2016 ESPN college football midseason All-American team

Our preseason All-American team was loaded with Heisman contenders: Deshaun Watson, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, to name a few front-runners.

Our midseason All-American team? Well, as further evidence that 2016 has been a wild ride, none of those three players are on the list.

Here's a look at the surprising -- hello, Lamar Jackson -- and the not-so-surprising -- welcome back, Jabrill Peppers -- from the first half of 2016.


QB: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Lamar Jackson has emerged as the Heisman favorite after his nearly unstoppable performance this season. Jackson ranks No. 2 in the nation in total offense (2,638 yards) and has 30 touchdowns (15 rushing, 15 passing), using his combination of arm strength, speed and elusiveness to become the toughest player in the nation to defend. -- Andrea Adelson

RB: Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

Pumphrey leads the nation with 1,111 rushing yards. That's 169 more than the next closest (BYU's Jamaal Williams) and he's played one fewer game. He's rushed for 11 touchdowns and averages 185.2 yards per game. -- Kevin Gemmell

RB: Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Cook heard the criticisms after a slow start, and it fueled him to the best four-game stretch in his career. The past four weeks he's rushed for 672 yards and totaled five touchdowns. An improved receiver, he leads the country in scrimmage and all-purpose yards (1,256). -- Jared Shanker

WR: Chad Hansen, Cal

Buried behind lots of NFL talent the past couple of years, Hansen finally got his opportunity and has flourished. He's hauled in 59 catches for 770 yards with eight touchdowns. His 9.8 catches per game ranks third nationally. -- Kevin Gemmell

WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State

He ranks ninth nationally in receiving yards per game and second since Week 3 after posting the highest total against a Power 5 team this season with 296 yards in the Cowboys' win over Pitt. -- Mitch Sherman

TE: Evan Engram, Ole Miss

Through the first half of the season, Engram doesn't just lead all SEC tight ends in receiving yards. He leads all players with 590 yards on 37 receptions. He's also tops in the league with 12 receptions of 20 or more yards. -- Greg Ostendorf

OT: Cam Robinson, Alabama

Like last season, the future first-round pick has started out slowly. But Alabama's production in the run game, ranking fourth in the country and leading the SEC in rushing yards, speaks for itself. -- Alex Scarborough

OG: Braden Smith, Auburn

The Tigers are second in the SEC in rushing despite losing their three top running backs from a season ago. Why? It starts up front with the offensive line, and Smith has been the best of the bunch. -- Greg Ostendorf

C: Ethan Pocic, LSU

Although the senior ranks among the top centers in the country, his ability to play every line position has come in handy lately. Injuries along LSU's offensive line have forced Pocic to fill in at right tackle. -- David Ching

OG: Dorian Johnson, Pitt

Johnson has been a rock for Pitt, starting 33 straight games at left guard for the 5-2 Panthers. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound senior has led an offensive line that has surrendered just five sacks on the season, the fewest in the ACC (and tied for ninth-fewest nationally). Pitt is also second in the league in rushing (239.1 yards per game), good for 19th nationally. -- Matt Fortuna

OT: Trey Adams, Washington

With an average of 49.5 points per game, Washington leads the Pac-12 in scoring offense and is third nationally. Adams is the man protecting the blindside of quarterback Jake Browning and paving the way for a rushing offense that averaged 229 yards per game and has 12 touchdowns on the ground. -- Kevin Gemmell


DL: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

A lower leg injury slowed him recently but even with that, he has been an impact player, picking up a team-high four sacks, six tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. -- Sam Khan

DL: : Montravius Adams, Auburn

Everybody wants to talk up Carl Lawson on the outside, but Adams has been just as disruptive on the inside. The senior has four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and recently scored his first career touchdown. -- Greg Ostendorf

DL: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

When Austin Bryant went down with an injury this spring, Clemson was desperate for an edge rusher. Conveniently, the Tigers had a 310-pound one happy to oblige. Wilkins had blossomed into a star on the interior of the line as a true freshman in 2015, but he's proven to be the country's most versatile big man in his sophomore season, working both inside and out for the Tigers' defensive line while also playing fullback, tight end and starring on special teams. -- David M. Hale

DL: Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Barnett is pushing for SEC Player of the Year honors with six sacks (all in SEC play), 11.5 TFLs, five QB hurries, three passes defended, one interception and two forced fumbles. He helped force two turnovers against Alabama. -- Edward Aschoff

LB: Reuben Foster, Alabama

Middle linebacker didn't drop off when Reggie Ragland left. If anything, Foster is even more athletic and covers more of the field, leading Alabama with 41 tackles. -- Alex Scarborough

LB: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

The electric redshirt sophomore is really a linebacker in name only. He's floated around the Wolverines' top-ranked defense giving opponents a moving target to track at all times. He has 10 tackles for loss, but his biggest highlights have come while returning punts or moonlighting as a Wildcat quarterback. -- Dan Murphy

LB: Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

The individual numbers may be down, and if Ohio State was worried about it, it could offer a couple of easy excuses for the junior captain. But when the Buckeyes aren't blowing out opponents or he isn't setting up teammates for big plays, McMillan is proving once again to be one of the best tacklers in the nation and a crucial leader for a defense loaded with first-time starters around him. -- Austin Ward

S: Malik Hooker, Ohio State

As quickly as the redshirt sophomore can break on a pass over the middle, Hooker has emerged as one of the most dynamic defensive backs in the country, Hooker has wasted no time making an impact with four interceptions and a touchdown in the first six starts of his career. -- Austin Ward

S: Budda Baker, Washington

Baker is the quarterback of a Washington defense that ranks seventh nationally (14.2 points per game) and leads the Pac-12. Through the first half of the season he's tallied 29 stops, including 20 solo, with 2.5 for a loss and an interception. -- Kevin Gemmell

CB: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

He plays a little cornerback, a little nickel back and a whole lot of defense. The true sophomore mixes instincts and training well, leading the team in interceptions and passes defended. -- Alex Scarborough

CB: Jalen Tabor, Florida

One of the nation's best cover corners, Tabor hasn't been thrown at a lot, but when he has, he's taken full advantage. He has defended five passes, but four of them have been interceptions, including one going back for a touchdown against Missouri. -- Edward Aschoff

Special teams

K: Daniel Carlson, Auburn

He's no longer perfect on field goals, but 13 of 14 is still pretty good, especially when you consider his only miss came from 56 yards out. For the year, he's still 2 of 3 on kicks from 50 yards or more. -- Greg Ostendorf

P: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Utah continues to be rewarded for its faith in the Australian punter pipeline. Wishnowsky is following in the footsteps of countryman Tom Hackett, who won back-to-back Ray Guy Awards for the Utes. Wishnowsky leads the nation in punting average (49.1) and he's placed 15 of his 31 punts inside the opponent's 20. -- Kevin Gemmell

AP: Eddie Jackson, Alabama

Whether it's in the return game or at safety, Jackson is the epitome of a playmaker. The senior already has a pair of punt return touchdowns and one pick-six to go with his 21 tackles. -- Alex Scarborough