Who are the best and brightest stars going into the 2022 season? The CFN Preseason All-America Team – the offense.
Who are the stars on the offensive side going into the college football season? It’s our 2022 All-America Offense, with the top 12 players at every position – and certainly open to debate and second-guessing – to highlight the main men you need to know.
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Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Quarterback
Bryce Young, Jr. Alabama
Ohio State’s CJ Stroud could easily be the First Teamer. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker might end up being the most efficient passer in the SEC – the All-America quarterback list could easily be mostly SEC passers and it probably wouldn’t be wrong – and yeah, Caleb Williams could be the best quarterback in the country once this all gets started.
The guy who won the Heisman is pretty good, too.
Coming off a 4,872-yard season with 47 touchdown passes and seven picks, Young will have to work even harder with a refurbished receiving corps to throw to. It seems crazy, but he might actually be underrated nationally going into the season considering he’s got the right demeanor, the accuracy, the ability to read the field, and the skills that make him just that special.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Quarterback
CJ Stroud, Soph. Ohio State
This is the warning that has to keep going off over and over again when it comes to Stroud – don’t think he’s slipping in any way if the numbers aren’t quite as amazing after throwing for over 4,400 yards with 44 touchdowns and six picks.
Ohio State is going to rip through everyone – if everything goes as planned – with a great running game and a much-improved defense. Stroud should be ultra-efficient and deep in the Heisman hunt, but he’s not going to have to bomb away like he did last season.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Quarterbacks
3. Caleb Williams, Soph. USC
4. Hendon Hooker, Sr. Tennessee
5. Tyler Van Dyke, QB Soph. Miami
6. KJ Jefferson, Jr. Arkansas
7. Devin Leary, QB Jr. NC State
8. Grayson McCall, Jr. Coastal Carolina
9. Cameron Ward, Soph. Washington State
10. Anthony Richardson, Soph. Florida
11. Jake Haener, Sr. Fresno State
12. Will Levis, Sr. Kentucky
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Running Backs
Bijan Robinson, Jr. Texas
The first two years have been terrific, and he still hasn’t come close to letting it rip for a full season. He averaged over eight yards per carry in 2020 and was unstoppable at times in 2021 before getting hurt, but if he gets going like the world knows he can, he has the upside to match his first two seasons of production – 1,830 yards and 15 touchdowns – in 2022.
TreVeyon Henderson, Soph. Ohio State
You’re not wrong if you think Henderson could be the Heisman winner if Ohio State gives him the ball a little bit more. A big-time home run hitter who averaged seven yards per pop, he should blow past the 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns – with four receiving scores – of last year with just a little more work.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Running Backs
Braelon Allen, Soph. Wisconsin
The then-17-year-old power runner all but saved the Wisconsin season with 1,268 yards and 12 scores as the next great Badger back. Now with running mate Chez Mellusi back and healthy, Allen should be that much fresher and possibly even more effective.
Sean Tucker, Soph. Syracuse
Everyone in the house knows 34 is going to run, and it still doesn’t matter. How good is Tucker? Let’s just say the Orange offensive line hasn’t been the strongest positive over the last few years, but it knew how to block for Tucker last season. He came through with close to 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. No pressure, but now it’s his job to put the football program on his back – and he will.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Running Backs
5. Deuce Vaughn, Jr. Kansas State
6. Mohamed Ibrahim, Sr. Minnesota
7. Chris Rodriguez, Sr. Kentucky
8. Lew Nichols, Soph. Central Michigan
9. Zach Charbonnet, Sr. UCLA
10. Rasheen Ali, Soph. Marshall
11. Travis Dye, Sr. USC
12. Jahmyr Gibbs, Soph. Alabama
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Wide Receivers
Jordan Addison, WR Jr. USC
And now he gets to operate in the Lincoln Riley offense with Caleb Williams throwing his way. The 2021 Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s best receiver, Addison caught 100 passes for close to 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. He won’t have to do it all for the USC passing game, but he’ll come up with another massive season.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jr. Ohio State
He already announced that 2022 might be his season with a dominant Rose Bowl performance – 15 catches for 347 yards and three scores in the win over Utah – and don’t expect it to stop now. He might not have Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave around to take the attention away, but Ohio State is more than loaded at receiver. Smith-Njigba is the unquestioned go-to No. 1 star.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Wide Receivers
Kayshon Boutte, Jr. LSU
The talent is unquestioned, and now it might be his time to show just how good he really is. Very fast and very smooth, he caught 83 passes for 1,244 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons – he might get that this year.
Xavier Worthy, Jr. Texas
Not everything about the 2021 Texas season went wrong. Worthy averaged 16 yards per catch with 12 touchdowns, and this year he should be more consistent with an improved offense and coaching staff that settled in.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Wide Receivers
5. Josh Downs, Jr. North Carolina
6. Marvin Mims, Jr. Oklahoma
7. Zay Flowers, Sr. Boston College
8. Cedric Tillman, Sr. Tennessee
9. Nathaniel Dell, Jr. Houston
10. AT Perry, Jr. Wake Forest
11. Jacob Cowing, Jr. Arizona
12. Jayden Reed, WR Sr. Michigan State
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Tight End
Brock Bowers, Soph. Georgia
Georgia has been great at getting top tight end prospects over the years, and Bowers was able to take the position to a whole other level with a team-leading 56 catches for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he ran for a score, too. He’s one of three amazing tight ends on the Dawg O – Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington the others – but he should still be the first option.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Tight End
Michael Mayer, Jr. Notre Dame
Everything is there to be a future star at the next level. He’s got the 6-4, 250-pound size, he can hit, and he can be a leading receiver who can stretch the field. With 113 catches for 1,290 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons, he’s experienced and proven as one of the team’s signature stars.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Tight Ends
3. Brant Kuithe, Jr. Utah
4. Cameron Latu, Sr. Alabama
5. Arik Gilbert, Soph. Georgia
6. Zack Kuntz, Jr. Old Dominion
7. Ben Sims, Sr, Baylor
8. Will Mallory, Sr. Miami
9. Sam LaPorta, Sr. Iowa
10. Payne Durham, Jr. Purdue
11. Josh Whyle, Jr. Cincinnati
12. Benjamin Yurosek, Jr. Stanford
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Offensive Tackles
Jaxson Kirkland, Sr. Washington
The 6-7, 340-pound mauler is a two-time First Team All-Pac 12 blocker who has the NFL scouts loving his next level potential. He’s built more like a giant tight end than a thick blocker, but he’s great for the running game to go along with all he can do in pass protection.
Peter Skoronski, Jr. Northwestern
One of the best offensive line recruits the program was ever able to land, he has more than come through in his first two seasons. The two-time all-Big Ten blocker is in a salary drive as a potential early first round franchise NFL draft pick.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Offensive Tackles
Ryan Hayes, Sr. Michigan
How did Michigan rise up last year into a College Football Playoff program? The play of the offensive line had a whole lot to do with it, and it should be strong again around the 6-7 veteran going into his fifth year up front.
Zion Nelson, Jr. Miami
The 6-5, 316-pounder wasn’t an elite prospect, but he took over a starting job right away at left tackle in 2019. He took his lumps, but he grew into the gig and showed off his NFL upside last year protecting rising star quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. The frame, the feet, and the experience are all there.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Offensive Tackles
5. Paris Johnson, Jr. Ohio State
6. Tyler Steen, Sr. Alabama
7. Darnell Wright, Sr. Tennessee
8. Cooper Beebe, Jr. Kansas State
9. Jack Nelson, Soph. Wisconsin
10. Jaelyn Duncan, Sr. Maryland
11. Anton Harrison, Jr. Oklahoma
12. Blake Freeland, Jr. BYU
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Offensive Guards
TJ Bass, Sr. Oregon
Bass is a two-time All-Pac-12 performer – a First Team star last year as a fantastic run blocking technician – but is was mostly as a tackle. He came to Oregon from the JUCO ranks as a guard, and started there again last season before moving one spot over. He’ll likely live at left guard under the new coaching staff, but no matter where he is, he’ll be one of the nation’s best O linemen.
Jarrett Patterson, Sr. Notre Dame
He’s more than good enough as a run blocker, but he’s at his best against the quicker interior linemen. An elite pass protector for a guard, he’s experienced, versatile enough to move to center if needed, and he has been a rock for a young line that’s growing into its immense talent.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Offensive Guards
Emil Ekiyor, Sr. Alabama
Last year’s line struggled in pass protection and wasn’t as strong as it should’ve been, but the 6-3, 307-pound Ekiyor did his part as a sledgehammer on key downs. This year he should be the line’s anchor for an improved front five.
Sataoa Laumea, Soph. Utah
The 6-4, 308-pound third-year starter earned his all-star honors at right guard for the physical Utah offense. Now it’ll be his job on the left side as he takes his game up a few notches. Good so far, he’s got the potential and talent to be even more of a force for the ground game.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Offensive Guards
5. Zak Zinter, Jr. Michigan
6. Tyler Beach, Sr. Wisconsin
7. Nick Broeker, Sr. Ole Miss
8. Lorenz Metz, Sr. Cincinnati
9. Christian Mahogany, Jr. Boston College
10. Sidy Sow, Sr. Eastern Michigan
11. Willie Lampkin, Jr. Coastal Carolina
12. Hunter Woodard, Sr. Oklahoma State
Preseason All-America Team: CFN First Team Center
Olusegun Oluwatimi, Sr. Michigan
The Michigan line returns a ton of talent from the 2021 version that paved the way to the Big Ten title, but it needed a center. In comes the 6-3, 310-pound Oluwatimi from Virginia to fill the gap. Big enough to play guard and just quick enough to be fine at tackle, the veteran all-star should be the perfect fit.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Second Team Center
Ricky Stromberg, Sr. Arkansas
The 6-4, 318-pounder has found his home. A powerful guard when he first started, he grew into a center as a sophomore and started dominating for the ground game as a junior. The veteran can pass protect, too, but with his size and power, he’s the center everyone is looking for.
Preseason All-America Team: CFN Honorable Mention Centers
3. Brett Neilon, Sr. USC
4. Jacob Gall, Sr. Baylor
5. Alex Forsyth, Sr. Oregon
6. Sedrick Van Pran, Soph. Georgia
7. John Michael Schmitz, Sr. Minnesota
8. Grant Gibson, Sr. NC State
9. Jake Renfro, Jr. Cincinnati
10. Joe Tippmann, Jr. Wisconsin
11. Alama Uluave, Sr. San Diego State
12. Trevor Downing, (OG) Sr. Iowa State
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