Football Writers select two Tigers first team All-Americans
DALLAS (FWAA) – The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team was announced on Monday by the Football Writers Association of America. The 26-man first team is led by the Southeastern Conference with seven selections. Alabama running back Derrick Henry, the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award winner, is one of four players from the second-ranked Crimson Tide on the first team and leads a parade of 24 players from the Power Five conferences.
This season, AutoNation is the title sponsor of the FWAA team, in conjunction with its season-long presentation of weekly FWAA national players and teams of the week, for which it made donations to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in each recipient's name. For the fourth straight season, the announcement of the team, the second-longest continuously-published team in major college football, will be featured on SiriusXM Radio's “College Football Nation.” A two-hour special hosted by Mark Packer and Matt Leinart airs today at 5 p.m. ET.
Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA's annual consensus All-America team, which will be announced Thursday. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.
Also representing the 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team from Alabama, which is in the College Football Playoff at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, are defensive lineman and Outland Trophy finalist A'Shawn Robinson, linebacker Reggie Ragland and center Ryan Kelly, the Rimington Trophy winner. Tide defensive back Eddie Jackson was selected to the second team.
There are two repeat first-team selections from the 2014 FWAA team: Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango, an Outland Trophy finalist, and Utah punter Tom Hackett, the Ray Guy Award winner for a second straight season. Three other teams – top-ranked Clemson, Baylor and Rose Bowl-bound Stanford – had two players each on the first team.
Stanford's twosome on the first team are Outland-winning guard Joshua Garnett and sophomore kick returner Christian McCaffrey, a Heisman finalist. Baylor's other first-team pick was wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Biletnikoff Award winner. Clemson's teammates include defensive end Shaq Lawson and quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Davey O'Brien Award winner and a Heisman finalist who will lead the No. 1 Tigers against No. 4 Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as the FWAA's national defensive player of the year, is the Owls' first, first-team defensive All-American and was one of two players on the first team from a Group of Five league, the American Athletic Conference. The other selection is from the Mid-American Conference, Northern Illinois defensive back Shawun Lurry.
The FWAA's All-America Committee selected this 72nd annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. “In our 75th year as an organization, the task of picking an All-America team remains among the most pleasant we tackle,” said Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald, the 2015 FWAA President. “Honoring the best of the best in football and the best of the best among young people is worth celebrating. Our All-America Committee worked hard and prepared well to come up with a team well worth the attention it will receive.”
This is just the third season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team. Notre Dame had four players on the two teams (three on the second team). Michigan State and Oregon also each had three second-team selections. Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey were selected to the second team for a second straight season. Duke defensive back Jeremy Cash, who was a second-team selection in 2014, made the first team this season.
There were 13 seniors, seven juniors and six sophomores selected to the first team. The conference breakdown for those players is as follows: SEC (7), Big Ten (5), ACC (4), Pac-12 (4), Big 12 (3), American Athletic (1), Mid-American (1) and Independents (1).
2015 AUTONATION FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson 6-2 207 So. Gainesville, Ga. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State 5-11 202 So. Miami, Fla. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU 6-1 230 So. New Orleans, La. RB Derrick Henry, Alabama 6-3 242 Jr. Yulee, Fla. WR Corey Coleman, Baylor 5-11 190 Jr. Richardson, Texas WR Josh Doctson, TCU 6-4 195 Sr. Mansfield, Texas OL Spencer Drango, Baylor 6-6 320 Sr. Cedar Park, Texas OL Joshua Garnett, Stanford 6-5 321 Sr. Puyallup, Wash. OL Jason Spriggs, Indiana 6-7 305 Sr. Elkhart, Ind. OL Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame 6-6 315 Sr. Las Vegas, Nev. C Ryan Kelly, Alabama 6-5 297 Sr. West Chester, Ohio DEFENSE DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M 6-5 262 So. Arlington, Texas DL Shaq Lawson, Clemson 6-3 270 Jr. Central, S.C. DL Carl Nassib, Penn State 6-7 272 Sr. West Chester, Pa. DL A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama 6-4 312 Jr. Fort Worth, Texas LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple 6-1 232 Sr. Stratford, Conn. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama 6-2 252 Sr. Madison, Ala. LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin 6-2 236 Sr. Waukesha, Wis. DB Jeremy Cash, Duke 6-2 210 Sr. Miami, Fla. DB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida 5-11 199 Jr. Tampa, Fla. DB Desmond King, Iowa 5-11 200 Jr. Detroit, Mich. DB Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois 5-8 178 So. West Palm Beach, Fla. SPECIALISTS K Ka'imi Fairbairn, UCLA 6-0 190 Sr. Kailua, Hawaii P Tom Hackett, Utah 5-11 195 Sr. Melbourne, Australia KR Christian McCaffrey, Stanford 6-0 201 So. Castle Rock, Colo. PR William Likely, Maryland 5-7 175 Jr. Belle Glade, Fla.
2015 AUTONATION FWAA ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM
Offense: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma; RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State; RB Royce Freeman, Oregon; WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame; WR Roger Lewis, Bowling Green; WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC; OL Jack Conklin, Michigan State; OL Taylor Decker, Ohio State; OL Tyler Johnstone, Oregon; OL Landon Turner, North Carolina; C Jack Allen, Michigan State. Defense: DL Andrew Billings, Baylor; DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon; DL Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State; DL; Sheldon Day, Notre Dame; LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri; LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame; LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma; DB Eddie Jackson, Alabama; DB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan; DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State; DB Darian Thompson, Boise State. Specialists: K Jaden Oberkrom, TCU; P Michael Carrizosa, San José State; KR Evan Berry, Tennessee; PR Cameron Sutton, Tennessee.