- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Reel it in, Florida State fans. They’re only projections.
ESPN.com and FoxSports.com released their preseason All-American teams Thursday, and Marcus Mariota received the quarterback nod above Jameis Winston in both, unleashing the hounds in Tallahassee and the Florida panhandle.
At the end of the day, there can be only one quarterback on the preseason team, and Mariota and Winston have the strongest cases for the nomination, without question. But while Winston is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and had an unprecedented season for a freshman, it is quite conceivable that Mariota will have a better 2014 season, at least statistically. An All-American selection isn’t a qualifier to be the best player in the country, which Winston was voted in ESPN.com’s player rankings. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings and a 21-game winning streak, yet has only been a first-team All-Pro selection twice.
Last season, Mariota threw 31 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He has only 10 interceptions in his two seasons. He’s totaled 700 yards rushing in both of his seasons, too. In Oregon’s up-tempo offense, if Mariota remains healthy, he could improve on all of those numbers.
The narrative all offseason was how it will be tough for Winston to replicate his 2013 numbers, which consisted of more than 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns. With two of his top receivers gone, the passing game might not be as efficient, and coach Jimbo Fisher could rely on his rushing attack more in 2014.
Is it contrarian to select Mariota over the reigning Heisman winner and a quarterback yet to lose a game? Sure, but that does not mean there is not a legitimate argument for Mariota to be an All-American at the end of the season. And if the preseason team is a projection based on 2014 and not a reflection of 2013, Mariota has a sensible case for the quarterback nomination.
Here are a few more ACC links to get your weekend started:
Clemson fans are hoping bad news really does not come in groups of three after losing a potential starter at running back and depth along the offensive line the last few days.
Boston College held its final scrimmage before the season opener this week.
Not sure it's the best way to draw in readers, but here are 10 notes on Georgia Tech that do not qualify as "must read."
NC State coach Dave Doeren is still offering positive vibes about the 2014 season despite a poor start to his Wolfpack tenure.
Three things we learned during Syracuse's preseason camp.
50mMatt Fortuna and Gerry Hamilton
15hMatt Fortuna and Gerry Hamilton
17hDavid M. Hale
19hDavid M. Hale
21hDavid Hale and Alex Scarborough
21hAndrea Adelson and Austin Ward