Earlier this week, Sports on Earth handed out its 2017 college football individual awards, honoring the best players and coaches in a variety of categories. It's time to go deeper and pick All-America teams. We've selected three teams honoring 75 players, representing the talented players at every position who have had the best 2017 season.
First Team All-America
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma. Mayfield's single-season FBS passer rating record set last season may last only a year. Depending on what happens in the playoff, he'll break it again. His efficiency has been otherworldly, with a 71 percent completion rate, 41 touchdowns, five interceptions and an average of 11.8 yards per attempt.
RB: Bryce Love, Stanford. Love has amassed 23 runs of at least 30 yards, making him a home-run threat every week. Despite dealing with an ankle injury, Love averages 8.3 yards per carry, rushing for 1,973 yards and 17 TDs.
RB: Saquon Barkley, Penn State. Although his production slowed in the second half of the season, Barkley averages 144 yards from scrimmage per game. He makes an impact as a runner, receiver and returner, and nobody has a more memorable 2017 highlight reel.
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State. Sometimes, predictions are easy to make: Washington was widely regarded as the nation's top receiver entering his senior season, and he has lived up to the hype in ranking first with 1,423 receiving yards and averaging 20.6 yards catch in an explosive offense.
WR: Anthony Miller, Memphis. The former walk-on broke out as a star on the receiving end of Riley Ferguson's passes last year. He's had another phenomenal season, hauling in 92 passes for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns.
TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma. With Dede Westbrook gone, Andrews has grown into Mayfield's most frequent target. At 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, he has a team-high 58 catches for 906 yards and eight touchdowns.
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma. One of Mayfield's best qualities is his ability to create space and improvise when needed, but he's made all the more dangerous by the exceptional protection he gets from a veteran line. The 6-foot-8, 345-pound Brown shouldn't be overlooked as a reason for the Sooners' staggering success on offense.
OL: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame. For a big chunk of the season, the Fighting Irish overwhelmed opponents in the run game. Nelson led the way from left guard as a tenacious and physical blocker.
OL: Jonah Williams, Alabama. Williams started every game at right tackle as a true freshman. With Cam Robinson gone, he made a smooth transition to left tackle as a sophomore, anchoring what's been, once again, one of the nation's top lines.
OL: Braden Smith, Auburn. The Auburn O-line grew into a machine by the end of the season, opening the door for a big finish from RB Kamryn Pettway and big plays from QB Jarrett Stidham. Smith flirted with moving to right tackle in the offseason, but he stayed at right guard and played a key role in Auburn's SEC West title push.
OL: Billy Price, Ohio State. Last year, Pat Elflein moved from guard to center and won the Rimington Trophy. With Elflein gone, Price moved from guard to center and is deservedly a Rimington finalist.
DE: Bradley Chubb, N.C. State. Chubb built on an impressive junior campaign (21 ½ tackles for loss) by becoming arguably the nation's top end as a senior. He has 10 sacks, 21 ½ tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and a reputation for constant disruption off the edge.
DE: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson. This pick could go to the entire Clemson starting line. Ferrell is one of four stars up front for the Tigers. After breaking out late last season, he's lived up to the hype in 2017, with a team-high 17 tackles for loss and 8 ½ sacks.
DT: Ed Oliver, Houston. Oliver was Sports on Earth's No. 1 player at any position coming into the season. No, he hasn't been quite as good as somebody like Mayfield, but he has been dominant, again, for the Cougars, a five-star recruit who's a versatile monster up front. The sophomore has 69 tackles, 14 ½ tackles for loss and 5 ½ sacks, and he was excellent in big wins against Navy and USF's prolific run offenses.
DT: Maurice Hurst, Michigan. Others put up bigger numbers, but Hurst has been relentlessly dominant up front on yet another great Michigan defensive line. Not technically a starter until this season, Hurst has thrived in a bigger role with 59 tackles and 13 ½ tackles for loss.
LB: Roquan Smith, Georgia. The Bulldogs jumped to sixth in yards per play allowed, and Smith has been the centerpiece of a defensive renaissance under Kirby Smart in Athens. A complete player, Smith has a superb combination of range, instincts and closing speed, helping him amass 113 tackles and 10 ½ tackles for loss.
LB: Josey Jewell, Iowa. A four-year star, Jewell just keeps getting better. A fantastic senior campaign has featured 125 tackles, 13 ½ tackles for loss, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and a forced fumble, as he continues to be a well-rounded, stat-sheet-filling machine.
LB: Uchenna Nwosu, USC. Nwosu hasn't gotten as much national attention as deserved for how he has consistently impacted games. The senior has 71 tackles, 9 ½ tackles for loss, an interception and a ridiculous 13 pass breakups, which ranks second in the Pac-12 despite the fact that he plays linebacker, as he makes a ton of plays off the edge.
CB: Josh Jackson, Iowa. The Hawkeyes lost 2015 Thorpe Award winner Desmond King, but Jackson has emerged as a Thorpe finalist this season. He had three interceptions against Ohio State and two pick-sixes a week later against Wisconsin. He leads the nation in passes defended, showing superb ball skills with seven interceptions and 18 pass breakups.
CB: Denzel Ward, Ohio State. The Buckeyes' penchant for reloading in the secondary continues. After losing three first-round draft picks, they've had Ward step up as a star shutdown cornerback. In his first season as an actual starter, Ward has 15 pass breakups and two interceptions for a defense that allows only 5.9 yards per pass attempt.
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama. Whether he's playing strong safety, cornerback or anywhere else on the field, Fitzpatrick is a star. A versatile athlete, Fitzpatrick has been the best player on another dominant Alabama defense, with 52 tackles, seven pass breakups, six tackles for loss and an interception.
S: DeShon Elliott, Texas. The Longhorns had a stellar year on defense, for the most part, and Elliott played as well as anybody. He's already turned pro, but as a junior, he racked up 63 tackles, nine pass breakups, 8 ½ tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and six interceptions, including two pick-sixes.
K: Daniel Carlson, Auburn. Carlson ranks only 57th in field goal percentage at 75 percent, but the numbers lie: Few kickers can match his range. He's 9 of 14 from over 40 yards, with four field goals of over 50 yards. He's also perfect on extra points.
P: Michael Dickson, Texas. Dickson has had punts of 76 and 69 yards, he leads the nation in punting average (48.4) and he has put 32 punts inside the 20-yard line.
KR/PR: D.J. Reed, Kansas State. Reed ranks second nationally in both kick return average and punt return average, with one touchdown doing each.
* * *
Second Team All-America
QB: Lamar Jackson, Louisville. Jackson in 2016: 3,543 passing yards, 1,572 rushing yards and 51 total TDs in 13 games. Jackson in 2017: 3,489 passing yards, 1,443 rushing yards and 42 total TDs in 12 games. Yes, the reigning Heisman winner deserves postseason accolades again.
RB: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State. Penny replaced a 2,000-yard rusher, Donnel Pumphrey, with 2,000 yards of his own: 275 carries for 2,027 yards and 19 TDs, with over 200 yards in four straight games to end the regular season. He also has three return touchdowns.
RB: Ronald Jones II, USC. Sam Darnold has not been the Trojans' best offensive player this year. That honor belongs to Jones, who split carries for two years before emerging as USC's go-to tailback this year, with 242 carries for 1,486 yards and 18 TDs for the Pac-12 champions.
WR: Michael Gallup, Colorado State. The juco transfer made an instant impact with a huge 2016 season, and he's followed that up with 94 catches for 1,350 yards and seven TDs.
WR: A.J. Brown, Ole Miss. Despite a couple quite games early and despite losing QB Shea Patterson to an injury, Brown shined, racking up 75 catches for 1,252 yards and 11 TDs.
TE: Mike Gesicki, Penn State. Gesicki has put up back-to-back impressive seasons, showing off skills that would translate to basketball with leaping ability and ball skills. He has 51 catches for 501 yards and nine touchdowns.
OL: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame. The left tackle has teamed with guard Quenton Nelson to form a frequently dominant duo on the left side of the Notre Dame line the past couple seasons.
OL: Mitch Hyatt, Clemson. A starter since Day 1 as a true freshman, Hyatt has been a cornerstone of these national championship-contending Clemson offenses, and he's made the transition to life after Deshaun Watson easier.
OL: Isaiah Wynn, Georgia. Regular-season loss to Auburn aside, Georgia's offensive line has been one of the most improved units of the season, allowing it to win the SEC and get a playoff bid. Wynn has been the star of the unit at left tackle.
OL: Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin. The next great Badgers offensive lineman has starred as a junior right guard, building on last year's second-team All-Big Ten campaign to help pave the way for Jonathan Taylor's 1,800-yard freshman season.
OL: Tyrell Crosby, Oregon. Crosby missed nearly all of the 2016 season with an injury, but he returned healthy to lead a vastly improved Ducks O-line this season. The left tackle has been a reliable pass blocker and a key contributor to the successful college career of tailback Royce Freeman, who is nearing 1,500 yards.
DE: Nick Bosa, Ohio State. Joey's little brother has made a name for himself on his own, despite wearing the same No. 97 as the former All-American and current NFL star. The best player on a loaded Buckeyes defensive line, Nick Bosa has 14 ½ sacks and seven sacks and is constantly disrupting opponents in the backfield, whether he gets a sack or not.
DE: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois. Smith quickly went from unknown to statistical machine this year as a redshirt sophomore. He had five tackles for loss in the opener against Boston College and never let up, leading the nation with 14 sacks and 28 ½ tackles for loss in his first year starting for a defense that ranks eighth in yards per play allowed.
DT: Hercules Mata'afa, Washington State. The 252-pound tackle has been the face of Washington State's defensive breakthrough under coordinator Alex Grinch. The Cougars have gone from 90th to 28th in yards per play allowed, and Mata'afa ranks fifth nationally with 21 ½ tackles for loss
DT: Vita Vea, Washington. The 340-pound Vea isn't going to impress with his numbers -- 38 tackles, 5 ½ tackles for loss, four pass breakups -- but his impact on the game can't be overstated. He's a mammoth force at the line of scrimmage, someone capable of occupying blockers and forcing defenses to scheme around him.
LB: Devin White, LSU. With Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith gone, White stepped up as LSU's newest star at linebacker with 127 tackles, 12 ½ tackles for loss and an interception
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma. The clear star of an inconsistent Oklahoma defense, Okoronkwo has developed into an impressive Eric Striker successor over the past couple years. As a senior, he has 71 tackles, 17 ½ tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles.
LB: Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech. A Butkus Award finalist, Edmunds is the top player on another excellent Hokies defense that ranks fifth in points allowed, giving up just 13.5 per game. Edmunds has 102 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
CB: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado. The Buffaloes fell off defensively after losing most of their key contributors from last year, but the draft-bound Oliver made the junior year leap that was expected of him, with 13 pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.
CB: Donte Jackson, LSU. The Tigers rank ninth in defensive passer rating, and Jackson has been excellent in coverage with 10 pass breakups, an interception and few passes coming his way.
S: Derwin James, Florida State. The Seminoles' disappointing season kept James out of the spotlight, but he was predictably excellent in his return from a season-ending injury in 2016. The surefire first-round pick racked up 84 tackles, 11 pass breakups and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD.
S: Justin Reid, Stanford. The brother of former LSU first-round pick Eric Reid, Justin Reid is trying to follow in those footsteps. He has 97 tackles, 5 ½ tackles for loss and five interceptions to lead the defense of the Pac-12 North champions.
K: Matt Gay, Utah. Utah's special teams excellence isn't limited to punters. Gay is 27 of 31 on field goals and 5 of 6 on kicks longer than 50 yards, and that's after walking onto the team in the preseason.
P: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah. The Utes have had three straight Ray Guy Award winners: Tom Hackett twice and Wishnowsky last year. Wishnowsky deserves it again. The ace punter has put 16 inside the 20-yard line with only three touchbacks, and he averages 44.2 yards per punt. Only six of his punts have even been returned.
KR/PR: Dante Pettis, Washington. The star receiver and punt returner led the nation in punt return average and took back four punts for touchdowns, giving him the FBS career record in that category with nine.
* * *
Third Team All-America
QB: McKenzie Milton, UCF. Milton made an incredible transformation from his freshman to sophomore year, leading the nation's top scoring offense with the nation's No. 2 passer rating, 46 total touchdowns and an average of 357.7 yards of total offense per game.
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin. The true freshman will get a crack at 2,000 yards in his debut season in the Orange Bowl. He led the Badgers to a 12-0 regular season and has 1,847 yards and 13 TDs on the ground.
RB: Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic. The engine for Lane Kiffin's prolific Owls offense, Singletary leads the nation with 29 rushing touchdowns and has 275 carries for 1,796 yards.
WR: David Sills V, West Virginia. Sills' production trailed off at the end of the season -- the Will Grier injury didn't help -- but he's still hauled in a national-high 18 touchdowns and averages 16.3 yards per catch with 60 for 980 yards.
WR: Calvin Ridley, Alabama. No, his numbers aren't as impressive as others on the surface, but consider the offense: Alabama ranks 112th in pass attempts per game (23) and often pulls starters in blowouts. When it does pass, the ball goes to Ridley, who's the most talented wide receiver in the country: He has 55 catches, making him the only Crimson Tide player with more than 14, for 896 yards with three TDs.
TE: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin. The Badgers' leading receiver has had another productive season as a go-to target with 43 catches for 516 yards and four TDs.
OL: Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State. The juco transfer became a rising star upon earning the left tackle job last year, and he's solidified that standing as a key competent of a productive running offense that doesn't give up many negative plays.
OL: Erick Wren, Oklahoma. Orlando Brown gets all the publicity as the star, but this is a veteran Oklahoma line that is strong across the board. Wren has been a reliable force as the senior center, as well, for the nation's top offense.
OL: Nate Herbig, Stanford. Bryce Love did plenty on his own, using his speed to finish off big plays, but Stanford always builds excellent offensive line, and this one played a big part in Love flirting with 2,000 yards. Herbig, a 339-pound sophomore, has been an integral piece of the puzzle at guard.
OL: Chukwma Okorafor, Western Michigan. The Broncos have been potent running the ball each of the past two years with the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Okorafor emerging as the standout of the offense upon switching from right tackle to left tackle.
OL: Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech. The senior guard has started 42 games in his career after beginning his career as a defensive lineman, and he's been a valuable protector for freshman QB Josh Jackson.
DE: Jeff Holland, Auburn. The Tigers' new-look defensive front, without Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, didn't skip a beat. A big reason for that is the relentless disruption caused by Holland, who has nine sacks and regularly makes plays that don't show up in the box score because of the pressure he generates.
DE: Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State. Rolland-Jones was named the Sun Belt's overall player of the year for the second year in a row after a season in which he had 13 sacks and three forced fumbles in 11 games. He's one sack in the Red Wolves' bowl game away from breaking Terrell Suggs' FBS career sacks record.
DT: Harrison Phillips, Stanford. Phillips showed flashes of potential in the past and has emerged as a force on the line with Solomon Thomas gone. He has 99 tackles, 16 ½ tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
DT: Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, Clemson. They're monsters in the middle of the Clemson defensive line, freeing up more impressive stats for those around them. It would feel unfair to honor one without honoring the other.
LB: Devin Bush, Michigan. The Wolverines needed new stars to emerge with 10 starters gone from the defense, and that's exactly what they got from Bush. The sophomore has 94 tackles, 9 ½ tackles for loss and eight pass breakups.
LB: Malik Jefferson, Texas. The former all-world recruit took a big step forward as a junior, earning co-Big 12 defensive player of the year honors with 110 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
LB: T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin. Injuries and defensive coordinator turnover haven't held back the Wisconsin defense. Edwards has been the star of the unit that ranks third in yards per play allowed, with 75 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and four interceptions.
CB: Mark Gilbert, Duke. The Blue Devils' pass defense has been vastly improved, with Gilbert standing out by amassing six interceptions, 12 pass breakups and a couple tackles for loss.
CB: Carlton Davis, Auburn. The Tigers' terrific defense allows just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, and Davis has starred as the frequently avoided cornerback who still has 11 pass breakups and an interception.
S: Armani Watts, Texas A&M. Watts' productive four-year career has culminated in an impressive senior season in which he has 87 tackles, four interceptions, 10 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles as an impressive all-around playmaker.
S: Quin Blanding, Virginia. A highly regarded recruit, Blanding stuck around for four years, and his senior season has resulted in the Cavaliers' first bowl bid since 2011. Blanding has piled up big numbers, again, with 121 tackles, four interceptions, 3 ½ tackles for loss and two pass breakups for an improved defense.
K: Daniel LaCamera, Texas A&M. LaCamera has hit 17 of 20 field goals this year, including a 5-for-5 performance to beat Florida by two on the road and a 3-for-3 performance to help lead an OT win over Arkansas.
P: Johnny Townsend, Florida. Townsend continues to be valuable for a team that continues to struggle on offense. He averaged 47.6 yards per kick, second-best nationally.
KR/PR: Mike Hughes, UCF. In addition to putting up great numbers on defense, Hughes has three return TDs on special teams. That includes the game-winning 95-yard kick return against USF with 1:28 left in a game that decided the AAC East title.