College News & Analysis

2022 PFF Midseason College Football All-America Team

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young: Despite the loss, the reigning Heisman winner is still the best quarterback in the country.

Ohio State’s receiving corps is still elite: Both Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. were named first-team All-Americans.

Texas running back Bijan Robinson: He has the most forced missed tackles in the nation (56).

Estimated Reading Time: 12 mins

Somehow, we’re already at the halfway point of the college football season. The top teams are separating themselves from the pack, as are the best players. 

Let’s focus on the latter here. Here are the top performers at every position midway through the 2022 season.

Quarterback: Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide

Second Team: Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers
Third Team: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes
Honorable Mention: Drake Maye, North Carolina Tar Heels

Despite losing to Tennessee, Bryce Young is still the best quarterback in college football. 

This isn’t a knock on Hendon Hooker or C.J. Stroud. They’ve both been outstanding this season. However, they are getting substantially more help than Young in terms of receiving talent and scheme. No quarterback in college football has done more with the hand they’ve been dealt than Young. 

Bryce Young Has Done More With Less
Name PFF grade (Rank*) Team receiving grade (Rank**) % of throws to receiver with step or more of separation % of throws to first read
Bryce Young 92.8 (1st) 71.7 (50th) 57.5% 44.1%
Hendon Hooker 89.7 (T-13th) 76.1 (T-27th) 70.8% 60.8%
C.J. Stroud 86.3 (19th) 90.1 (1st) 87.4% 73%

*Among 145 FBS QBs; **Among 131 FBS teams

Running Back: Blake Corum, Michigan Wolverines

Second Team: Eric Gray, Oklahoma Sooners
Third Team: Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Honorable Mention: Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh Panthers

Blake Corum has emerged as a legitimate Heisman candidate this season. He leads all FBS running backs in PFF grade (92.6), rushing touchdowns (13) and rushing first downs (57). Corum is also not afraid to stick his nose in pass protection. His 86.5 pass-blocking grade is the second-highest in the country at the position.

Running Back: Bijan Robinson, Texas Longhorns

Second Team: Chase Brown, Illinois Fighting Illini
Third Team: Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss Rebels
Honorable Mention: Miyan Williams, Ohio State Buckeyes

Bijan Robinson is a tackle-breaking machine, the likes of which hasn't been seen since PFF began charting college football in 2014. He has 56 forced missed tackles so far this season, the most in the country. Robinson’s career forced missed tackle rate sits at 0.39 per attempt, tied for the best in the PFF College era.

Most Career Forced Missed Tackles Per Attempt In PFF College Era (since 2014, min. 250 attempts)
Name School Forced missed tackles per attempt
Bijan Robinson Texas 0.39
Javonte Williams North Carolina 0.39
DeWayne McBride UAB 0.35

Wide Receiver: Trey Palmer, Nebraska Cornhuskers

Second Team: Rashee Rice, SMU Mustangs
Third Team: Keylon Stokes, Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Honorable Mention: Tez Johnson, Troy Trojans

After a lackluster three years at LSU, Trey Palmer transferred to Nebraska and has been an absolute superstar.

His 89.5 grade leads the nation among receivers, as does his 781 receiving yards. He’s averaged 4.09 yards per route run, third-most in the country. 

Wide Receiver: Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State Buckeyes

Second Team: Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State Cyclones
Third Team: Jacob Cowing, Arizona Wildcats
Honorable Mention: Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee Volunteers

Ohio State is missing its three best receivers from a year ago. Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were taken in the top 15 of the 2022 NFL Draft, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba has played in just two games due to a hamstring injury.

Despite this, the Buckeyes still have the best receiving corps in the country thanks to a couple of sophomores in Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. Egbuka's 4.37 yards per route run leads all Power Five receivers.

Wide Receiver: Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State Buckeyes

Second Team: Ali Jennings III, Old Dominion Monarchs
Third Team: Charlie Jones, Purdue Boilermakers
Honorable Mention: Jordan Addison, USC Trojans

Marvin Harrison Jr. is the other superstar in Ohio State’s receiver room.

The son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, junior is picking up where his father left off. Harrison has an 86.5 grade so far this season, second among Power Five receivers. His nine receiving touchdowns are tied for second in the country.

Tight End: Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Second Team: Dalton Kincaid, Utah Utes
Third Team: Brock Bowers, Georgia Bulldogs
Honorable Mention: Darnell Washington, Georgia Bulldogs

Michael Mayer has dominated in South Bend since his 2020 true freshman season. He has an 87.4 receiving grade in that span, ranking third among active FBS tight ends.

Mayer is the ultimate security blanket. His 24 receiving first downs are the third-most in the country for tight ends. He’s also been targeted on 30.6% of his routes, the second-highest rate at the position.

Left Tackle: Peter Skoronski, Northwestern Wildcats

Second Team: Joe Alt, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Third Team: Graham Barton, Duke Blue Devils
Honorable Mention: Blake Freeland, BYU Cougars

There isn’t a better pass-protector in the country than Peter Skoronski. His 93.0 pass-blocking grade leads all offensive linemen in college football.

On 278 pass-blocking snaps, he’s allowed just two pressures. That 0.7% pressure rate is tied for the best in the country among tackles. Not to mention, his 80.3 run-blocking grade ranks eighth-best by a Power Five tackle. If he keeps this up, he could be a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft

Right Tackle: JC Latham, Alabama Crimson Tide

Second Team: Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State Beavers
Third Team: Alex Palczewski, Illinois Fighting Illini
Honorable Mention: Wanya Morris, Oklahoma Sooners

While Skoronski may be the top offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft, JC Latham is making his case to be OT1 in 2024.

The former top-three overall recruit is living up to that billing as a sophomore. His 89.9 pass-blocking grade trails only Skoronski among all tackles in the country. He’s allowed a pressure on 0.8% of his pass sets, which again trails only Skoronski among Power Five tackles.

Left Guard: Andrew Vorhees, USC Trojans

Second Team: Chandler Zavala, N.C. State Wolfpack
Third Team: Donovan Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes
Honorable Mention: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State Wildcats

Andrew Vorhees was the best guard in the country in 2021, coming in as the only one with 90.0-plus grades as both a pass-protector and run-blocker. 

He hasn’t been quite as dominant this season, but that doesn't take away from his excellence. His negatively graded run-blocking rate is the fourth-lowest among Power Five guards. 

Right Guard: O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida Gators

Second Team: Beaux Limmer, Arkansas Razorbacks
Third Team: Justin Dedich, USC Trojans
Honorable Mention: Hunter Woodard, Oklahoma State Cowboys

O’Cyrus Torrence boasts an 89.6 overall grade this season, more than four points higher than the next-best guard in college football. The Louisiana transfer’s 91.2 run-blocking grade is 3.5 points higher. 

Vorhees may have been the best guard last season, but Torrence holds that title so far this season. 

Center: John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota Golden Gophers

Second Team: Brett Neilon, USC Trojans
Third Team: Jacob Gall, Baylor Bears
Honorable Mention: Luke Wypler, Ohio State Buckeyes

Nobody in college football has dominated their position like John Michael Schmitz.

The sixth-year senior has a 92.3 overall grade so far this season. The next-best center sits at an 84.7 mark. That 7.6-point difference is more than double the next-highest positional gap.

Interior Defensive Lineman: Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois Fighting Illini

Second Team: Kobie Turner, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Third Team: Jonah Tavai, San Diego State Aztecs
Honorable Mention: Dennis Osagiede, Liberty Flames

Since PFF began charting college football in 2014, an interior defensive lineman has never tallied the most pressures in a season.

Jer’Zhan Newton is on track to accomplish that this year with his 34 pressures thus far. He couples that with an 86.9 run-defense grade, the fifth-best figure for interior defensive linemen in the country.

Interior Defensive Lineman: Levi Bell, Texas State Bobcats

Second Team: Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers
Third Team: Dom Peterson, Nevada Wolf Pack
Honorable Mention: Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati Bearcats

Levi Bell transferred to Texas State from Louisiana Tech and has made an immediate impact for the Bobcats. His 91.7 pass-rush grade is the highest in the nation among interior defensive linemen. Bell’s 85.8 run-defense grade is also a top-10 mark in college football.

Edge Defender: Derek Parish, Houston Cougars

Second Team: Jacoby Windmon, Michigan State Spartans
Third Team: Mike Morris, Michigan Wolverines
Honorable Mention: Grayson Murphy, UCLA Bruins

Derek Parish has played very well at Houston for a few years now. He’s earned 80..0-plus grades in every season dating back to 2019. 

In 2022, the sixth-year senior boasts a 91.2 pass-rush grade, tied for the best in the country among edge defenders. His 25% pass-rush win rate is the fifth-best mark at the position. 

Edge Defender: Will Anderson Jr., Alabama Crimson Tide

Second Team: Aaron Lewis, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Third Team: K.J. Henry, Clemson Tigers
Honorable Mention: Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech Red Raiders

As a true freshman in 2020, Will Anderson Jr. racked up the most pressures in the country (60). And in his sophomore 2021 season, he once again led the nation in pressures (82).

He’s *only* tied for 12th this year with 27 pressures, but his eight sacks ties for the national lead. It's his run defense that makes him truly special, though. His 85.8 run-defense grade ranks fourth-highest among Power Five edge defenders.

Anderson looks like a near-lock to be selected in the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Linebacker: Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati Bearcats

Second Team: Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State Buckeyes 
Third Team: Ezekiel Noa, Boise State Broncos
Honorable Mention: Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama Crimson Tide

After dominating at Miami (OH), Ivan Pace Jr. transferred to Cincinnati to form one of the best linebacker corps in the country with his younger brother, Deshawn Pace

Ivan is an absolute menace downhill. He has eight sacks this season, tied for the most in the country. One of those players he’s tied with is none other than Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. He also sports 90.0-plus grades as both a pass-rusher and run-defender — the only linebacker in the country to do so. 

Linebacker: Jack Campbell, Iowa Hawkeyes

Second Team: Mikel Jones, Syracuse Orange
Third Team: Christian Dixon, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Honorable Mention: Troy Brown, Ole Miss Rebels

Jack Campbell has recorded an 84.1 grade this season, tied for first among Power Five linebackers. He’s been especially stingy in coverage, with his 86.1 coverage grade ranking fifth-best in the Power Five.

Cornerback: Clark Phillips III, Utah Utes 

Second Team: Steven Gilmore, Marshall Thundering Herd
Third Team: Kordell Rodgers, Texas State Bobcats
Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State Bulldogs

Clark Phillips III possesses unbelievable ball skills. His five interceptions are tied for the most in the country, and all have come within the past four weeks.

His 85.9 coverage grade proves he’s more than just the big plays, though. What makes this all the more impressive is the fact that Phillips routinely trails the opposition’s best receiver. 

Cornerback: Kalen King, Penn State Nittany Lions

Second Team: Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama Crimson Tide
Third Team: Joey Porter Jr., Penn State Nittany Lions
Honorable Mention: Josh Newton, TCU Horned Frogs

Joey Porter Jr. gets all the love in State College, and he has his place on this list. However, Penn State's best cornerback thus far has been Kalen King.

King’s 86.9 coverage grade is the second-best among Power Five cornerbacks. He has more forced incompletions (six) than first downs allowed (four). 

Safety: Quinn Schulte, Iowa Hawkeyes

Second Team: Jordan Battle, Alabama Crimson Tide
Third Team: Beau Freyler, Iowa State Cyclones
Honorable Mention: Lathan Ransom, Ohio State Buckeyes

Quinn Schulte has been a leader of Iowa’s elite defense. He’s allowed just a 38.4 passer rating when targeted this season. For context, throwing the ball at the ground every play would generate a 39.6 passer rating. Schulte’s five forced incompletions are also tied for the most among Power Five safeties.

Safety: Jack Howell, Colorado State Rams

Second Team: Kam Pedescleaux, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Third Team: Hunter Reynolds, Utah State Aggies
Honorable Mention: Barrett Carter, Clemson Tigers

Jack Howell comes from a very athletic family. His father, John, won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a safety. His older sister, Jaelin, won the Hermann Trophy both in 2020 and 2021 while at Florida State, which is given to the nation’s best women’s soccer player. She now plays for Team USA.

Jack can do it all on passing downs. His coverage grade (87.8) is the fifth-best in the country at safety, while his pass-rush grade (89.8) ranks fourth-best. In fact, he’s the only safety in the FBS with 80.0-plus grades in both facets.

Flex-D: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois Fighting Illini

Second Team: Erick Hallett II, Pittsburgh Panthers
Third Team: Cooper DeJean, Iowa Hawkeyes
Honorable Mention: Macon Clark, Tulane Green Wave

What Devon Witherspoon has done in coverage this season is absurd. His 90.0 coverage grade is the highest in the nation among corners.

He’s been targeted 42(!) times so far but has allowed just 13(!!) catches. His 30.9% completion percentage allowed is the third-lowest rate in the country among cornerbacks. He's also forced 11 incompletions, tied for the most in college football.

Kicker: Christopher Dunn, N.C. State Wolfpack

Second Team: John Hoyland, Wyoming Cowboys
Third Team: Dominic Zvada, Arkansas State Red Wolves
Honorable Mention: Ethan Mooney, North Texas Mean Green

Punter: Nik Constantinou, Texas A&M Aggies

Second Team: Jack Browning, San Diego State Aztecs
Third Team: Mason Hunt, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Honorable Mention: Tory Taylor, Iowa Hawkeyes

Kickoff Returner: Devon Achane, Texas A&M Aggies

Second Team: Johnnie Lang, Arkansas State Red Wolves
Third Team: Jaylon Jackson, Eastern Michigan Eagles
Honorable Mention: Barion Brown, Kentucky Wildcats

Punt Returner: Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama Crimson Tide

Second Team: Eric Garror, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Third Team: Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, Houston Cougars
Honorable Mention: Caullin Lacy, South Alabama Jaguars

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