AP All-America Watch: Walk-on to lockdown; Chubb eating QBs
The Associated Press has been honoring college football’s best with an All-America team since 1925. This season, the AP released its first preseason All-America team and will also release a midseason team before the full, three-team All-America selections are unveiled in December. The fourth installment of the weekly All-America watch features a walk-on making an impact at Alabama, a possible future first-round draft pick pass rusher wreaking havoc in the ACC and another off to a quiet start in the SEC.
Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama
Wallace, from Tucson, Arizona, walked on at Alabama in 2014 and did not play at all until last season, when he earned a scholarship and mostly contributed on special teams. Now he is starting on a team full of blue-chip recruits. Teams have tried to test the senior, who had no scholarship offers out of high school, but so far he has made plays. Wallace has three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown last week against Mississippi, and six passes broken up.
What they are saying: ”He’s come a long way for us, and he’s doing a great job for us. He keeps getting better week to week and it shows.” – Alabama All-America safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Outlook: The Technician, as Wallace has been nicknamed by his teammates, is likely to keep getting tested as opponents try to find a weak spot in Alabama’s typically stingy defense. An injury to cornerback Trevon Diggs (foot) also makes it likely the Crimson Tide will have to rely on Wallace to continue his excellent play.
Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
For the second straight week, the preseason All-American was named the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive lineman of the week. He followed up his two sacks against Florida State with 3.5 tackles for loss, including two more sacks, against Syracuse. This week, Chubb gets a Thursday night game against Louisville to chase around Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
Arden Key, LB/DE, LSU
Key was also a preseason All-American and, like Chubb, he is expected to be a high first-round draft pick. He missed the first couple of games while recovering from a shoulder injury. Since returning, his snaps have been limited and so has his production when on the field. Key has half a sack and nine tackles.
ON THE LINE
(Former Auburn offensive lineman and ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic identifies an o-lineman worth watching)
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown has been dominant up front and got better as the game went on against an elite Ohio State front seven. He plays with a nasty streak rarely found in college linemen. The 6-foot-8, 345-pound junior has gotten his penalties under control early in the season and is likely headed toward being a first-round pick.
GROUP OF FIVE STAR
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
During the first full weekend of the college football, Scott made what might be the catch of the year against Arizona State . Scott is no one-catch wonder. He ranks 13th in the nation in yards receiving per game at 108.6 and has scored five touchdowns. Last week against Arkansas, he had his best game of the season with nine catches for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Oregon RB Royce Freeman vs. Washington State DT Hercules Mata’afa
Freeman leads the nation with 10 rushing touchdowns and was among the leading rushers until he missed most of last week’s game because of an undisclosed injury and got only eight carries. He is averaging 118 yards per game and should be good to go against the 11th-ranked Cougars this week. Freeman does his best work between the tackles and so does Mata’afa. He is an undersized at 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, but he is constantly in the backfield. He has 10 tackles for loss, fifth most in the nation, including 4.5 sacks.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
More college football coverage: http://collegefootball.ap.org and www.Twitter.com/AP-Top25