2020 Preseason All-American Projections: Guards

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2020 college football season WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next April in the 2021 NFL Draft.

First-Team Guards:

Deonte Brown, Alabama

Brown was suspended for part of 2019 season, which carried over from 2018, but he returned mid-year and played very well for Alabama. Brown is a load at the point of attack with the strength to open holes in the ground game and is a steady pass protector. After breaking into lineup during his sophomore season, Brown played well until getting suspended prior to the semifinal game against Oklahoma for a violation of team rules. The 6-foot-4, 338-pounder could easily be the best guard in college football in 2020.

Cade Mays, Tennessee

Mays was a good starter on Georgia’s all-star offensive line in 2019 and could have been the replacement for Andrew Thomas at left tackle for 2020, but Mays decided to transfer to Tennessee. The 6-foot-6, 318-pound Mays has good strength at the point of attack to be an effective run blocker and is skilled in pass protection. Mays started seven games as a freshman in 2018 while also dealing with injuries. With his versatile size, Mays could fit at guard or tackle, and it will be interesting to see where he settles in at Tennessee. Mays has a lot of upside and could be one of the top guards in the nation.

Second-Team Guards:

Trey Smith, Tennessee

Smith returned to the field 2019 and was a solid left guard for Tennessee. He was not as dominant as his debut year, but he managed to stay healthy and was a solid blocker for the Volunteers. Smith had a strong sophomore season for Tennessee prior to missing the final five games of 2018 with blood clots in his lungs. The issue first impacted Smith during workouts after his freshman season. As a freshman in 2017, some advance scouts thought that Smith was the second best guard in the nation to Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson.

Smith has played tackle and guard for Tennessee but has settled in at guard, which looks like his natural position. He has a lot of upside to thrive and earn a lot of postseason honors for 2020.

Jackson Carman, Clemson

Carman (6-5, 345) is a big interior blocker who was very good for Clemson in 2019. It was his first season as a starter after serving as a backup at left tackle during his freshman season. Carman could be even better now that he has some experience. He could stand to drop some weight for the NFL, but he has plenty of upside to be one of the better guards in college football. Playing in front of Trevor Lawrence will also help Carman to get notice and earn postseason honors.

Third-Team Guards:

Ed Ingram, LSU

Ingram is a gifted talent who could end up rising if he stays on the field and plays up to his potential. As a freshman in 2017, Ingram was the Tigers’ starting right guard, and he played really well in his first season. Ingram sat out the 2018 season with a season-long suspension, so NFL teams will be grilling him about that in the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft. He returned to the field in 2019 and mostly was backup behind Adrian Magee and Damien Lewis.

Ingram is strong at the point of attack and forceful run blocker with athleticism. If he stays on the field and out of trouble, he could be one of the better guards in college football.

Royce Newman, Ole Miss

Newman (6-5, 305) had an impressive junior year as Ole Miss’ left guard. He did a very good job in pass protection, being credited with only one sack allowed on 416 pass blocks. It was his first season as a starter, so Newman could be even better now that he has some experience. Newman could stand to get stronger and fill out his frame for the NFL.

Honorable Mentions: Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis, Mississippi State’s Stewart Reese, South Carolina’s Sadarius Hutcherson and Boston College’s Zion Johnson.

2020 Preseason All-American Projections:
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P

2020 Preseason Postseason Award Projections:
Thorpe Award | Biletnikoff Award | Outland Trophy | Rimington Trophy | Mackey Award | O'Brien Award | Doak Walker Award | Jet Award | Walter Camp Award

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