2016 FWAA All-America Team announced

DALLAS — The 2016 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 eight selections. Top-ranked Alabama of the SEC led all schools with four players on the team, including Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) Cam Robinson and Nagurski Trophy winner Jonathan Allen (best defensive player).

For the fifth 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.

Also representing the 2016 FWAA All-America Team from Alabama, which is in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Washington at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, is linebacker Reuben Foster and defensive back Marlon Humphrey. The SEC’s other All-America players came from Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

There are two repeat first-team selections from the 2015 FWAA team: Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Three other teams — PlayStation Fiesta Bowl-bound Ohio State, Florida State and Texas — each had two players on the first team.

The Mid-American Conference, a Group of Five league, produced two first-team FWAA All-Americans, including Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis, who will lead the Broncos against Wisconsin in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2.

There were eight seniors, 10 juniors and eight sophomores selected to the first team. The conference breakdown for those players is as follows: SEC (8), ACC (5) Pac-12 (5), Big Ten (3) Big 12 (3), and Mid-American (2).

The FWAA’s All-America Committee selected this 73nd annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. This is just the fourth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team.

For the second straight year, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield was named the quarterback of the second team. Michigan defensive back Jourdan Lewis also made the second team a second straight year. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, a first-team kick returner in 2015, is a second-team running back in 2016. And Iowa’s Desmond King, a first-team defensive back in 2015, is on the second team as a kick returner in 2016.

LSU, Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington and West Virginia each had two second-team selections. LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington each had three players on the first and second teams combined.

Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA’s annual consensus AllAmerica 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.

2016 FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB Lamar Jackson Louisville 6-3 205 So. Pompano Beach, Fla.
RB Dalvin Cook Florida State 5-11 213 Jr. Miami, Fla.
RB D’Onta Foreman Texas 6-1 249 Jr. Texas City, Texas
WR Corey Davis Western Michigan 6-3 213 Sr. Wheaton, Ill.
WR Dede Westbrook Oklahoma 6-0 176 Sr. Cameron, Texas
TE Michael Roberts Toledo 6-5 270 Sr. Cleveland, Ohio
OL Pat Elflein Ohio State 6-3 300 Sr. Pickerington, Ohio
OL Cody O’Connell Washington State 6-8 354 Jr. Wenatchee, Wash.
OL Ethan Pocic LSU 6-7 302 Sr Lemont, Ill.
OL Cam Robinson Alabama 6-6 310 Jr. Monroe, La.
OL Connor Williams Texas 6-6 288 So Coppell, Texas

DEFENSE

DL Jonathan Allen Alabama 6-3 291 Sr Leesburg, Va.
DL Myles Garrett Texas A&M 6-5 270 Jr Arlington, Texas
DL Carl Lawson Auburn 6-2 253 Jr Alpharetta, Ga
DL Christian Wilkins Clemson 6-4 310 So Springfield, Mass.
LB Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt 6-4 230 Jr. Pinson, Ala.
LB Reuben Foster Alabama 6-1 228 Sr Auburn, Ala.
LB Jabrill Peppers Michigan 6-1 205 Jr East Orange, N.J.
DB Budda Baker Washington 5-10 192 Jr Bellevue, Wash.
DB Malik Hooker Ohio State 6-2 205 Jr New Castle, Pa.
DB Marlon Humphrey Alabama 6-1 196 So. Hoover, Ala.
DB Tarvarus McFadden Florida State 6-2 198 So Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

SPECIALISTS

K Zane Gonzalez Arizona State 6-1 195 Sr. Deer Park, Texas
P Mitch Wishnowsky Utah 6-2 220 So Gosnells, Australia
KR Quadree Henderson Pittsburgh 5-8 190 So Wilmington, Del.
PR Adoreé Jackson USC 5-11 185 Jr Belleville, Ill.

 

2016 FWAA ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB Baker Mayfield Oklahoma
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
RB Donnel Pumphrey San Diego State
WR Zay Jones East Carolina
WR John Ross Washington
HB Curtis Samuel Ohio State
OL Trey Adams Washington
OL Orlando Brown Oklahoma
OL Taylor Moton Western Michigan
OL Tyler Orlosky West Virginia
OL Ryan Ramczyk Wisconsin

DEFENSE

DL Derek Barnett Tennessee
DL Hunter Dimick Utah
DL Ed Oliver Houston
DL Solomon Thomas Stanford
LB Kendell Beckwith LSU
LB Ben Boulware Clemson
LB Micah Kiser Virginia
DB Rasul Douglas West Virginia
DB Jourdan Lewis Michigan
DB Jalen “Teez” Tabor Florida
DB Tre’Davious White LSU.

SPECIALISTS

K Daniel Carlson Auburn
P Michael Dickson Texas
KR Desmond King Iowa
PR Christian Kirk Texas A&M.

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 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 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. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

2016 FWAA ALL-AMERICA COMMITTEE

Nick Baumgardner, MLive.com (Big Ten)

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman (Chairman)

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News (C-USA)

Clay Henry, Hawgs Illustrated (SEC)

Joey Johnston, TodaysU.com (American Athletic)

Steve Jones, Louisville Courier-Journal (ACC)

Matt Roberson, Jonesboro Sun (Sun Belt)

John Shinn, Norman Transcript (Big 12)

Dave Southorn, Idaho Statesman (Mountain West)

Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications (Independents/National)

Ryan Thorburn, Eugene Register-Guard (Pac-12)

John Wagner, Toledo Blade (Mid-American)

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama’s Robinson wins 2016 Outland Trophy

outland trophy bwATLANTA — Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson claimed the 71st Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN from the College Football Hall of Fame.

It is the fifth time one school has swept the FWAA’s two major position awards in the same season: the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player). But it is the first time two different players from the same school have won the awards in the same year.

In the four other sweeps, it was the same player. Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen claimed the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night in Charlotte.

Ohio State senior center Pat Elflein and Washington State junior offensive guard Cody O’Connell were the other two finalists for the 2016 Outland Trophy.

robinson_cam-crop

Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson, winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy.

Robinson, a 6-6, 310-pound junior from Monroe, La., is the top offensive tackle on the No. 1-ranked team in college football. He has started every game at left tackle since he has been on campus (42 straight games). He had 28 knockdown blocks in the regular season. He has been selected a six-time offensive player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff. He played a great game in the 10-0 victory at LSU, with no sacks allowed and no penalties. He has blocked for 10 100-yard rushers this season. In the 30-12 victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Robinson graded out at 89 percent and did not allow a quarterback hurry or sack. He cleared a path for 203 rushing yards in that game.

“He certainly is a dominant offensive lineman on the college scene and should have a great future in the NFL,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “He follows in a long line of outstanding linemen for the Tide. He is the third under Nick Saban since (2008) to win the Ourland Trophy. Alabama runs the ball with authority against just about everybody, and Robinson is a big reason why.”

Alabama ties Ohio State and Iowa with Outland winners at four – the third highest total by one school. Alabama didn’t have a winner until 1999, but now has Robinson, Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and Barrett Jones (2011). Nebraska leads all schools with eight different Outland Trophy winners (nine total), followed by Oklahoma with five then Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa with four each.

The Outland Trophy, which is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third oldest player award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.

For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017, at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts, will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

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 Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 900 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.

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O.K. “Buddy” Davis honored with FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

Editor’s Note: Buddy already has his football, but he will be honored long-distance during the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast om Jan. 9 in Tampa.

By Teddy Allen

RUSTON, La. — On the fake turf in Louisiana Tech’s otherwise empty Aillet Stadium, his wheelchair toed the goalline on this mid-morning Monday. O.K. “Buddy” Davis,  recipient of the 2016 FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award, was about to illustrate yet again his determination and spirit.

He cocked his head toward a friend and said, “Time me.”

And then he eyed his goal, inhaled, paused, hit the forward button and leaned into it. Forty yards and a cloud of rubber pellets later, he’d clocked an 18.79 — not much slower than he’d have run it before the summer of 2014 and the stroke and the fancy wheelchair.

O.K. "Buddy" Davis received a commemorative football in recognition of the 2016 FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo by .onny J Crowe),Copyright:Louisiana Tech University.All Rights Reserved.(dcrowe@latech.edu) 318-257-4854 Buddy Davis,

O.K. “Buddy” Davis received a commemorative football in recognition of the 2016 FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo by Donny Crowe, head of photographic services, Louisiana Tech University)

So he’s slowed down. But not much.

The sports editor of the Ruston Daily Leader since pre-Watergate — 50 years and an estimated 43,000 bylines — Buddy has been a one-man show in an athletic community that’s long drawn a spotlight. A quarter of the members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame — Buddy was honored with its Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism in 2009 — have Lincoln Parish ties.

In 2010, this year’s FWAA honoree was even named Mr. Louisiana Basketball, even though he’s taller than 5-foot-7 only if he stands on his typewriter.

“He plays like he’s 7-3,” said Northwestern State basketball coach Mike McConathy, one of the many All-Americans Buddy has covered in his role as a one-man sports staff, photographer and athletic almanac.

Although there are occasional get-togethers in the house he grew up in and owns, Buddy’s main residence since the stroke is a Ruston assisted living center, Room 58. His friends refer to it as “The Jack Lambert Suite,” a nod to one of the greats on the Pittsburgh teams quarterbacked by Louisiana Tech’s Blond Bomber, Terry Bradshaw.

Although he’s now limited to the use of his right arm and hand, Buddy still cranks out his weekly “O.K.’s Corral” Sunday column and 1,,500-word blog, still tweets and “Facebooks” and goes to as many Tech, Grambling State University, high school games and events as he can.

If anything, the physical setback only has elevated his status as rock star. Before the stroke, the bachelor and hometown lifer had admirers like Fort Knox has gold bars. But now …

“If we could have Buddy daily at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, he would be our best and most popular interactive exhibit,” said Doug Ireland, chairman of the Hall and its Foundation’s executive director. “Autograph hounds around Ruston would be smart to sit in the hallway outside the Lambert Suite to catch the sports celebs who drop by to visit our hero, because he’s not only a great journalist, he’s an even better human.”

In the months immediately after the stroke, friends took turns going by daily to check his phone and give him his messages. One day, the first three messages were from Bradshaw, Archie Manning and former Grambling All-American/Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, who sounded like a child explaining why the DVDs he’d promised to deliver hadn’t been dropped off yet. (They were in Buddy’s room the next day.)

“He’s a north Louisiana guy, but he loves all of Louisiana,” Manning said. “He’s a dear friend, such a good man, a sweet man. Louisiana is blessed – we’re all blessed — to have him.”

“In a business full of egos and abrasiveness and cynicism and sarcasm, Buddy fits none of those categories,” said his former Tech colleague and longtime sportswriter and editor Nico Van Thyn. “He’s pretty much the same as he was at Ruston High and Tech in the 1960s — dedicated and hard-working and likeable, almost naïve-like in his approach to life. If he had tough stories to report, he did it, but without making enemies, without tearing down someone or some institution.”

For years, Buddy has kept this note on his bedside table, a reminder of what he felt his daily duty has been: “Positive Uplifting Inspirational Messages.”

“In many ways he represents a throwback to a time when more of us wanted to see the best in others,” said sportscaster Tim Brando, who lives an hour from Ruston in Shreveport and joins Bradshaw, Bert Jones, Kim Mulkey, Willie Roaf, Karl Malone, Willis Reed and dozens of others who’ve visited The Lambert Suite. “Hopefully, we’ll see a rebirth to Buddy’s way of covering the game, not just here but around the country. His approach was to say, ‘It’s OK to love not just the game, but the people who play it, coach it, and pay to see it.’ ”

The late legendary Grambling coach Eddie Robinson was quoted in Sports Illustrated saying Buddy “was like a son to me.” Bert Jones still has the clippings Buddy wrote about the six consecutive no-hitters Bert threw one long-ago summer for the Atlas Construction team in Dixie Baseball, before Buddy had nicknamed him “The Ruston Rifle.”

And when the Smithsonian’s “Hometown Heroes” exhibit was in town this fall, one night was set aside to honor a local athletic legend. But which one? Several attended, including Bert and his father (Cleveland Browns receiver great Dub Jones), former Braves-Mets pitcher George Stone, basketball stars Aaron James and Willis Reed among them. Unsurprisingly, they were there to take part in “The Buddy Davis Story.”

Speaking for the crowd, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Leon Barmore told Buddy that night, “We can all learn from you.”

“Buddy has always been known for his humble nature and passion for good journalism,” said Ruston Daily Leader publisher Rick Hohlt. “But more importantly, Buddy has loved the opportunities throughout his 52 years at the Ruston Daily Leader to help athletes succeed and thrive in their careers. His work ethic and love of the game is beyond reproach.”

”As long as I can remember, back during my days as a young sports scribe coming out of Tech’s journalism department, I’ve been sending in my FWAA dues, reading the Fifth Down, voting on All-American teams, looking forward to receiving my directory and keeping up with my fellow members,” Buddy said. ”Hard to believe that the years since I mailed in my first membership dues have sprinted by faster than Lamar Jackson making it to the end zone again.

”But may I extend a heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the FWAA and all who were responsible for making this honor possible.”

Buddy is the one who made it most possible. He has been the perfect person in the perfect place at the perfect time.

“Buddy has the ability to deal with both the biggest stars in the game and junior varsity with equal enthusiasm,” said fellow Louisiana Distinguished Service in Sports Journalism honoree Ted Lewis. “That is why he has the most appropriate name in the world – Buddy.”

Five finalists named for FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

eddie-all-state

NEW YORK — The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, has announced five finalists for the 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The winner of the award will be revealed on Dec. 15.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are: Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck, Penn State’s James Franklin, Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, Washington’s Chris Petersen and Alabama’s Nick Saban.

“This is an especially strong field of candidates,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Each one of these coaches could win the award and probably would in most other seasons. They all set the bar extraordinarily high, and whoever does win Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year will further honor the great man for whom we present this award.”

The only previous winner in the group is Saban, who has his team poised for a fifth national title in eight years. He claimed the FWAA Coach of the Year Award previously in 2008 (at Alabama) and in 2003 (at LSU), when the Tigers claimed a piece of the national title. Petersen has been a four-time finalist while at Boise State in 2006 and ‘08, ‘09 and ‘10.

The finalists have been placed on a ballot, which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 7, 2017, in Tampa, where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The award is named for the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

Robinson, who passed away on April 3, 2007, won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson’s teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers won nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

The 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: The former NFL player and assistant coach has taken the Broncos (13-0) to their first unbeaten regular season in school history and back-to-back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time. The Broncos have scored a school record number of points (566) this season and were the last team in the country to commit a turnover. The Mid-American Conference champions are headed to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to face Wisconsin.

James Franklin, Penn State: After a 2-2 start, the Nittany Lions won nine straight games to win the Big Ten Conference in Franklin’s third season in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Wisconsin, 38-31, in the Big Ten title game. During the nine-game winning streak, Penn State was the only team to beat College Football Playoff-bound Ohio State. Franklin will take Penn State to the Rose Bowl Game to play USC.

Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: The Buffaloes had won only two of their previous 27 Pac-12 Conference games prior to this season, when they won eight league games to claim the South Division title. The Buffaloes were picked to finish last in the South, but won ten games for the first time since 2001. The son of former college head coach George MacIntyre has authored perhaps the best turnaround story in college football this season.

Chris Petersen, Washington: After 8-6 and 7-6 seasons which produced minor bowl trips for the Huskies, Petersen’s team has made a breakthrough nationally, earning a spot in the College Football Playoff with a 12-1 record. Still one of the younger teams in the Pac-12, the Huskies defeated Colorado, 41-10, in the Pac-12 title game to win their first league title since 2000. The Huskies, whose lone loss was to Rose Bowl-bound USC, face Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

Nick Saban, Alabama: He has put together a continuing dynasty in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the Crimson Tide is vying for its fifth national title in eight years. Alabama is currently riding a 25-game winning streak, the longest in the FBS. The nation’s top-ranked team team dominated the SEC with an unbeaten record (13-0) led by one of the nation’s best defenses. Alabama begins its quest to repeat as national champions in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Washington.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 88 Hall of Fame players, 47 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 82-year history. The 83rd Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 2, 2017. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.3 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 25,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 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. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Alabama’s Allen wins 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

2016 bronko sponsor logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide landed a winner in the Bronko Nagurski Trophy balloting: defensive end Jonathan Allen.

The nation’s top-ranked team, attempting to win a second straight national title and fifth in eight years, saw Allen claim the trophy as the best defensive player in college football, as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America.

Alabama has had a Nagurski finalist seven times in the last eight years; in fact, the Crimson Tide had two of the five 2016 Nagurski finalists. The previous six times, a Crimson Tide player didn’t get the nod in Charlotte. But Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., broke that streak after returning for his senior season to improve his draft status.

“I’m honestly speechless right now. I never in a million years thought I would even be up for this award, yet win it,” Allen said. “I’ve got to thank all the guys back at Alabama, God, my parents, my girlfriend, everyone who’s had a part in shaping me and making me who I am. This is just a tremendous award.”

“Few would debate that Alabama has the nation’s best defensive line, and Jonathan Allen is a major reason why Crimson Tide opponents have such a difficult time moving the ball,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He is the winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and had to beat out one of his teammates, Reuben Foster, for it.”

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

The finalists on hand for the banquet hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club were: Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.

Projected as a high first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, Allen has been nicknamed “Superman” for some of his plays. Allen is a standout on the nation’s best defense, which, until the SEC Championship Game, hadn’t given up a touchdown since Oct. 22 against Texas A&M.

“Jonathan Allen is a fantastic player for us, even a better person and leader,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He’s had an outstanding year. I think he’s sort of someone that a lot of players should look at who came here weighing probably 250 pounds. We kind of recruited him as an outside linebacker. The guy has developed each and every year into being a better and better and better player. I think sometimes a lot of players lose sight of how football is a developmental game, how they improve, how they can improve their value by continuing to grow and develop as players in college. Jonathan Allen is a great example of that.”

Allen is second on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 26.5 and has nine sacks for 72 yards in losses this season. He has 15 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries – a 75-yard return against Ole Miss and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner was chosen from the five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and winner.

In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center, the banquet celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, was honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was the keynote speaker at the banquet.

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 Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 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. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS

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. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

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It’s in the genes: Chloe Robinson kicks ’em through the uprights for Atlanta high school playoff team

If you catch 16-year-old Chloe Robinson just kickin’ it on a Friday night, chances are it’s through the uprights on a football field.

She is the placekicker for Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, which is in the quarterfinals of the Georgia 5A playoffs.

Chloe is a junior at Mays, and this is her football debut this season. She is the only girl listed on any high school football roster in Atlanta Public Schools.

Editor’s note: Chloe also is the great-granddaughter of the late Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, the namesake of  the Football Writers Association of America’s Coach of the Year Award. This year’s finalists for the award will be announced on the morning of Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The winner will be revealed on Dec.15 in Dallas, and the presentation of the Eddie Robinson Bust to the winning coach will occur on Jan. 7 in Tampa during a reception two days before the CFP National Championship Game.

CLICK HERE to read the entire story at theundefeated.com.

Three finalists named for 2016 Outland Trophy

outland trophy bwDALLAS Three finalists for the 71st Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense, were named on Monday by the Football Writers Association of America: Ohio State center Pat Elflein, Washington State offensive guard Cody O’Connell and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

pat-elflein-crop

Pat Elflein

Elflein, 6-3, 300-pound senior. He has started all 11 games for the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes (10-1), who play Michigan on Saturday in a showdown of Big Ten East Division powers. He is the only senior on Ohio State’s offensive line. He has 40 career starts. Played guard (All-Big Ten first team twice as a sophomore and junior)) previous to this season, but moved to center in 2016 because he probably will play that position in the NFL. The fifth-year graduate student received his degree in communications last May. One of the top Ohio State players in the weight room as well as academically. Ohio State ranks fifth in scoring (43.8 ppg), eighth in rushing offense (263.1) ypg), 68th  in passing offense (230.0 ypg) and 21st in total offense (493.1 ypg).

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Cody O’Connell

O’Connell, 6-8, 351-pound junior guard. He helps trigger Washington State’s high-octane offense which ranks second in the country in passing behind quarterback Luke Falk. The Cougars are 8-3 overall and will meet Washington on Friday to determine the Pac-12 North Division champion. Through the first nine games, O’Connell had graded out at 92 percent, allowing zero sacks. Has 23 knockdowns through nine games in 364 pass plays. Came in second half and helped rally WSU to a 35-31 win at Oregon State after the Cougars were trailing 21-0 at halftime. Won three Bone Awards from staff.

Washington State is No. 2 in FBS in passing (380.05),  10th in scoring (42.5 ppg), 114th in rushing (132.5 ypg) and No. 10 in total offense (512.5 ypg.)

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Cam Robinson

Robinson, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior, is the top offensive tackle on the No. 1-ranked team in college football that produces 477.6 offensive yards a game. He has started every game at left tackle since he has been on campus (40 straight games). He has 23 knockdown blocks through 11 games of the season. He has been a five-time offensive player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff. Played great game in victory at LSU, with no sacks and no penalties. Similar game vs. Tennessee, in which he starred. He has blocked for 10 100-yard rushers this season. Alabama ranks 14th in the country in scoring (40.3 ppg), 13th in rushing  (249.8 ypg), 71stnd in passing (227.6 ypg) and 27thd in total offense (477.6 ypg).

The winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy will be announced Dec. 8 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN, the main show beginning at 7 p.m. (Eastern Time) from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Alabama, Ohio State and Washington State all have had previous Outland Trophy winners. The Buckeyes lead the group with four previous winners: Jim Parker (1956), Jim Stillwagon (1970), John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace (1996). Alabama didn’t have a winner until 1999, but now has three previous winners: Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and Barrett Jones (2011). Washington State’s lone previous winner is Rien Long (2002).

The Outland Trophy. which is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third-oldest player award in major-college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.

For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017 at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts, will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast about 700 years of tradition-selection excellence.

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 Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 900 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.

Jason Kersey named Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year

Jason Kersey

Jason Kersey

Former Oklahoman reporter Jason Kersey has been named the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year for the 2015 football season, when he was covering the Oklahoma Sooners for the newspaper.

Kersey, almost 30 and now a writer for SEC Country and covering the Arkansas Razorbacks, is the sixth annual winner of this award. He will be honored during the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Fla., at the media hotel for the CFP National Championship Game.

“I am genuinely stunned and overwhelmed,” Kersey said. “I want to thank the committee for this unbelievable honor. It means more to me than I can adequately express. I want to thank Ryan Aber (an FWAA member), who was my cohort on the OU beat. He was as perfect a beat partner as anyone working in this job could ever hope to have.

“Also, thanks to my dad for instilling in me a passionate love for sports. Thanks to my mom for how irrationally proud she is of any accomplishments, be it massive or minuscule. And a special thank you to my wife, Annie. This job can be tough on spouses, and Annie not only puts up with it but also encourages and supports me because she knows how much it means to me.”

For the first time, the FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award will be known as the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award.  The late Ellis was a standout beat writer who covered Florida State football for the Tallahassee Democrat for a number of years.

Previous winners of this prestigious FWAA award: Doug Lesmerises (Cleveland Plain Dealer), Mark Blaudschun (Boston Globe), Steve Wieberg (USA Today), Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News), Tim May (Columbus Dispatch) and Chris Dufresne (Los Angeles Times).

“Jason was instrumental to The Oklahoman’s Sports section’s success in print and digitally,” said Mike Sherman, sports editor of the Tampa Bay Times and former sports editor of The Oklahoman. “He worked his way through various roles in our department, capitalizing on every opportunity to build skills, relationships and his capacity for great storytelling. His reporting broke news and ground.”

In his nomination folder, one fellow writer said: “Jason’s work during the 2015 season perfectly paralleled the play of the team he covered. Oklahoma was at the top of its game, and so was Jason. His versatility shines through on a daily basis, as he reports the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Kersey gave Sherman an assist for his award-winning coverage.

“Mike Sherman is the best sports editor in the country,” Kersey said. “He hired me as a part-timer when I was just an awkward, 19-year-old college sophomore. Throughout our almost decade-long working relationship, he always believed I could do better. I miss working for Mike Sherman every single day because he flat-out makes writers better.

“When I was little, I thought I would someday be a quarterback. I didn’t have the arm, so I tried wide receiver,” Kersey added. “And when I found my speed and athleticism lacking, I decided writing might be my ticket to a career involving football.”

KERSEY BIO

Jason Kersey joined The Oklahoman’s staff in November 2006 and worked as a part-time results clerk, a page designer/copy editor and a high school sports and recruiting reporter before spending four years on the OU football beat.

His work covering the Sooners twice resulted in national recognition as a top-10 beat writer from the Associated Press Sports Editors, as well as top-10 APSE honors for features, breaking news and multimedia. Jason has also won awards from the Tulsa Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists. During his time covering Oklahoma, Jason chronicled the Sooners’ monumental 2014 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, the rise of quarterback Baker Mayfield and OU’s run to the 2015 College Football Playoff.

His work at The Oklahoman also included extensive coverage of the racist fraternity video that shocked the entire country and spurred social change on OU’s campus; exclusive reporting on a Title IX sexual assault investigation involving a football player; and the Joe Mixon saga.

Jason left The Oklahoman in May 2016 to join Cox Media Group’s new venture, SEC Country, as its Arkansas beat writer. He is wrapping up his first season covering Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks.

A Noble, Okla., native, Jason graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. He lives in Fayetteville, Ark., with his wife Annie and dog Buster.

Five finalists for Bronko Nagurski Trophy named

2016 bronko sponsor logosDALLAS — Five Finalists have been chosen for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are: Alabama end Jonathan Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.

Top-ranked and unbeaten Alabama has a Bronko Nagurski finalist for the sixth straight year and for the seventh time in eight years. Clemson has a finalist for the second straight year. Florida State’s last finalist was in 2013 and Michigan’s in 2006.

Clemson has had one previous winner, Da’Quan Bowers in 2010. And Michigan’s Charles Woodson was the 1997 winner during the same season in which he collected the Heisman Trophy. Both Alabama and Florida State will be seeking a winner for the first time this year.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from these five finalists, who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and will choose the winner.

Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Jonathan Allen

Allen, a 6-foot-3, 291-pound senior, and Foster, a 6-foot-1, 228-pound senior, are two of the standouts on Alabama’s defense, which is one of the best in the country. The Crimson Tide ranks No. 1 in the FBS in rushing defense (68.8 yards allowed per game), and No. 2 in both scoring defense (12.2 points per game allowed) and in total defense (259.5 yards allowed per game).

Allen, who is tied for second place on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 25, has 7 ½ sacks for 55 yards in losses this season. He has 13 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries_ a 75-yard return against Mississippi and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.

Reuben Foster, Alabama

Reuben Foster

Foster is Alabama’s leading tackler with 70 tackles (35 unassisted). Along with Alllen, he also has started all 10 games this season. Foster has seven tackles for 29 yards in losses, two of which are sacks. He has two passes broken up and four quarterback hurries.

Tavarus McFadden, Florida State

Tavarus McFadden

McFadden, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound sophomore cornerback, leads the country with seven interceptions. He is the first Seminole with seven interceptions since 1997 and is already tied for the fourth highest interception total by an FSU player in a single season. He also chips in 14 tackles (11 unassisted), three tackles for 12 yards in losses and four passes broken up for the Seminoles (7-3).

Michigan’s Peppers, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior linebacker who plays some defensive back, has played 13 different positions during the 2016 season.

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

But he is the star of the defense that ranks No. 1 in the country in scoring defense (allowing 11.0 ppg), in total defense (allowing 244.7 yards a game) and in passing defense (allowing 131.6 yards a game). Peppers is the season’s second-leading tackler on the team with 59 (14 of which have been for 63 yards in losses). He has a forced fumble and eight quarterback hurries for the once-beaten Wolverines.

Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Christian Wilkins

Wilkins, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound sophomore end, is one of the defensive stalwarts for the Tigers, who have lost only to Pittsburgh. He plays more end than tackle. Over the course of the season he has made 45 tackles (33 unassisted). He has a team-leading 11 tackles for 47 yards in losses, 3.5 of which are sacks. He has also recovered a fumble and blocked a kick for Clemson, which ranks 12th in FBS in scoring defense (18.4 points allowed a game.)

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 5 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

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. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story

Five semifinalists for Outland Trophy named

outland trophy bwDALLAS  — Five semifinalists for the Outland Trophy were named on Wednesday night by the Football Writers Association of America and were featured during a reception in Omaha, Neb., where the trophy presentation banquet for the 71st Outland Trophy winner will be held in January.

The five semifinalists — all offensive linemen — in alphabetical order, are: Pat Elflein, Ohio State; Cody O’Connell, Washington State; Ethan Pocic, LSU;  Cam Robinson, Alabama, and Connor Williams, Texas.

Elflein is a 6-3, 300-pound senior, who previously played guard, but is a center this season for the nation’s second-ranked team. O’Connell is a behemoth 6-8, 351-pound junior guard who helps trigger Washington State’s high-octane offense which ranks second in the country in passing with quarterback Luke Falk. Pocic, a 6-7, 302-pound senior center, anchors the line for LSU’s potent rushing game, which is led by Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice. Robinson, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior, is the top offensive tackle on the No. 1-ranked team in college football that produces 492.2 offensive yards a game. Williams, a 6-6, 288-pound sophomore tackle at Texas, blocks for the leading rusher in the FBS in yards per game, D’Onta Foreman.

The five semifinalists will be whittled down to three finalists and announced on Tuesday during The Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special, starting at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) on ESPNU. The winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy, will be announced Dec. 8 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN, the main show beginning at 7 p.m. (Eastern Time) from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

The Outland Trophy is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third-oldest player award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.

For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017 at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts, will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast about 700 years of tradition-selection excellence.

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 Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 900 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.