Sporting News compiled their annual picks of preseason All-Americans and their selections were chock full of Texas athletes. The publication is one of five outlets used to determine consensus All-Americans. The Texas Longhorns were the only Lone Star University with multiple players on the list.
WR – James Washington (Oklahoma State, Stamford)
The Cowboys’ stud accounted for 10 TDs in each of the last two years and averaged 19.2 yards per catch for his career. Oklahoma State returns one of the best QB-WR combos in the FBS and are expected to play Oklahoma in Stillwater and again in Arlington for the Inaugural Big 12 title game.
The Stamford grad finished his senior year crowned as the 2013 Class 1A state champion in Texas; through the season, he grabbed 73 catches for 1,331 yards and 24 touchdowns, as well as appearing on the opposite side of the field on defense, earning 42 tackles and seven interceptions.
WR – Christian Kirk (A&M)
Kirk averaged 80+ receptions in his last two seasons. With lead Aggies receiver Josh Reynolds joining the ranks of the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, Kirk should be the primary target to whomever will front A&M’s dynamic offense.
OL – Connor Williams (Texas, Coppell)
Williams started 23 games in his career and was recently named preseason All-American and All-Big 12 by Athlon Sports in 2017.
Williams returns to a line of three other returning linemen and five receivers that assisted in quarterback Shane Buechele’s record breaking season by hurling 2,958 passing yards for most in school history by a freshman. The new offensive direction — beneath first year Texas coach Tom Herman — should benefit from experience for Buechele’s sophomore efforts.
As a Coppell student athlete, Williams an all-state and two-time all-district honoree.
DL – Ed Oliver (Houston, Westfield)
Oliver ranked second in the nation with 23 tackles for loss last season.
Oliver became the first five-star recruit in Cougars history to commit to Houston. As a freshman, he started all 13 games and garnered hardware from seven national outlets as a First Team All-American. In a comedown season from the high of the previous year’s 13-1 finish with a Bowl victory, Oliver was a bright spot for a team that concluded their season beneath fan’s lofty expectations, contributing 23 tackles for loss and a FBS-leading nine pass-breakups.
The highest recruited player in the state of Texas, Oliver graduated Westfield ranked No. 1 in nearly every scouting analysis. As a senior, he obliterated his competition with 83 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
LB – Malik Jefferson (Texas, Mesquite Poteet)
Jefferson was a victim of the sophomore jinx — second year slumping that showed glimpses of the defensive stud he displayed during his freshman year. Jefferson, who finished 2016 with 62 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, is already putting reps in with the first team of coach Tom Herman’s unit, and still has the potential to be a pivotal cornerstone in the new Burnt Orange system.
An All-America and two-time all-state honoree, Jefferson was a jack-of-all-trades at Mesquite Poteet, competing in baseball and track and field. Starting as a sophomore, Jefferson took the Pirates to two consecutive quarter final berths and one area playoff appearance.
CB – Jordan Thomas (Oklahoma, Klein)
Alongside stud quarterback and Lake Travis grad Baker Mayfield, Jordan Thomas opted to stick with the Sooners for his senior year, passing up the NFL Draft in favor of finishing off his collegiate career in the hopes of another CFP appearance. In a better than expected Oklahoma season compiled 41 tackles, one interception and 15 pass breakups. With his return, OU’s secondary will only be tasked with replacing senior safety Ahmad Thomas.
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