NEW YORK — Sports Illustrated kicked off its SI All-American coverage with the announcement of quarterback Bryce Young as the first SI All-American ever last Monday. While the Alabama-bound passer is the team’s trigger man, the rest of the roster sits just as star-studded, SI announced Monday.
The inaugural team is the first of several to be rolled out in the coming weeks. Selected on an annual basis starting this year, the new initiative from SI will feature 25 seniors who have best exemplified athletic excellence in high school, with the potential to do similarly at the collegiate level. There is an added emphasis on senior season performance and progression compared to year's past.
The SI All-American roster will be comprised of head-turning talents across every position on the field. All 13 of the offensive selections are currently committed to Power 5 programs, including six pledged to College Football Playoff participants.
Quarterback: Bryce Young (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)
The No. 3 all-time leading passer in California state history also brought home the numbers that count the most—wins. The Alabama commitment was on the right side of the scoreboard in 47 of his 53 prep starts.
Running Back: Demarkcus Bowman (Lakeland, Fla.), Jahmyr Gibbs (Dalton, Ga.)
More than 4,000 yards on the ground sit between the running back duo of Bowman and Gibbs. Each southern speedster hit the 2,500-yard mark at least once over the last two seasons, with the Clemson-bound Bowman achieving the mark in leading Lakeland to a state title in 2018 while Gibbs, a Georgia Tech commitment, did so as a senior.
Wide Receiver: Julian Fleming (Catawissa, Penn./Southern Columbia), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Rockwall, Tex.), Malachi Wideman (Venice, Fla.)
Production wasn’t a problem for this trio, with each hitting double-digit touchdowns as senior focal points of their respective offenses. Smith-Njigba, headed to Ohio State like Fleming, eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark during Rockwall’s deep playoff run. Wideman is a Florida State verbal commitment who was well known for his viral dunks as a basketball prospect before breaking out in 2019.
Tight End: Arik Gilbert (Marietta, Ga.)
The LSU commitment surprised many with his pledge to the Tigers but didn’t surprise on the field in averaging more than 100 yards and one touchdown per game in 2019. Gilbert helped the Marietta Blue Devils capture their first state championship since 1967 over the weekend with another triple-digit effort.
Offensive Line: Paris Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton), Tate Ratledge (Rome, Ga./Darlington), Javion Cohen (Phenix City, Ala./Central), Issiah Walker (Miami, Fla./Norland), Nate Anderson (Frisco, Tex./Reedy)
This group of trench talents represents a little bit of everything from an evaluation perspective. Longer, leaner athletes—the trend when projecting toward the NFL—are represented in Anderson, the Oklahoma commitment, as well as the Alabama-bound Cohen. Massive maulers like Johnson, headed to Ohio State, and the future Georgia Bulldog Ratledge already look like they're in college. Walker, a pledge to Florida, has great size and athleticism in that he can play guard or tackle at the next level.
All-Purpose: Kristian Story (Lanett, Ala.)
All the Alabama commitment has done at the prep level was re-write the Yellowhammer State's record books for touchdowns and yards. The do-it-all prospect, who also had 29 interceptions as a defensive back in high school, led the Panthers to multiple state championships in the process.
2019 SI All-American Offensive Team:
WR Malachi Wideman, FSU (Why Wideman? Highlights)
OL Nate Anderson, Oklahoma (Why Anderson? Highlights)
2019 SI All-American Defensive Team:
DL Jordan Burch, Uncommitted (Why Burch? Highlights)
LB Justin Flowe, Uncommitted (Why Flowe? Highlights)
DB Kelee Ringo, Uncommitted (Why Ringo? Highlights)
DB Enzo Jennings, Penn State (Why Jennings? Highlights)
ATH Avantae Williams, Uncommitted (Why Williams? Highlights)