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 next week before the full, three-team All-America selections are unveiled in December. The fifth installment of the weekly All-America watch features a Buckeye following in his big brother’s footsteps, a converted QB catching on at West Virginia and some struggles for the Heisman winner.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State.
The little brother of former Ohio State All-American Joey Bosa, who was a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers, is no secret to college football fans. Nick Bosa was a five-star recruit out of high school and a handful for opposing offenses as a freshman last year. This year, he might be the best player on one of the best defensive lines in the country. Bosa has 10 tackles for loss to lead a defense that is tops in the nation in that category. Like his brother, he is relentless with a good combination of quickness and strength.
Outlook: The Buckeyes are four-deep at defensive end in future NFL draft picks. Bosa doesn’t necessarily need to play a lot of snaps but he’s too good to keep off the field for too long and with tougher games coming for Ohio State — Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan — he should get plenty of chances to showcase his talents.
David Sills V, WR, West Virginia.
In case you have not heard Sills’ story: As a 13-year-old, he was a quarterback prodigy who was offered a scholarship by Southern California. In two stints at West Virginia, with a JUCO stop in between, he transitioned to receiver and is now one of the best in the Big 12. He caught two more touchdown passes against TCU on Saturday and has nine to lead the nation.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and All-American still has numbers that rank among the best in the country (416.7 total yards per game). And that is while playing behind an offensive line that continues to provide lackluster protection. But the bottom line: In Jackson’s last two games against FBS opponents (No. 2 Clemson and No. 20 North Carolina State) he has completed 53 percent of his passes and averaged 3.8 yards per carry.
ON THE LINE
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Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan.
The 330-pound senior is strong at the point of attack and shows good mobility and range in pass protection. Many will bring up the level of competition playing in the Mid-American Conference but Okorafor handles it the way he should: he dominates. He helps pave the way for the MAC’s best running game.
True freshmen don’t often become All-Americans but these players have a chance:
— Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin. The Badgers’ next great back is fourth in the nation in rushing at 153.4 yards per game.
— C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida. The Gators’ next great corner already has two picks-six touchdowns.
— Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State. The Spartans put a lot on their cornerbacks and Scott has been one of the keys to a revitalized defense.
Florida OT Martez Ivey vs. Texas A&M DE Landis Durham.
Intriguing matchup between a former five-star recruit who has been an inconsistent performer (Ivey) and one of the more surprising players in the Southeastern Conference this season (Durham).
Durham was a sparingly used linebacker the last two seasons. He moved to defensive end with the Aggies in need of replacements for draft picks Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. Durham has steadily made his way up the depth charts with a team best 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Ivey, a 305-pound junior, played guard his first two seasons before sliding out to left tackle this year. The transition has been less than smooth, but he has an opportunity to finish strong.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP