Football

Kentuckian earns AP preseason college football All-America honors

Madison Southern graduate Damien Harris rushed for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns for Alabama last season.
Madison Southern graduate Damien Harris rushed for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns for Alabama last season. AP Photo

Former Madison Southern High School standout Damien Harris is a preseason All-American.

The University of Alabama senior running back was named to the second team when The Associated Press announced its annual preseason All-America teams on Tuesday.

Harris, a 2015 Madison Southern graduate, has rushed for 2,194 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and won two national championships with the Crimson Tide.

Stanford senior Bryce Love, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2017, and Wisconsin sophomore Jonathan Taylor claimed the two first-team spots at running back. Harris was joined in the second-team backfield by Boston College sophomore A.J. Dillon.

The AP All-America teams are chosen by the same voters who pick the weekly AP Top 25 poll

Harris was one of five Alabama players named to the preseason All-America teams. Junior tackle Jonah Williams and senior center Ross Pierschbacher made the first team. Harris was joined on the second team by junior defensive end Raekwon Davis and sophomore linebacker Mack Wilson.

Only Wisconsin had as many total players selected as Alabama. Clemson and Wisconsin led the way with three players each on the first team.

In all, 13 players from the Southeastern Confererence were honored, but none from Kentucky.

Love, along with Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards and Utah kicker Matt Gay, were the only players who made first team All-America after last season and first team to start this season. Love ran for 2,118 yards and 8.05 per carry last season and was second to Baker Mayfield in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Houston junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver was a second-team All-America last year after being first team as a freshman in 2016.

AP Preseason All-America teams

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE

Quarterback — Will Grier, senior, West Virginia.

Running backs — Bryce Love, senior, Stanford; Jonathan Taylor, sophomore, Wisconsin.

Tackles — Jonah Williams, junior, Alabama; Mitch Hyatt, senior, Clemson.

Guards — Beau Benzschawel, senior, Wisconsin; Nate Herbig, junior, Stanford.

Center — Ross Pierschbacher, senior, Alabama.

Tight end — Noah Fant, junior, Iowa.

Receivers — A.J. Brown, junior, Mississippi; David Sills V, senior, West Virginia.

All-purpose player — Myles Gaskin, senior, Washington.

Kicker — Matt Gay, senior, Utah.

FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE

Ends — Nick Bosa, junior, Ohio State; Clelin Ferrell, junior, Clemson.

Tackles — Ed Oliver, junior, Houston; Christian Wilkins, Senior, Clemson.

Linebackers — Devin White, junior, LSU; Devin Bush, junior, Michigan; T.J. Edwards, senior, Wisconsin.

Cornerbacks — Greedy Williams, sophomore, LSU; Deandre Baker, senior, Georgia.

Safeties — Jaquan Johnson, senior, Miami; Taylor Rapp, junior, Washington.

Punter — Mitch Wishnowsky, senior, Utah.

SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE

Quarterback —Trace McSorley, senior, Penn State.

Running backs — A.J. Dillon, sophomore, Boston College; Damien Harris, junior, Alabama.

Tackles — David Edwards, junior, Wisconsin; Greg Little, junior, Mississippi.

Guards — Alex Bars, senior, Notre Dame; Michael Dieter, senior, Wisconsin.

Center — Sam Mustipher, senior, Notre Dame.

Tight end — Kaden Smith, junior, Stanford.

Receivers — K-Neal Harry, junior, Arizona State; Anthony Johnson, senior, Buffalo.

All-purpose player — Deebo Samuel. senior, South Carolina.

Kicker — Rodrigo Blankenship, junior, Georgia.

SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE

Ends — Rashan Gary, junior, Michigan; Raekwon Davis, junior, Alabama.

Tackles — Dexter Lawrence, junior, Clemson; Jeffrey Simmons, junior, Mississippi State.

Linebackers — Cameron Smith, senior, Southern California; Troy Dye, junior, Oregon; Mack Wilson, sophomore, Alabama.

Cornerbacks — Byron Murphy, sophomore, Washington; Julian Love, junior, Notre Dame.

Safeties — Lukas Dennis, senior, Boston College; Andrew Wingard, senior, Wyoming.

Punter — Jake Bailey, senior, Stanford.

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