College football’s regular reason has ended. Now we look ahead to the postseason where four teams will compete for a national title and dozens more play in bowl games. With most of the season behind us, we can full appreciate the best of the best this year. For this All-American list, players listed are not only draft eligible but played their best football in 2022. While some of these players are not necessarily the best prospect, they did play the best of their peers.
Bo Nix, Oregon: Bo Nix revived his college football career and his NFL draft hopes with an outstanding season at Oregon. After three uninspiring years at Auburn, Nix transferred to play with Dan Lanning and the new-look Oregon Ducks. The result was completing 71.5% of his passes for almost 3,400 yards and 27 touchdowns while only throwing six picks. On the ground, Nix’s athleticism was a legit weapon as he ran for 504 yards and 14 touchdowns. That’s right, in one season on a completely different team, Nix accounted for 41 total scores. On the Ducks, Nix really got to show off how physically gifted he is with a NFL level arm, strong build and legit athleticism outside the pocket. After once being the guy at Auburn who never built on a promising freshman year, Bo Nix could be a legit quarterback prospect.
Second Team: CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Bijan Robinson, Texas: Bijan Robinson came into the 2022 season with high expectations and somehow met every single one. The third year running-back broke school records all year while being the centerpiece of a young and talented Longhorns offense. Robinson was a true three down threat, averaging over 6 yards a carry and over 16.5 yards a catch. He was a scoring machine, punching in 18 rushing touchdowns and hauling in two more through the air. Every week, Robinson showed off a rare blend of size, strength, athleticism and feel for the game. After no running backs went in the first round last year, Robinson could restart that trend this spring.
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State: Deuce Vaughn has been the engine of the K-State offense for the last two seasons. Despite everyone on the defense knowing Vaughn would be getting the ball in critical moments, the playmaking back would still manage to carry the offense on his back. Vaughn carried the ball 271 times this year for over 1,400 yards and was a key part of the passing game, catching 42 passes. NFL analysts might say Deuce Vaughn is too small to be anything more than an NFL role player, but the 5’6”, 180 pound back has rare speed and agility that make him dangerous on every touch. Factor in his toughness and you got a guy who will carry his college success to the NFL one way or another.
Second Team: Chase Brown, Illinois and Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee: Jalin Hyatt’s breakout season was crucial in Tennessee’s relevance this year. After two quiet seasons in Knoxville, the junior exploded for 1,267 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Hyatt was a huge play threat, averaging almost 19 yards a catch, and played his best ball in the brightest lights. Hyatt had five touchdowns (FIVE) in a win over Bama, two in a win over LSU and two in a win over Kentucky. Hyatt was as explosive a player as there was in college football last year. Hyatt has played himself into NFL draft consideration and might be one of the best deep threats in this year’s class.
Rashee Rice, SMU: Few players ate up receptions like Rashee Rice this year. The senior receiver broke out for a 96 catch, 1,355 yard season where he scored ten times through the air. Rice accounted for 31% of the catches in SMU’s offense and had over three times the receptions of the team’s next leading pass catcher. You can’t overemphasize how central Rice was to the SMU offense, yet he was able to pile up numbers every week. Rice’s combination of size, toughness, ball skills and route running savvy made him such a productive player. NFL evaluators will see a reliable receiver like Rice and jump at the opportunity to get him in their offense.
Second Team: Charlie Jones, Purdue and Zay Flowers, Boston College
Michael Mayer, Notre Dame: It is actually a tight competition between the two best tight ends in the country among draft eligible players, but the edge goes to Michael Mayer. Mayer was the focal point of the Notre Dame offense, both as a pass-catcher and a blocker. Mayer caught 67 passes for over 800 yards and nine scores. Mayer also contributed as a blocker and helped revive the Notre Dame running game in the second half of the season. Mayer’s combination of size, route running ability and movement skills allowed the Fighting Irish to play him wherever they wanted and he would dominate whoever was covering him. Mayer might be an early first round pick considering how dangerous and how pro-ready he is.
Second Team: Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Peter Skoronski, Northwestern: Peter Skoronski has been a fixture on the Northwestern offense for the last three seasons. The seasoned offensive tackle brings a rare blend of consistency, size and physicality to the position. He has been a constant for the Wildcats and will probably be a very high NFL draft pick.
Broderick Jones, Georgia: Broderick Jones is a talented and fairly consistent offensive tackle. His combination of physicality and strength helped solidify the Bulldogs offensive line and help them run the football at will. Jones might not be the best offensive tackle in the NFL draft, but he was one of the best this year.
Second Team: Paris Johnson Junior, Ohio State and Darnell Wright, Tennessee
Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame: After 34 consecutive starts at center, Jarrett Patterson was moved to guard for his final season in South Bend. After injuries early in the season imposed a steep curve on his positional move, Patterson adjusted and played like one of the best guards in the country. Though his best NFL position might still be center, Patterson showed he will line up wherever asked and play his best football.
O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida: O’Cyrus Torrence was a major physical presence on the Gators line this year. His size, length, and strength made him one of the most effective run blockers in the country. Teams will love his nasty demeanor on the field.
Second Team: Nick Broeker, Ole Miss and KT Leveston, Kansas State
Steve Avila, TCU: TCU’s season owes a lot of credit to Steve Avila being as good as he is. Avila is a stout blocker with great playing strength and a high motor. His leadership and consistency on the TCU line has been key in Max Duggan’s Heisman campaign and TCU’s playoff push.
Second Team: Alex Forsyth, Oregon