First Team All-American
1. Dak Prescott, Sr. Mississippi State
The hope was for Prescott to be ready to take his game to a whole other level as a junior, and he did that and more. It’s not like he was bad in 2013, taking over the gig and becoming too good to keep off the field as he grew into a sharper, stronger passer to go along with his rushing skills. And then the 6-2, 230-pounder grabbed the leadership role by the horns as the exact type of Face of the Program guy that Mississippi State needed. A great athlete, he was wanted by other SEC schools, but not necessarily as a quarterback. MSU gave him the chance to be one, and he turned into a Heisman-caliber performer.
There was some thought that he might turn pro early, but his throwing motion needs a ton of work and he’s not an NFL passer – he’s more of a do-it-all type of playmaker who’ll do whatever is needed to keep the offense moving. There was some question mark about his accuracy, and he hit 62% of his passes for 3,449 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 picks. A blaster of a runner with good enough speed to come up big in the open field, he ran for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He even caught two passes for 35 yards and a score. He carried the ball less and less over the second half of the season – partly because of the SEC slate and partly for self-preservation – and he ramped up the passing running for 200 yards or more in every game buy the blowout win over Vandy. With so many key parts missing on both sides of the ball, this year he’ll do even more for the offense and the school.
2. Connor Cook, Sr. Michigan State
It took a little while to grow into the starting gig, but he showed at the end of 2012 that he was going to make the offense his. No he has an all-timer of a resume with three bowl wins, a Rose Bowl victory, a Big Ten championship, and guiding the way to big win after big win. He could’ve gone pro early and likely would’ve been the third quarterback taken off the board, and now he’s pushing to possibly be one of the top picks next year if all goes well. At 6-4 and 220 pounds he has the NFL size to go along with the right arm strength and the gunslinger ability to keep on bombing no matter what. He can move a little, too – he’s not a stick in the mud pro-style passer.
While he threw eight picks, two of them came in the loss to Oregon and two more in the bowl win over Baylor – he was stingy with the mistakes the rest of the way. He can push the ball all over the field, but he has to step up his accuracy hitting just 58% of his throws last year for 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, with 300-yard days against Oregon, Ohio State and Baylor last season, and in the 2013 Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl win, he’s as big-time as it gets. This year, Michigan State is hoping he can making it two league titles in three years.
3. Trevone Boykin, Sr. TCU
4. Cardale Jones, Jr. Ohio State
5. Justin Thomas, Jr. Georgia Tech
6. Cody Kessler, Sr. USC
7. Joshua Dobbs, Jr. Tennessee
8. Jeremy Johnson, Jr. Auburn
9. Everett Golson, Sr. Florida State
10. Deshaun Watson, Soph. Clemson
11. Taysom Hill, Sr. BYU
12. Gunner Kiel, Jr. Cincinnati
13. Christian Hackenberg, Jr. Penn State
14. Marquise Williams, Sr. North Carolina
15. Keenan Reynolds, Sr. Navy
16. Jared Goff, Jr. Cal
17. Brandon Doughty, Sr. WKU
18. Malik Zaire, Jr. Notre Dame
19. Mike Bercovici, Sr. Arizona State
20. Chuckie Keeton, Sr. Utah State