CNNSI.com names 2000 All-Americans
Updated: Wednesday December 06, 2000 10:30 PM
By Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com
So here's the great thing about college football awards: Yes, you'll see some of the same names on CNNSI.com's postseason All-America Team as you did on many over the summer. But in some other cases, all it takes is 11 games to make an impression.
Was Florida's Lito Sheppard on any of those preseason lists? How about Marvin Minnis? Or Northwestern's Damien Anderson?
We think not.
But, of course, our choice for player of the year is an old standby. In the end there was no denying Chris Weinke's superiority on the college football field, no matter what the age. His senior season was far more dominating than either of his previous two, with over 4,000 passing yards and 33 touchdowns.
Our coach of the year may disappoint the Oklahoma and South Carolina fans out there. But just like Bob Stoops and Lou Holtz, Dennis Erickson is in his second season at Oregon State. The program he took over had less tradition of success than either of the others -- and, in fact, had gone 35 years without a bowl game. And less than two years later he has the team 10-1 and headed to the Fiesta Bowl.
Elsewhere on the list, the toughest position by far to narrow down was wide receiver. You mean we can pick only two? C'mon, everyone uses three- or four-receiver sets these days. But after much debate, Michigan playmaking whiz David Terrell (994 yards, 13 TDs) and Weinke's top target, Snoop Minnis (1,340, 11) won out over other such worthy candidates as Pitt's Antonio Bryant, UCLA's Freddie Mitchell and Florida's Jabar Gaffney.
Running back was much more clear-cut. With the possible exception of Oregon State's Ken Simonton (1,474 yards, 18 TDs), no one else seemed as first-team worthy as TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson (2,158 yards, 22 TDs) and Anderson (1,914, 22).
On the offensive line, Nebraska's Dominic Raiola and Michigan's Steve Hutchinson are widely recognized as the tops at their position. After that, we went with first-year Miami giant Bryant McKinnie, the cog to Washington's ground attack, Chad Ward, and Chris Brown of Georgia Tech, which allowed only a handful of sacks through its season-ending seven-game win streak.
On defense, Cal's Andre Carter (13 sacks) and FSU's Jamal Reynolds (12) were obvious choices on the line. Julius Peppers (24 tackles-for-loss) had an even better football than basketball season for the Tar Heels. And Tennessee's John Henderson (12 sacks) emerged this year as the best defensive player in the SEC.
The country is loaded with fine linebacking candidates. We went with three who each accumulated triple-digit tackle numbers, Clemson's Keith Adams (138), Miami's Dan Morgan and Oklahoma's Rocky Calmus (117).
And in the secondary, new star corner Sheppard teams with three-year household name Jamar Fletcher of Wisconsin. Joining them are Miami's Ed Reed and his nine interceptions, and Washington's Hakim Akbar.
Finally, where would we be without good special teams? (Just ask Kansas State.) Cincinnati's Jonathan Ruffin nailed 26 of 29 field goal attempts this year. Wisconsin's Kevin Stemke averages 44.9 yards per punt. And Miami's Santana Moss, Notre Dame's Julius Jones and Virginia Tech's Andre Davis all can turn the game with one kick or punt return.