Trevor Lawrence leads the 2020 Way-Too-Early All-America team


Can’t the 2020 college football season go ahead and get here already?

We aren’t even to the start of spring practice and we are desperately in need of a college football fix. While we wait, ESPN has you covered with the way-too-early All-America team for the 2020 season.

Some of the selections were no-brainers. In fact, eight were on our All-America team to cap the 2019 season.

But there will always be players who burst onto the scene when nobody saw them coming. We all had Joe Burrow going from 16 touchdown passes in 2018 to 60 this season and winning the Heisman Trophy, right?

So with that in mind, here’s what we came up with for 2020.


QB: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

In the grim aftermath of the 42-25 national championship loss to LSU, Lawrence vowed that Clemson would be back. And with Lawrence and his NFL-ready right arm returning for his junior season, the Tigers are as good a bet as any to be right back on the big stage. Lawrence didn’t have his best stuff in the loss to LSU, but he’s still the most talented quarterback in college football and will once again be surrounded by great players in 2020.

RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson

Etienne was perhaps the biggest surprise among the players who spurned the NFL draft to return for another year of college football. He’s about as complete as it gets as a running back. He became a weapon in the passing game for the Tigers, rushed for 1,614 yards and averaged 7.48 yards per carry. He leads all returning FBS players with 64 plays from scrimmage of 10 yards or longer last season. Safe to say that Clemson is going to be lights out on offense again in 2020.

RB: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had to be pinching himself when Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace both chose to return to school for another season. Hubbard had a sensational redshirt sophomore season. He led the country with 2,094 rushing yards and scored 21 touchdowns. His 15 rushing plays of 30 yards or longer leads all returning FBS players, and he was incredibly consistent. He rushed for 150-plus yards seven times a year ago. Clearly, he’s a lot more than just a track guy playing football.

WR: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

The number of talented players leaving LSU is indeed staggering, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers will be hurting for playmakers in 2020. Chase, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football in 2019, is back after leading the country with 20 touchdown catches last season and averaging 21.2 yards per reception. He’s as good after the catch as he is at blazing past defenders and hauling in the deep ball.

WR: DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Don’t feel too sorry for the Crimson Tide on offense, even though Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III are all gone. After all, Smith led Alabama with 14 touchdown catches in 2019 and has the kind of speed that torments opposing defensive coordinators and cornerbacks. Smith thought about turning pro, but he returns for his senior season as one of the most feared big-play receivers in college football.

TE: Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Even though he was a true sophomore, Freiermuth was eligible to make himself available for the NFL draft because he was three years removed from high school. (He did a postgraduate year in Massachusetts after graduating.) The 6-foot-5, 256-pound Freiermuth will be a major part of the Penn State offense in 2020 after catching 43 passes a year ago, including seven for touchdowns. He’s equally effective as a run-blocker, making him a tough matchup for any defense.

T: Penei Sewell, Oregon

Sewell has been so good that you’d swear he’s going into his sixth season at Oregon. The reality is that he’ll be a junior and will anchor from his left tackle position a Ducks offensive line that should again be one of the best units in college football. The 2019 Outland Trophy winner, Sewell has been a starter since the day he arrived on campus and is the kind of player who instantly makes everybody around him better.

G: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

From the time he was pressed into a starting role as a redshirt freshman during the Buckeyes’ stretch run in 2018, Davis has been a huge piece of the Ohio State offense. He returns for his third season after earning first-team All-America honors a year ago as the Buckeyes’ right guard. He’ll do so with two other talented underclassmen up front who decided to return to school, center Josh Myers and tackle Thayer Munford, which ought to make returning Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields mighty happy.

C: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

The quarterbacks and skill players have come and gone at Oklahoma over the past two seasons, but the rock in the middle of that offensive line has been Humphrey, and he will be back in 2020 as a redshirt junior after considering leaving early for the NFL draft. He has made 26 consecutive starts at center and was one of three finalists a year ago for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the top center in college football.

G: Trey Smith, Tennessee

One of college football’s best comeback stories, Smith overcame blood clots in his lungs to return to form as one of the nation’s top interior offensive linemen. Even though he had only two full-contact practices going back to preseason camp, he was dominant the last half of the season from his left guard spot. Smith thought about turning pro and is optimistic that he’ll be able to practice even more next season, which won’t be good news for opposing defensive linemen who have to face him.

T: Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

The Crimson Tide won’t be searching for a new left tackle in 2020. The 6-6, 310-pound Leatherwood elected to come back for his senior season after receiving first-team All-America honors as a junior and showing up in some mock drafts as a potential first-round pick. Leatherwood’s versatility makes him all the more valuable. He was Alabama’s starting right guard as a sophomore in 2018 and moves extremely well, no matter where he lines up.

All-purpose: Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis

As the cliché goes, Gainwell is just a football player — one who truly can do it all. A quarterback in high school, Gainwell was the FBS’ only member of the 1,000/500 club last season. He finished with 1,459 rushing yards and 610 receiving yards in what was an electric redshirt freshman season for the 5-11, 191-pound speedster. He had 24 plays from scrimmage of 20 yards or longer; the only returning FBS player with more was LSU’s Chase.


DE: Gregory Rousseau, Miami

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