College Football: Way-too-early 2024 All-America team

2WA0XJ5 December 30, 2023:.Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck (15) attempts a pass during the first half of the Capital One Orange Bowl between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida State University Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Ron Lane/CSM/Sipa USA (Credit Image: © Ron Lane/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

• Carson Beck, Luther Burden III headline the way-too-early offense: Beck finished fourth in PFF overall grade (91.5), while Burden led college football in PFF receiving grade (91.0) last season.

• Tennessee's James Pearce Jr. has top-pick potential: His 93.5 PFF pass-rushing grade on true pass sets in 2023 ranked second to only Laiatu Latu, while his 21.8% pass-rush win rate ranked sixth.

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QB: Carson Beck, Georgia

After entering the 2023 season as an unknown, Beck silenced any doubters by finishing fourth in PFF overall grade (91.5) and third in passing yards (3,949) among quarterbacks. His consistency stood out, as he posted six PFF game grades above 85.0.

Some scouts believed Beck played well enough to go pro this year, but he ultimately decided to return, which likely makes him the current QB1 in the 2025 NFL Draft.

RB: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State

The nation’s leading rusher from 2023 is simply at a different level compared to most running backs. The Cowboys started heavily relying on Gordon in Week 4 last year, and he helped carry their offense every game after that, including with back-to-back games of tallying more than 270 rushing yards. Gordon finished second in the FBS in yards after contact (1,056).

WR: Luther Burden III, Missouri

Burden broke out last season as Missouri’s go-to target, a big reason the team finished 11-2. Among returning wide receivers in 2024, Burden sports the highest PFF receiving grade (91.0). He also finished third in yards after catch (724) among all wideouts in 2023.

WR: Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona

If you haven’t yet heard of McMillan, now is the time to start buying his draft stock. The 6-foot-5 true sophomore appears to have great chemistry with Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita and started to break out as soon as the team made Fifita the starter.

A 266-yard game in Week 13 helped McMillan finish with 1,396 receiving yards on the year (fourth in FBS), and he dropped only two of his 130 targets.

TE: Colston Loveland, Michigan

Loveland is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in college football, and his target share will only improve in 2024 with AJ Barner off to the NFL. His 2.38 yards per route run in 2023 ranked fifth among tight ends, and he was a top-20 player at the position in yards after the catch.

LT: Will Campbell, LSU

You can almost already pencil in Will Campbell as OT1 for the 2025 NFL Draft. That’s how talented he is. Campbell didn’t allow a single sack across 491 pass-blocking snaps and let up only 17 total pressures.

As great as Campbell is as a pass-blocker, he might be better suited to paving the way in the run game, as he posted an 84.9 run-blocking grade, good for fifth among all offensive tackles.

LG: Donovan Jackson, Ohio State

Jackson has slowly developed into one of the top interior linemen in the country. He improved massively as a pass-blocker last season and should only continue on that trajectory. Jackson’s success will be vital to the Buckeyes’ championship aspirations this upcoming season

Stat 2022 2023
PFF Pass-Blocking Grade 60.7 72.7
Pressures 13 10
Sacks 2 1
Hits 2 1
Hurries 9 8
Pass-Blocking Efficiency 98.2% 98.7%

C: Parker Brailsford, Alabama

Brailsford was one of the top transfer portal targets this offseason, and he followed his head coach Kalen DeBoer from Washington to Alabama.

The redshirt freshman proved to be crucial to Washington’s success in 2023, keeping Michael Penix Jr. protected and allowing only one sack and 14 pressures. He will now be expected to do the same for Jalen Milroe, who struggled to find chemistry with center Seth McLaughlin last season.

RG: Tate Ratledge, Georgia

The 6-foot-6 senior flirted with the 2024 NFL Draft but ultimately chose to come back to school, which certainly excited Georgia fans.

Ratledge has earned an 87.0 PFF pass-blocking grade in back-to-back seasons, and his 99.4 pass-blocking efficiency rate in 2023 ranked eighth among all guards.

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RT: Ajani Cornelius, Oregon

Cornelius has come a long way in his college career since playing at Rhode Island. He has transformed himself into arguably the best right tackle in college football and should be even better in 2024. He was a big reason why Bo Nix rarely took sacks in 2023, as he allowed only one hit on the now-Denver Broncos quarterback.

Oregon will likely have one of college football's best offensive lines in 2024, led by Cornelius, whose 85.3 PFF pass-blocking grade from 2023 ranks third among returning offensive tackles.

FLEX: RB Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State

Judkins may have been the most underrated transfer portal pickup for Ohio State this offseason. He could not fit any better in this offense as a physically imposing back who can also catch passes. His 78 forced missed tackles in 2023 was a top-five figure among running backs.

Behind this Buckeyes line, Judkins is set up to have a monster season.


EDGE: James Pearce Jr, Tennessee

Not only will Pearce likely be the first edge rusher drafted next April, but he could also be the first player drafted altogether.

The 6-foot-5 true junior is as physically gifted as defensive ends come, bringing all the potential in the world to Tennessee's defensive line. His 93.5 PFF pass-rushing grade on true pass sets in 2023 ranked second to only Laiatu Latu, while his 21.8% pass-rush win rate ranked sixth.

EDGE: Ashton Gillotte, Louisville

Gillotte has been one of the ACC's best defensive players for a few years now, finishing with an 85.8 PFF grade last season. He debated going pro this spring but ultimately chose to return, looking to have an even bigger year for the Cardinals.

In 2023, Gillotte racked up 42 quarterback hurries and 58 total pressures, both of which ranked in the top 10 among edge defenders.

DI: Mason Graham, Michigan

You may remember Mason Graham from last year’s College Football Playoff when he wreaked havoc on Alabama's and Washington's offensive lines, racking up seven pressures and five tackles. The fact that two of the best lines in the country couldn’t stop Graham shows how dominant he is. And he is only going to get better.

Graham's 90.0 PFF grade in 2023 is the best mark among returning defensive tackles.

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DI: Howard Cross III, Notre Dame

The next highest-graded interior defender returning to school is Howard Cross III (89.8), who will be entering his final year of eligibility.

Cross was incredibly productive in 2023, tallying 41 tackles and 39 pressures on his way to a near-elite 89.8 PFF pass-rushing grade.

LB: Harold Perkins Jr, LSU

Perkins can play a handful of positions on defense and cover the field adequately. LSU forced him into coverage more often last season, but Perkins is typically at his best when rushing the passer (90.9 pass-rushing grade and 41 pressures in 2022). His 10 sacks as a true freshman were third most at his position that year.

Look for LSU to use Perkins more in that role as an off-ball linebacker in 2024.

LB: Barrett Carter, Clemson

Carter was a preseason All-American candidate but faced some struggles in 2023. He returned to Clemson for 2024 in the hopes of getting back to his sophomore-year form, when he finished with an 81.4 PFF overall grade.

All the talent is still there for Carter, and Clemson’s defense will continue to be one of the nation’s best.

Stat 2022 2023
PFF Overall Grade 81.4 70.6
PFF Run-Defense Grade 78.8 64.8
PFF Pass-Rushing Grade 82.4 74.1
PFF Coverage Grade 77.4 68.3
Pressures 27 18
Tackles 52 43
Run Stops 37 27

CB: Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame

Morrison made a name for himself last September when he held Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. to two receptions for 26 yards on five targets as his primary coverage defender.

Those were the types of performances that earned Morrison an excellent 84.6 PFF coverage grade for the season.

CB: Will Johnson, Michigan

Will Johnson is a name you’ll want to remember for the 2025 NFL Draft. It’s easy to see why scouts are so high on Johnson, given his elite size and speed for a cornerback. Opposing quarterbacks had very little luck targeting him last season, as passed into his coverage netted a 30.9 passer rating and he didn't allow a touchdown. Across 321 coverage snaps, Johnson snagged four interceptions.

S: Caleb Downs, Ohio State

Downs was arguably the best true freshman in college football last year and is only going to get better. He racked up 85 total tackles in 2023 at Alabama, good for seventh at his position. His 88.9 PFF coverage grade also ranks third among returning safeties.

Now at Ohio State, Downs will look to help form one of the nation’s toughest defenses for 2024.

S: Malaki Starks, Georgia

Starks was also once one of the best true freshmen in college football and managed to get even better as a sophomore, raising his PFF grades in every category. Starks is entering what will likely be his last year of college football and will be looking to bring one more national championship back to Georgia.

Stat 2022 2023
PFF Overall Grade 67.1 81.1
PFF Run-Defense Grade 72.1 84.8
PFF Tackling Grade 86.4 89.8
PFF Coverage Grade 64.8 78.3
Receptions Allowed 35 18
Yards Allowed 593 200
Interceptions 2 3
Pass Breakups 5 7

FLEX: CB Sebastian Castro, Iowa

Although Castro was overshadowed by Cooper DeJean on Iowa's 2023 defense, he could be the better cornerback of the two.

Castro is just as versatile as DeJean, having played 137 snaps in the box last year. He earned a 91.2 PFF overall grade and a 91.2 PFF coverage grade, which both ranked third among cornerbacks. He also led Iowa in pass breakups (seven) and interceptions (three) last season.


K: Bert Auburn, Texas

Auburn has made plenty of big kicks in his career. He was a perfect 56-of-56 on extra points a season ago and missed only six field goals out of 35 attempts. His 90.5 field-goal grade is a top-10 mark among returning kickers.

Now off to the SEC, Texas is surely going to be in many close games with massive implications in 2024. Auburn will be an asset.

P: James Burnip, Alabama

It’s almost unfair for Alabama to have the nation’s best punter as a team that should rarely have to punt.

Burnip averaged 47.5 yards per punt in 2023, which ranked sixth in the country. His 92.3 punt grade and 4.38-second average hang time both led all punters in college football last season.

Flex: Travis Hunter, Colorado

It would be almost impossible for any other player to fill this role better than the Shohei Ohtani of college football. Hunter played 1,074 snaps last season (622 on defense, 452 on offense and 30 on special teams). Not only does he play both sides of the ball, but he is very good at both, earning 70.0-plus PFF grades in almost every category.

Hunter actually recorded more receiving yards (721) than he allowed on defense as a cornerback (414) in 2023. It will be interesting to see how Colorado utilizes him this season and the type of impact he’ll have on the team.

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