With the help of PFF grades and advanced statistics — which are now available to PFF’s CFB Premium Stats+ Subscribers — we present to you the PFF 2020 All-American team.
First-Team: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
Rattler may not be No. 1 or No. 2 among FBS quarterbacks in PFF grade this season like every other quarterback in the Lincoln Riley-era, but he still has been nothing short of exceptional in his first season starting. He’s the fifth-highest-graded passer in the FBS this season, with a large chunk of that success making plays on the run outside the pocket on both designed rollouts and creating off-structure. Rattler’s passing grade out of the pocket sits at 93.5, nearly seven grading points higher than anyone else in the FBS. The arm talent is legit, and he is bound to make Oklahoma a dominant force in 2021.
First-Team: Breece Hall, Iowa State
Feed Zeke? More like feed Breece. The Iowa State back has had more carries than anyone in the Power 5 this season by a considerable margin, and he has made the most of those with the 18th-best rushing grade in the FBS. Hall has broken off numerous huge touchdown runs this season, leading the entire country with seven touchdowns of 20-plus yards. Only 33 running backs have scored that many touchdowns overall.
First-Team: Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
The 5-foot-5, 168-pound true freshman has been the definition of electric this season, especially as a receiver. Vaughn’s 89.1 receiving grade is the third-best in the FBS, and his 14.7 yards after catch per reception ranks No. 1. He joined the rare club of running backs in the PFF College era to pick up over 3.0 yards per route run.
First-Team: Marvin Mims, Oklahoma
Mims wasn’t expected to be the top receiver right away for the Sooners in 2020, but the true freshman surprised and was just that. He is the sixth-highest-graded wide receiver in college football this season and has the highest PFF grade of any true freshman on the entire offensive side of the ball.
First-Team: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Wallace was a go-route savant for Oklahoma State this season and helped create some massive plays for an offense that had middling quarterback play in 2020. No wide receiver caught more go balls this year than Wallace’s 11, and only one other wideout topped his receiving grade on such routes. His vertical route prowess and routine dominance in contested scenarios helped him earn an 85.3 receiving grade for the season.
First-Team: Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech
Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 220 pounds, Ezukanma was a tough man to bring down after the catch this season. He had 14 broken tackles on 46 catches, the second-most in the conference. Ezukanma’s size and physicality also helped him tie for the most contested catches in the Big 12 with 11 (Wallace also had 11).
First-Team: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
Kolar recorded the highest receiving grade among Big 12 tight ends for the second straight year and has proven to be one of the best chain movers in the country. He ranks third in the FBS at the position in total catches beyond the sticks with 24 and is second in percentage of catchable passes caught past the sticks (96%).
First-Team: Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Cosmi took his play to elite status in 2020 with a PFF grade of 90.5. He never had a “bad” game, with every single one of his starts netting a PFF grade north of 70.0 — he allowed zero pressures in half his games. Cosmi is also one of only two Power 5 tackles with a grade above 85.0 as both a pass- and run-blocker.
First-Team: Junior Angilau, Texas
After shining in pass-protection at right guard in his first season starting in 2019, Angilau did the same at left guard in 2020. Of his nine starts this season, Angilau allowed one or fewer pressures in seven, which paved the way to a 78.8 pass-block grade for the season.
First-Team: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Humphrey has had a big bounce-back year in 2020 after an underwhelming 2019. The redshirt junior went from a 78.9 PFF grade in 2018 to 67.3 in 2019 abut raised it to 80.2 this year. Humphrey allowed zero sacks or hits in pass-protection this season. His run-blocking has also been among the best at the position, ranking seventh among all FBS centers in run-blocking grade at 82.4. There have been more botched snaps than you’d like to see, just like last year, but despite that Humphrey has performed like one of the top centers in college football this season.
First-Team: Jack Anderson, Texas Tech
Anderson had been a consistently great pass-protector throughout his collegiate career prior to 2020, and that remained the case this season. He finished the year ranked third among all Power 5 right guards in pressure rate allowed (1.6%). Anderson’s run-blocking took a massive step forward to help elevate his play overall. He topped his previous career-high run-blocking grade by 10 grading points with a 77.7 mark this year.
First-Team: Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Jenkins was a bulldozer in the run game for the Pokes this season. His 93.6 run-block grade came in at No. 3 among all FBS tackles and is actually the seventh-best mark we have recorded in the PFF College era at the position. Throw in the fact that he allowed just four pressures on 211 pass-block snaps and you have yourself an easy choice for first-team right tackle.
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE
First-Team: Dante Stills, West Virginia
Stills was an interesting performer in 2020 — we saw him take a step back as a pass-rusher but a big step forward against the run. His pass-rush grade went from 77.5 down to 67.1, while his run-defense grade went from 64.9 up to 88.8 (second-best in the Power 5). Stills led all Power 5 interior defensive linemen in tackles for loss or no gain against the run with 11.
First-Team: Ta'Quon Graham, Texas
Graham’s role shifted a bit with a scheme change under the new DC in 2020, resulting in him playing nearly all of his snaps at defensive tackle as opposed to playing predominantly 4/5-technique. Even with the position tweak, Graham remained strong against the run with an 84.1 run-defense grade. That made it back-to-back years of finishing in the top 10 at his position in the Power 5 against the run.
First-Team: Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
After being a true hybrid backer in 2019 with nearly a 50-50 split between rushing the passer and dropping into coverage, Bonitto saw more pass-rush opportunities in 2020 and it certainly paid off. Bonitto was a force in every single game this season and came away ranking first in the FBS in pass-rush grade, pass-rush win rate and pressure rate generated.
First-Team: Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma
Thomas has been a force in the pass-rush whether he is playing 3-technique or on the edge, but there has been a difference in play between the two positions. Thomas has been good when inside, but on the edge his pass-rushing has been elite. When playing on the edge, Thomas trails only his teammate Bonitto in pressure rate generated in the Power 5.
First-Team: Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Pitre hardly saw the field in 2018 and 2019 (partly due to a shoulder injury) with just 227 total snaps combined those two years. He came back in 2020, earned a starting job and ended up as one of the top all-around off-ball linebackers in college football. Pitre was the only player at the position this year to earn 80.0-plus grades against the run, as a pass-rusher and when in coverage.
First-Team: Colin Schooler, Texas Tech
After three years as an Arizona Wildcat, Schooler transferred to Texas Tech this past offseason and proceeded to have the best season of his collegiate career against the pass. He was a top-notch blitz weapon for the Red Raiders and also allowed few big plays in coverage. Schooler came away with grades above 79.0 in each of those two facets, featuring 16 pressures and zero explosive plays of 15-plus yards allowed.
First-Team: Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU
Many moons ago, TCU had a college football star at running back who ended up in the NFL Hall of Fame. That man was LaDainian Tomlinson, and now his nephew Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson looks like he might just join him in the pantheon of Horned Frog greats. In his first full year in a starting job, the 5-foot-9, 177-pound corner posted an 89.0 coverage grade. Not only did that lead the Big 12, but it leads everyone in the FBS. Hodges-Tomlinson struggled in his season debut, allowing four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, but since then he has been nearly flawless. He actually broke up more passes (14) than he allowed catches (12) on 45 targets in that span.
First-Team: Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech
McPhearson took a big step forward in 2020 and massively helped out a Texas Tech secondary that really struggled outside of him. He wasn’t too far behind Hodges-Tomlinson in coverage grade among all FBS corners at 85.7 (sixth).
First-Team: Chris Brown, Texas
Brown played far less in the slot this season than he did in 2019, but his coverage play remained strong with a coverage grade just shy of 80.0. His run-defense took a huge step forward. That was the Achilles heel in his game last season with a 49.5 run-defense grade, but he raised that mark to just above 80.0 this season.
First-Team: Tre Sterling, Oklahoma State
Whether he was in the box, covering the slot or playing deep safety, Sterling consistently made plays for the Pokes. He came up with 11 passing stops in coverage, the most among all Power 5 safeties. That helped Sterling notch an 83.1 coverage grade for the year.
First-Team: Tykee Smith, West Virginia
The flex spot on our all-conference teams can go to anyone in the secondary, but Smith is Michelangelo's David of the flex position. He has been one of the best slot defenders in college football, serving as the “spear” in the West Virginia defense. Among all FBS defensive backs with at least 100 snaps in the slot, Smith comes in at No. 1 in coverage grade. Smith had at least three targets in all nine of his starts, yet he managed to allow under 30 yards in every single one of his games this year.