AP All-America Watch: Sun Devils star WR; Alabama DT
The Associated Press has been honoring college football's best with an All-America team since 1925. The full three-team AP All-America selections will be unveiled in December. The eighth All-America watch of the season features Arizona State's top target; Alabama's dominant defensive tackle and Boise State's quarterback, all on the verge of breaking records.
N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry came into the season as one of the most highly touted receivers in the country. He has not put eye-catching numbers as Arizona State has tried to lean heavily on its running game, but he has been steady and productive. No Pac-12 receiver has been a more effective target, according to Pro Football Focus . Harry broke out with his best game of the season last week in a huge victory for the Sun Devils against Utah. The 6-foot-, 221-pound junior had nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, he has 55 catches for 828 yards and nine TDs.
What they are saying: "We didn't throw it a lot, but we made it count. N'Keal's a fabulous player and he has two back-to-back games now where without his presence, it hurts you," Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said.
Outlook: The Sun Devils are in the driver's seat in a cluttered Pac-12 South race. Some more big efforts from Harry could help get them to the conference title game.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams has been hot all season , but he came up huge in Alabama's biggest game of the season so far against LSU. He had 10 tackles, seven solo stops and 2½ sacks against the Tigers. The third-year sophomore entered the season without much fanfare after being a reserve for the Crimson Tide last year. The 6-foot-4, 298-pounder is talked about as the possible first overall pick in next year's NFL draft, surging past a slew of talented defensive line who will be available in April.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver figures to be high first-round draft pick by the NFL in April, and the school was promoting him as a Heisman Trophy contender coming into this season. He was mostly living up to his hype, making the midseason All-America team, but he was injured against Navy three weeks ago and has not played the Cougars' last two games. Last week he was expected to come back, but was a late scratch against SMU. The competition at defensive tackle is stiff. If Oliver misses more time, he could get shut out from postseason honors.
GROUP OF FIVE STAR
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State
The senior has thrown for 2,779 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions for a Broncos team that began the season with hopes of a getting into a New Year's Six bowl and the playoff discussion. That's likely gone after two losses, but the Mountain West crown is still very much in play. Rypien leads Boise State against No. 16 Fresno State this week. Last season, he threw for 246 yards against the Bulldogs tough defense, but completed only 53 percent and didn't throw a touchdown pass. He is poised to become the Mountain West career leader in yards passing and completions.
ON THE LINE
ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic, a former guard at Auburn, identifies an offensive lineman playing at an All-America level — Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon.
The junior has not allowed a sack in his last 27 games.
"Versatile. Combines power and quickness while playing three different positions on the offensive line this season, including both tackle spots and center," Cubelic said.
Boston College's offensive line has been one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season and Lindstrom is its leader. The 310-pound senior is a three-year starter and expected to be one of the first guards taken in the NFL draft. Lawrence and Wilkins are both possible first-rounders, with different styles. Lawrence is massive and powerful at 340 pounds. Wilkins is a 300-pounder with rare athleticism. In a game that could decide the ACC Atlantic division, the interior line matchup will be pivotal.