2016 ESPN college football preseason All-American team

— -- Take a look across the college football landscape this preseason, and then think about whom you'd zero in on for a preseason All-American team. Tough gig, right?

Don't sweat it. We took care of the hard work and the difficult non-Fournette, non-McCaffrey, non-Watson decisions.

Here's your ESPN 2016 preseason All-American team.


QB: Deshaun Watson, Clemson

In his first full season as the starter at Clemson, Watson led the Tigers to an ACC title and an Orange Bowl win and nearly pulled the upset over Alabama in the national championship game. In the process, he threw for 4,109 yards, ran for 1,105 more and totaled 47 touchdowns. The performance set a high bar, but as NFL scouts drool over his potential to star at the next level, his sights are clearly set on finishing the run to a national championship first. -- David M. Hale

RB: Leonard Fournette, LSU

As a sophomore, Leonard Fournette strung together one of the best seasons in SEC history, with 1,953 rushing yards, 22 touchdowns and an FBS-high 162.8 rushing ypg. The only way for him to top that would be with a Heisman Trophy as a junior -- and that will be within his reach if LSU remains in the playoff conversation deep into November. -- David Ching

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

WR: Mike Williams, Clemson

TE: Jake Butt, Michigan

Teammates say the 2015 All-American is deceptively fast and uses his body to get open as well as anyone in the country. Equipped with a coaching staff that makes good use of its tight ends, it's a safe bet that Butt is on his way to a second-straight season of 50-plus catches. -- Dan Murphy

OT: Cam Robinson, Alabama

The talented left tackle could go wire-to-wire, from the No. 1 prospect at his position coming out of high school to a Freshman All-American to a likely first-round draft pick in next year's draft. -- Alex Scarborough

OG: Dan Feeney, Indiana

An ESPN.com first team All-American in 2015, Feeney has allowed only one sack in his career and has helped pave the way for a 2,000-yard rusher in 2014 (Tevin Coleman) and one of the nation's top all-around offenses in 2015. -- Brian Bennett

C: Pat Elflein, Ohio State

The senior thought about joining the flood of Buckeyes who left early for the NFL, but his decision to return could prove invaluable both personally and for his team's chances of returning to the College Football Playoff. Elflein gets a chance to showcase his skills at center after previously starring as a guard, and Ohio State gets a veteran back to anchor the offensive line. -- Austin Ward

OG: Dorian Johnson, Pitt

OT: Conor McDermott, UCLA


DE: Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Leading his team and finishing second in the SEC in sacks wasn't enough. Allen bypassed the NFL draft to return to Alabama and anchor a defensive line that promises once again to wreak havoc on quarterbacks. -- A.S.

DT: Carlos Watkins, Clemson

DT: Malik McDowell, Michigan State

A strong showing in the College Football Playoff launched McDowell's national profile to a new level. The Spartans' defensive line is now his to control, and the massive athlete will be playing in several spots to wreak as much havoc as possible in opposing backfields. -- D.M.

DE: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

The 2015 Lombardi Award finalist should be in for a huge junior season after compiling 24 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss in his first two seasons. Get a glimpse of him while you can because he'll likely be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. -- Sam Khan

LB: Reuben Foster, Alabama

Simply put, he's a heat-seeking missile at middle linebacker who has taken out Leonard Fournette and many more in the SEC in his three years at Alabama. -- A.S.

LB: Devonte Fields, Louisville

LB: Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

Counting the variety of ways the prototypical middle linebacker contributes is a challenge, but McMillan simplifies it with his own evaluation: tallying the number of tackles he misses. That number was in single digits a year ago, and the junior is likely to be even better after another offseason of development. -- A.W.

SS: Derwin James, Florida State

The sophomore could probably be an All-American at safety, linebacker and even defensive end. Florida State will move its gifted defensive back all over the field to take advantage of his unique athleticism and strength. -- Jared Shanker

FS: Budda Baker, Washington

CB: Desmond King, Iowa

King tied a school record with eight interceptions last year on his way to winning the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. Then he thrilled Hawkeyes fans by deciding to return for his senior season. -- J.S.

CB: Jalen Tabor, Florida


K: Andy Phillips, Utah

P: JK Scott, Alabama

You think that pendulum swing of his created some booming punts as a freshman and sophomore? Wait for what comes next, after Scott grew an inch and a half this offseason. -- A.S.

AP: Adoree' Jackson, USC