College football staple Phil Steele released his 2015 Preseason All-American team on Monday. And with five Notre Dame players on his four-team squad, Steele is the first of the major preseason predictors who seem very bullish on the Irish.
The Irish were the only team in college football with three first-team All-Americans, with Ronnie Stanley, Jaylon Smith and Max Redfield selected to Steele’s first team. (Not a typo on Redfield.)
Joining them were third-team defensive tackle Sheldon Day and fourth-team cornerback KeiVarae Russell. Interestingly, a season after Will Fuller scored 15 touchdowns, he went unnamed on Steele’s list.
Ohio State led all schools with eight selections on Steele’s roster. Notre Dame will face off against four USC All-Americans in Cody Kessler (1st team), Max Tuerk (1st team), Su’a Cravens (2nd team) and Adoree Jackson. Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd received first-team mention while running back James Connor was named to the second team.
Stanford has a pair of All-Americans in Josh Garnett and Blake Martinez, while Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich was named to the fourth team. So was Virginia safety Quin Blanding, whose 123 tackles as a freshman was almost double Redfield’s total of 68.
Expect a slew of preseason accolades to come this month, debate and talking points for the summer until they’re rendered completely worthless once the calendar hits September.