Talk of Georgia three-peating as national champion has become the topic du jour in college football.
Seems like just yesterday the Dawgs had gone four decades without a national title. Now they’ve won two in a row, and it’s never too early to look ahead in a sport that never sleeps.
We’ve already unveiled our Way-Too-Early Top 25, and up next is our Way-Too-Early All-America team. There are some recognizable names, as in USC Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, and then there are some names that might not be as recognizable — yet. Not that anyone should be surprised, but Georgia leads the way with four selections. Six of these players will be true sophomores in 2023.
Karty will be in his third season as the Cardinal’s starter and was perfect a year ago in being named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the country’s top placekicker. He was 18-of-18 on field goal attempts, and not only is he accurate, but he also has a big leg. His 61-yarder against Cal was the second-longest field goal in Pac-12 history. He had field goals of 45, 43 and 43 yards in the 16-14 win over Notre Dame and a career-high five field goals in the 15-14 win over Arizona State. First-year coach Troy Taylor knows he has Mr. Automatic any time he needs three points.
One of the big mysteries last season was how Kroeger wasn’t even a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the country. Some in and around South Carolina’s program thought he was a strong candidate for team MVP. Kroeger averaged 46.1 yards per punt and had 29 punts downed inside the 20-yard line (four inside the 10 in a 31-30 win over Clemson). He’s also a threat to throw the ball and was 4-for-4, including two touchdowns, as a trick-play passer.
A knee injury slowed Gould toward the end of last season, but he was a big play waiting to happen in the first 10 games. Gould led the country in punt return average (18.6 yards) and is the only FBS player returning who had two punt returns for touchdowns. His role is likely to grow for the Beavers in 2023 as they try to build on their 10-3 season. This will be Gould’s fifth season on campus. In addition to his punt return duties, he was third on the team with 27 catches, including three touchdowns.