College Football All-Decade Team
Getty Images

College Football All-Decade Team — CFT’s selections

3 Comments

Hey, look, it’s a College Football All-Decade Football Team, so let the whining commence in earnest as there’s little doubt that we hate (insert name of your favorite player from your favorite team here).

While it might be hard for some to believe, we have come to the end of yet another decade. As such, we — Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, Kevin McGuire and myself — decided to cobble together a list of players who have been the best of the best in college football over the past 10 years. And, yes, we’ve done so fully aware of the verbal slings and written arrows that are sure to follow.

(Writer’s note: Speaking of the esteemed panel and verbal slings/written arrows, their personal Twitter accounts can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. Fire away at will.)

This was truly an impossible task — with a small handful of exceptions. Justin Blackmon as one of the wide receivers? Zero doubt. Luke Kuechly manning one of the linebacker spots? No-brainer. Aaron Donald in the middle of the defensive line? Obviously.

Outside of those three, plus a couple of more? Good luck.

Let’s also be clear: This team is based on what the players did at the collegiate level.  What they did or didn’t do in the NFL has no — zero, none, zip, zilch, nada — bearing whatsoever in this endeavor.

One final note before we get on to the festivities: Players needed to have spent more than half of their collegiate careers in this decade to be included. Thus, players such as Alabama’s Mark Barron, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles, Alabama’s Julio Jones, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Texas’ Early Thomas were ineligible.

With that all out of the way, let’s get it on.  Or something.

OFFENSE

QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
A three-time Heisman finalist, the former two-time walk-on finally claimed the trophy in 2017.  Twice Mayfield helped lead the Sooners into the College Football Playoffs as well as breaking the FBS pass-efficiency rating each of his last two seasons in Norman.  This was arguably the hardest selection as I wouldn’t argue one bit if someone were to put the special mention in this spot.
(Special Mention: Deshaun Watson, Clemson)
(Honorable mention: Lamar Jackson, Louisville; Robert Griffin III, Baylor)

RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin 
The only reason this position was “easier” to select than quarterback is the fact that there are two players instead of one.  Taylor is a two-time Doak Walker Award winner who this season, in breaking Herschel Walker‘s record, became the only player in FBS history with more than 6,000 yards rushing his first three seasons.  As part of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 title team, Henry won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for more than 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns.  He was the only running back to win the Heisman this decade.
(Special mention: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State; Christian McCaffrey, Stanford)
(Honorable mention: Any other Wisconsin running back; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona)

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*; Amari Cooper, Alabama*
As noted earlier, Blackmon was one of the no-brainers.  In 2010 and 2011, Blackmon caught 233 passes for 3,304 yards and 38 touchdowns.  He’s one of just two receivers to win back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards, the other being Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree. Cooper put up two 1,000-yard seasons during his three years in Tuscaloosa, winning the Biletnikoff following the 2014 season.  He was a unanimous All-American that year as well.
(Special mention: Corey Davis, Western Michigan)
(Honorable mention: Justin Hardy, East Carolina; Marquie Lee, USC; James Washington, Oklahoma State)

TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Andrews totaled 22 touchdowns during his three seasons with the Sooners, coinciding with Baker Mayfield‘s time in Norman.  He was named the winner of the Mackey Award after catching 62 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017.
(Honorable mention: Jake Butts, Michigan; Evan Ingram, Ole Miss; Nick O’Leary, Florida State)

OT: Barrett Jones, Alabama*; Brandon Scherff, Iowa*
Jones was a four-year starter at Alabama.  He was a Freshman All-American at guard, won the 2011 Outland Trophy at tackle and claimed the 2012 Rimington Trophy at center.  Those last two seasons, he was a consensus All-American.  Scherff started at both guard and tackle at Iowa, and was a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner for the 2014 season.
(Special mention: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Cam Robinson, Alabama)
(Honorable mention: Spencer Drango, Baylor; Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; David Yankey, Stanford)

G: Quinton Nelson, Notre Dame*; David DeCastro, Stanford
Nelson was a three-year starter for the Fighting Irish.  He earned unanimous All-American honors in 2017.  A two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, DeCastro was a unanimous All-American in 2011.
(Honorable mention: Chance Warmack, Alabama)

C: Pat Elflein, Ohio State
Elflein began his career as a guard, where he was twice named All-Big Ten.  After moving to center, he was named as the 2016 winner of the Rimington Trophy.
(Special mention: Ryan Kelly, Alabama; Billy Price, Ohio State)

DEFENSE

DE: Joey Bosa, Ohio State*; Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
On the defensive side of the ball, this might’ve been the toughest group to select.  His last two seasons in Columbus, Bosa was a unanimous All-American one year and a consensus All-American the other.  In three seasons, he totaled 51 tackles for loss and 26 sacks. Garrett was a two-time All-American who had 31 sacks his last two seasons with the Aggies.
(Special mention: Derek Barnett, Tennessee; Chase Young, Ohio State)
(Honorable mention: Vic Beasley, Clemson, Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois)

DT: Ed Oliver, Houston; Aaron Donald, Pitt*
I think people tend to forget just how dominating Donald was at the collegiate level.  His last three seasons, Donald was credited with 63 tackles for loss (63!!!).  A two-time unanimous All-American, Donald won Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski Awards in the same season.  In just 32 career games, Oliver accumulated 53 tackles for loss.  In 2017, he became the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy.
(Special mention: Christian Wilkins, Clemson)

LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College*; Jarvis Jones, Georgia; C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Kuechly, who finished his three seasons at BC with more than 530 tackles, was a two-time consensus All-American and the winner of the 2011 Butkus, Lombardi, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Awards.  Like Kuechly, Mosley was a two-time consensus All-American and a Butkus Award winner.  Jones, who began his collegiate career at USC, was a two-time consensus All-American as well.
(Special mention: Khalil Mack, Buffalo)
(Honorable mention: Dont’a Hightower, Alabama; Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame; Roquan Smith, Georgia; Manti Te’o, Notre Dame)

CB: Morris Claiborne, LSU; Desmond King, Iowa*; Jalen Ramsey, Florida State*
Ramsey played multiple positions in the secondary during his time with the Seminoles, earning All-American accolades his last two seasons.  King was a two-time All-American as well who started all four seasons for the Hawkeyes.  His junior season, he was named winner of the Jim Thorpe Award.  Claiborne won the Thorpe Award in 2011.
(Special mention: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida)
(Honorable mention: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State; Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

S: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU*; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama*
One of the most exciting players in the sport this past decade, Mathieu was a finalist for the 2011 Heisman after a season in which, among other things, he returned two fumbles and two punts for touchdowns.  The Honey Badger won the Bednarik Award that season as well.  A two-time consensus All-American and winner of both the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards in 2017, Fitzpatrick was the greatest defensive back produced by a Tide program known for cranking out quality secondary personnel.
(Honorable mention: Landon Collins, Alabama; Grant Delpit, LSU)

SPECIALISTS

K: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State*
Twice a first-team All-American, Aguayo is the third-most accurate kicker in college football history on field goals and never missed an extra point.  Following the 2013 regular season,  he was named as the winner of the Lou Groza Award.
(Honorable mention: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State)

P: Tom Hackett, Utah
Hackett was the second punter to win back-to-back Ray Guy Awards.  As a senior, he averages exactly 48 yards per punt. For his career, he placed nearly 44 percent of his 242 punts inside the 20-yard line.
(Special mention: Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech; Michael Dickson, Texas)

RS: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Penny finished his collegiate career tied for the most career kick return-touchdowns (7) and combined kick-/punt-return touchdowns (8) in FBS history.  Four of those seven kick returns went for 100 yards, one shy of the FBS record.
(Special mention: Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

AP: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford*
In 2015, McCaffrey shattered Barry Sanderssingle-season all-purpose yardage record, finishing that season with 3,864 yards (Sanders’ old record was 3,250).  McCaffrey finished his time with the Cardinal with (take a deep breath) 3,922 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns; 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns on 99 receptions; a 26.4-yard average and one touchdown on 56 kick returns; an 11.2-yard average and a touchdown on 34 punt returns; two passing touchdowns; and seven tackles.
(Special mention: Saquon Barkley, Penn State; Jabrill Peppers, Michigan)

(*Denotes unanimous selection)

Another Holy War defection: Devin Kaufusi transfers from BYU to Utah

Utah BYU
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in February, Devonta'e Henry-Cole moved from the Utah side of the Holy War rivalry to the BYU side. Two months later, we’ve had another Holy War flip, although this time it’s to Utah from BYU.

Last month, Devin Kaufusi decided to transfer from the Cougars. Wednesday, the defensive lineman utilized Twitter to announce that he will be transferring to the rival Utes.

“Pleased to announce that I have officially committed to the University of Utah,” Kaufusi wrote. “There I will further my football career and education.”

Kaufusi ended the tweet with a “UTAH MAN AM I.”

The Kaufusi surname is certainly a familiar surname around the BYU football program. Kaufusi’s older brothers, Bronson and Corbin, played for the Cougars. Their father, Steve Kaufusi, both played and coached at the football independent.

The younger Kaufusi was a three-star member of BYU’s 2015 recruiting class. He was the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Utah. Shortly after signing with BYU, however, Kaufusi embarked on a two-year mission in Europe for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The past two seasons, Kaufusi played in 25 games for the Cougars. The 6-7, 257-pound lineman started three of those. Two of the starts came in 2018, one this past season.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 staff taking 10-percent pay cut

Big 12
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Big 12 isn’t immune to the financial difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic.

On the first day of this month, Iowa State announced a one-year reduction in pay and bonuses for all of its coaches.  Athletic directors at Oregon (HERE) and Wyoming (HERE) are taking cuts in pay.  Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who reportedly made north of $5 million a year ago, is taking a 20-percent pay cut.

Thursday, Scott’s Big 12 counterpart, Bob Bowlsby, confirmed that he will be taking a 10-percent cut in pay through the end of this year.  That pay cut will also apply to the other staff in the conference’s office.  The commissioner also highlighted other cost-saving initiatives the league will undertake.

“We’ve eliminated all year-end bonuses and are formulating a reduced scope of operation plan that saves quite a bit of money, but we’re a relatively small operation,” Bowlsby stated. “Most of our resources are passed through to our members.”

Related to the financial ramifications of the pandemic, Bowlsby also expressed concern about “whether or not we can have a full and robust season.”

“Virtually every program is highly reliant on football revenue,” the commissioner told ESPN.com. “We’re making lots of contingency plans, but if you don’t get the anticipated number of games in, you lose the donations, you lose the sponsorships, you lose the gate receipts and you lose the TV. It’s potentially very impactful.”

At this point, it’s decidedly uncertain — unless you’re Dabo Swinney or Mike Gundy — when the 2020 college football season will start.  Or if it will even start.  There’s chatter that it could start in October, although one Bay Area health official doesn’t expect sports to return until at least Thanksgiving.  January has been floated as a possibility as well.  So has the spring of next year.

The only certainty in all of this is that everyone involved in the sport will go to extreme lengths to ensure that a season is played in some form or fashion.

Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss among 20-plus schools to contact Mississippi State transfer who didn’t take kindly to Mike Leach tweet

Mississippi State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Suffice to say, there’s a significant market for one soon-to-be-former Mississippi State football player.

In the wake of first-year head coach Mike Leach‘s much-discussed tweet, Fabien Lovett announced that he would be transferring out of the Mississippi State football program.  The defensive lineman’s father subsequently confirmed that the tweet played a role in his son’s decision.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Lovett stated that he has been in contact with more than 20 schools since he tweeted he was entering the portal.  Among the Power Five programs who have reached out include Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Ole Miss and Tennessee.  Houston is also a school with which Lovett confirmed contact.

Schools are now permitted to contact prospective transfers without receiving permission from the player’s current school.

At this point, it’s unclear when Lovett will make a decision.  Or to where he will transfer.  It should be noted that, during his first recruitment, he took official visits to Florida and Ole Miss.

Lovett did allow that he would prefer to make visits before he decides on a new college football home.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has banned all in-person recruiting until at least May 31.  That would preclude Lovett from making a visit, official or otherwise, until June 1 at the earliest.

It’s thought that Lovett would have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves to another FBS program.  However, he is expected to file an appeal for an immediate eligibility waiver.  It’s believed that he will use the Leach tweet as the basis for his appeal.

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett appeared in 15 games.  13 of those appearances came in 2019.  A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.  Depending on how the waiver appeal turns out, Lovett would have either three years of eligibility starting in 2020 or two starting in 2021.

Baylor DE transfer Deonte Williams commits to Florida State

Florida State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A loss for Baylor will turn into a gain for the Florida State football program.

Earlier this offseason, Deonte Williams signaled his intention to leave Waco by entering the NCAA transfer database. Monday, Williams indicated on Twitter that he received a scholarship offer from FSU. Two days later, on the same social media service, the defensive end announced that he has committed to the Florida State football team.

Williams has a familial connection to Florida State as his father, Alphonso, played his college football for the Seminoles. His father played with Odell Haggins, the longtime FSU assistant who was retained by new head coach Mike Norvell.

During the 2018 season, Williams suffered a significant fracture in his arm. Williams sat out the 2019 season after “[m]e and my dad decided to take the medical DQ to have time to think about my future moving forward,” he told 247Sports.com. A few months later, he entered the portal.

A three-star 2016 signee, Williams was rated as the No. 37 outside linebacker in the country. The Plano, Tex., product took a redshirt as a true freshman. He started four of the nine games in which he played in 2017, then played in the first seven games the following season before the arm injury in a game against Texas.

Nov. 3, Florida State announced that Willie Taggart was out as the program’s head football coach. A month later, Norvell was hired away from Memphis as Taggart’s replacement.

Including Williams, Norvell has added five Power Five transfers since he arrived at FSU, which is coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons for the first time since 1975-76.