College Football News All-American Athletic Conference Team
Preview 2020: Previewing and looking ahead to the American Athletic season with the College Football News All-American Athletic Conference Team & Top 30 players.
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Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: RB Kenneth Gainwell, Soph. Memphis
The 2020 Memphis running game was supposed to revolve around Patrick Taylor, but he was never quite healthy and he only played in six games. He still finished second on the team with 78 carries.
Kenneth Gainwell, though, managed to fill the void, carrying the ball 231 times for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns – averaging over six yards per carry – and catching 51 passes for 610 yards and three scores.
The Memphis offense is strong enough – and the backfield is good enough – to keep the 5-11, 191-pound do-it-all star from being overused, but he’s too terrific to not have the ball in his hands as much as possible.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: S Richie Grant, Sr. UCF
How is he not in the NFL already?
The 6-0, 194-pound all-around playmaker followed up a 108-tackle, six-interception sophomore season with 78 stops and one pick, but with eight broken up passes as the star of a solid Knight secondary.
This year, he’s once again going to be among the nation’s best safeties and most dangerous defensive backs.
He might not be huge, but he’s a terrific hitter with outstanding speed and range. Throw in his all-conference smarts in the classroom along with the experience and talent, and he and UCF will be in for another huge season.