PFN’s All-AAC team honors ahead of the 2022 college football season

The All-AAC team honors offer up the best of the best from the American Athletic Conference ahead of the 2022 college football season.

Showcasing how stacked the All-AAC teams for 2022 are, the individual awards give light to a few players still flying under the radar this fall. Ahead of the 2022 college football season, Pro Football Network is proud to debut our All-Conference honors for each of the 10 conferences and the FBS Independents.

Detailing out our projected top players, units, and teams ahead of the action, PFN’s team of draft evaluators and national college football analysts looked at who they each thought would be the conference’s best in 2022. The results are in and here is the cream of the crop heading into the fall.

Follow along with all of our All-Conference Awards this preseason: ACC | B1G | Big 12 | Conference USA | MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | FBS Independent

Preseason All-AAC football team honors for 2022

It’s important to note that these are awards and honors from Pro Football Network for each individual’s expected prowess on the field this season. This is in no way a projection of their NFL draft status nor a report on the specific conference awards awarded this preseason. These honors are from Pro Football Network, as judged by our team of college football analysts and draft evaluators projecting their success on the field in 2022.

  • AAC Player of the Year
    Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
  • AAC Offensive Player of the Year
    Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
  • AAC Defensive Player of the Year
    Jadon Canady, CB, Tulane
  • AAC Newcomer of the Year
    Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati

At this rate, everyone knows who Clayton Tune at Houston is. He’s a big-armed signal-caller who is set up for success with a tremendous supporting cast at Houston.

Tune wowed at the Manning Passing Academy this summer and is in line to potentially be one of the best Dana Holgorsen products in some time. After landing as our No. 3 overall quarterback on our preseason FBS QB rankings, Tune earns honors for both the top AAC overall player and top offensive player this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, however, is a player flying under the radar down in the Bayou. Tulane’s Jadon Canady looked brilliant as a true freshman last season, intercepting Spencer Rattler on his first ever target and not looking back. Canady has tremendous ball skills, terrific footwork, an even better work ethic, and spent the summer working with the best the NFL has to offer. He’s set up for a bright future and that starts in 2022.

Transferring in-state from Miami, Ivan Pace Jr. headlines the newcomers in the AAC this fall. Joining his brother — Dashawn Pace — in the Bearcats’ linebacking corps, Ivan brings speed, tenacity, and a gifted set of sideline-to-sideline skills. After years of terrorizing MAC offensive coordinators, Pace is set to do the same in a big way in the AAC.

Offensive All-AAC team and player honors

  • AAC QB of the Year
    Clayton Tune, Houston
  • AAC RB of the Year
    Keaton Mitchell, East Carolina
  • AAC WR of the Year
    Nathaniel Dell, Houston
  • AAC TE of the Year
    Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
  • AAC Offensive Line of the Year
    Cincinnati Bearcats
  • AAC Offensive Lineman of the Year
    Sincere Haynesworth, C, Tulane

Tune takes the honors for top quarterback here as his top target in Nathaniel “Tank” Dell earns PFN’s Preseason AAC WR of the Year selection. Dell exploded last year for 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns as he’s shown to be able to take over ball games. Few can catch Dell in the open field, and he has some of the country’s shiftiest route-running skills.

Keaton Mitchell headlines the returning backfield at ECU as Mitchell needed just 156 carries to break the 1,000-yard plateau last season. His game-breaking ability was on display against Tulane last season when he ran for 222 yards while he also presents a challenge out of the backfield in the receiving game.

Josh Whyle left NFL draft aspirations on the table with his return to the Cincinnati lineup for 2022. Whyle is a prototypical pass catcher at the next level and a tough ask to contend with for any college defense. He also adds in a blocking ability that rounds out the best unit in the conference returning to action.

Sincere Haynesworth, however, takes top honors as the big man in the middle for the Tulane Green Wave. Haynesworth calls the shots, anchors the unit, and picks up defenders left and right at the second level.

Defensive All-AAC team and player honors

  • AAC Defensive Line of the Year
    SMU Mustangs
  • AAC DL of the Year
    Derek Parish, EDGE, Houston
  • AAC LB of the Year
    Antonio Grier, USF
  • AAC Secondary of the Year
    Houston Cougars
  • AAC CB of the Year
    Jadon Canady, Tulane
  • AAC S of the Year
    Quindell Johnson, Memphis

The PFN preseason pick for the top defensive player in the AAC also earns the honor as the top cornerback. Canady is a feisty CB with receiver-like skills at the catch point. He’ll go toe-to-toe with any receiver in his coverage this season with little trouble.

SMU’s defensive line is stacked with talent inside and off the edge. But it’s Houston’s Derek Parish that earns the top individual honors. Parish has a lot of QB pressures to eat up after both Logan Hall and David Anenih both left for the NFL. With his ability to get past tackles with a variety of moves, Parish should be a household name come season’s end.

Antonio Grier is the prototypical three-down linebacker in the conference this season. He has terrific coverage skills and some of the best run-stuffing ability in the Group of Five.

Quindell Johnson earns the top safety honors after recording 104 total tackles, 11 pass breakups, and an interception a year ago.

Special teams All-AAC team and player honors

  • AAC K of the Year
    Zack Long, Tulsa
  • AAC P of the Year
    Lachlan Wilson, Tulsa
  • AAC Specialist of the Year
    Brian Battie, USF

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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