Baker was magnificent as Georgia’s shutdown cornerback. He finished with two interceptions and nine passes defensed, and the speedy cornerback has a bright future at the next level.
CB: Julian Love, Notre Dame
The Notre Dame cornerback is a first-round talent who finished with 15 passes defensed as part of an Irish defense that allowed just 17.2 points per game.
S: Deionte Thompson, Alabama
Thompson blossomed into the best player on a young Alabama secondary, and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. The junior safety totaled 70 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
S: Grant Delpit, LSU
Delpit was a do-it-all-talent in the secondary for the Tigers this season with 73 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss and a team-high five interceptions.
First-team special teams
K: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
Szmyt led the FBS with 32 field goal attempts and 28 field goals, and that came with an 87.5 field goal percentage. The freshman was 7 of 10 from 40 yards or more.
P: Braden Mann, Texas A&M
Entering bowl season, Mann has the single-season FBS record for yards per punt at 51.1. He could be the first punter in FBS history to average at least 50 yards over the course of a season.
RET: Isaiah Wright, Temple
Wright totaled 976 return yards between kicks and punts this season, and he returned two punts and one kickoff for a touchdown.
QB: Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
RB: Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
RB: Devin Singletary, FAU
WR: Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
WR: Preston Williams, Colorado State
TE: Caleb Wilson, UCLA
T: Greg Little, Ole Miss
T: Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
C: Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State
G: Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin
G: Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
ATH: Rondale Moore, Purdue
DL: Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
DL: Ed Oliver, Houston
DL: Kenny Willekes, Michigan Sate
DL: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
LB: Chase Hansen, Utah
LB: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
LB: Joe Dineen, Kansas
CB: Byron Murphy, Washington
CB: Greedy Williams, LSU
S: Andre Cisco, Syracuse
S: Taylor Rapp, Washington
Second-team special teams
K: Cole Tracy, LSU
P: Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State
RET: Michael Walker, Boston College