Tua Tagovailoa headlines the USA TODAY Sports midseason All-America team

USA Today Sports 1 month ago

Even among a crowded group of contenders at quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa has been too good to ignore. The Alabama junior is the headliner for the USA TODAY Sports midseason All-America team, which features several names from those teams leading the way in the Amway Coaches Poll.

The star power through the season's first half is so strong, in fact, that it's telling to see which standouts missed the cut. Among the names who were considered: quarterbacks Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields; Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins; LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase; Baylor linebacker Clay Johnston; and LSU defensive back Derek Stingley Jr., to name a few.

QB: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (Jr.)

Tagovailoa has 27 touchdowns and 2,011 passing yards, is averaging a ridiculous 11 yards per attempt and waited until this past Saturday to toss his first interception on the season.

RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)

RB: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)

Taylor has a Bowl Subdivision-best 14 touchdowns and continues to make a charge at the career rushing record. Hubbard leads the country in carries (162) and rushing yards (1,094) and has a shot at a 2,000-yard season.

 POWER RANKINGS: ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC

WR: Tee Higgins, Clemson (Jr.)

WR: CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (Jr.)

WR: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (Jr.)

No position is deeper. Higgins (22.9 yards per catch) has been as good as expected. Lamb (28 receptions for 610 yards and 10 touchdowns) has been Hurts' favorite target and a touchdown machine. Jeudy (42 for 538) is the leader of an unstoppable receiver corps.

OL: Penei Sewell, Oregon (So.)

OL: John Simpson, Clemson (Sr.)

OL: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin (Jr.)

OL: Matt Hennessy, Temple (Jr.)

OL: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State (So.)

Sewell is playing like the top-five draft pick he's expected to become. Simpson anchors an offensive line that ranks second nationally in sacks allowed. Biadasz and Hennessy are the top contenders for the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center. Davis has blossomed into a star in his first full season as a starter.

DL: Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

DL: Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh (So.)

DL: Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)

DL: Curtis Weaver, Boise State (Jr.)

Young cannot be blocked, period. Twyman is averaging a sack per game and drawing multiple blockers for a defense that ranks 10th nationally in yards allowed per play. Brown has anchored an Auburn defense that ranks third in the SEC in rushing yards allowed. Weaver leads the nation with 9 sacks, to the surprise of no one.

LB: Zack Baun, Wisconsin (Sr.)

LB: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (Jr.)

LB: Evan Weaver, California (Sr.)

Baun had a beautiful pick-six in Saturday's blowout of Michigan State and ranks second among Power Five linebackers in tackles for loss (10.5) and sacks (6). Simmons stuff every line in the box score as the Tigers' leading tackler and defensive MVP. Weaver leads the FBS in tackles (84) and is the heart and soul of a superb unit.

CB: Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State (Jr.)

CB: Marco Wilson, Florida (So.)

S: Xavier McKinney, Alabama (Jr.)

S: Grant Delpit, LSU (Jr.)

Okudah has made three highlight-reel interceptions and played a key part in a vastly improved Ohio State defense. While Florida struggled against LSU's passing game in Saturday's loss, Wilson has stepped up to help the Gators' secondary shine even fellow cornerback CJ Henderson has missed three games. McKinney leads Alabama in tackles (47); teammates Patrick Surtain II and Trevon Diggs were also under consideration. Delpit has been all over the field for an LSU defense that has played below the program's recent standard but still ranks in the top 20 nationally in yards allowed per carry and per play.

K: Brandon Talton, Nevada (Fr.)

P: Max Duffy, Kentucky (So.)

RET: Jaylond Adams, Southern Mississippi (So.)

Talton began his college career with a 56-yard field goal to lead Nevada past Purdue and has yet to miss an attempt. Duffy is averaging an FBS-best 50.4 yards per punt and has pinned 15 of his 29 kicks inside the 20-yard line. Adams leads the nation with two kickoff returns for touchdowns and is the only player with a kickoff and punt return for a score.

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