California, Florida, and Texas: the three giants when it comes to producing football talent, both at the high school and college levels. If you were to pick three all-state squads made up of the best college football players who currently ply their trades in each of those states, who would have the strongest?
Let's figure this out with the help of some friends. Each state gets 24 players -- 11 on offense, 11 on defense, plus one kicker and one punter -- comprised of players currently playing college football at schools within their state. As an example, the California team can pick from players currently at USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, San Jose State, San Diego State, Fresno State, and so on. Got it?
Thanks to Avinash Kunnath of Pacific Takes, Matthew K. of Mountain West Connection, Cam Underwood of State of the U, Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation, Andy Hutchins of Alligator Army, Rhys Williams of FIU Student Media, Dr. Norris Camacho of Good Bull Hunting, Jamie Plunkett of Frogs O' War, MikeTTU and Double T Faithful from Viva the Matadors, Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft, and our readers (including CMDR, E. Middlebrook, OAG, Benjamin R., Michael H., and DB King) for their input.
USC's Leonard Williams and Hayes Pullard. Kirby Lee, USA Today
|QB||Brett Hundley, UCLA|
|RB||Javorius Allen, USC|
|WR||Ty Montgomery, Stanford|
|WR||Nelson Agholor, USC|
|WR||Bryce Treggs, Cal|
|TE||Devon Cajuste, Stanford|
|OT||Andrus Peat, Stanford|
|OG||Cody Wichmann, Fresno State|
|C||Max Tuerk, USC|
|OG||Alex Redmond, UCLA|
|OT||Kyle Murphy, Stanford|
|DE||Leonard Williams, USC|
|DT||Tyeler Davison, Fresno State|
|DE||Henry Anderson, Stanford|
|LB||Myles Jack, UCLA|
|LB||Hayes Pullard, USC|
|LB||Eric Kendricks, UCLA|
|LB||A.J. Tarpley, Stanford|
|CB||Josh Shaw, USC|
|S||Su'a Cravens, USC|
|S||Derron Smith, Fresno State|
|CB||Ishmael Adams, UCLA|
|K||Jordan Williamson, Stanford|
|P||Cole Leininger, Cal|
- USC and Stanford lead the way with seven players selected, while UCLA is right behind at six. Fresno State leads the non-Pac-12, with three.
- The California team will run a one-back offense and a 3-4 defense.
- Two units stick out here. This team has lethal receiving corps and likely one of the country's three best quarterbacks to distribute the ball. The linebacking unit combined for 368 tackles last season and sports some of the top players in the Pac-12.
- The weak spot may be the defensive line, where 6'2, 304-pound second-team All-Mountain West selection Tyeler Davison will have to compete with some of college football's elite talent. He's got some help around him, however: Leonard Williams was the only underclassman on the first-team All-Pac-12 defense last season, and Henry Anderson brings experience off the edge.
Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III and FSU's Rashad Greene. Kim Klement, USA Today
|QB||Jameis Winston, Florida State|
|RB||Karlos Williams, Florida State|
|RB||Duke Johnson, Miami|
|WR||Rashad Greene, Florida State|
|WR||Stacy Coley, Miami|
|TE||Nick O'Leary, Florida State|
|OT||Cameron Erving, Florida State|
|OG||Tre' Jackson, Florida State|
|C||Shane McDermott, Miami|
|OG||Josue Matias, Florida State|
|OT||Ereck Flowers, Miami|
|DE/OLB||Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida|
|DT||Leon Orr, Florida|
|DT||Eddie Goldman, Florida State|
|DE||Mario Edwards, Jr., Florida State|
|LB||Denzel Perryman, Miami|
|LB||Terrance Smith, Florida State|
|LB||Matthew Thomas, Florida State|
|CB||Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida|
|S||Jalen Ramsey, Florida State|
|S||Deon Bush, Miami|
|CB||Ronald Darby, Florida State|
|K||Roberto Aguayo, Florida State|
|P||Kyle Christy, Florida|
- Every player on the Florida team comes from one the state's three major conference schools (UCF WR J.J. Worton just missed the cut). Reigning national champions Florida State leads the way with 14 players on the squad, with Miami in second place at six and Florida in third with four.
- With Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, the all-Florida team will run a pro-style offense, with strong running and passing principles, and a multiple defense.
- Despite how stacked the offense is, the strongest group on this team could be the secondary. Jalen Ramsey and Deon Bush aren't quite as proven as some of the other players on the team, but they're undeniably talented safeties who played significant roles last season. The big strength comes at cornerback, as Vernon Hargreaves III might be the best corner in the entire nation (and Ronald Darby isn't exactly a slouch, either).
- It's hard to pick a weakest unit on this team, but there are concerns on the offensive line. The left side is stacked, sporting returning first-team All-ACC performers Cameron Erving and Tre' Jackson, but Shane McDermott, Josue Matias and Ereck Flowers are lesser known commodities.
Baylor's Shock Linwood and Bryce Petty. Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today
|QB||Bryce Petty, Baylor|
|RB||Malcolm Brown, Texas|
|RB||Shock Linwood, Baylor|
|WR||Antwan Goodley, Baylor|
|WR||Levi Norwood, Baylor|
|WR||Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech|
|OT||Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M|
|OG||Cyril Lemon, North Texas|
|C||Dominic Espinosa, Texas|
|OG||Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M|
|OT||Spencer Drango, Baylor|
|DE||Cedric Reed, Texas|
|DT||Chucky Hunter, TCU|
|DT||Malcolm Brown, Texas|
|DE||Shawn Oakman, Baylor|
|LB||Bryce Hager, Baylor|
|LB||Darian Claiborne, Texas A&M|
|LB||Steve Edmond, Texas|
|CB||Quandre Diggs, Texas|
|S||Chris Hackett, TCU|
|S||Sam Carter, TCU|
|CB||DeShazor Everett, Texas A&M|
|K||Ryan Bustin, Texas Tech|
|P||Drew Kaser, Texas A&M|
- Baylor leads the way with seven, while Texas and Texas A&M are right behind at six and five, respectively.
- The all-Texas offense runs a wide-open spread with plenty of running (thanks, Baylor!). On defense, they'll run a 4-3.
- The strength of this team comes at the offensive skill positions, with five players who have all shown success at the collegiate level (as well as an elite quarterback in Petty).
- A potential weakness may be linebacker -- two of the three players in the unit had less than 80 tackles last season and the other, Darian Claiborne, was arrested for the second time in his Texas A&M career this past February.
Those are some pretty fine football teams up there. Which changes would you make to these rosters? And let us know the answer to the all-important question: who ya got?
Let's picture some odd three-way tournament formation. Or you can just throw in an imaginary Alabama-Auburn all-star team to make it an even four. Roll Tide.