FWAA names 2017 All-America team

The 2017 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team was announced Monday, headlined by seven first-team players from the Big 12 Conference and with eight of the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences represented.

Oklahoma led the field with three members on the first team, punctuated by Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Tight end Mark Andrews and offensive tackle Orlando Brown, an Outland Trophy finalist for the best interior lineman in college football, also represented the Sooners on the first team. Mayfield was the FWAA’s second-team quarterback in 2015 and ’16, and moved to the first team along with 2016 second-teamers Brown, Texas punter Michael Dickson and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, the Outland Trophy winner.

The Big 12’s other selections came from Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Two other schools – Iowa and Notre Dame – had multiple first-team players. Both of Notre Dame’s All-Americans were up front, with Mike McClinchey and Quenton Nelson earning spots on the offensive line. Iowa’s representation came from the defense, linebacker Josey Jewell and defensive back Josh Jackson. Besides Dickson, Texas also included defensive back DeShon Elliott. The first team also featured Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as the best defensive player in college football.

The first team included a mix of 13 seniors, 10 juniors and four sophomores. The conference breakdown on the first team was: Big 12 (7), Big Ten (4), ACC (3), Pac-12 (3), American Athletic (2), Independents (2), Mid-American (2), Mountain West (2) and SEC (2). There are no repeat members on the 27-player first team, and overall 46 players of the 54 honored players are first-time FWAA selections.

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington and Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning were also a part of the Big 12’s first-team contingent. Skill-position players Rashaad Penny of San Diego State (running back) and Michael Gallup of Colorado State (wide receiver) headlined the two first-team picks from the Mountain West Conference. The Mid-American Conference produced two first-team picks up front in Western Michigan offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor and Northern Illinois defensive lineman Sutton Smith, who was one of four sophomores on the team joining Houston’s Oliver, Florida State defensive back Derwin James and Memphis kick returner Tony Pollard Oliver and Pollard were the two picks from the American Athletic Conference.

The two first-team selections from the Southeastern Conference came on defense: linebacker Roquan Smith of Georgia and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama. The ACC’s third selection to the first-team, in addition to NC State’s Chubb and Florida State’s James, was also on defense in Clemson lineman Austin Bryant. Two of the Pac-12’s three first-team honorees came on special teams – punter Matt Gay of Utah and punt returner Dante Pettis of Washington – and in the backfield with running back Bryce Love of Stanford.

The FWAA’s All-America Committee selected this 74th annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. This is just the fifth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team. The FWAA also selected an all-purpose player for the first time – Saquon Barkley of Penn State was the 2017 first-team member – raising the number of first- and second-team players (27 on each) to 54. Barkley was one of four Big Ten players on the first team, along with Jewell and Jackson from Iowa and Ohio State center Billy Price.

Eight players were repeat members of the All-America Team. Joining Mayfield, Brown, Dickson and Oliver as multi-year selections were Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson, Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Jackson and Wishnowsky were first-team members in 2016, and Carlson and Kiser each made the second team for a second straight season. Mayfield is the only three-time selection on this year’s team.

Auburn and Wisconsin both had three second-team selections and Clemson, Stanford and Virginia had two each.

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 later this week. 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.

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 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 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.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 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. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

The 2017 First-Team FWAA All-America Team

OFFENSE
QB Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 6-1 220 Sr. Austin, Texas
RB Bryce Love Stanford 5-10 196 Jr. Wake Forest, N.C.
RB Rashaad Penny San Diego State 5-11 220 Sr. Norwalk, Calif.
WR Michael Gallup Colorado State 6-1 200 Sr. Monroe, Ga.
WR James Washington Oklahoma State 6-0 205 Sr. Stamford, Texas
TE Mark Andrews Oklahoma 6-5 254 Jr. Scottsdale, Ariz.
OL Orlando Brown Oklahoma 6-8 345 Jr. Duluth, Ga.
OL Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame 6-8 315 Gr. Philadelphia, Pa.
OL Quenton Nelson Notre Dame 6-5 330 Sr. Holmdel, N.J.
OL Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan 6-6 330 Sr. Southfield, Mich.
C Billy Price Ohio State 6-4 312 Gr. Austintown, Ohio
DEFENSE
DL Austin Bryant Clemson 6-5 265 Jr. Pavo, Ga.
DL Bradley Chubb N.C. State 6-4 275 Sr. Marietta, Ga.
DL Ed Oliver Houston 6-3 290 So. Houston, Texas
DL Sutton Smith Northern Illinois 6-0 225 So. St. Charles, Mo.
LB Josey Jewell Iowa 6-2 236 Sr. Decorah, Iowa
LB Joel Lanning Iowa State 6-2 230 Sr. Ankeny, Iowa
LB Roquan Smith Georgia 6-1 225 Jr. Montezuma, Ga.
DB DeShon Elliott Texas 6-2 210 Jr. Rockwall, Texas
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama 6-1 202 Jr. Old Bridge, N.J.
DB Josh Jackson Iowa 6-1 192 Jr. Corinth, Texas
DB Derwin James Florida State 6-3 215 So. Haines City, Fla.
SPECIALISTS
K Matt Gay Utah 6-1 220 Jr. Orem, Utah
P Michael Dickson Texas 6-3 205 Jr. Sydney, Australia
KR Tony Pollard Memphis 5-11 200 So. Memphis, Tenn.
PR Dante Pettis Washington 6-1 195 Sr. San Clemente, Calif.
AP Saquon Barkley Penn State 5-11 230 Jr. Coplay, Pa.
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