Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Quarterback
Senior • Washington 6'4" 215
Last season Pickett broke just about every Washington passing yardage record in the book. He also became the first 4,000-yard passer in Pac-10 history, completing a hair under 60 percent of his passes for 4,458 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also broke the conference record for completions in a season with 365. The senior from Caldwell, Idaho, threw for 300-plus yards in 11 of 13 games last fall and exceeded 400 yards three times.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Running Backs
Junior • Kansas State 5'7" 175
Sproles hinted at his potential, averaging 7.5 yards on 28 carries, in his injury-shortened freshman year of 2001. Then last season he exploded for 1,465 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and 112.7 per game. Sproles, who came to K-State from Olathe, Kan., also contributed 99 yards on pass receptions and 236 yards returning kicks and punts. He teams with quarterback Ell Roberson in a record-setting K-State backfield.
Junior • Oregon State 6'3" 229
Jackson has emerged as arguably the premier running back in the nation. His 1,690 rushing yards and 1,855 all-purpose yards both broke Oregon State single-season records. His 130-yards-per-game average ranked eighth nationally. Jackson, a Las Vegas native, ran for over 100 yards nine times last fall and eclipsed the 200-yard mark on three separate occasions, including his season-high 239-yard effort against California.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Wide Receivers and Tight End
Junior • Washington 6'4" 220
In 2002, Williams turned in the best pass-catching campaign ever at Washington, and after just two years he is already the most prolific receiver in school history. His career numbers stand at 149 receptions at 16.3 yards per catch. The returning first-team All-American from Lakewood, Wash., caught 94 passes for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns last year alone. His 89-yard touchdown catch against San Jose State is another school record.
Senior • Oklahoma State 6'2" 190
Woods could make All-America based on his performance in last year's Oklahoma game alone. With Cowboy QB Josh Fields also on fire that day, Woods torched the Sooners with 12 catches for a school single-game record 226 yards and three touchdowns. Two years ago, Woods set a school single-season record with 80 catches and led the Big 12 with 1,023 yards. Last season, he caught 107 passes for 1,695 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Junior • Miami 6'5" 233
The two finest pass-catching tight ends in history both might be named Kellen Winslow. The former Missouri and San Diego Charger star sits atop the list for now. The current Miami Hurricane is challenging his father for the distinction. As a sophomore last year, Winslow led the Canes in receiving with 57 catches for 726 yards and eight touchdowns, surpassing the school's single-season receiving records for tight ends in his first year as a starter.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Offensive Line
Junior • Arkansas 6'5" 371
Andrews' 2002 honors include first-team All-Southeastern Conference and first-team All-America, and he was awarded the Jacobs Trophy as the best blocker in the SEC. With Andrews stationed at right tackle, Arkansas led the conference and finished 12th nationally in rushing offense, and fielded a 1,000-yard rusher in Fred Talley. The home-grown giant registered 68 knockdown blocks in '02, including five in the Music City Bowl.
Junior • Oklahoma 6'6" 305
Brown captured first-team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore last season, his first as a starter after seeing extensive playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2001. Positioned at right tackle for the Sooners, the Lawton, Okla., product registered 80 knockdown blocks. He helped clear the way for OU's 1,884-yard rusher, Quentin Griffin, and helped increase the team's average per rush by a full yard over the previous season.
Senior • Kansas State 6'4" 285
After starting every game at left guard for Kansas State the last two years, Leckey moves to center for his senior season. Leckey was a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore in 2001 and was unanimously named first-team All-Big 12 last season. Leckey spearheaded the blocking charge for a Wildcat offense that led the nation with 49 rushing touchdowns and set a school record with 3,209 rushing yards.
Senior • Kentucky 6'5" 299
Hall enters his senior season having started every game for Kentucky since arriving on campus as a true freshman in 2000. Last season, he was a first-team All-SEC selection. He was the top performer on an offensive line that paved the way for the conference's leading rusher, Artose Pinner. As the Wildcats' right tackle, he protects lefty Jared Lorenzen's blind side. He racked up 74 pancake blocks for the season, including 14 against LSU.
Senior • USC 6'6" 305
Rogers returns as the Trojans' starting left tackle for the third straight year and teams with Winston Justice as the top offensive tackle tandem in the land. Rogers was named USC's Offensive Lineman of the Year after starting 11 games as a sophomore in 2001. Last season he was first-team All-Pac-10. He spiced up his outstanding 2002 campaign with a two-yard run on a lateral in the Trojans' trouncing of Notre Dame.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Specialists
Nate Kaeding - Placekicker
Senior • Iowa 6'0" 177
Kaeding won the 2002 Lou Groza Award as the best placekicker in college football. He set a school record — and a Big Ten mark for kickers — by scoring 120 points. Almost 40 percent of his kickoffs are touchbacks.
Broderick Clark – Kick Returner
Sophomore • Louisville 6'0" 191
Clark is the top returnee among the nation's kick returners entering 2003. The sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., averaged 28.9 yards on 31 kickoff returns as a redshirt freshman in 2002, scoring twice.
Andy Lee - Punter
Senior • Pittsburgh 6'2" 205
Lee averaged 43.1 yards on 73 boots last season, with a long of 73 yards. The first-team All-Big East returnee and conference co-Special Teams Player of the Year had 17 of his punts downed inside the 20 .
Derek Abney – Punt Returner
Junior • Kentucky 5'10" 175
Abney ran back four punts for touchdowns last season. He averaged 15.1 yards on 36 runbacks. He also averaged 14.2 yards on 40 pass receptions. And he also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Defensive Line
Senior • Pittsburgh 6'4" 270
Harriott amassed 78 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks last season on his way to first-team All-Big East. His seven forced fumbles were second-most of any player in the country. The Belle Glade, Fla., import's three sacks in the Virginia Tech game were key to the Panthers' win over the No. 3-ranked Hokies. He capped off the season with a Defensive MVP performance in Pittsburgh's 38–13 Insight Bowl victory over Oregon State.
Junior • Oklahoma 6'3" 280
Harris wasted no time making a name for himself with a first-team All-Big 12 and Freshman All-America season in 2001. He was slowed somewhat by nagging injuries last fall and his numbers were a tad down, but he still landed on the AP, AFCA and Walter Camp Foundation All-America teams and repeated as first-team All-Big 12. Over his first two years the menacing tackle has compiled 24 tackles for a loss and has batted down three passes.
Senior • Ohio State 6'3" 271
A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Scott possesses both strength and quickness and can play either tackle or end. He finished the 2002 season with 43 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. Scott arrived in Columbus from Charleston, W.V., in 2000 as a linebacker, was moved to end and established a reputation for big plays. He broke up four passes, forced three fumbles and recovered two last fall.
Junior • Georgia 6'3" 278
As a freshman two years ago, Pollack started four games at defensive tackle and posted modest numbers. Last year he switched to end, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Southeastern Conference, and finished the season as the SEC Player of the Year. Pollack racked up 102 tackles, 23.5 for losses of 128 yards and 14 sacks for minus-99 yards. He also intercepted two passes, including an amazing take-away in the end zone against South Carolina.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Linebackers
Senior • Oklahoma 6'2" 241
Lehman was a consensus first-team All-American and one of three finalists for the Butkus Award last season. He compiled 112 tackles, including 17 for lost yardage. He now has 212 career tackles, 33 behind the line. He returned an interception 20 yards against Texas to set up the go-ahead touchdown and ran back another pick 31 yards against Colorado. Lehman capped off his campaign with two sacks in the Rose Bowl.
Senior • Notre Dame 6'1" 234
Watson arrived at Notre Dame in 1999 as a lightly recruited, 190-pound tailback from Sarasota, Fla., and has morphed into a ferocious, 234-pound linebacker. Notre Dame rode its defense to 10 wins last fall, and Watson led the way with a team-high 90 tackles. He broke up eight passes and intercepted four, running one back 34 yards for a touchdown against Stanford. He also registered a 60-yard interception return against USC.
Senior • Southern Miss 6'3" 246
Davis has been bad news for Southern Miss opponents for three years. A ferocious hitter with uncanny instincts, Davis notched 168 tackles in 2002. Of that number, 122 were solo stops and 23.5 were for negative yardage. He now has 362 tackles for his career, 40.5 behind the line, and he has intercepted two passes in each of his first three years.
Athlon's 2003 Preseason All-American First-Team Defensive Backs
Junior • Ohio State 6'2" 180
Gamble was a regular on both offense and defense for the final six games of 2002. As a flanker, he averaged 16.1 yards on 31 catches. As a cornerback, he is an All-American. He intercepted a pass against Cincinnati on his very first play as a defensive back. All four of his 2002 picks were game-savers, including the one he returned 40 yards for a touchdown against Penn State. He also scored on a 43-yard reverse against Indiana.
Senior • Oklahoma 6'0" 190
Two years ago, Everage was second-team All-Big 12. Last year he was an All-American. He started at free safety for the Sooners the entire season, collecting 94 total stops. Everage tied for the team lead with six interceptions and broke up 11 other passes. He now has 225 tackles, nine picks and 22 pass break-ups for his career. In the Colorado game, he posted 17 tackles and ran back an interception 64 yards.
Junior • Michigan 6'1" 189
Jackson started seven games at cornerback as a freshman for the Wolverines in 2001. Last year he started all 13 contests and totaled 51 tackles, including five for a loss, and one sack. He set school records for pass break-ups in a single game (six) and season (18), and intercepted three other passes, bringing his career total to six picks. He returned one of his 2002 INTs 19 yards for a touchdown against Notre Dame.
Junior • Miami 6'3" 220
There isn't a weakness in Taylor's game. As Miami's free safety, he plays the run like a linebacker and covers receivers like a cornerback. He has size and speed and hits with gusto. A first-team All-Big East selection in his first year as a starter last fall, Taylor notched 85 tackles, intercepted four passes with 122 yards in returns, and broke up 15 other passes. His 2002 exploits also include a blocked kick and a punt return for a touchdown.