FWAA selects ‘Super 11’ for 2021 season Reply

DALLAS – Three first-time winners and eight previous ones comprise the 13th Annual Super 11 Awards, which the Football Writers Association of America rewards annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2021 season.

In addition, the FWAA presented a Super 11 Coach of the Year Award to Boston College Coach Jeff Hafley who granted outstanding access to his program during the 2021 season. He is the fourth head coach to win this award, which began with the 2018 season.

As for the 2021 departmental awards, Clemson and Colorado each collected a ninth award and Nebraska an eighth. Navy won for a fifth time, Kansas State a fourth time, and Iowa, Miami (Fla.) and Ole Miss each a second time.

The first-time recipients in the award series, which dates back to the 2009 season, are Louisville, New Mexico and South Carolina. Seven of the 10 FBS Conferences are represented among the 11 winners.

Sports information offices in some cases were still doing zoom calls for interviews, but there were also many in-person interviews with players, head coaches and assistant coaches observing social distancing and health safety protocols when interacting with the media.

“The 2020 and 2021 football seasons featured unprecedented challenges for all of us, but some sports information departments worked with coaches and players to go above and beyond and to make sure media could do their jobs and provide fans with the information they crave,” said David Ubben, 2022 FWAA President. “That allows all of us to have jobs, and we’re appreciative of these departments for providing that access while also making sure both media and members of football programs remain safe. College football is better and grows when sports information departments are able to provide as much access as possible.”

This year’s winners were deemed to have had excellent accessibility during the week of the game and after the game – with a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches – along with the other listed criteria on page 22 of the 2021-22 FWAA Directory.

“What is always encouraging is that we had first-time winners,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “Our membership wants access to players and coaches after games, of course, but also for human interest and analytical stories during the week. Assistant coaches are also part of the mix that give stories depth. Over the years, for a variety of reasons this access has been restricted.

“We believe there are many good stories out there that can be told if they are allowed to be told if our members are allowed good access.”

FWAA members provided input during the season and made comments in an FWAA Awards survey after the 2021 season. In addition, SID press boxes were judged on how well they were run and maintained in terms of neutrality, pool reporters and noise level that could affect a media person’s ability to do his or her job. In recent years, the availability of nearby press parking has become a plus.

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept is supported by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The FWAA has awarded Super 11 to 77 different programs over the years.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and game-day operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual FWAA All-America Team. For more information about the FWAA and its program and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

The 2021 Super 11
Clemson (9)
Colorado (9)
Iowa (2)
Kansas State (4)
Louisville (1)
Miami (2)
Ole Miss (2)
Navy (5)
Nebraska (8)
New Mexico (1)
South Carolina (1)

2021 Super 11 Coach of the Year
Jeff Hafley, Boston College

Related link:
Super 11 Awards (including complete selection criteria)

First-year coach, freshman awards announced

BEAMER, HEUPEL SHARE 2021 STEVE SPURRIER AWARD
DALLAS – South Carolina coach Shane Beamer and Tennessee coach Josh Heupel are the co-winners of the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America and Chris Doering Mortgage. It’s the second time the 43-year-old Heupel has won the award, which began in 2001 but is in its first year being sponsored by Doering and named after Spurrier. Heupel, like Spurrier a former All-America quarterback in his day, was the FWAA First-year Coach of the Year at UCF in 2018. Beamer, son of celebrated Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, is the second South Carolina coach to win the award. Spurrier actually won the award in 2005 in his first season leading the Gamecocks.

GEORGIA’S BOWERS IS 2021 FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DALLAS (FWAA) – Record-breaking Georgia All-America tight end Brock Bowers has been named the recipient of the fourth annual FWAA Freshman of the Year presented by Chris Doering Mortgage. The unquestioned most valuable player on the Georgia offense, Bowers led the Bulldogs with 56 catches for 882 yards and a program-record 13 receiving touchdowns. Bowers, who scored touchdowns in each of the last five games of the season, is the first player from Georgia and first tight end to win the award.

OHIO STATE’S STROUD CAPTURES FRESHMAN BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE AWARD
DALLAS (FWAA) – Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud was named the fourth annual recipient of the FWAA Freshman Breakout Performance Award presented by Chris Doering Mortgage for his performances against Michigan State and Utah. The FWAA Freshman Breakout Performance Award is awarded annually to the college football freshman with the best single-game performance of the season. Stroud, a Heisman Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award finalist and the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year, was a unanimous selection with two performances worthy of the breakout award.

OKLAHOMA STATE’S OLIVER IS MOST INSPIRATIONAL FRESHMAN
DALLAS (FWAA) – Oklahoma State defensive end Collin Oliver was named the third annual Most Inspirational Freshman for 2021 by the Football Writers Association of America and Chris Doering Mortgage on Monday night. Oliver, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder from Oklahoma City, played considerably bigger than his frame and made giant contributions for a defense that led the nation with 4.0 sacks per game. Oliver’s 11.5 sacks led FBS Power 5 conference freshmen, and only Coastal Carolina freshman Josaiah Stewart (12.5) had more. The unanimous Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year was somewhat under the radar when he signed with the Cowboys in 2020, rated a three-star linebacker by the 247 Composite. Oliver quickly changed the narrative upon his arrival in Stillwater.

Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, Fla., was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of MortgageAdvisors.com – 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 – NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. Chris Doering Mortgage is committed to skillfully and ethically delivering the highest quality customer service throughout the mortgage process, with a team of professionals that strive to exceed the expectations of clients and business partners while continually educating and adapting to the changing needs of the industry. For more information, visit ChrisDoeringMortgage.com.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

Related link:
Download Steve Spurrier Award logo

2021 FWAA Freshman All-America Team unveiled

DALLAS – The 2021 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team features one of the dynamic playmakers from national champion Georgia, a key linebacker from national runner-up Alabama, the country’s third-leading passer and a combined 13 players from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences.

This is the 21st season the FWAA has honored freshman All-Americans.

The recipients of the fifth annual FWAA Freshman of the Year, the 2021 Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award, the Most Inspirational Freshman Player and the Top Freshman Performance awards, all presented by Chris Doering Mortgage, will be announced tonight at 7:45 p.m. ET on a virtual press conference that will also be streamed on SEC Country.

Three schools had teammates on the Freshman All-America team, led by Ohio State with three, followed by Iowa and Texas A&M with two each. The list includes players who were either redshirt freshmen, true freshmen, or freshmen playing in their second season via the NCAA’s updated COVID eligibility rules as designated by their respective schools.

Paced by a combined five selections from Iowa and Ohio State, the Big Ten led all conferences with eight members followed by the SEC’s seven and the Big 12 and Pac-12 had three each. The American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Conference USA and Independents had two apiece with the Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt placing one as all 10 conferences were represented. Of the 32 honored players, 24 are true freshmen.

“This was among the most competitive FWAA Freshman All-America Team selections to date, on account of COVID-19 eligibility allowances adding to the pool of players eligible to make the team,” said Mike Griffith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s DawgNation and the chair of the 2021 Freshman All-America Committee. “The talented group of young men who made this team are also to be applauded for their perseverance, as well as their performances, amid the unprecedented circumstances of these times in collegiate athletics.”

Following is the complete, 32-man 2021 FWAA Freshman All-America Team:

OFFENSE

QB• Seth Henigan, Memphis6-3200Denton, Texas
QBCJ Stroud, Ohio State6-3218Inland Empire, Calif.
RB• Braelon Allen, Wisconsin6-2238Fond du Lac, Wis.
RB• TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State5-10215Hopewell, Va.
WRCorey Rucker, Arkansas State6-0203Bentonia, Miss.
WR• Xavier Worthy, Texas6-1160Fresno, Calif.
TE• Brock Bowers, Georgia6-4230Napa, Calif.
OL• Joe Alt, Notre Dame6-7305North Oaks, Minn.
OL• Campbell Barrington, BYU6-6285Spokane, Wash.
OL• Connor Colby, Iowa6-6298Cedar Rapids, Iowa
OL• Reuben Fatheree II, Texas A&M6-8320Richmond, Texas
OL• Bryce Foster, Texas A&M6-5325Katy, Texas
OL• Wyatt Milum, West Virginia6-6291Kenova, W. Va.

DEFENSE

DL• Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State6-2225Oklahoma City, Okla.
DL• Maason Smith, LSU6-6292Houma, La.
DL• Josaiah Stewart, Coastal Carolina6-2245Everett, Mass.
DLLukas Van Ness, Iowa6-5264Barrington, Ill.
LB• Junior Colson, Michigan6-2225Brentwood, Tenn.
LB• Eric Gentry, Arizona State6-6200Philadelphia, Pa.
LBCal Haladay, Michigan State6-1235Elysburg, Pa.
LB• Dallas Turner, Alabama6-4245Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
DB• Calen Bullock, USC6-3180Pasadena, Calif.
DB• Denzel Burke, Ohio State6-1192Scottsdale, Ariz.
DB• Duce Chestnut, Syracuse6-0195Camden, N.J.
DB• Jack Howell, Colorado State5-11195Chandler, Ariz.
DBDonte Kent, Central Michigan5-11185Harrisburg, Pa.
DB• Andrew Mukuba, Clemson6-0185Austin, Texas

SPECIALISTS

K• Cam Little, Arkansas6-2185Moore, Okla.
P• Nick Haberer, Washington State6-5224Queensland, Australia
KRBrian Battie, USF5-8165Sarasota, Fla.
PRJaylin Lane, Middle Tennessee5-8174Clover, S.C.
APRasheen Ali, Marshall6-0201Cleveland, Ohio

* Denotes true freshman

Brock Bowers, the true freshman tight end at Georgia who burst upon the national scene quickly with a highlight 89-yard catch-and-score against UAB on Sept. 11, stands out on the team as one of two selections to also earn FWAA All-America status as its second-team tight end. Bowers’ 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns led all Bulldogs receivers and the SEC Newcomer of the Year also broke school records for receptions and touchdown receptions by a tight end in a single season. Bowers is Georgia’s 10th FWAA Freshman All-America selection of the past six seasons and its 12th of the past 10 seasons.

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud powers the team as one of two quarterbacks, along with Memphis’ Seth Henigan. Stroud, a true freshman, was a Heisman Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award finalist and had four games of 400-or-more passing yards. He swept the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Quarterback of the Year awards, the first time for one player to win all three in the same season. He led the nation’s top offense (561.4 ypg) and a scoring offense (45.7 ppg) that was fifth in passing yards (380.9 ypg).

Bowers and Stroud, along with Oklahoma State defensive end Collin Oliver, are the finalists for the 2021 FWAA Freshman of the Year.

Also selected from Ohio State was Denzel Burke at defensive back and running back TreVeyon Henderson. Burke started all 13 games at cornerback – a first for a freshman at Ohio State – and led the team with 12 pass break-ups to go with one interception. Henderson, the top-ranked running back in the 2021 recruiting class, didn’t disappoint as the Buckeyes’ rushing leader with 1,272 yards and 15 touchdowns, setting multiple OSU records along the way. Along with Stroud, the trio are Ohio State’s first Freshman All-America players in five seasons.

Henigan’s deep balls were one of Memphis’ top weapons this season and his 3,322 yards passing were the most among FBS true freshmen. Henigan earns the school a third consecutive season with a member of the team, joining all-purpose player Kenneth Gainwell (2019) and receiver Tahj Washington (2020), and is one of two players from the American Athletic Conference to make the team. Kick returner Brian Battie of USF, a first-team FWAA All-American, had three kick return touchdowns as a constant special teams threat to earn his spot on the team.

Joining Henderson in the backfield was Big Ten mate Braelon Allen, who averaged 6.8 yards per rush as Wisconsin’s top rusher with 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. Allen is the first Wisconsin player selected to the team since center Tyler Biadasz and running back Jonathan Taylor, both now in the NFL, in 2017.

Xavier Worthy led Texas in receptions (62), receiving yards (981) and touchdowns (12, most among all FBS freshmen). He is Texas’ first Freshman All-American in three seasons and its first at a skill position since Colt McCoy in 2006. The other receiver spot went to Arkansas State’s Corey Rucker, who led Sun Belt Conference wide receivers with nine touchdown catches. Rucker is A-State’s first Freshman All-American since 2014 and its first on offense in nine seasons.

The committee awarded six offensive line spots, buoyed by the Texas A&M pair of Reuben Fatheree II and Bryce Foster. They are the Aggies’ first Freshman All-Americans since 2015 and A&M’s first on the offensive front since Luke Joeckel in 2010. Foster started every game. Iowa, always a staple for offensive linemen, has Connor Colby on the team along with teammate Lukas Van Ness at linebacker. Colby is just the sixth true freshman to start on the offensive line under Kirk Ferentz. He gave up one sack all season to become the Hawkeyes’ first Freshman All-American on the offensive line since Alaric Jackson in 2017. With Van Ness, it’s the first time for Iowa to have two players on the team.

Joining them on the line are the Notre Dame’s Joe Alt and BYU’s Campbell Barrington, who make up the representation from the FBS Independents. Alt helped reform the Irish up front, moving into the starting left tackle spot after six games. The Irish line surged in the second half of the season and helped Kyren Williams, a member of last year’s Freshman All-America team, to become just the fifth Notre Dame running back to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. The Irish have had a Freshman All-American in three consecutive seasons. Barrington is BYU’s first player on the team in three seasons. West Virginia’s Wyatt Milum, who rounds out the offensive line, made seven starts at right tackle to earn the school’s fifth Freshman All-America honor and first since 2019.

A standout season by two linemen put them at the head of the defense. Oklahoma State’s Oliver took full advantage of his first start, posting five solo tackles, two sacks and three hurries in an Oct. 2 win over Baylor. He tied for 15th in the FBS with 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Oliver, who had the game-sealing sack against Oklahoma that sent the Cowboys to the Big 12 Championship Game, is the fourth Freshman All-American in school history and the first on defense in 11 seasons. Josaiah Stewart, a true freshman at Coastal Carolina, was one of the country’s top pass rushers, tallying 12.5 sacks to lead all FBS freshmen and tied for fifth in the nation. He had four sacks and forced two fumbles against Georgia Southern. Stewart is Coastal Carolina’s third all-time Freshman All-American, each of them from the past two seasons.

Maason Smith of LSU was the nation’s top prep defensive lineman in the fall of 2020 and became a coaches’ pick as an All-SEC Freshman in 2021. He earned three starts toward the end of the season and was third on the team with four sacks. Smith gives LSU a defensive member of the team in five of the last six seasons. Iowa’s Van Ness tied for the team lead with 7.0 sacks and was second with 8.5 tackles for loss among his 33 total tackles. Van Ness, along with Colby, are the fifth- and sixth all-time Freshman All-America selections from Iowa and Van Ness is the first on defense since 2010.

Depth in the secondary led the committee to expand to six selections. Joining Ohio State’s Burke, Syracuse’s Duce Chestnut became one of the top cover cornerbacks in the country. He tallied three interceptions and had eight passes defended to anchor an Orange secondary that allowed just 202 yards passing per game. He is Syracuse’s third defensive Freshman All-America nod in the past four seasons. Chestnut and Clemson’s Andrew Mukuba are the ACC’s two selections on the team. Mukuba was the Tigers’ first freshman to start at safety since 1973 and had eight tackles and a pass breakup in the opener against Georgia. He had 54 tackles and a sack this season as Clemson’s seventh All-Freshman pick of the past eight seasons.

Calen Bullock, USC’s first true freshman to start an opener at safety since 2013, had two interceptions on the season, three PBU’s and 40 tackles. He is USC’s first All-Freshman player on defense since 2014. Jack Howell of Colorado State made six starts at safety for the Rams and finished fifth on the team with 64 tackles, including 3.5 TFL’s. He is CSU’s third all-time Freshman All-American and the second in three seasons, and is the lone choice from the Mountain West. Central Michigan cornerback Donte Kent started all 13 games and led the MAC with 14 PBU’s. He was third on the team with 55 total tackles and second with 45 solo stops. Kent is CMU’s second Freshman All-American, joining Antonio Brown from 2007.

Two true freshmen started for two of the College Football Playoff teams, both of them linebackers. Michigan won the Big Ten title with its defense and true freshman Junior Colson was fourth on the team in tackles with 61 to go with two PBU’s and three quarterback hurries. Colson is Michigan’s first Freshman All-American since 2017 and its first on defense since 2015. Dallas Turner of Alabama is the Crimson Tide’s seventh Freshman All-American of the past four seasons and the fifth on defense during that span. He earned a starting role in mid-season and finished third on the team with 8.5 sacks for the national runner-up.

Linebacker Cal Haladay of Michigan State started 12 of 13 games for the Spartans and was third on the team with 96 tackles to go with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, he is Michigan State’s first Freshman All-American since 2016 and its first on defense since 2014. Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry had 45 tackles as ASU’s first Freshman All-American since 2018.

Rasheen Ali, selected as the all-purpose player, made an immediate impact with four touchdowns in Marshall’s opener against Navy. He carried on more than half of the Herd’s rushing plays (250 of 449) and his 23 rushing touchdowns tied for the most in the FBS. He is only the second player from Marshall to earn FWAA Freshman All-America honors and its first since 2012. Ali, who also returned a kickoff for a score, is one of two players from Conference USA on the team, along with punt returner Jaylin Lane of Middle Tennessee, who was fourth in the nation in punt return average at 14.6. Lane is MTSU’s fourth Freshman All-American.

Punter Nick Haberer from Washington State is the sixth Australian to earn a Freshman All-America honor, all of whom are punters. He finished the season with a 42.8-yard average and is the school’s second Freshman All-American. Arkansas kicker Cam Little led the team in scoring with 106 points and connected on 20 field goals, the third-most in school history.

From the Freshman All-America team, California and Texas took honors as the most common home state with four players each, followed by two each from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

The panel of nationally-prominent college football experts from the FWAA membership represented each of the FBS conferences along with independents in the selecting the team.

Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, Fla., was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of MortgageAdvisors.com – 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 – NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. Chris Doering Mortgage is committed to skillfully and ethically delivering the highest quality customer service throughout the mortgage process, with a team of professionals that strive to exceed the expectations of clients and business partners while continually educating and adapting to the changing needs of the industry. For more information, visit ChrisDoeringMortgage.com.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

Related link:
• All-Time FWAA Freshman All-America Teams (.pdf)

Auburn’s Shelly Poe named FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2

Indianapolis — FWAA member Shelly Poe, Auburn’s Assistant AD/Media Relations, has been named the recipient of the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2021 season, becoming the fourth person in the Sports Information field to receive the honor.

The award goes to a FWAA member or someone close to the organization who has contributed greatly to either college football, the writing profession or the FWAA during his or her career. Poe would be considered a trailblazer as a female football SID. 

Shelly Poe

Poe was the only female head SID at a Division I football school when she was named West Virginia’s (her alma mater) in 1988 after holding an assistant’s post at the same school for three years. She also was the youngest Division I head SID at that time at 23 years of age.

“I was very fortunate to have been one of the first women to make a career in football, and I was able to do that because a number of smart, tough, persistent women paved the way for those my age to choose the career path,” Poe said. “There were often challenges and resistance, but I quickly learned that the winners in athletics judged people based on how their talents can benefit the program.

“I worked hard to gain that trust and advocates stepped up from the most surprising quarters whenever biases made things difficult. Along the way, I’ve built so many lifelong relationships with friends who were first introduced to me as players, coaches, co-workers and media colleagues, and that is the real dividend.”         

“Shelly has been a staple in the college sports information field for more than three decades,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “It is one thing to have longevity in the field, but she has been a strong advocate for the media among her peers and those she has worked for at three FBS institutions. She also has been a tireless worker for CoSIDA.”

Besides her tenure at Auburn for the past decade, Poe also was Director of Football Communications at Ohio State from 2007 to 2012 following 20 years at West Virginia. An ex-officio member of the FWAA Board from 2013 to 2018, Poe is a 2006 member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, the 2013-14 CoSIDA President, the recipient of the 2012 CoSIDA Trailblazer Award and she was part of a CoSIDA-FWAA task force to determine media services adjustments at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020.  She has been at Auburn since 2012.  

“I was blessed to work for many years for one of the finest gentlemen ever in this game, Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen, who would do an extra interview or make time for a guest, ‘because I think it’s good for the game,’” Poe recalled. “Those words have been a standard for me, and I hope I’ve made the game better by assisting so many talented people in telling its stories.

“My best friend, the late coach Dave Adolph, was known for asking, ‘Do you love football?’ I do love it, and I love the positive impact it’s had on so many lives, especially mine.”

The FWAA started naming a Lifetime Achievement Award winner nearly a decade ago. Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner was the first recipient in 2013, followed by Bill Little (University of Texas) in 2014, Irv Moss (Denver Post) in 2015, OK (Buddy) Davis (Ruston Daily Leader) in 2016, Mike Finn (ACC) in 2017, Dave Plati (University of Colorado) in 2018, Wright Waters (Football Bowl Association) and Paul Hoolahan (Sugar Bowl) in 2019 and Sid Hartman (Minneapolis Star Tribune) posthumously in 2020.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

2021 FWAA All-America team unveiled

DALLAS – The 2021 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, presented in partnership with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, is headlined by seven first-teamers from the four teams competing in the College Football Playoff, nine repeat All-Americans, six first-teamers from both the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences, six explosive wide receivers, a sensational freshman running back and a record-setting punter. There are 23 schools represented from nine Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on the first team and 37 different schools are represented on the complete 54-man team.

“The partnership between the FWAA and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is one we take a lot of pride in,” said Bry Patton, Chairman, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association and Cotton Bowl Foundation. “We’re honored to play a small role in celebrating the on-field accolades these student-athletes achieved this season.”

“The FWAA is proud to partner with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to highlight these amazing athletes, but it’s never an easy choice to whittle down the field,” said FWAA president Heather Dinich, a senior writer for ESPN.com. “What makes it so difficult is that there’s always – always – more than one deserving player at each position. This year’s combined team, though, reflects dominant seasons by both the Big Ten and the SEC, along with the Group of Five’s historic season, as a record 12 players were included.”

Alabama, the top seed in the College Football Playoff, has first-team selections and leads all schools with four on the combined team. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr., offensive lineman Evan Neal and quarterback Bryce Young made the first team with kick returner Jameson Williams on the second team. Anderson won the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy this season, Neal is the latest Crimson Tide standout All-American on its offensive front and Young, the winner of the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Tuesday night, surged late with a dramatic comeback against Auburn and a record-setting performance in the SEC Championship Game. No one has averaged more yards per touch (22.6) than Williams this season, who is also a standout wide receiver.

The defensive secondary has two returning first-team All-Americans in Ahmad Gardner of Cincinnati and Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame. Gardner is the first two-time FWAA All-American in Cincinnati history and Hamilton is the Irish’s first two-time FWAA All-American in 16 seasons (wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in 2005-06). Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, another two-time selection, moves to the first team after a second-team nod last year. Also from the secondary are App State defensive back Steven Jones Jr., the Mountaineers’ first All-American at the FBS level, and Jalen Pitre of Baylor, a second defensive first-teamer for the Bears of the last three seasons.

The four defensive linemen, collectively, may be the best group in the history of the team. Jordan Davis of Georgia, the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award winner on the nation’s top defense, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, along with Thibodeaux and Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV, the Big 12’s Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year with 11.5 sacks, make up a formidable front. Nakobe Dean, the Butkus Award winner at Georgia, and Devin Lloyd of Utah join Anderson as the first-team linebackers.

Back on offense, Doak Walker Award winner Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State has been the national leader in rushing for most of the season and is on the first team along with Syracuse’s eye-catching freshman, Sean Tucker. Walker is second in the FBS in rushing at 1,636 yards (136.3 ypg) with 18 touchdowns. Tucker, a second-year player with freshman eligibility, set the Orange’s single-season rushing mark at 1,496 yards, fourth nationally, with nine 100-yard games and 14 total touchdowns. Tucker becomes the first freshman running back on the first team since Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma in 2004 and the first freshman at any skill position on the first team since Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in 2013.

The standout wide receivers gave a menagerie of options to the FWAA voters. Ohio State gained two of the six spots. For the first time, the FWAA selected three receivers on each of its two teams and thus 12-man offensive teams. Garrett Wilson becomes a two-time All-American here after a second-team spot last year and Chris Olave is on the second unit. Pitt’s Jordan Addison, the Biletnikoff Award winner, caught more touchdowns (17) than any other player, keying the Panthers’ offensive resurgence this season. He’s on the first team and his quarterback, Kenny Pickett, leads off the second team. Purdue’s David Bell produced highlight plays that prompted two of the biggest upsets this season and earned first-team honors. Along with Olave, second-team receivers Jerreth Sterns of WKU caught 39 more passes than any other player and was the national leader in receiving yards, and Drake London of USC averaged 135.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns despite playing in only eight games due to injury.

Tyler Linderbaum of Iowa, the winner of the Rimington Trophy, returns to become a two-time All-America center, this year on the first team after a second-team nod in 2020. Ohio State lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere was the leader at the front of the nation’s top offensive team. Kentucky tackle Darian Kinnard led one of the four Joe Moore Award finalist units and Ikem Ekwonu is N.C. State’s second first-team lineman of the past four seasons.

Iowa was one of three schools (along with Georgia and Ohio State) to have three All-Americans. The Hawkeyes have linebacker Jack Campbell and defensive back Riley Moss on the second team and Georgia added offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer to the second team. Texas A&M and Iowa State have repeat members on the second team after first-team spots last year. The Aggies have players on both the second-team offensive (Kenyon Green) and defensive (DeMarvin Leal) lines, and running back Breece Hall gives Iowa State a pair of All-Americans for a second consecutive season.

Also from the second team, defensive lineman Arnold Ebiketie and defensive back Jaquan Brisker give Penn State a pair of FWAA All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 2008. Rounding out the eight schools that had a pair of honorees is punt return phenom Britain Covey at Utah, Oregon with defensive back Verone McKinley III and Baylor with offensive lineman Jacob Gall. Oklahoma State has its first defensive All-American since 2013 with linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez alongside Leo Chenal of Wisconsin on the second team. Offensive linemen Zach Tom of Wake Forest and Olusegun Oluwatimi of Virginia, along with defensive lineman Jermaine Johnson II of Florida State, were three of the ACC’s seven selections, third-best among the conferences.

Rutgers has its first FWAA All-America selection since 2006 with punter Adam Korsak on the second team as well as Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis, the Tigers’ first All-American on special teams since Jeremy Maclin in 2007.

The so-called Group of Five schools put a record 12 players on the combined team – 22 percent of the total picks – and seven on the first team including all four special teams spots and both tight ends. Houston’s Marcus Jones, the Paul Hornung Award winner, repeats as the first-team punt returner and Sincere McCormick of UTSA repeats as a second-team All-America running back. Matt Araiza of San Diego State, currently the all-time leader in FBS history with a 51.4-yard season average, is the easy choice at punter following his selection as the Ray Guy Award winner. Colorado State tight end Trey McBride is the 20th-leading receiver nationally with 1,121 yards as the first-team selection and Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely on the second. McBride is the John Mackey Award winner.

Bowling Green’s field goal ace Nate Needham, 19 for 20 on field goal attempts, is the first-team kicker and USF’s Brian Battie, who had three kick return touchdowns, is the first-team kick returner and the only other freshman besides Tucker. One of the country’s interception leaders with five, second-team defensive back Ja’Quan McMillian is East Carolina’s first defensive All-American since 1991.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with 13 players on the combined teams from a spread of eight different schools, which also led all conferences. The SEC has 11 members from five different schools and the ACC had seven from six different schools. The Big 12 and Pac-12 had five members each, followed by the American Athletic (4), Mountain West (3), Conference USA and Sun Belt (2 each) and the Independents and Mid-American (1).

Many of the 2021 All-Americans had immediate impacts on their teams. Nearly one-fifth of the team – 10 of 54 players – were FWAA Freshman All-America selections earlier in their careers. Tops on that list is Anderson Jr., the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner and the 2020 FWAA Freshman Player of the Year, and Davis, who was on the 2018 FWAA Freshman All-America team. Six of the 10 – Bell, Ekwonu, Neal, Thibodeaux, Gardner and Hamilton – are first-teamers on the 2021 list. McCormick and McKinley are second-teamers.

Of the first-team members’ home states, California led the way with four followed by Florida and North Carolina with three each. On the complete 1st-2nd teams, California and Texas tied with seven each followed by Maryland and North Carolina with four and Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Iowa with three each.

The FWAA’s All-America Committee selected this 78th annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. This is the ninth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team. For a fifth consecutive year, the FWAA has selected a 54-man full team, but the additional wide receivers were selected in lieu of recognizing all-purpose players this season.

2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QBBryce Young, Alabama6-0194So.Pasadena, Cailf.
RBSean Tucker, Syracuse5-10210Fr.Owings Mills, Md.
RBKenneth Walker III, Michigan State5-10210Jr.Arlington, Tenn.
WRJordan Addison, Pitt6-0175So.Frederick, Md.
WRDavid Bell, Purdue6-2205Jr.Indianapolis, Ind.
WRGarrett Wilson, Ohio State6-0192Jr.Austin, Texas
TETrey McBride, Colorado State6-4260Sr.Fort Morgan, Colo.
OLIkem Ekwonu, N.C. State6-4320So.Charlotte, N.C.
OLDarian Kinnard, Kentucky6-5338Sr.Knoxville, Tenn.
OLEvan Neal, Alabama6-7350Jr.Okeechobee, Fla.
OLNicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State6-5315Jr.Tampa, Fla.
CTyler Linderbaum, Iowa6-3290Jr.Solon, Iowa

DEFENSE

DLJordan Davis, Georgia6-6340Sr.Charlotte, N.C.
DLAidan Hutchinson, Michigan6-6265Sr.Plymouth, Mich.
DLWill McDonald IV, Iowa State6-4245Jr.Pewaukee, Wis.
DLKayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon6-5258So.Los Angeles, Calif.
LBWill Anderson Jr., Alabama6-4243So.Hampton, Ga.
LBNakobe Dean, Georgia6-0225Jr.Horn Lake, Miss.
LBDevin Lloyd, Utah6-3235Jr.Chula Vista, Calif.
DBAhmad Gardner, Cincinnati6-3200Jr.Detroit, Mich.
DBKyle Hamilton, Notre Dame6-4220Jr.Atlanta, Ga.
DBSteven Jones Jr., App State5-10180Sr.Rockingham, N.C.
DBJalen Pitre, Baylor6-0197Sr.Stafford, Texas

SPECIALISTS

KNate Needham, Bowling Green6-1195Sr.Chesterton, Ind.
PMatt Araiza, San Diego State6-2200Jr.San Diego, Calif.
KRBrian Battie, USF5-8165Fr.Sarasota, Fla.
PRMarcus Jones, Houston5-8185Sr.Enterprise, Ala

FIRST TEAM ONLY BREAKDOWN

By School (23): Alabama 3; Georgia 2, Ohio State 2; App State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Houston, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pitt, Purdue, San Diego State, Syracuse, USF, Utah 1.

By Conference (9): Big Ten 6, SEC 6, ACC 3, American Athletic 3, Big 12 2, Mountain West 2, Pac-12 2, Independents 1, Mid-American 1, Sun Belt 1.

By Class: Juniors 12, Seniors 8, Sophomores 5, Freshmen 2.

By Home State (14): California 4, Florida 3, North Carolina 3, Georgia 2, Indiana 2, Maryland 2, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Alabama 1, Colorado 1, Iowa 1, Mississippi 1, Wisconsin 1.

2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM

Offense: QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt; RB Breece Hall, Iowa State; RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA; WR Drake London, USC; WR Chris Olave, Ohio State; WR Jerreth Sterns, WKU; TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; OL Jacob Gall, Baylor; OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M; OL Jamaree Salyer, Georgia; OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest; C Olusegun Oluwatimi, Virginia.

Defense: DL Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State; DL Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State; DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M; DL Cameron Thomas, San Diego State; LB Jack Campbell, Iowa; LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin; LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State; DB Jaquan Brisker, Penn State; DB Verone McKinley III, Oregon; DB Ja’Quan McMillian, East Carolina; DB Riley Moss, Iowa.

Specialists: K Harrison Mevis, Missouri; P Adam Korsak, Rutgers; KR Jameson Williams, Alabama; PR Britain Covey, Utah.

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND TEAM BREAKDOWN

By School: Alabama 4; Georgia 3, Iowa 3, Ohio State 3; Baylor 2, Iowa State 2, Oregon 2, Penn State 2, Pitt 2, San Diego State 2, Texas A&M 2, Utah 2; App State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, East Carolina, Florida State, Houston, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, USC, USF, UTSA, Virginia, Wake Forest, WKU, Wisconsin 1.

By Conference (10): Big Ten 13, SEC 11, ACC 7, Big 12 5, Pac-12 5, American Athletic 4, Mountain West 3, Conference USA 2, Sun Belt 2, Independents 1, Mid-American 1.

By Class: Juniors 24, Seniors/Graduates 20, Sophomores 8, Freshmen 2.

By Home State (24): California 7, Texas 7, Maryland 4, North Carolina 4, Florida 3, Georgia 3, Indiana 3, Iowa 3, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2, Wisconsin 2, Alabama 1, Colorado 1, Kansas 1, Louisiana 1, Massachusetts 1, Minnesota 1, Mississippi 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 1, Pennsylvania 1, Utah 1. (Australia 1).

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.

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.

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.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will play host to a College Football Playoff semifinal when No. 4 Cincinnati takes on No. 1 Alabama at AT&T Stadium on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl is the 13th Classic to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the third national semifinal.

2021 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com; Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic; Scott Farrell, collegepressbox; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; John Hoover, SI.com; Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports; Nate Mink, Syracuse Post-Standard; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade.

Related links:
• Printable roster (.pdf)
• All-Time FWAA All-America Teams (.pdf)
• Download the FWAA All-America Team logos and social media graphics

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.

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.

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.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will play host to a College Football Playoff semifinal when No. 4 Cincinnati takes on No. 1 Alabama at AT&T Stadium on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl is the 13th Classic to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the third national semifinal.

2021 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com; Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic; Scott Farrell, collegepressbox; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; John Hoover, SI.com; Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports; Nate Mink, Syracuse Post-Standard; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade.

Georgia’s Davis wins 76th Outland Trophy

DALLAS – Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis was named the recipient of the 76th Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense and Davis is the second Georgia lineman to earn the award.

Davis will be honored as the recipient of the 2021 Outland Trophy on Wed., Jan. 12 in Omaha at a dinner hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and sponsored by Werner Enterprises.

A 6-6, 340-pound senior from Charlotte, N.C., Davis was selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from three finalists that also included N.C. State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Davis is the third Outland Trophy winner from the defensive side of the ball in last five seasons, following defensive tackles Ed Oliver of Houston in 2017 and Quinnen Williams of Alabama in 2018.

Each of the Bulldogs’ Outland Trophy prior honorees have been defensive tackles. Georgia’s lone winner was Bill Stanfill in 1968 and defensive tackle Andrew Thomas was a semifinalist in 2019.

Davis is a commanding presence in the middle of the Georgia defensive line, constantly double-teamed while closing interior running lanes between the ends. His presence taking away the defensive middle was a key in the Bulldogs leading the nation in scoring defense giving up only 9.5 points per game as the only program in single-digits and 5.5 points ahead of the next best unit. Georgia was also second in total defense (254.3 yards per game), third in rushing defense (81.7 ypg) and third in passing defense (172.6 ypg).

During Georgia’s 12-0 start and consensus No. 1 ranking for the bulk of the 2021 season, Davis posted 24 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks and even included a short rushing touchdown. He had four tackles in Georgia’s loss to Alabama in last week’s SEC Championship Game, giving him 28 total tackles for the season.

Davis was also a finalist for the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy and is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, both recognizing the national defensive player of the year.

The Bulldogs, seeded third, take on No. 2 Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinals on Dec. 31 in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.
Related links:
Preseason Watch List | Semifinalists
All-time Outland Trophy winners, candidates
• Download 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy logo: Primary (.jpg) | Dark background (.jpg) | Illustrator (.ai)

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. wins 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – Will Anderson Jr., a dynamic playmaking linebacker for top-ranked Alabama and a constant nemesis in every opponents’ backfield as the nation’s sack and tackles-for-loss leader, has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy by the Football Writers Association of America.

Anderson was selected from among two other finalists that also included Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Anderson is only the second player at Alabama to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, joining defensive end Jonathan Allen in 2016. The Crimson Tide (12-1) have had Bronko Nagurski finalists in nine of the last 11 seasons, most recently nose guard Quinnen Williams in 2018.

The FWAA All-America Committee made the selection of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as part of the 2021 FWAA All-America Team, which will be released on Friday. The official presentation of the trophy was made tonight at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by LendingTree at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The 6-4, 243-pound sophomore from Hampton, Ga., is the primary cog in an Alabama defense that is fourth nationally in rushing defense, giving up 82.9 yards per game. Anderson is versatile in “affecting the quarterback,” a non-statistical term but a favorite of head coach Nick Saban when addressing the media. A force in the backfield, he leads the nation in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (32.5) and added a sack and two TFL’s in this past Saturday’s 41-24 win over previously top-ranked Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Anderson has had at least one sack in 10 of 13 games and his 92 tackles (53 solo) are second on the team and include and at least one TFL in 12 of 13 games. He has been credited by the Alabama coaching staff with a team-high 38 quarterback pressures this season.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr.

To put his season in finer perspective, Anderson was the 2020 FWAA National Freshman Player of the Year following a stellar season a year ago. But this year’s totals have boosted him to be on pace to reach record territory. Only one player at Alabama – College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas (1985-88) – has averaged more sacks and TFL numbers in his career. Thomas finished his Alabama career averaging 1.06 sacks per game (52 in 49 career games). Anderson, with 22.5 in 26 games, is currently at 0.87 sacks per game with at least one more to play in the College Football Playoff this season. But Anderson leads Thomas’ career TFL numbers currently averaging 1.65 per game (43 in 26 games) to Thomas’ 1.39 (or 68 in 49 games).

Anderson, with 3.5 more sacks, can tie Thomas for the No. 2 spot for single-season sacks (18) in the Alabama record book. His 32.5 TFL’s are already No. 2 behind Thomas’ 39 from the 1988 season.

Anderson was the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week on Oct. 16 following a four-sack game at Mississippi State, the most in a single game since Thomas did it in 1988. He earned the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week honor five times in 12 weeks and was named one of the Crimson Tide’s permanent captains and one of two defensive players of the year at its team banquet Sunday.

Davis, the Georgia defensive tackle who was a fellow Bronko Nagurski finalist and a finalist for three other postseason awards including the FWAA’s Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman, gave Anderson high praise in an interview last week while preparing for the SEC Championship Game.

“He’s a game wrecker,” Davis said. “Watching his film and just seeing him, he’s explosive. He’s definitely one of those guys you have to make sure to keep contained. It’s great to see him play.”

Top-ranked Alabama claimed the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff on Sunday and faces No. 4 seed Cincinnati in the semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 31 in Arlington, Texas.

Anderson is the fifth player from the SEC to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, following Josh Allen (LB, Kentucky, 2018), Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama, 2016), Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU, 2007) and Champ Bailey (DB, Georgia, 1998).

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised and donated nearly $3 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree is the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts against offers on their network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. LendingTree’s purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support.

Related links:
• Alabama’s Anderson wins 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy
• Preseason Watch List | Finalists
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)
• Download the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree logo: Primary (.jpg) | Primary (.eps)

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 10

Week 10: games played through Nov. 6, 2021

TEAMPOINTSFIRST-PLACE VOTESLAST WEEK’S RANK
1.Georgia (9-0)832521
2.Alabama (8-1)731 2
3.Oklahoma (9-0)681 4
4.Cincinnati (9-0)659 3
5.Ohio State (8-1)640 6
6.Oregon (8-1)634 7
7.Notre Dame (8-1)463 8
8.Michigan State (8-1)440 5
9.Michigan (8-1)427 10
10.Oklahoma State (8-1)398 11
11.Texas A&M (7-2)353 12
12.Ole Miss (7-2)204 15
13.Wake Forest (8-1)168 9
14.BYU (8-2)104 N/A
15.UTSA (9-0)80 16
16.Iowa (7-2)44 N/A

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Baylor (39), Auburn (35), Houston (25), NC State (22), Wisconsin (22), Pittsburgh (21), Purdue (15), Coastal Carolina (10), Utah (7), Penn State (6), Louisiana (4), Arkansas (4), SMU (3), San Diego State (1).

To see how individuals voted in this week’s poll, CLICK HERE.

NOTES:
This week’s Super16 Poll marks the 100th edition, all-time, generated by the FWAA and NFF.

For the fourth straight week, Georgia was a unanimous No. 1, followed by Alabama, Oklahoma and Cincinnati, in that order. The Bearcats dropped a spot after struggling to defeat Tulsa and were replaced at No. 3 by the idle Oklahoma Sooners.

Previously undefeated Michigan State lost at Purdue and dropped three spots to No. 8. Another undefeated team, Wake Forest, lost at North Carolina and fell  four spots to No. 13. Baylor and Auburn both lost road games and dropped out of the poll and were replaced by BYU and Iowa.

The Big Ten and SEC led all conferences with four teams each. The Big 12 and Independents had two teams each in the poll. The American, ACC, Conference USA and Pac-12 had one each. 

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE:
No. 1 Georgia at Tennessee
New Mexico State at No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Oklahoma at Baylor
No. 4 Cincinnati at USF (Friday)
Purdue at No. 5 Ohio State
Washington State at No. 6 Oregon
 No. 7 Notre Dame at Virginia
Maryland at No. 8 Michigan State
No. 9 Michigan at Penn State
TCU at No. 10 Oklahoma State
No. 11 Texas A&M at No. 12 Ole Miss
North Carolina State at No 13 Wake Forest
No. 14 BYU is idle
Southern Mississippi at No.15 UTSA
Minnesota at No. 16 Iowa

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Sunday of the 2021 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 7 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 5. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a computer program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings, and The JBoy Show is the official Media Partner of the poll.

ABOUT THE FWAA: Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 9

Week 9: games played through October 30, 2021

TEAMPOINTSFIRST-PLACE VOTESLAST WEEK’S RANK
1.Georgia (8-0)832521
2.Alabama (7-1)725 2
3.Cincinnati (8-0)695 3
4.Oklahoma (9-0)670 4
5.Michigan State (8-0)630 7
6.Ohio State (7-1)612 5
7.Oregon (7-1)530 8
8.Notre Dame (7-1)416 11
9.Wake Forest (8-0)392 12
10.Michigan (7-1)376 6
11.Oklahoma State (7-1)292 14
12.Texas A&M (6-2)246 15
13.Baylor (7-1)223 N/A
14.Auburn (6-2)217 N/A
15.Ole Miss (6-2)85 9
16.UTSA (8-0)27 N/A

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: BYU (24), Iowa (23), Houston (16), Kentucky (13), Penn State (10), Coastal Carolina (6), San Diego State (3), Wisconsin (3), Appalachian State (1), Utah (1), Louisiana (1), SMU (1), NC State (1), Arkansas (1).

To see how individuals voted in this week’s poll, CLICK HERE.

NOTES:
Georgia remained atop the poll with all 52 first-place votes for a third straight week, following a dominant 34-7 victory over Florida and clinching the SEC East Division title. Assured a spot in the SEC Championship game, the Bulldogs could face a showdown with No. 2 Alabama in Atlanta in early December.

Kentucky’s loss at Mississippi State enabled Georgia to clinch the SEC East, while the Wildcats dropped out of the poll along with Pittsburgh (a loser to Miami [FL]) and Iowa (a loser to Wisconsin).

Baylor, Auburn and UTSA entered the poll for the first time this season. It is UTSA’s first appearance in its history.

The top four teams remained the same as a week ago. Michigan State moved up to No. 5 after its dramatic victory over Michigan. The Wolverines fell four spots to No. 10 after losing to their archrival. Ole Miss dropped six spots to No. 15 after losing at Auburn.

The SEC led all conferences with five teams, followed by the Big Ten and the Big 12 with three each. The American Conference, ACC, Conference USA, Pac-12 and Independents had one each.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE:
Missouri at No. 1 Georgia
LSU at  No. 2 Alabama
Tulsa at No. 3 Cincinnati
Oklahoma is idle
No. 5 Michigan State at Purdue
No. 6 Ohio State at Nebraska
No. 7 Oregon at Washington
Navy at No. 8 Notre Dame
No. 9 Wake Forest at North Carolina
Indiana at No. 10 Michigan
No. 11 Oklahoma State at West Virginia
No. 14 Auburn at No. 12 Texas A&M
No. 13 Baylor at TCU
Liberty at No. 15 Ole Miss
No. 16 UTSA at UTEP

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Sunday of the 2021 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 7 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 5. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a computer program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings, and The JBoy Show is the official Media Partner of the poll.

ABOUT THE FWAA: Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 6

Week 6: Games Played Through October 9, 2021

TEAMPOINTSFIRST-PLACE VOTESLAST WEEK’S RANK
1.Georgia (6-0)831512
2.Iowa (6-0)75413
3.Cincinnati (5-0)6765
4.Oklahoma (6-0)6616
5.Alabama (5-1)6241
6.Ohio State (5-1)5468
7.Michigan (6-0)4957
8.Penn State (5-1)4524
9.Kentucky (6-0)37312
10.Michigan State (6-0)36711
11.Oregon (4-1)3529
12.Oklahoma State (5-0)22413
13.Ole Miss (4-1)172N/A
14.Notre Dame (5-1)16814
15.Coastal Carolina (6-0)12416
16.Wake Forest (6-0)65N/A

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES:
Florida (49), Texas A&M (42), Arizona State (36), Arkansas (29), SMU (11), BYU (8), Fresno State (3), Texas (3), NC State (2), San Diego State (2), Clemson (2), Baylor (1).

To see how individuals voted in this week’s poll, CLICK HERE.

NOTES:
No. 1 Alabama suffered its first loss of the 2021 season at Texas A&M and dropped out of the top spot in the poll for the first time this season. The Crimson Tide was replaced at No. 1 by fellow SEC member Georgia, which received 51 of 52 first-place votes after winning at Auburn.

Alabama dropped to No. 5, while Iowa moved into the second slot after edging Penn State in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes were followed by No. 3 Cincinnati, No. 4 Oklahoma and then Alabama at No.5. Penn State fell from No. 4 to No. 8.

BYU dropped out of the poll after suffering its first loss of the season. Arkansas also fell out of the poll after losing by a point at Ole Miss, which returned to the poll at No. 13. Wake Forest joined the poll for the first time this season at No. 16.

The Big Ten led all conferences with five teams in the poll, all of whom ranked in the top ten. The SEC has four teams, and the Big 12 two teams, the ACC, American, Independents, Pac-12 and Sun Belt had one team each.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE:
No. 9 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia
Purdue at  No. 2 Iowa
UCF at No. 3  Cincinnati
TCU at No. 4 Oklahoma
No. 5 Alabama at Mississippi State
No. 6 Ohio State is idle 
No. 7  Michigan is idle
No. 8 Penn State is idle
No. 10 Michigan State at Indiana 
California at No. 11 Oregon (Friday)
No. 12 Oklahoma State at Texas
No. 13 Ole Miss at Tennessee
No. 14 Notre Dame is idle
No. 15 Coastal Carolina is idle
No. 16 Wake Forest is idle

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Sunday of the 2021 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 7 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 5. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a computer program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings, and The JBoy Show is the official Media Partner of the poll.

ABOUT THE FWAA: Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.