The choice of the best college football players in August is an unpleasant proposition. For example, go back and see how many people had Kyler Murray as the best quarterback in the country – not to mention the winner of the Heisman trophy – 19 years ago.
As we unveil the ESPN preseason team for 2019, keep in mind that this is not necessarily a reflection of what players have done so far. That's part of it, but an even bigger part is who we think will be the best player on the field this season, based on preseason camp travel, coaching conversations and consulting with colleagues.
There were difficult decisions for just about every position. Case in point: How do you choose just two wide receivers with all the great ones? Also, check out the talented (and productive) list of quarterbacks who didn't make the cut.
Here's what we came up with. It's always interesting to come back in December and see how we did. We are sure you will.
Lawrence is a bigger, stronger and faster version of the quarterback who dissects Alabama in the game of the national championship a year ago as a true freshman. He will also be a more confident leader for the Tigers now that his show is offended. Lawrence passed for 2,880 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and threw just four interceptions. If there was such a thing as the No. 1 overall pick in college football, Lawrence would be the predominant choice.
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Imagine this: another whole world returning from Wisconsin, the 5-foot-11, 219-pound junior won the Doak Walker Award last season and was a finalist . Taylor's 2,194 rushing yards last season, 1,309 came after contact, leading all returning FBS back. And you want consistency? Taylor runs the country with 61 runs of 10 yards or longer and has 10 runs of 30 yards or longer.
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson
Lost in the brilliance of Lawrence and all the talent that Clemson has in the receiver is that the Tigers return one of the most complete running backs in college football. Not only did Etienne rush for 1,658 yards and record 26 touchdowns last season, he also averaged 8.1 yards per carry and gained 884 yards after contact. The 5-foot-10, 215-pound junior also has breakthrough speeds. He had seven runs of 40 yards or longer last season.
WR: Jerry Jedi, Alabama
Tua Tagavailoa will once again take his pick of talented receivers to throw this season, but 6-foot-1, 192-pound Judy is in a different stratosphere than the rest . He is explosive, drives great routes and always makes great plays. Judy caught 68 passes last season, averaging 19.3 yards per catch and hauled in 14 touchdowns. He had 14 catches that went at least 30 yards on his way to winning the 2018 Biletnikoff Award.
WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma
He has no perfect size and is sometimes overshadowed by what an extremely deep class receiver at college football, but few players can go picking up football the way a 6-foot, 185-pound Wallace can. The speedy junior burst onto the scene a year ago and led the nation with 63 receptions of 10 yards or more. He finished with 86 catches, including 12 touchdowns, and his best three games were against the top 10 opponents.
TE: Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
By all means, Pinky looks like a tight end to the NFL .. … and he also plays as one. His 774 receiving yards are the most of any returning tight end nationally. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound red flannel also has the size and power to help clear the way in running game for explosive teammate Ke & # 39; Shawn Vaughn. Last season, Pitney caught seven passes and had 111 yards against Notre Dame.
T: Andrew Thomas, Georgia
What we don't like about the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Thomas who started all 13 games he played last season in left tack and all 15 games with the right tank in 2017 as a true freshman? Thomas is one of those rare references who is a bit devastating as a running blocker as he qualifies as a blocking pass. He also plays with great players around him on an offensive front in Georgia, loaded with future pros.
G: Solomon Kindley, Georgia
Good luck getting into the left side of the Georgia offensive line this season. Not only do the Bulldogs have Thomas on the left, but also on the left side is the 6-foot-4, 335-pound Kindle. Kindley Adolescents, Kindley is an absolute runner in the running game and athletic enough to protect the passerby from the interior. The Dogs should be a front-loading offensive this season.
C: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
The name itself is compelling, but there is much more to Humphrey. A former high school honors fighter, Humphrey has incredible strength and equally good hands and will fight you every game. Now a red shirt sophomore, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Humphrey was the most dominant player in college football last season. He will be one of the best players in the sport this season and will receive our vote as a top center in a deep and talented class of centers.
G: Shane Lemioux, Oregon
One of the best interior offensive liners in college football last season, Lemieux extended his streak to 38 consecutive starts in left guard for the Ducks. The 6-foot-4, 314-pound jersey is a big reason for many college football players to think that Oregon has one of the best offensive lines in the country. Lemieux is as smart as he is healthy and so skillful. His experience makes him much more effective.
T: Walker Little, Stanford
Little became Stanford's first true freshman, starting at left-handed since 2000 and ever since becoming better and more dominant. The Cardinal and the offensive tin shots seem to go hand in hand, and the 6-foot-7, 313-pound little one is next big. He also played basketball and made the track in high school and athleticism is evident in the way he defends K.J. The blind side of Costello. Universal: Rondale Moore, Purdue
Moore made a home name at college last season as a freshman after splitting his defense at Ohio State. He was fourth nationally with 2,215 all-purpose yards, including an average of 12.3 yards per game, and won the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player in the nation. When he touches the ball, then the fun begins – for everyone, but for the opponent's defense.
After leading bouquets in bags (10) and battling for loss (15.5) a year ago as a true sophomore, Young is poised to be even more dominant in 2019. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound youngster certainly didn't look like a true freshman on the Ohio State defensive line who produced four draft picks the last two years. He has the explosiveness, explosiveness and length to completely ruin the Buckeyes this season.
DT: Derrick Brown, Rudd
They rarely make defensive decisions as big, talented and fulfilling as Brown's return for his senior seasons, but Brown is back on the plains and reinforces Auburn's defensive line be exceptional. The 6-foot-5, 318-pound brown has one of those wing sizes that opposing offensive linemen hate. His strength, strength and explosiveness are equally threatening. There is no better defensive liner in a college game.
DT: Lightweight Foto, Utah
A person's absolute mountain, the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Foto may also be a mountain for ducks in the middle of their defensive line. You succeed in repelling Fotu, even when you double it. And as dominant as Fotu was in the front, his best football is in front of him, and there is a reason why Utah coach Kyle Whittingham does not deviate from mentioning Fotu and former Utah great Luther Ellis in the same sentence.
DE: Xavier Thomas, Clemson
The defense pipeline on Clemson's defense line has been staggering over the last few years, and Thomas has everything he needs to be on the line. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound sophomore was not a beginner as a freshman, but recorded 10.5 projectiles for loss and only scratched the surface of how good he could be. The Tigers have lost a lot of talent ahead of their national championship team, but Thomas is the kind of game changer that helps fill that void.
LB: K & # 39; Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The fact that Shawson will wear the coveted number 18 this season tells you what those on the LSU program think. A year ago, he broke his knee in the opening season after waking up in the pre-season. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound sophomore is a blurr, pushing a passer from his outside linebacker position and if he can stay healthy, he'll be as destructive as anyone in college play this season.
LB: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
He is a private defender, a private leader and a complete playmaker. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior actually rolled out of safety last season and led the Tigers with 97 total tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and returned his only catch-and-break. Simmons played some of his best football in the biggest games last season. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is already devising new ways to turn Simmons into a free agent against offenses this season.
LB: Dylan Moses, Alabama
The Crimson Tide are thinner than they would like to be in the line leader, but they have a real dumbass (as Nick Saban likes to call them) in Moses, 6 feet-3, 235-pound junior, who can play both inside and outside in the tide scheme. A finalist for the Butcus Award last season, Moses recorded 86 team tackles, including 10 for loss.
S: Grant Delpit, LSU
LSU has had its share of great security over the years, but Delpit has a chance to be right up there with any of them and will be a major tooth in Dave's defense Rent. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound junior is ruthless and flies all over the field. Last season, there were five sacks and five interceptions and that was just one look at how devastating he could be in 2019.
S: Xavier McKinney, Alabama
As a freshman, Makinny made a name for himself in special teams, and last season he showed off his coverage skills, great play ability and flexibility when he blossomed into one of the most complete defenses in college football. The Crimson Tide will use McKinney in a variety of ways in 2019, and what Nick Saban likes most about the 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior is that he's always in attack mode.
CB: Bryce Hall, Virginia
If you're looking for a quarterback who's always around the ball, Hall is your guy. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior led the country a year ago with 22 passes and tied for the lead with 24 passes. Hall is a startup from his true freshman year and has excellent ball skills. Do not be surprised if he adds a total of two interceptions to last season.
CB: CJ Henderson, Florida
Like most great defensive backs, Henderson dares to oppose the defenders who come after him and most choose to. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound junior has the size, speed and instincts that everyone looks for in a corner. The super-competitive Henderson will carry the No. 1 seed for the Gators this season, which is appropriate. This is where he ranks among college football rotators.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Schmidt went out of nowhere to win a place in Syracuse – kicking duties and time. when he graduated, he had put together one of his great seasons with a kick and won the Lou Groza Award. He is consistent and has a wide range, as evidenced by his leading NCAA clip 30 of 34 for field goal attempts and 3-for-3 field goals of 50 yards or more.
Q: Braden Mann, Texas A&M
Mann will try to build on a sensational youth season that saw him win the Ray Guy Award and the Player of the Year Award for SEC Special Teams. Mann not only averaged 51 yards per punt, but also had 19 punts down the line 20 yards. Just for good measure, he also had four special teams matches and was forced to flee.