Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and Armani Watts were named to the 2017 preseason All-America football team, as selected by Sports Illustrated.
Kirk made SI.com’s first-team unit as a return specialist, while Watts was honored on the second-team defense at safety.
Kirk, a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., is a preseason first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection at three positions – wide receiver, all-purpose and return specialist. Kirk is the nation's active leader in punt return average and punt return touchdowns with a 23.1 average and five scores on 27 career punt returns. Last season, Kirk averaged 21.7 yards per punt return, with an NCAA-best three scores, and 28.8 on kickoff returns. As a wide receiver, Kirk was the only player in the SEC with more than 80 catches in 2016 (83 for 928 yards).
Watts, a senior from Forney, Texas, enters 2017 as the Aggies' active leader in tackles, interceptions (tie) and passes broken up (tie) with 241 career stops, six interceptions and 14 PBUs. In 2016, Watts was among an elite group of Southeastern Conference defenders with at least two tackles for loss, pickoffs, PBU, forced fumbles and recovered fumbles. He also grabbed the game-winning interception in the Aggies' double-overtime victory over then-No. 9 Tennessee in 2016.
Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Preseason All-America Team
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Sr.
RB: Derrius Guice, LSU, Jr.
RB: Saquon Barkley, Penn State, Jr.*
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State, Sr.
WR: Calvin Ridley, Alabama, Jr.
TE: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin, Sr.
OT: Connor Williams, Texas, Jr.
G: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame, Sr.*
C: Billy Price, Ohio State, Sr.
G: Cody O’Connell, Washington State, RS Sr.
OT: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, RS Jr.
DL: Harold Landry, Boston College, Sr.
DL: Ed Oliver, Houston, Soph.*
DL: Dexter Lawrence, Clemson, Soph.
LB: Arden Key, LSU, Jr.
LB: Cameron Smith, USC, Jr.
LB: Azeem Victor, Washington, RS Sr.
LB: Jerome Baker, Ohio State, Jr.
CB: Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State, Jr.
CB: Jaire Alexander, Louisville, Jr.
S: Derwin James, Florida State, Jr.
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, Jr.
K: Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Sr.
P: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah, Jr.
All-Purpose: Jaylen Samuels, NC State, Sr.
Return Man: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, Jr.
* - denotes unanimous selection
QB: Sam Darnold, USC; RB: Royce Freeman, Oregon; RB: Myles Gaskin, Washington; WR: Courtland Sutton, SMU; WR: Richie James, Middle Tennessee; TE: Mike Gesicki, Penn State; OT: Mitch Hyatt, Clemson; OT: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame; G: Tyrone Crowder, Clemson; G: Sean Welsh, Iowa; C: Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
DL: Christian Wilkins, Clemson; DL: Rashan Gary, Michigan; DL: Bradley Chubb, NC State; LB: Josey Jewell, Iowa; LB: Tegray Scales, Indiana; LB: Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech; LB: Malik Jefferson, Texas; CB: D.J. Reed, Kansas State; CB: Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma; S: Armani Watts, Texas A&M; S: Quin Blanding, Virginia
K: Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss; P: J.K. Scott, Alabama; All-Purpose: Richie James, Middle Tennessee; Return: Quadree Henderson, Pittsburgh