The 2020 NCAA football season is still months away, but it’s never too early to look ahead at All-American candidates.
DE: Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Rousseau was one of the few bright spots on a woefully underachieving Miami team last year. In 2019, he finished second in the NCAA in sacks (only behind Chase Young) with 15.5. The 2019 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year is long, athletic, explosive, and will be a great pass rusher at the next level.
DE: Quincy Roche, Miami
Rather than entering the NFL Draft, Roche decided to spend another season in college, transferring from Temple to Miami for his final year. The experienced end is well-rounded and efficient in stopping the run. He and Rousseau make up the best defensive line in the nation and may top 30 sacks combined in 2020.
DT: Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Wilson would’ve most likely been a first-rounder if he declared for the 2020 draft. However, he decided to return to Florida State after a lackluster 2019 season in which he missed the final four games due to injury. If the monstrous nose tackle plays a full season at full health, he will solidify his draft stock even further.
DT: Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
After a successful sophomore year in which he totaled 10.5 sacks, Twyman received deserved comparisons to Aaron Donald. Both are slightly undersized, both played for Pittsburgh, and both are dangerous interior pass rushers. Twyman may not be as purely talented as Donald, but he is still a fantastic and smart player.
LB: Dylan Moses, Alabama
Moses was expected to lead the Crimson Tide defense last season but did not play a snap due to a knee injury. The tackling machine racked up 86 tackles and 10 tackles for loss in 2018 en route to a National Championship appearance. Moses is quick for his big 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame and has a knack for finding the football and making plays.
LB: Micah Parsons, Penn State
Parsons had a breakout sophomore season last year, putting up numbers that even topped those of Moses two seasons ago. With 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and five sacks, Parsons anchored a solid Penn State defense and led his team to a Cotton Bowl victory. This year, he will be aiming for a CFB Playoff berth.
LB: Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State
You’ve probably never heard of Rashed, but he still had an extremely productive 2019 season, tallying an astounding 22.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in 11 games. That’s more than two tackles for loss and one sack per game. The fifth-year senior returns to Oregon State to bring them to their first bowl game since 2013.
CB: Shaun Wade, Ohio State
Wade was the recipient of a pathetic targeting call in last year’s 2019 CFB Playoff Semifinal against Clemson in which the Tigers (and the referees) beat Ohio State. The versatile defensive back played some safety last year but will take over Jeff Okudah’s starting cornerback position and hope to avenge his disappointing end to last season.
CB: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Stingley made the 2019 All-American team as a freshman. With six interceptions and 15 pass break-ups last year, he was a top defensive back on a championship team. Stingley possesses both incredible physical attributes and a great football IQ.
S: Andre Cisco, Syracuse
It is a shame that a talent like Cisco is wasted on a terrible Syracuse defense. The ballhawking safety has 12 picks over two seasons, making him the active NCAA interception leader. As a true freshman in 2018, he was an All-American and had a standout 2019 campaign. Cisco is a top candidate for this season’s Jim Thorpe Award.
S: Jevon Holland, Oregon
Holland is the most slept-on player in this list. The junior led his team in interceptions for the past two years, racking up nine in total, and was a major factor on last season’s Rose Bowl-winning Ducks team. Holland is a superb all-round safety and will definitely get more recognition during this season.