2020 had some incredible offensive performances.
Here's a team full of guys who put up numbers this year.
So, yes, I have a “team” of top players from the year. This, like all such all-American or all-whatever teams, is totally subjective. Snubs are likely. Please harass me on Twitter @MidMajorMajesty about it. Anywhere here are the offensive players. Defense and special teams will come Thursday, because I need to spread out content.
Also keen readers will note there was no MMM last Thursday. If you have questions about that, such as “why not?” I will direct you to the things that happened Wednesday and ask if you wanted to write about football that day.
There was some coaching news, and I’ll take a deeper look at all those moves at another time. Then we’ll get into the spring FCS schedule, which starts in mid-February and means football never truly ends. 2020 taketh away. 2020 giveth.
2020 FBS All-MMM Team, Offense
Zach Wilson, BYU, Junior
Here are some stats across 12 games: 3,692 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 254 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns. He completed 74% of his passes.
Those are all pretty good. But I hear it now: Of course the stats are good, he played trash teams. Well, for starters, he wasn’t given the opportunity to play any Power Five teams, largely because three of those conferences didn’t play any nonconference games. That makes it hard to get those kinds of wins. But the argument about playing trash teams always has a flaw -- Zach Wilson’s worst game in terms of passing yards was against North Alabama, when he only passed for 212 yards, because there wasn’t much of a fight there. He put up numbers against good teams. At Boise State: 360 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing. Against UCF: 425 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown. At Houston: 400 passing yards, four touchdowns. Then there’s the Coastal Carolina game, when the Chanticleers came out with a perfect gameplan, beat him up, and, uh, he still had two touchdowns and came a foot short of a third that would’ve won it.
Honorable Mention: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati; Nick Starkel, San Jose State.
Ridder wasn’t impressive early on but came on big-time when it mattered, often carrying the offense on his back. His performance against SMU was just *chef’s kiss* I mean come on. Starkel had a shorter season that most players but, you know, you win all your games, you throw four touchdowns to every pick, you rack up 272 yards a game, you’re pretty good.
Sincere McCormick, UTSA, Sophomore
In 11 games, McCormick racked up 1,467 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, for 133 yards per game. It was fun at times to see box scores out of UTSA that look like they were from a different era. Just give the guy the ball. A lot of those came in just a few big games. Against Texas State in the opener, he had 197 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, which is a very Larry Johnson-era halfback statline. At UAB he had 150 and a score on 22 carries. Against Louisiana Tech he had 165 yards and three touchdowns, which is just an absurd number of carries to have in A.D. 2020. He had 32 for 173 yards and two scores against Southern Miss, and followed that up the next week with a more efficient 251 yards on 23 carries against North Texas. The kid is good. I’d say I’m being sincere, but I’m not that good.
Jaret Patterson, Buffalo, Junior
Jaret Patterson is going to the NFL, which is fine. He did work in 2020. In six games he racked up 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns. He missed the bowl game and was injured in the MAC Championship and still put up those numbers. He had a game canceled while he was on the bus to Athens to play Ohio. Still broke 1,000 yards. It helps when you put up 710 in two weeks. That two-game stretch speaks for itself: 301 yards and four touchdowns against Bowling Green. 409 yards and eight touchdowns against Kent State. Give him the ball.
Honorable Mention: CJ Marable, Coastal Carolina; Ulysses Bentley IV, SMU; Camerun Peoples, App State; Tyler Allgeier, BYU
Marable was a key cog in the constantly churning wheel of the Coastal Carolina offense. Bentley was an important piece in an SMU offense that looked incredible at the start of the season. Peoples ran for a lot of yards. Like, a lot. Allgeier did pretty well on his own and also set up Wilson and the receivers at BYU.
Jonathan Adams Jr., Arkansas State, Senior
Jay Adams had 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns, and those numbers are good, sure. But he won this award on one day, Sept. 12, against Kansas State. When he did this.
He also did this, which didn’t count in the game but counts in our hearts.
Adams had three touchdowns that day as the Red Wolves beat the Wildcats of the Big XII. A-State didn’t even end up having a great season, unlike the other two Sun Belt teams to beat Big XII teams that day, but they had highlights. Adams is headed to the NFL, where he will surely continue to amaze.
Jaelon Darden, North Texas, Senior
North Texas was a video game team, putting up huge numbers and playing fast. That doesn’t mean the touchdowns come easier. Darden had at least one in every game this year, and three or more in four of them, totaling 19. He also had two games in which he went over 200 yards receiving and totaled 1,190 yards for the year. Those aren’t any numbers to shake a stick at.
Honorable Mention: Dax Milne, BYU; Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama; Calvin Austin III, Memphis
Milne, Tolbert and Austin all racked up insane yardage, Tolbert picking up 252 yards and three touchdowns in one game against Arkansas State.
Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina, Junior
A likely target, he proved to be a reliable one for Grayson McCall during key games down the stretch for Coastal. His biggest game came against App State, when he caught three passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. The Chanticleers didn’t air it out a lot, but when they needed big plays in the passing game or a key first down pickup, the tight end was Likely to come up with what was needed.
Honorable Mention: Cole Turner, Nevada
Turner had 605 yards and nine touchdowns as a favorite target of quarterback Carson Strong.
Brady Christensen, BYU, Junior
He’s a first-team All-American for AP and CBS, the first for BYU in a decade. Look, offensive linemen don’t rack up a lot of stats, but this guy is going to the NFL. More importantly, look at the folks’ names up above here. Those guys don’t get those big numbers without the work of the big guys in the trenches. Tyler Allgeier doesn’t put up more than 1,000 yards on the ground without help clearing the way. Zach Wilson doesn’t throw all those passes without time to do it. Brady Christensen and his colleagues made that happen.
Kayode Awosika, Buffalo, Senior
How do you think Jaret Patterson ran all that way in just a few games? He had great help.
Ryan Neuzil, Appalachian State, Senior
App State had a few rough games this year, perhaps more than they would have liked, but when they were on they ran. the. ball. Like, seventh best in the country.
Cain Madden, Marshall, Senior
You think Marshall stayed undefeated as long as they did without good protection up front for their freshman quarterback? Madden was a second-team AP All-American.
Parker Ferguson, Air Force, Senior
All-Mountain West first team. Blocked for a running attack that, too often, ran folks out of the stadium. That’s not the easiest job in the world.