College stars take home AP All-America honors
Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke of Florida State, poses with his trophy on Dec. 9 at New York's Downtown Athletic Club. (AP/Suzanne Plunkett, Pool)
The Florida schools each had three players selected today for the Associated Press All-America team, a 26-player squad featuring Florida State's Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke, and Miami's award-winning linebacker, Dan Morgan.
Wide receiver Marvin Minnis and defensive end Jamal Reynolds were the other Seminoles chosen. Wide receiver-punt returner Santana Moss and safety Edward Reed joined Morgan in giving the Hurricanes their first trio of All-Americans since 1992. Florida State had four players on the first team in '99.
Weinke, Florida State's 28-year-old quarterback, led the nation with 4,167 yards passing and threw 33 touchdown passes, with just 11 interceptions. He led the third-ranked Seminoles (11-1) to a national title game against No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0) in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
The Sooners' Josh Heupel made second team, with Purdue's Drew Brees the third-team quarterback.
TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson and Northwestern's Damien Anderson, the nation's top two rushers, were the running backs.
The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Tomlinson ran for 2,158 yards -- the fourth highest single-season total in I-A history -- in leading the Horned Frogs (10-1) to the Western Athletic Conference title and a berth in the Mobile Alabama Bowl. The 5-11, 208-pound Anderson ran for 1,914 yards as the Wildcats (8-3) took a share of the Big Ten title and earned a trip to the Alamo Bowl.
Minnis, who stepped in for two-time All-American Peter Warrick, made life easier for Weinke by catching 63 passes for 1,340 yards and 11 TDs -- an average of 21.3 yards. The other wide receiver was Pittsburgh's Antonio Bryant, the Biletnikoff Award winner who led the nation in average yards per game (130.2) with 68 catches for 1,302 yards and 11 TDs.
Moss was chosen as the all-purpose player. The 5-10, 180-pound senior caught 45 passes for 748 yards and five TDs, and ranked fourth nationally in punt returns with an 18.2-yard average. The Big East's co-offensive player and special teams player of the year also returned four punts for touchdowns.
Morgan, the first player to win the Butkus, Bednarik and Nagurski awards in the same season, topped the Big East with 138 tackles, including 15 for losses on a defense that ranked fifth in points allowed at 15.5 per game. The Bednarik and Nagurski awards are for the nation's top defensive player; the Butkus goes to the top linebacker.
Linebacker Rocky Calmus was the lone first-team representative for No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0).
The Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences led the way with five players apiece on the team, which consisted of 17 seniors, seven junior and two sophomores. The sophomores were Bryant and Cincinnati kicker Jonathan Ruffin.
Brian Natkin of Texas-El Paso was the tight end after a season of 64 catches for 787 yards and four TDs.
Center Dominic Raiola of Nebraska anchors an offensive line that also features Steve Hutchinson of Michigan, Leonard Davis of Texas, Chris Brown of Georgia Tech and Chad Ward of Washington. Average weight? 322.8 pounds.
Ruffin led the nation in field goals with 26 -- on 29 attempts and hit 26 of 27 extra points. Last season, he hit just five of 12 field goals.
Joining Lombardi Award winner Reynolds along the defensive line were Outland Trophy winner John Henderson of Tennessee, Andre Carter of California and Casey Hampton of Texas -- the only repeater from last year. Reynolds led the Seminoles with 12 sacks; Henderson topped the SEC with 12 sacks; Carter had a school record 13½ sacks; and Hampton was the Big 12's defensive player of the year with 74 tackles, 18 for losses.
Along with Morgan and Calmus, the other linebackers were Keith Adams of Clemson and Carlos Polk of Nebraska. Morgan, 6-3, 245, was the Big East's leading tackler with 138 stops, including 15 for losses; Calmus, 6-3, 234 pounds, led the Sooners with 122 tackles, including 17 against Nebraska; Adams finished with 138 tackles; and Polk was the Huskers' leading tackler with 89 stops and returned his one interception for a TD.
In addition to Reed, the secondary consisted Fred Smoot of Mississippi State, Dwight Smith of Akron and Jamar Fletcher of Wisconsin. Reed returned two of his eight interceptions for scores; Smoot had five interceptions; Smith was the nation's co-leader in interceptions with 10 -- two were returned for TDs; and Fletcher had six interceptions in the nine games he played.
Nick Harris of California was the punter. He averaged 41.5 yards per punt, with 36 of his 73 punts falling inside the opponents' 20-yard line -- 17 inside the 10.
The All-America team was selected by the following sports writers:
Andrew Bagnato (Chicago Tribune); Tony Barnhart (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Mark Blaudschun (Boston Globe); Chris Dufresne (Los Angeles Times); Bob Baum (AP Phoenix); Stephen Hawkins (AP Dallas); Paul Newberry (AP Atlanta); Alan Robinson (AP Pittsburgh); and Richard Rosenblatt (AP national college football writer).