By NATHAN COOPER AND JOHN TODD
Before getting into bowl games, the end of each College Football season is followed up by a plethora of awards and accolades. This season at SIS, we used our all-encompassing player value stat, Total Points, and our scouting work as leading references in putting together two teams of All-SIS selections for 2021.
You can learn more about Total Points and the statistics referenced in this piece here.
These picks are meant to honor the best-of-the-best in the sport.
First Team Offense
QB – Bryce Young, Alabama
2021’s Heisman-trophy favorite, Young has led the Crimson Tide to another SEC Championship and back to the playoffs in his first year as a starter. He is 2nd in the country in Independent Quarterback Rating, which builds on the traditional Passer Rating formula by isolating competitive throws and eliminating the effects of results outside his control, and is in the top 10 in catchable and on-target passes while facing the 2nd most pressures among all FBS quarterbacks.
RB – Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
The Wake Forest transfer made a tremendous impact on the Spartans’ 10-2 season and 8-0 start. The nation’s 2nd-leading rusher, Walker leads the country in yards after contact, total broken and missed tackles, and for ball carriers with over 200 carries, yards per attempt. A true workhorse, Walker was the only Michigan State running back with a rushing touchdown, logging 18 of them.
RB – Breece Hall, Iowa State
Hall has been regarded as one of the top running backs in the country over the last couple seasons. In 2021, he tied for the lead in rushing touchdowns with 20 and was 5th with over 121 Yards/Game. He was also only 1 of 3 RBs to force 30 or more broken tackles and 30 or more missed tackles.
WR – Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
Moore had a respectable season as a true freshman in 2019, but burst onto the scene this year leading all wide receivers with 49 Total Points. He accounted for 40% of Western Michigan’s receiving yards, and with that, his drop percentage of only 1% was the lowest among all WRs with at least 70 targets. His 96.6% On-Target Catch Rate ranked 4th in the FBS.
WR – David Bell, Purdue
Bell has led the Boilermakers in receiving for three straight seasons, and his 2021 campaign was his best and most relied upon yet, nearly doubling his next closest teammate in targets. 5th in the country in receiving yards per game, Bell also topped all Big-10 receivers in catches, yards, first downs, and broken+missed tackles.
TE – Trey McBride, Colorado State
McBride will be one of the tight ends headed to Mobile for the Senior Bowl after an outstanding 2021 season where he leads all TEs with 48 Total Points. His 91 catches on the year were tops in FBS by 20 at the position and his 1,124 receiving yards were over 300 more than Isaiah Likely’s 816. He leads all FBS TEs in receptions and receiving yards, and it wasn’t close. His 91 receptions were 20 more than second while his 1,124 receiving yards were over 300 more than anyone else.
OT – Zach Tom, Wake Forest
Tom was part of an offense that led Wake Forest to it’s first ever AP top 10 ranking and an ACC Championship Game appearance. Wake Forest’s offensive line unit blocked for the 9th-best passing attack in FBS. In addition, Tom leads all offensive linemen with 45 Total Points, all tackles with just a 0.5% overall Blown Block Rate, and ranked top 6 in lowest Blown Block Rate on both passes and runs.
OT – Charles Cross, Mississippi State
To play left tackle for a Mike Leach Air Raid offense, you need to be able to pass protect on the blind side. Cross, a former 5-star recruit and future NFL draft pick, has led all left tackles in college football in pass blocking snaps for two straight seasons, logging over 1,200, yet still was a 2021 top 5 performer in lowest Blown Block Rate in pass protection among Power-5 left tackles.
OG – Hawk Wimmer, Air Force
Wimmer not only has one of the better names in college football, but was also one of the best guards in the country as well. He blocked for the top rushing attack in all of FBS, as the Air Force offense gained over 4,000 yards on the ground, nearly 750 more than 2nd-place Army. Additionally, Wimmer’s 0.9% Blown Block Rate overall ranked in the top 25 of all guards.
OG – Blaise Andries, Minnesota
Minnesota was one of the most run-heavy non-military academy teams in the country in 2021, and Blaise Andries was their versatile anchor. Andries played the bulk of his 730 snaps at right guard but moved all over within the Gophers’ jumbo packages. Minnesota lapped the field in rushing stats while utilizing extra linemen, but it is Andries who leads the Power 5 in Points Earned among players who are primarily guards.
OC – Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Linderbaum’s athleticism and execution level as the center for Kirk Ferentz’ Hawkeyes put offensive line play in the national conversation in 2021, with Heisman mentions rumbling at the season’s midway point. A three-year starter in Iowa’s zone scheme, Linderbaum didn’t register a single holding penalty in 2021 and finished in the top 5 in Total Points for his position.
First Team Defense
DT – Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
The definition of versatility across the defensive line, Thomas lined up at every single defensive line technique at least once in 2021. Among all DL, his 66 pressures were 2nd-most and his 11.5 sacks tied for 6th. When just looking at QB knockdowns, his 14 leads the country. He’s part of San Diego State’s pass rush that, as a unit, leads the entire FBS with 221 pressures.
DT – Dion Novil, North Texas
The 5th-year senior was a big presence in the middle of North Texas’ defense, especially as they finished 2021 on a five-game winning streak to become bowl eligible. Novil was 3rd in the country in tackles per game in the run game, top 10 in sacks, and top 15 in pressures among all NCAA defensive linemen when lined up between the guards, all without missing or having a tackle broken.
EDGE – Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
What else is there to say about Anderson, arguably the best player in college football (Heisman finalist voting be damned)? He leads the country in sacks, tackles for loss, and average tackle depth (0.0), he’s in contention to finish his second straight year as the nation’s leader in total pressures (having only played two seasons), and he’s done it all while rarely leaving the field, playing a ridiculous 83% of snaps this season.
EDGE – Sam Williams, Ole Miss
As someone who went from barely putting his hand in the ground two years ago to having his hand down almost exclusively this year, Williams put up big numbers for the Ole Miss defense in 2021. His 57 Total Points ranked 2nd among all FBS edge rushers. In addition, his 53 pressures and 11.5 sacks both ranked top 7 in the country.
LB – Damone Clark, LSU
Clark leads all LBs in Total Points with 75 and ranked just behind Will Anderson Jr. for the most Total Points by any non-QB. Clark leads all players with 140 tackles and 11.7 tackles per game against the run. In coverage, Clark saw the 3rd-most targets among all LBs with 33, but allowed only a 69.9 Passer Rating Against, 63.6% Completion Rate, and 4.2 Yards/Attempt.
LB – Luke Reimer, Nebraska
It was a difficult year for Nebraska, but Reimer was a critical piece for the Cornhuskers defense, making numerous clutch plays and anchoring their linebacking corps. He is 2nd in the country in coverage points saved from the linebacker position and second on his team among all players in total pass breakups. He also racked up over 100 tackles in the run game, including 15 against Buffalo and 19 against Purdue, with 3 forced fumbles, and finished 2nd at the position in our Total Points metric.
LB/DB – Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Though classified as a safety, Pitre played all over for Baylor, thus claiming our multi-position spot. While spending most of his time in the slot, he still saw 30 or more snaps at safety, off-ball linebacker, and on the edge. In coverage among safeties with at least 25 targets, his 38.2 Passer Rating Against ranked 4th and 68.8% Deserved Catch Rate ranked 16th. He was the only safety in the top 10 of targets not to be called for a pass interference penalty. Additionally, he tied for the most TFLs against the run among all defensive players.
CB – Montaric Brown, Arkansas
For a middle of the pack pass defense, Brown did his part for Arkansas this year. Brown excelled for the Razorbacks in 2021, lining up outside on both sides of their defense and even occasionally at safety. He is tied for the most interceptions in college football this season, allowed the 4th lowest deserved catch percentage, and is top 15 in Coverage Points Saved.
CB – Ja’Quan McMillian, East Carolina
McMillian saw a lot of passes thrown his way in 2021, 11th-most with 67, but held his own throughout the season, tying for the FBS lead with 5 interceptions. His 60 Total Points tied for 2nd among FBS cornerbacks. Among CBs with at least 40 targets, he ranked 11th in Passer Rating Against and 27th in overall Completion Rate.
SAF – Dane Belton, Iowa
Another versatile DB, Belton played everywhere from safety down to the edge for the Hawkeyes defense. His 54 Total Points were 2nd-most among safeties, behind only Jalen Pitre. Additionally, he tied for the FBS lead with 5 interceptions and allowed only 0.5 Yards Per Cover Snap.
SAF – Khoury Bethley, Hawaii
Bethley easily could have been our hybrid selection, as he saw a whopping 996 defensive snaps this season that were nearly evenly split between safety, slot and linebacker. He is 11th in the country in coverage snaps, and his completion percentage, QBR, and yards per coverage snap allowed are all well above average marks. He is tied for the most interceptions in the country with 5 and is 4th in the country in total tackles among defensive backs.
First Team Specialists
K – Harrison Mevis, Missouri
Mevis is tied for the lead among all players who are primarily field goal kickers with 24 Total Points. He is 20-of-22 on field goals, going 3-of-3 from over 50 yards, while also hitting all 40 of his extra point attempts. His 20 made field goals tied for 9th-most in FBS and 2nd-most in the SEC.
P – Matt Araiza, San Diego State
Araiza has had a historical season in the punting category this year. Not only does he lead all punters in Total Points with 42, but he broke numerous NCAA records including Punt Average (51.4), the most 50-yard punts, and the most 60-yard punts in a single season. Additionally, he had a long punt of 86 yards, 36 of his 76 punts landed inside the 20 and 13 of them landed inside the 10. While he’s known more for his punting, he has also made 17 field goals and all 38 of his extra points in 2021.
Returner – Marcus Jones, Houston
Marcus Jones is the most versatile player in college football this year and was worth a selection at multiple positions on this list. The Paul Hornung Award winner not only led the nation in punt return yards and touchdowns, ranked 4th in kickoff return average and 2nd in touchdowns, and tied for first in interceptions and third in interception yards, he also has 10 catches and a receiving touchdown on offense.
1st Team All-SIS
|RB||Kenneth Walker III||Michigan State|
|RB||Breece Hall||Iowa State|
|TE||Trey McBride||Colorado State|
|OT||Charles Cross||Mississippi State|
|OT||Zach Tom||Wake Forest|
|OG||Hawk Wimmer||Air Force|
|DT||Cameron Thomas||San Diego State|
|DT||Dion Novil||North Texas|
|EDGE||Will Anderson Jr.||Alabama|
|EDGE||Sam Williams||Ole Miss|
|CB||Ja’Quan McMillian||East Carolina|
|P||Matt Araiza||San Diego State|
2nd Team All-SIS
|QB||Matt Corral||Ole Miss|
|WR||Garrett Wilson||Ohio State|
|WR||Jahan Dotson||Penn State|
|TE||Isaiah Likely||Coastal Carolina|
|OT||Nick Broeker||Ole Miss|
|OG||Nous Keobounnam||Oregon State|
|OG||Gabe Blair||North Texas|
|DT||Scott Matlock||Boise State|
|EDGE||Will McDonald IV||Iowa State|
|S||Jaylan Foster||South Carolina|
|S||JL Skinner||Boise State|
|P||Jordan Stout||Penn State|
|Returner||Alan Lamar||Arkansas State|
Led by Heisman finalist Aidan Hutchinson, the 2nd Team is full of stars, as well.
Robinson, Charbonnet, Wilson, Broeker, Hutchinson, Lloyd, Shudak, and Stout all ranked in the top 3 of their respective positions in Total Points. The list also includes a true freshman in Gabe Blair from North Texas, a guy who had a handful of Power 5 offers, but chose to stay home in Denton.
One of the most obvious oddities among these teams is the inclusion of only one Georgia player, Nakobe Dean, on what was the No. 1 team for nearly the entire season. Georgia has the depth to rotate players at many positions. Additionally, the multitude of blowouts it had this year meant that a good number of top players didn’t rack up as many plays. This hurt with regards to their accumulation of Total Points.
All 10 conferences are represented by these two teams. Our scouts put in a lot of hard work and dedication this season charting games and scouting players for every FBS team, and the first annual All-SIS teams are a culmination of that work.