Preview 2021: Previewing and looking ahead to the AAC season with the College Football News Preseason All-American Athletic Conference Team & Top 30 players.
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2021 Preseason CFN American Conference Offensive Player of the Year
QB Desmond Ridder, Sr. Cincinnati
This isn’t as obvious as it seems.
Yes, the 6-4, 215-pounder is rolling the NFL Draft charts with his fantastic combination of size, arm, and mobility, but this is a big year for offensive stars in the American Athletic Conference.
This could be the year of UCF QB Dillon Gabriel under a new coaching staff, and there are a slew of talented backs and receivers, but … it’s Ridder.
The leader and star of a dangerous Bearcat team that’s thinking even bigger this season, he threw for 19 touchdowns, ran for 12 more, and is about to do it all again.
2021 Preseason CFN American Conference Defensive Player of the Year
LB Dorian Williams, Soph. Tulane
He’s not all that big, and he’s not your typical edge type who’ll be a dominant pass rusher, but the 6-1, 220-pound all-around tweener is an all-around menace.
Willams has the range of a defensive back, he’s a pass rusher, and he’s coming off a massive season as the best tackler on a good defense. He led the way with 98 stops, and he was the best in the American Athletic Conference in total tackles for loss with 16.5 to go along with 4.5 sacks. Decent in pass coverage, he’ll be even more of a stat-sheet filler.