Rose Bowl stars Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley among preseason All-Americans

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley put on a show at the Rose Bowl last season and established themselves as two of the biggest stars in college football coming into 2017.

The two Heisman Trophy contenders highlight the first preseason All-America team in the history of The Associated Press.

Darnold passed for 453 yards and five touchdowns in the Trojans' 52-49 victory over the Nittany Lions. Barkley ran for 194 yards and scored three touchdowns against USC.

The AP All-America team is the longest-running annual honor roll of the nation's top college football players, dating to 1925, and is usually released after the season. Darnold was voted to the first team by a panel of 51 Top 25 voters, edging out Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who is the second-team quarterback on the teams released Tuesday.

Joining Darnold and Barkley in the backfield is LSU running back Derrius Guice, who spent the past two seasons as the backup to former All-American Leonard Fournette.

Washington State guard Cody O'Connell was the only offensive player selected to the first team who was also a 2016 All-American.

The first-team defense is led by two players who were postseason All-Americans in 2016: Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who made it to the first team as a freshman last season, and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Florida State placed two defensive backs on the first team with cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and safety Derwin James, who missed most of last year with a knee injury.

The ACC led all conferences with seven players on the first team, followed by the SEC with five and the Big Ten and Pac-12 with four each.

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