December 12, 2005

Trojans (who else?) lead All-Americans

With the regular season complete, it's time to announce the 2005 All-America Team, one of the most well-balanced All-America teams you'll find anywhere.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten and the Pac-10 each placed six players on our first team. The SEC had five players on the first team, and the Big 12 managed to get three players on it. Notre Dame, an independent, had the other player.

Top-ranked Southern California led the six teams that placed multiple players on our first team. The Trojans had three first-teamers --- all-purpose back Reggie Bush, guard Taitusi Lutui and safety Darnell Bing. LSU, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas each had two players cop top honors.

Without further ado, we're proud to present the 2005 All-America Team: 2005 All-American First Team
Offense Defense
QB: Vince Young
6-5, 233, Texas (Jr.)
The Heisman runner-up not only passed for 2,769 yards and 26 touchdowns but added 850 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
DE: Tamba Hali
6-3, 267, Penn State (Sr.)
A three-year starter, Hali led the Big Ten with 11 sacks and was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy awarded to the nation's top defensive player.
RB: Laurence Maroney
5-11, 205, Minnesota (Jr.)
Maroney rushed for 1,260 yards and nine touchdowns in the first eight games on the way to his third 1,000-yard season. He finished with 1,355 yards.
DE: Mathias Kiwanuka
6-7, 262, Boston College (Sr.)
Behind 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss, Kiwanuka anchored the Eagles' ninth-ranked scoring defense.
RB: Jerome Harrison
5-10, 199, Washington State (Sr.)
Leading the nation with 1,900 rushing yards to go along with 16 touchdowns, Harrison was a bright spot for the 4-7 Cougars.
DT: Haloti Ngata
6-5, 338, Oregon (Jr.)
The Nagurski finalist had 59 tackles, nine for losses, and two blocked kicks.
WR: Calvin Johnson
6-4, 230, Georgia Tech (So.)
When do 52 receptions for 869 yards and six touchdowns make you an All-American? When you're the most dangerous weapon this side of Reggie Bush and everyone knows it.
DT: Kyle Williams
6-2, 295, LSU (Sr.)
A relentless pass-rusher, Williams finished with 4.5 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries.
WR: Jeff Samardzija
6-5, 216, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Talk about a breakout season: 17 catches, 274 yards, no touchdowns in '04; 72 catches, 1,215 yards, 15 touchdowns in '05.
LB: A.J. Hawk
6-1, 240, Ohio State (Sr.)
The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Lombardi Award winner, he racked up 109 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
TE: Marcedes Lewis
6-6, 256, UCLA (Sr.)
A key cog in quarterback Drew Olson's red zone prowess. All 10 of Lewis' touchdown catches were 19 yards or less.
LB: Paul Posluszny
6-2, 229, Penn State (Jr.)
With 111 tackles and 11 tackles for losses, Posluszny is making a name for himself at Linebacker U.
OT: Eric Winston
6-7, 312, Miami (Sr.)
He recovered from a torn ACL last season to reclaim his spot as a dominant pass blocker.
LB: DeMeco Ryans
6-2, 232, Alabama (Sr.)
Behind 69 tackles, Ryans anchored the country's top scoring defense that allowed only 13 touchdowns.
OT: Marcus McNeill
6-9, 338, Auburn (Sr.)
Thanks to McNeill, Auburn's offense was the best in the Southeastern Conference despite losing its entire starting backfield in the first round of the NFL draft.
S: Michael Huff
6-1, 205, Texas (Sr.)
The Longhorns' best defender had 14 pass breakups and 97 tackles, helping Texas hold opposing quarterbacks to a 49.1 completion percentage.
OG: Taitusi Lutui
6-6, 365, USC (Sr.)
A big part of 1,000-yard rushing seasons from both Reggie Bush and LenDale White.
S: Darnell Bing
6-2, 220, USC (Jr.)
Bing led the Trojans with four interceptions and tied for the team lead with six pass breakups.
OG: Max Jean-Gilles
6-4, 340, Georgia (Sr.)
Jean-Gilles cleared the path for Georgia's running-back-by-committee to 157 yards per game.
CB: Jimmy Williams
6-3, 216, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Opposing quarterbacks avoided throwing to Williams' side of the field. He helped hold opponents to 149 passing yards per game.
C: Greg Eslinger
6-3, 285, Minnesota (Sr.)
Eslinger has been first team all-conference for the last three years and paved the way for Minnesota's ground game.
CB: Tye Hill
5-10, 180, Clemson (Sr.)
Hill anchored the nation's No. 16 scoring defense with 10 pass breakups.
Special Teams
P: Ryan Plackemeier
6-3, 235, Wake Forest (Sr.)
He averaged 47.2 yards per punt this year with three punts of more than 70 yards, including one for 82.
K: Mason Crosby
6-2, 210, Colorado (Jr.)
Crosby hit a 58-yard field goal against Miami on his way to converting 21 of 28 attempts for the season.
PR: Skyler Green
5-10, 185, LSU (Sr.)
Green averaged 13.6 yards on 23 returns with a touchdown while pitching in 30 catches on offense.
KR: Ted Ginn
6-0, 175, Ohio State (So.)
Ginn averaged 29.6 yards per return including a 100-yard touchdown against Minnesota.
All-purpose: Reggie Bush
6-0, 200, USC (Jr.)
The Heisman Trophy winner racked up 217.6 all-purpose yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game during a highlight reel season. All-American Second Team
Offense Defense
QB: Matt Leinart
6-5, 225, USC (Sr.)
The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner has put up similar numbers to last season. He could leave USC with three national titles.
DE: Elvis Dumervil
6-0, 256, Louisville (Sr.)
With an NCAA-leading 20 sacks and NCAA-record 10 forced fumbles, Dumervil won the Nagurski Trophy awarded to the defensive player of the year.
RB: DeAngelo Williams
5-10, 217, Memphis (Sr.)
Williams made a run at Ron Dayne's career rushing record but finished fourth all-time with 1,726 yards this year and 5,788 in his career.
DE: Mario Williams
6-7, 290, N.C. State (Jr.)
Williams came up big when it counted nine of his 13 sacks came in the last five games to push the Wolfpack to a bowl game.
RB: LenDale White
6-2, 235, USC (Jr.)
Along with 21 touchdowns, White averaged 6.7 yards per carry, second among running backs with 150-plus carries. No. 1? Teammate Reggie Bush.
DT: Jesse Mahelona
6-2, 297, Tennessee (Sr.)
A bright spot in a down year for Tennessee, Mahelona had nine quarterback hurries and eight tackles for losses.
WR: Dwayne Jarrett
6-5, 210, USC (So.)
Matt Leinart's favorite target caught 15 touchdown passes, tying him for best in the nation.
DT: Rod Wright
6-5, 315, Texas (Sr.)
Four-year starter led the Longhorns' rush defense while adding 4.5 sacks.
WR: Mike Hass
6-1, 208, Oregon State (Sr.)
Hass (90 receptions) led the country with 1,532 receiving yards, 273 more than No. 2.
LB: D'Qwell Jackson
6-1, 231, Maryland (Sr.)
Tackling machine racked up 137 stops this season to go with four sacks and two interceptions.
TE: Vernon Davis
6-3, 253, Maryland (Jr.)
Davis led the ACC in receiving yards per game with 79.2, padded by four 100-yard games.
LB: Nick Reid
6-4, 230, Kansas (Sr.)
With 106 tackles, Reid helped the Jayhawks' run defense hold opponents to 2.5 yards per carry.
OT: Joe Thomas
6-8, 295, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Thomas paved the way for the Badgers' 13th-ranked scoring offense and Brian Calhoun's 1,432 rushing yards.
LB: Patrick Willis
6-2, 230, Ole Miss (Jr.)
Willis led the Southeastern Conference with 128 tackles in 10 games to go with three sacks.
OT: Justin Blalock
6-4, 329, Texas (Jr.)
Three-year starter anchored the Longhorns' offense, which led the country with 50.9 points per game.
S: LaRon Landry
6-2, 204, LSU (Jr.)
Against LSU, opponents completed only 47.5 percent of their passes thanks in part to Landry's three interceptions and eight pass break-ups.
OG: Will Allen
6-6, 315, Texas (Sr.)
He paved the way for Vince Young & Co. as the Longhorns ranked third nationally in total offense and rushing offense.
S: Ko Simpson
6-1, 201, South Carolina (So.)
No sophomore slump here: Simpson led Southeastern Conference defensive backs with 94 tackles.
OG: Fred Matua
6-3, 305, USC (Jr.)
Another member of USC's 50-point-per-game offense to make the All-America team.
CB: Alan Zemaitis
6-2, 201, Penn State (Sr.)
Three interceptions from Zemaitis against Michigan State in the last game of the year helped the Nittany Lions seal a Big Ten title.
C: Nick Mangold
6-4, 290, Ohio State (Sr.)
Mangold helped bring about breakout seasons from quarterback Troy Smith and running back Antonio Pittman.
CB: Cedric Griffin
6-2, 205, Texas (Sr.)
With 15 pass breakups, Griffin helped Texas smother opponents to 155.9 passing yards per game.
Special Teams
P: Daniel Sepulveda
6-3, 221, Baylor (Jr.)
Sepulveda averaged 46.2 yards per punt with 13 kicks inside the 20.
K: Brandon Coutu
6-0, 197, Georgia (So.)
Made 23 of 29 field goals, including 10 of 14 from 40 yards and out.
PR: Brandon Williams
5-11, 175, Wisconsin (Sr.)
Returned two punts for touchdowns while averaging 15.6 per return.
KR: Darrell Blackman
6-0, 195, N.C. State (So.)
He led the ACC in kick return average with 29.1 yards per return.
All-purpose: Maurice Drew
5-8, 205, UCLA (Jr.)
Like his counterpart at USC, Drew was a threat each time he touched the ball. He averaged 160.6 all-purpose yards per game to go with 20 touchdowns. All-American Third Team
Offense Defense
QB: Brady Quinn
6-4, 231, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Broke 17 Irish single-game, single-season and career passing records to lead Notre Dame's resurgence.
DE: Lawrence Jackson
6-5, 265, USC (So.)
Second in the Pac-10 in both sacks (10) and forced fumbles (four).
RB: Brian Calhoun
5-10, 194, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Colorado transfer was second nationally with 21 touchdown runs and fifth with 1,423 rushing yards in his first year with the Badgers.
DE: Quentin Moses
6-5, 248, Georgia (Jr.)
With 10.5 sacks this season, Moses helped Georgia fans get over losing David Pollack.
RB: Kenny Irons
5-11, 202, Auburn (Jr.)
Irons rushed for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns despite getting just a total of 54 carries in the Tigers' first five games.
DT: Brodrick Bunkley
6-3, 284, Florida State (Sr.)
The numbers are staggering: Bunkley registered 23 tackles for losses and nine sacks.
WR: Derek Hagan
6-2, 202, Arizona State (Sr.)
A solid target for Rudy Carpenter after Sam Keller was injured, Hagan finished with 72 receptions for 1,113 yards and eight touchdoewns.
DT: Brandon Mebane
6-3, 29o, Cal (Jr.)
In a league where defense was at a premium, Mebane anchored the Pac-10's top defense, including 6.5 sacks.
WR: Sidney Rice
6-4, 194, South Carolina (Fr.)'s National Freshman of the Year caught a Gamecocks record 12 touchdowns under Steve Spurrier.
LB: Chad Greenway
6-4, 244, Iowa (Sr.)
Greenway posted 112 tackles, eight for losses, two sacks and an interception.
TE: Leonard Pope
6-7, 250, Georgia (Jr.)
Provided first-year starting quarterback D.J. Shockley with a big and reliable target: 33 catches for 491 yards.
LB: Gerris Wilkinson
6-4, 230, Georgia Tech (Sr.)
Pitched in 78 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss, and four sacks for the ACC's No. 3 defense.
OT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
6-5, 289, Virginia (Sr.)
Ferguson stayed for his senior season after being projected as a top-five NFL draft pick as a junior. Coach Al Groh said he made the right decision.
LB: Bobby Carpenter
6-3, 255, Ohio State (Sr.)
A.J. Hawk's running mate had eight sacks to lead the nation's No. 4 defense.
OT: Sam Baker
6-5, 305, USC (So.)
Second-year starter leaves plenty of time for Matt Leinart and the offense to put up gaudy numbers.
S: Nate Salley
6-3, 220, Ohio State (Sr.)
Three-year starter gives heralded Buckeyes linebackers plenty of support.
OG: Mark Setterstrom
6-3, 295, Minnesota (Sr.)
He helped the Golden Gophers to the nation's second-best rushing attack with 279.9 yards per game.
S: Dwayne Slay
6-3, 214, Texas Tech (Sr.)
Slay set a Big 12 record with eight forced fumbles to go along with 101 tackles.
OG: Kyle Ralph
6-4, 303, North Carolina (Sr.)
All-ACC performer held the line together despite a new quarterback and less-than-stellar running game.
CB: Aaron Gipson
5-9, 179, Oregon (Sr.)
His seven interceptions led the country and helped the Ducks limit opponents to 5.9 yards per pass attempt.
C: Marvin Philip
6-2, 305, Cal (Sr.)
Two-time Rimington Award finalist helped give the Golden Bears two 900-yard running backs.
CB: Kelly Jennings
6-0, 177, Miami (Sr.)
Jennings led the ACC in passes defended with 13 breakups and three interceptions.
Special Teams
P: Sam Koch
6-1, 225, Nebraska (Sr.)
Koch was third in the nation with 45.9 yards per punt and landed 28 of 63 inside the 20.
K: Connor Hughes
5-10, 172, Virginia (Sr.)
Made 19 of 22 field goals, including a game-winner against Syracuse, and all 32 of his extra point attempts.
PR: Terry Richardson
6-1, 187, Arizona State (Jr.)
Returned two punts for touchdowns while averaging 15.9 per return.
KR: Cory Rodgers
6-1, 195, TCU (Jr.)
He was second in the country with an average of 31.7 yards per return including 100- and 87-yard returns for touchdowns.
All-purpose: Tyrell Sutton
5-9, 190, Northwestern (Fr.)
One of only two freshmen on's All-American teams, Sutton led all freshmen in rushing yards (1,390) and total touchdowns (18).

Action photos from Associated Press.

Bob McClellan can be reached at or at (615) 507-3939.

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