Greenville, SC-Southern California all-purpose player Reggie Bush and national sack leader Elvis Dumervil of Louisville highlight Brentson Buckner's 2005 All-America team. Buckner, a starting defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, is the only active NFL player who has a vote in the Harris Interactive poll that will help determine the teams that will compete in the four BCS Bowls this year.
He has released his ballot each week throughout the season on his internet site, brentsonbuckner.com, and this week released his 2005 All-America team.
Bush was named the first-team all-purpose player and was Buckner's national player of the year. "You don't have to put down a position for Reggie Bush, he plays wherever he wants to," said Buckner. "What an incredible player. He can beat you so many ways. It has been a long time since we have seen a running back with so many skills."
Buckner named Penn State Coach Joe Paterno his National Coach of the Year. "There were a lot of candidates, but Joe Pa stands out. He had everyone on his back for the last five years it seemed, but he stayed the course from a hard work standpoint. He might have made some changes in his approach to the offense and in recruiting, but give the man his due. Now he is one upset away on Saturday from getting into the National Championship game."
Buckner, now in his 12th season with the Panthers and one of the reasons Carolina is challenging for the best record in the NFC, selected 29 players from 25 different teams. Notre Dame, Minnesota, Maryland and Clemson all had two players apiece. The ACC had eight players, followed by the Pac-10 with six and the Big 10 with five. Overall, eight different conferences were represented on the team.
"I saw a lot of games this year, my TiVO was working overtime most Saturdays," said Buckner. "I have a good cross section of the country represented. I have players from prominent programs and some players from losing teams. I reviewed the stats nationally and put in many hours of study in selecting this team."
Notre Dame's prolific offense, which has caught Buckner's eye most Saturdays, had two players chosen. Brady Quinn, the Irish quarterback who has established Notre Dame season records for passing yardage, passing efficiency, completion percentage and touchdown passes, was the first-team quarterback. He was Buckner's selection as the Offensive Player of the Year.
"Quinn had the numbers, but every time he had to lead Notre Dame back on a must touchdown fourth-quarter drive he did it. Think of the pressure he had on that last drive against Stanford with a $14 million BCS bowl bid on the line. When they lost to Michigan State and Southern Cal, the opposition had the ball last."
Joining Quinn on the first team was Notre Dame wide receiver teammate Jeff Samardzija, who led the nation in total touchdown receptions with 15, quite an accomplishment considering he never caught a touchdown pass his first two years at Notre Dame. Joining Samardzija in the receiving corps was Mike Hass of Oregon State.
"Hass had incredible numbers, he led the nation in reception yards by almost 200 yards and had seven different games with over 150," said Buckner, who made good use of the NCAA internet site in researching his team.
Buckner selected three running backs on his team, Jerome Harrison of Washington State, DeAngelo Williams of Memphis and Laurence Maroney of Minnesota. Williams, who plays for one of Buckner's former Clemson coaches, Tommy West, had 33 career 100-yard games, one of the top totals in college football history.
Marcus McNeill of Auburn and Jonathan Scott of Texas led the offensive linemen. Greg Eslinger, a key blocker for Maroney at Minnesota, was also named to Buckner's team.
The defense was led by Elvin Dumervil of Louisville, who led the nation in sacks with 20. He was also Buckner's choice for National Defensive Player of the Year. "Louisville is known for their offense, but Dumervil led the nation in sacks all year. He was so consistent."
D'Quell Jackson of Maryland, the nation's second leading tackler and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was also named to the team at linebacker. Chad Greenway of Iowa, who ranked third in the nation in solo tackles, Paul Posluszy of Penn State, the Nittany Lions top tackler, and DeMeco Ryans, Alabama's top tackler, completed the list of four linebackers on the squad.
The secondary included two Thorpe Award finalists in Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech and Tye Hill of Clemson. Ko Simpson of South Carolina and Brandon Merriweather of Miami round out the secondary.
Both kickers were from the ACC. Jad Dean of Clemson, who ranks second in the nation in field goals per game with 22 in 11 games, was the placekicker, while Ryan Plackemier of Wake Forest, who averaged an incredible 47 yards a boot, was the punter. The return men were NCAA punt return leader Maurice Drew of UCLA and Cory Rodgers of TCU.
Buckner named Tyrell Sutton of Northwestern as his national Freshman of the Year. Sutton gained over 1300 yards rushing for the Wildcats and ranked fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game.
ALL AMERICAN TEAM
QB- Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
RB- Jerome Harrison, Wash. St.
RB- DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
RB- Laurence Maroney, Minnesota
All Purpose Athelete- Reggie Bush, Southern Cal
TE- Vernon Davis, Maryland
Wr- Mike Hass, Oregon St.
Wr- Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame
Ol-Greg Eslinger, Minnesota
Ol- Marcus McNeill, Auburn
Ol- Jonathan Scott, Texas
Ol- Marvin Phillips, California
Ol- Joe Thomas, Wisconsin
Pk- Jad Dean, Clemson
Kr- Cory Rodgers, TCU
Dl- Elvis Dumervil, Louisville
Dl- Mario Williams, NC State
Dl- Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan
Dl- Haloti Ngata, Oregon
Lb- D'Quell Jackson, Maryland
Lb- Chad Greenway, Iowa
Lb- DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
Lb-Paul Posluszy, Penn St.
Db- Ko Simpson, South Carolina
Db- Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech
Db- Tye Hill, Clemson
Db- Brandon Merriweather, Miami
P- Ryan Plackemier, Wake Forest
PR- Maurice Drew UCLA
Coach of the Year- Joe Paterno Penn St.
Player of the year- Reggie Bush USC
Defensive Player of the Year- Elvis Dumervil Louisville
Offensive Player of the Year- Brady Quinn Notre Dame
Freshman Of the Year- Tyrell Sutton RB Northwestern