Midseason All-America team
Mark Schlabach [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
October 12, 2011
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We're only halfway home in the 2011 college football season, but there are already plenty of emerging star players who have helped put their teams in position to win conference titles or even a BCS national championship. Many of the names are familiar, but a few are new.
Offense
Wilson
Quarterback
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Wilson, an NC State transfer, has the Badgers smelling roses -- or even more. He leads FBS players in passing efficiency with a 216.9 rating, completing 74.8 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and one interception in No. 4 Wisconsin's 5-0 start.
Richardson
Running back
Trent Richardson, Alabama
Richardson, a junior from Pensacola, Fla., is carrying the load without 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram in the backfield, running for 729 yards with 11 touchdowns in the No. 2 Crimson Tide's 6-0 start. He has five straight 100-yard games, the second-longest streak in Alabama history.
James
Running back
LaMichael James, Oregon
LSU's defense and a dislocated elbow might be the only things that slow James this season. After gaining only 54 yards in a 40-27 loss to the Tigers in the opener, James has produced three consecutive 200-yard performances for the No. 9 Ducks, including 288 yards on 23 carries in a 56-31 rout of Arizona on Sept. 24.
Blackmon
Wide receiver
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden picked up where they left off last season for the No. 6 Cowboys, even without departed offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who is now West Virginia's coach. Blackmon has 46 catches for 534 yards with six touchdowns for the country's highest-scoring offense.
Broyles
Wide receiver
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Despite playing in the No. 3 Sooners' deep receiver corps, Broyles has 47 catches for 598 yards with seven touchdowns and has had 100 receiving yards or more in 15 of his past 20 games. Broyles is four catches shy of breaking former Purdue receiver Taylor Stubblefield's NCAA career record of 316 receptions.
Allen
Tight end
Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Who said a tight end can't play in a spread offense? Allen has been one of Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd's favorite targets, catching 22 passes for 340 yards with four touchdowns. Allen caught a touchdown pass in each of the No. 8 Tigers' victories over Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Jones
Tackle
Barrett Jones, Alabama
Jones, who started at right guard the previous two seasons, has been forced to wear many hats for the No. 2 Crimson Tide this year. Jones, a junior from Memphis, Tenn., has started all six games at left tackle but also has lined up at left guard, right tackle and center. He's the anchor of a line paving the way for the SEC's No. 1 rushing offense.
DeCastro
Guard
David DeCastro, Stanford
DeCastro, a senior from Bellevue, Wash., and left tackle Jonathan Martin have been the stalwarts of No. 7 Stanford's rebuilt offensive line. The Cardinal have allowed only two sacks on 155 pass attempts, tied for the fewest in the country. Protecting quarterback Andrew Luck is a big reason for Stanford's 13-game winning streak, the longest in the country.
Molk
Center
David Molk, Michigan
Molk, a senior from Lemont, Ill., is the anchor of No. 11 Michigan's offensive line, which has allowed only two sacks in 125 pass attempts, tied for the fewest in the country. Molk has started 35 games at center for the Wolverines, who lead the Big Ten in rushing and rank No. 2 in total offense and scoring during their surprising 6-0 start.
Looney
Guard
Joe Looney, Wake Forest
The school with the smallest enrollment among FBS schools has one of the sport's biggest offensive lines. The Demon Deacons' five offensive linemen weigh an average of 314 pounds, and Looney is one of the biggest at 320. He was the team's highest-rated lineman in each of the first five games and leads in knockdown blocks during a 4-1 start.
Potter
Tackle
Nate Potter, Boise State
Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore's quick release makes it nearly impossible for opponents to pressure him, but he also gets really good protection. Potter, a homegrown product from Boise, Idaho, is nearly impossible to move, which is a big reason that Moore has been sacked only twice in his past 253 pass attempts dating back to last season.
Defense
Ingram
Defensive end
Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Ingram, a senior from Hamlet, N.C., has provided plenty of defense and even some points for the No. 15 Gamecocks this season. Ingram leads the SEC with 5.5 sacks and is fourth with 7.5 tackles for loss. He scored touchdowns on a 68-yard run on a fake punt and 5-yard fumble return against Georgia and a fumble recovery in the end zone against Vanderbilt.
Still
Defensive tackle
Devon Still, Penn State
Still, a senior from Wilmington, Del., has anchored one of the country's best defenses. He has 30 tackles, nine tackles for loss and two sacks for the Nittany Lions, who rank in the top five nationally in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and pass-efficiency defense.
Worthy
Defensive tackle
Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
Worthy, a 310-pound junior, wore No. 95 against Notre Dame to honor Michigan State great Bubba Smith, who died this past summer. Worthy is still playing inspired football for the country's No. 1 overall defense, totaling 10 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery during the No. 23 Spartans' 4-1 start.
Mercilus
Defensive end
Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Merciless is the perfect word for the star of Illinois' aggressive defense, which has helped the No. 16 Illini reach 6-0 for the first time since 1951. Mercilus, a junior from Akron, Ohio, leads the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
Upshaw
Linebacker
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Upshaw leads what is arguably the country's best linebacker corps, which is a big reason that the No. 2 Crimson Tide lead FBS teams in run defense and scoring defense and rank in the top four nationally in total defense and pass defense. Upshaw has 18 tackles and leads the SEC with 8.5 tackles for loss.
Thomas
Linebacker
Chase Thomas, Stanford
Thomas has been a steady force throughout his college career and has played even better after No. 7 Stanford lost linebacker Shayne Skov to a season-ending knee injury in the third game. Thomas leads Pac-12 players with five sacks and is second in the league with seven tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Kuechly
Linebacker
Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Don't blame Kuechly for the Eagles' dreadful 1-5 start. He is on pace to lead the country in tackles for the second season in a row with 99 stops in six games. He...
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