With less than 100 days until kickoff (93 to be exact, but who's counting - oh wait, we ALL are), some of college football's most important voices have started releasing their pre-season projections. There may not be a more respected voice in doing so than Phil Steele, and with yesterday's release of his pre-season All Americans and All Conference players, it certainly feels as if fall is just around the corner.
TCU fans will be disappointed to not see any Frogs among the first team All American list, as second-teamers Trevone Boykin (who finished 2014 as a second team All American) and Josh Doctson were listed behind Cody Kessler of USC and D'haquille Williams (Auburn), Rashard Higgins (Colorado State), and Tyler Boyd (Pittsburg) respectively. On defense, after having linebacker Paul Dawson finish 2014 as an All American, the Frogs will go in to the pre-season without a projected AA on that side of the ball. For reference, TCU had two defenders among the 2014 projections on D - third team selection Devonte Fields (oops) and fourth teamer Sam Carter.
Around the Big 12, Oklahoma kick returner Alex Ross (first team), running back Samaje Perine (second team), linebacker Eric Striker (second team), cornerback Zach Sanchez (third team), and receiver Sterling Shepherd (fourth team) made the cut; Baylor had three players listed - including first team selection and all around great sport Shawn Oakman; and Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and West Virginia each had one listed. Also of note: The Big 12, known for explosive offense, doesn't have a single first team All American on that side of the ball, according to Steele. You can see the full list here.
Steele's All Big 12 team is very heavy on the purple, with Boykin, Dawson, defensive tackle Davion Pierson, and punt returner Cameron Echols-Luper all listed as first teamers. Running back Aaron Green is a second team teamer, along with receiver Kolby Listenbee and offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai. There are several Frogs scattered among the third and fourth teams, including early enrollee freshman Mike Freeze projected as the fourth team linebacker. To have a player at that position be tabbed as one of the best in the conference before even playing a snap is telling - Freeze is either that good (which I think he is) or we are going to see a lot more high scoring games in conference play in 2015 because the defenses are that bad. The biggest snub on the list might be defensive end James McFarland, who was last seen doing this, but is listed by Steele as a fourth teamer, behind teammate Terrell Lathan (third team - also snubbish in my opinion), and two guys from that defensive powerhouse, Texas Tech. Oakman and Emmanuel Ogbah of Oklahoma State are worthy first team nominees - but the TCU line may have something to say by the time this list is made for real next December.
You can see the whole list here and be super bitter that Baylor (seven) and Oklahoma (six) have more first teamers named than the Frogs. While these lists are fun to read through, and complain about - or hang your hat on - they are just preseason projections, of course. But, if they put a little chip on some of the shoulders of TCU guys, that's not a bad thing for a team that will have the target squarely on their back come September 3rd.