2015 FWAA All-American Team Announced

SEC, Alabama headline 72nd annual team 

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.

The FWAA All-America Team was first selected in 1944, three years after the organization was formed. The FWAA’s inaugural team included Army’s Heisman Trophy tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas’ head football coach and athletic director.

Over the years, the FWAA team has highlighted all the game’s great players in several media forums. From 1946-70, LOOK magazine published the FWAA team and brought players and selected writers to New York City for a celebration. During that 25-year period, the FWAA team was introduced on national television shows by such noted hosts as Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.

After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute television program. The team was part of ABC-TV’s 1981 College Football Series. From 1983-90, the team was introduced on either ABC or ESPN. In 2002 and ‘03, the All-America team was honored with a banquet at the Citrus Bowl.

The same bowl, now the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, also was a sponsor when the team was featured on ABC and ESPN from different locations on Disney properties from 2004-07. From 2008-10, the team had been the subject of a one-hour ESPN special.

For seven decades the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee, which represents all the regions in the country. From that All-America team, the FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) and also the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).

Some of the true greats of the writing profession have helped to select this team over the years: Grantland Rice, Bert McGrane, Blackie Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Pat Harmon, Fred Russell, Edwin Pope, Murray Olderman, Paul Zimmerman – and the list goes on and on. The FWAA All-America team is steeped in tradition and history and is selected by a writers’ group with those same attributes.

Celebrating its 75th season, the Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization, consists of more than 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.

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