August has arrived and the start of the college football season is just around the corner. Some of the game's best players have moved on, but many return and new standouts will emerge on the field in 2005.
Picking the Rivals.com Preseason All-America team is never an easy task, but with three of the Heisman Trophy finalists from 2004 returning -- Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson -- at least there was an easy place to start.
Southern California is the popular choice to win a third consecutive national title, so it's no surprise that five Trojans were named to our team. Texas and Ohio State, which will meet in a Sept. 10 showdown in Columbus, each had four players selected, while Miami and Minnesota were represented by three players. Nine different schools had two players make the team.
The following is the Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-America team.
2005 Preseason All-America First Team
: Matt Leinart
6-5, 225, Southern Cal (Sr.)
With arguably the nation's top receiving corps and a talented offensive line at his disposal, it should be another big year for the reigning Heisman winner.
: Mathias Kiwanuka
6-7, 261, Boston College (Sr.)
The preseason ACC Player of the Year, Kiwanuka is a pass-rushing terror on the edge and one of the reasons the Eagles are expected to have a big year.
: Adrian Peterson
6-2, 211, Oklahoma (Soph.)
Peterson racked up more than 1,900 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true freshman, and he should be an even bigger part of the offense this season.
: Mario Williams
6-7, 285, N.C. State (Jr.)
Williams is the centerpiece on what might be the best defensive line in college football. He had 16 tackles for losses and seven sacks in 2004.
: Laurence Maroney
5-11, 205, Minnesota (Jr.)
Marion Barber has moved on, and with a talented offensive line in place and more carries on the way, Maroney could rush for 2,000 yards.
: Jesse Mahelona
6-2, 297, Tennessee (Sr.)
An unblockable force in the trenches, Mahelona racked up 18.5 tackles for losses last fall, and he should post similar numbers in 2005.
: Calvin Johnson
6-4, 225, Georgia Tech (Soph.)
The ACC Rookie of the Year in 2004, Johnson has great size, speed and hands. He should improve on last year's totals of 48 catches for 837 yards.
: Rodrique Wright
6-5, 305, Texas (Sr.)
Wright was plagued by an ankle injury last season, but when healthy, he's one of the nation's best defenders. He leads a stout Longhorns defense.
: Derek Hagan
6-2, 202, Arizona State (Sr.)
Big, strong and fast, Hagan had 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and 10 TDs a year ago. He'll be the top target for new quarterback Sam Keller.
: A.J. Hawk
6-1, 240, Ohio State (Sr.)
Always around the ball and one of the surest tacklers in the game, Hawk was in on 141 stops in 2004. He will anchor one of the best defenses in the nation.
: Marcedes Lewis
6-6, 256, UCLA (Sr.)
A powerful blocker, Lewis also has the speed to make plays down the field. He had 32 catches for 402 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago.
: Ernie Sims
6-0, 220, Florida State (Jr.)
One of the best athletes in the country, Sims, Rivals.com's No. 1 player in the class of 2003, has improved steadily and is primed for a breakout season.
: Marcus McNeill
6-9, 337, Auburn (Sr.)
McNeill graded out at better than 90 percent in all but one game for the 2004 SEC champs. He'll be coveted by NFL personnel next spring.
: Chad Greenway
6-4, 234, Iowa (Sr.)
Greenway had 113 tackles, including eight for losses, in 2004 and combines with Abdul Hodge to form the best linebacker tandem in the country.
: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
6-5, 295, Virginia (Sr.)
The starter at left tackle since he arrived in Charlottesville, Ferguson could be a top-five pick in April's NFL draft with a solid senior season.
: Jimmy Williams
6-3, 206, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Williams could have left for the NFL but returned for his senior campaign. He has great size and speed, and is equally good in coverage or run support.
: Max Jean-Gilles
6-4, 340, Georgia (Sr.)
A starter in Athens since his freshman season, Jean-Gilles will look to lead the Bulldogs to an SEC East title before embarking on a long NFL career.
: Charles Gordon
5-11, 180, Kansas (Jr.)
The best cover corner in America, Gordon might not duplicate last year's seven picks because opponents will be hesitant to throw his way.
: Matt Lentz
6-6, 305, Michigan (Sr.)
The best player on a talented OL, Lentz was stellar in 2004, his first season as a starter, helping freshmen Chad Henne and Mike Hart to big years.
: Michael Huff
6-1, 205, Texas (Sr.)
Huff's biggest strength is his coverage ability, where he can defend a tight end or a wide receiver. He had 78 tackles and two interceptions last season.
: Greg Eslinger
6-3, 285, Minnesota (Sr.)
A three-year starter, Eslinger's mobility sets him apart from other centers. He helped the Gophers average 257 yards per game on the ground last season.
: Darnell Bing
6-2, 220, Southern Cal (Jr.)
Big and powerful, Bing is a sure tackler who plays the pass and run equally well. He had 63 tackles, including eight for losses, and two picks in 2004.
: Brandon Fields
6-6, 235, Michigan State (Jr.)
A weapon for the Spartans on special teams, Fields led the nation with a 47.9-yard average and had 13 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
: Mason Crosby
6-2, 210, Colorado (Jr.)
One of the top college kickers in the last decade, Crosby made 19 of 23 field goals in 2004, including five from at least 50 yards and a 60-yarder.
: Ted Ginn Jr.
6-0, 175, Ohio State (Soph.)
Ginn exploded onto the college scene in many ways in 2004, but he was at his best returning punts, with a staggering 25.6-yard average and four TDs.
: Ashlan Davis
5-8, 179, Tulsa (Sr.)
Small in size but not in stature, Davis averaged 30.6 yards on 37 kickoff returns last season, including an NCAA record five touchdowns.
: Reggie Bush
6-0, 200, Southern Cal (Jr.)
A threat to score every time he touches the ball as a running back, receiver or return man, Bush joins teammate Leinart as a Heisman Trophy favorite.
2005 Preseason All-America Second Team
: Vince Young
6-5, 230, Texas (Jr.)
An electrifying five-TD Rose Bowl performance capped an 11-1 season for Young, who now will look to take on a greater leadership role for the 'Horns.
: Lawrence Jackson
6-5, 265, Southern Cal (Soph.)
Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody got most of the attention of the Trojans' D-line in 2004. But Jackson was solid with 11 tackles for losses and six sacks.
: Marshawn Lynch
5-11, 215, California (Soph.)
Maybe a surprise to some, but Lynch piled up 628 yards and 8.8 per carry backing up J.J. Arrington a year ago. Lynch is the man now, so watch out.
: Stanley McClover
6-3, 247, Auburn (Jr.)
Simply devastating on the edge when rushing the passer, McClover is almost impossible to block one-on-one. He had 7.5 sacks for the Tigers last year.
: DeAngelo Williams
5-10, 217, Memphis (Sr.)
Opposing defenses know what's coming but still can't stop Williams, who had 1,948 yards and 22 TDs a year ago and now has 4,062 career yards.
: Haloti Ngata
6-5, 338, Oregon (Jr.)
Opposing teams have no choice but to double-team the powerful Ngata. Still, he piled up 46 tackles, including 8.5 for losses, as a redshirt sophomore.
: Dwayne Jarrett
6-5, 200, Southern Cal (Soph.)
Jarrett helped ease the loss of Mike Williams a year ago with 55 catches for 849 yards and 13 TDs en route to earning freshman All-America honors.
: Kyle Williams
6-2, 295, LSU (Sr.)
Williams racked up 57 tackles, 12 for losses, and six sacks in 2004. He teams with Claude Wroten to form a dynamic tackle tandem for the Tigers.
: Santonio Holmes
5-11, 190, Ohio State (Jr.)
The Buckeyes aren't known for their passing attack, but the speedy Holmes, who had 55 grabs for 769 yards last year, is a weapon on the outside.
: Ahmad Brooks
6-4, 249, Virginia (Jr.)
As physically gifted as any linebacker in the country, Brooks can be as good as he wants to be. He had 90 tackles last season, including 10 for losses.
: Zach Miller
6-4, 253, Arizona State (Soph.)
A Rivals.com Freshman All-American last season, Miller had 56 catches for 552 yards and six touchdowns for the pass-happy Sun Devils.
: Brandon Siler
6-2, 230, Florida (Soph.)
Improved dramatically throughout his freshman season, and his ability to make plays will help Gators fans forget about Channing Crowder.
: Eric Winston
6-7, 312, Miami (Sr.)
Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through last year, but he's healthy now and will anchor the Miami offensive line.
: Abdul Hodge
6-2, 234, Iowa (Sr.)
A prototypical middle linebacker, the hard-hitting Hodge controls the middle of the field on defense. He led the Hawkeyes with 116 tackles in 2004.
: Jonathan Scott
6-7, 310, Texas (Sr.)
Scott will likely hear his name called in the opening round of the 2006 NFL draft, but first he'll try to help lead the Longhorns to a national title.
: Jason Allen
6-2, 202, Tennessee (Sr.)
Allen racked up 123 tackles as a safety a year ago but will move back to corner for his senior season, the position he projects to play at the next level.
: Mark Setterstrom
6-3, 295, Minnesota (Sr.)
Setterstrom isn't the biggest guard in the country, but his superior athleticism and the ability to get out on the edge make him one of the best.
: John Eubanks
5-11, 177, Southern Miss. (Sr.)
Eubanks isn't a household name yet, but he's terrifc in coverage and solid in run support. He recorded three picks and nine pass break-ups in 2004.
: Dan Mozes
6-4, 280, West Virginia (Jr.)
The Mountaineers love to run the ball and Mozes leads the way on the line. He's extremely strong but also quick enough to get out and pull.
: Nate Salley
6-3, 220, Ohio State (Sr.)
Salley, who had 55 tackles and two picks last season, is one of the most feared hitters in the Big Ten. Opposing receivers know when he's in the area.
: Marvin Philip
6-2, 305, California (Sr.)
Anchors a Golden Bears offensive front that allowed J.J. Arrington to rush for 2,000 yards last season. Marshawn Lynch will benefit this year.
: Anthony Reddick
6-0, 197, Miami (Soph.)
Reddick was a freshman All-American last season in part becuase of his ability to make big plays, a knack that should be magnified in 2005.
: Daniel Sepulveda
6-3, 223, Baylor (Jr.)
Sepulveda averaged 46 yards per attempt, was second nationally with a net average of 42.5 and had 26 kicks downed inside the 20.
: Travis Bell
6-0, 210, Georgia Tech (Soph.)
Earned Rivals.com Freshman All-America honors a year ago after making 15 of 17 field goals, including a long of 47, and all 31 of his PATs.
: Devin Hester
5-11, 186, Miami (Jr.)
Hester has the kind of speed that keeps opposing coaches up at night. He averaged 17.2 yards per punt return in 2004 and took three back for scores.
: Will Blackmon
6-0, 202, Boston College (Sr.)
Blackmon could play receiver or corner, but what's certain is that he's deadly on kickoff returns. He averaged 27 yards per attempt, with a TD, last year.
: Steve Breaston
6-1, 179, Michigan (Jr.)
Breaston's role should expand with the departure of Braylon Edwards. He had 34 ctaches a year ago, and he's also one of the best return men in the nation.