FWAA releases its 75th Anniversary All-America team

FWAA 75th Anniversary

As members of the Football Writers Association of America, the staff of College Football America was invited to participate in this process.

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America proudly announces its 75th Anniversary All-America Team, celebrating the association’s All-America teams from near the end of World War II through the 2014 season. The FWAA, which was founded in 1941, has picked an annual All-America team since the 1944 season, making it the second longest continuously selected team in major college football.

The FWAA’s first All-America team in 1944 included Army’s famous running back tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas’ legendary head football coach. Seven decades later, the 2014 team featured Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota of Oregon, Outland Trophy winner, offensive tackle Brandon Scherff of Iowa, and Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, linebacker Scooby Wright III of Arizona.

“This was one of the most fun, yet most difficult exercises I’ve had in life – next to parallel parking, that is,” said FWAA 75th All-America Committee chairman Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman. “Truly, it was an exciting – if not impossible – task to find the best 75 college football players ever. Please save your hate mail, but feel free to weigh in and tell us how we messed up. And I’m sure we did, but no one should argue that it wasn’t a great idea to honor the best who have ever played the game. Let the debating begin.”

A nomination ballot with selected players from all FWAA All-America teams was sent to the entire membership this spring. The popular vote was then taken into consideration by a Blue Ribbon Committee of FWAA past presidents, current board members and officers. That committee put the finishing touches on selecting the 75-man team. In order for a player to be considered for the FWAA’s 75th team, he had to be on a previous FWAA All-America team.

The FWAA’s 25-man first team included Navy quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, the only member from a military academy; the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner running back Archie Griffin of Ohio State; three-time FWAA All-America end Leon Hart of Notre Dame; and the only two-time Outland Trophy winner, center Dave Rimington of Nebraska. On the three 25-man teams, the Cornhuskers led all schools with six selections – including four on the first team – and four of their overall honorees are Outland Trophy winners. Ohio State and Pittsburgh each had five selections and Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas had four. Schools with three selections were Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and USC.

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75th ANNIVERSARY FWAA ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB Roger Staubach, Navy
RB Archie Griffin, Ohio State
RB Herschel Walker, Georgia
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh
WR Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State
TE Keith Jackson, Oklahoma
OL John Hannah, Alabama
OL Orlando Pace, Ohio State
OL Will Shields, Nebraska
OL Ron Yary, USC
C Dave Rimington, Nebraska

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DT Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
DE Leon Hart, Notre Dame
DE Ted Hendricks, Miami (Fla.)
LB Tommy Nobis, Texas
LB Mike Singletary, Baylor
LB Derrick Thomas, Alabama
DB Ronnie Lott, USC
DB Deion Sanders, Florida State
DB Jack Tatum, Ohio State
DB Charles Woodson, Michigan

FIRST TEAM SPECIALISTS
P Ray Guy, Southern Miss
K Kevin Butler, Georgia
RS Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB Tim Tebow, Florida
RB Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh
RB Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
WR Fred Biletnikoff, Florida State
WR Randy Moss, Marshall
TE Mike Ditka, Pittsburgh
OL Bill Fralic, Pittsburgh
OL John Hicks, Ohio State
OL Calvin Jones, Iowa
OL Jonathan Ogden, UCLA
C Chuck Bednarik, Penn

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DT Merlin Olsen, Utah State
DT Randy White, Maryland
DE Hugh Green, Pittsburgh
DE Bruce Smith, Virginia Tech
LB Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma
LB Dick Butkus, Illinois
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
DB Champ Bailey, Georgia
DB Kenny Easley, UCLA
DB Jerry Gray, Texas
DB Ed Reed, Miami (Fla.)

SECOND TEAM SPECIALISTS
P Russell Erxleben, Texas
K Mason Crosby, Colorado
RS Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame

THIRD TEAM OFFENSE
QB Tommie Frazier, Nebraska
RB Bo Jackson, Auburn
RB Doak Walker, SMU
WR Anthony Carter, Michigan
WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
TE Gordon Hudson, BYU
OL Barrett Jones, Alabama
OL Willie Roaf, Louisiana Tech
OL Jerry Sisemore, Texas
OL Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska
C Jim Ritcher, N.C. State

THIRD TEAM DEFENSE
DT Steve Emtman, Washington
DT Reggie White, Tennessee
DE Bubba Smith, Michigan State
DE Jack Youngblood, Florida
LB Jack Ham, Penn State
LB Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama
LB Chris Spielman, Ohio State
DB Dré Bly, North Carolina
DB Dave Brown, Michigan
DB Troy Polamalu, USC
DB Roy Williams, Oklahoma

THIRD TEAM SPECIALISTS
P Rohn Stark, Florida State
K Tony Franklin, Texas A&M
RS Derek Abney, Kentucky

“Picking the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary teams was like taking a final exam with no wrong answers,” said 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. “Even though some answers may be more ‘right’ than others, this will add to the colorful conversation about college football, honor those chosen, and help celebrate the game.”

The quarterbacks of the top two teams are both Heisman Trophy winners: Staubach and Tim Tebow of Florida. Quarterback Tommie Frazier of Nebraska was selected to the third team after leading Nebraska to back-to-back national titles and finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy his senior season. All six of the running backs are Heisman Trophy winners: Griffin, Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett, Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders, Auburn’s Bo Jackson and SMU’s Doak Walker. There are 16 Outland winners (selected since 1946) and five Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners (selected since 1993) on the three teams.

All eight decades in which the FWAA teams have been selected are represented on the 75-man team, starting in the 1940s with SMU’s Walker all the way through Alabama’s two-time All-America Barrett Jones, the 2011 Outland winner. In all, there are 56 members of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame and 41 schools are represented on the three 25-man teams.

The FWAA has selected All-America Teams in different forms over the years. All the teams are online at allamericateam.com and footballwriters.com in the All-America section in the FWAA awards area.

“This was truly an enriching experience picking this team,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “It put our members in contact with the great players of the past and truly gave them a better snapshot of college football history. All of our All-Americans were great, but picking this team was like choosing between a filet mignon and a Kansas City strip.”

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