You know, growing dreadlocks long enough to extend far outside your helmet takes a very long time. And I truly respect and appreciate those who patiently put in the time, waiting years to let their dreads grow on their own. But we do not discriminate against those who can't wait to look great. So as always, this year's dread all-Americans include many players who added extensions to make their own dreads longer.
Other than personally asking each and every player, there's no way I can accurately determine whose dreads are totally real and whose aren't. But honestly, I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned, dreads are dreads.
I'm splitting up this year's team into two sections: players who played for FBS teams and players on FCS teams. There will be a 1st and 2nd team in both sections and then a lengthy honorable mention list of FBS and FCS players together. I couldn't find photos of all 88 players who made the team; but I saved enough that I'll need to present the team in two parts. Here in part 1, we'll look at the FBS players, including Rannell Hall and K.J. Morton (photo above), who faced off against each other in the Fiesta Bowl. Then part 2 will feature the FCS players, honorable mention list, and the 2013 all-dread sideline team.
The vast majority of the team are players whose dreads you have no trouble seeing when they're on the field with their helmets on. But before I begin, I have to mention there was a shortage of offensive linemen with sick dreads this season. So the 2nd team O-lines will have some dreads a bit shorter than I usually require to make the team. During the 2013 season I wasn't able to watch as many games as in previous seasons. Sadly, there were too many teams I didn't see at all. So no doubt there are some players who deserve to be on the team that aren't only because I don't know about them. Please, if you know of any that I missed, don't get mad. Just let us know about them.
Anyway, without any further delay, here's the team. And as usual, the (1, 2, 3, or HM) in parenthesis following a player's name indicates if he made 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team or honorable mention on the 2012 team.
1st TEAM OFFENSE
- OL Josh Allen (2) - Louisiana-Monroe - SR
- OL Justin Bell (1) - Mississippi - SOPH
- OL Quinterrius Eatmon (2) - South Florida - JR
- OL Cyril Richardson (2) - Baylor - SR
- OL Devin Smith (2) - Purdue - SR
- WR James Green (1) - Toledo - SR
- WR Marquel Thomas (1) - ODU - SR
- WR Chris Williams (2) - Troy - SR
- RB James Baker (2) - Idaho - SR
- RB Cassius McDowell (3) - Toledo - JR
- QB Devin Powell (3) - Tulane - FR
- KR Rannell Hall (2) - UCF - JR
At 6-foot-7, 341 pounds, Devin Smith (above right) was hard to miss on the field in his two seasons for Purdue. And those dreads made him stand out even more. Josh Allen (above left) was a starter all 4 years at ULM, the last two of which his dreads grew long enough for him to make the team. Hopefully we'll see these dreads next season, but neither Allen nor Smith are considered NFL prospects.
After 3 years on the 2nd team, Cyril Richardson (left) finally moves up to the 1st team. Of all the players on the 1st team offense, Richardson is the one you'll most likely see playing on Sundays.
One of two Toledo Rockets on the 1st team, reserve RB Cassius McDowell (right) averaged 8.1 yards per carry this season but unfortunately carried the ball only 17 times all season, including none in the last 6 games. I couldn't find any photos of the other, reserve WR James Green, probably because there weren't any. Green didn't have any catches at all in 7 games played in his senior season.
Reserve WR Chris Williams, on the run after a catch against Mississippi in Week 12 in left photo and celebrating a TD pass by QB Deon Anthony (#7) in Week 14 on the right, also saved his best for last. In his 2nd season with Troy after a transfer from Mississippi Valley State, Williams had a career high 402 yards receiving on 31 catches, including 2 TD, as a senior.
James Baker had his awesome dreads flowing freely (left photo) during the first half of the season; but after a Fresno State player grabbed his dreads to tackle him in Week 6, he decided that it was probably best if he banded them together (right) so that it wouldn't happen again. In case you missed it (and you probably did, because finding Idaho games on TV was a challenge), Baker had a nice season for the 1-11 Vandals, leading the team with 593 yards rushing and 9 TD.
A standout as both a WR and KR, Rannell Hall (above) was a big part of UCF's best season ever. Hopefully at this time next year we'll be talking about which round he'll be taken in the NFL draft. Devin Powell (below) figured to face stiff competition to make the team but ended up being an easy choice for the 1st team after both Munchie Legaux and Melvin German cut off their dreads. Hopefully Devin is planning on keep these dreads because I can't wait to see what they look like when he's a senior.
1st TEAM DEFENSE
- DL Ken Bishop (1) -Northern Illinois - SR
- DL Tim Jackson - North Carolina - SR
- DL Anthony Rice - Idaho - JR
- DL Octavius Thomas - Southern Mississippi - SR
- LB Stephan Martin - Ball State - JR
- LB Ramik Wilson - Georgia - JR
- LB Gary Wooten - Penn State - FR
- CB K.J. Morton (1) - Baylor - SR
- CB Jason Verrett (2) - TCU - SR
- S Tre Boston (2) - North Carolina - SR
- S Aaron Taylor - Ball State - FR
- PR Isaiah Burse (HM) - Fresno State - SR
Ramik Wilson (left photo) is one of 4 SEC players on the team and one of 3 players to make the 1st team on of both of my all-America teams. I didn't check it, but I'm almost certain that Miami native Gary Wooten (right photo, trying to tackle Kent State CB Darius Polk on a kickoff return in Week 4) is the first Penn State player to ever make the team.
It was difficult finding any photos of Octavius Thomas, but here's one of him chasing Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez in Week 2. Thomas totaled 49 tackles and 2 sacks in his senior season for USM. Most unfortunately I was unable to find a decent picture of Idaho DE Anthony Rice. Hopefully next year.
DT Tim Jackson has South Carolina RB Mike Davis in his sights (on right) in the season opener and helps tackle ODU RB Cam Boyd (on left) in Week 13. Jackson had 26 tackles in his senior season for UNC and is a long shot to be playing on Sundays next season. He's one of two Tar Heels on the 1st team D. The other is .....
2nd TEAM OFFENSE
- OL Darrell Brevard - Clemson - SR
- OL Andre Cureton - Cincinnati - SR
- OL Rashad Fortenberry (HM) - Texas Tech - SR
- OL Marquis Lucas - West Virginia - SOPH
- OL Tyrus Thompson (3) - Oklahoma - JR
- WR Kyle Dockins - Virginia - FR
- WR Jazz King (2) - Marshall - JR
- WR Kevin White - West Virginia - JR
- RB Khris Francis - North Carolina - FR
- RB Parris Lee - Georgia State - SR
- QB Bennie Coney - Cincinnati - FR
- KR Chris Dunkley - South Florida - JR
Darrell Brevard (right photo) is honored on senior day at Clemson on Nov. 23. Brevard actually is eligible for the sideline team (he played in only 1 game in his 3 seasons); but since there aren't enough O-lineman with sick dreads, I can't afford to leave him on the bench. Rashad Fortenberry (left photo) started all 13 games at right OT for the Red Raiders in 2013. Even though I have him listed as a senior, he'll be back next season after recently being granted a redshirt for his junior season in which he played only 3 games. Hopefully the extra year will improve his NFL prospects.
Parris Lee (on right) scored 4 TD as a freshman, including the 1st TD in Georgia State history in the 2010 season opener, but scored just one more TD in his next three seasons. I didn't realize until this season how long his dreads have gotten. Hopefully this will be the first of four appearances on the team for Khris Francis (left photo above), who rushed for 236 yards in his freshman season for North Carolina.
Jazz King, on the 2nd team for the 2nd straight year after an HM nod as a freshman, unfortunately had his dreads double banded when he made his only TD catch of the season (left photo) against MTSU in Week 9; but his two-tone dreads were always an impressive sight when unleashed, as they were in Week 14 (right photo) during Marshall's big win over East Carolina.
Bennie Coney is not the Cincinnati QB that I wanted to make the team; but as I mentioned earlier, Munchie Legaux (the 1st team QB on the team the last two years) cut off his dreads. Coney had his dreads reduced a little too often for my liking; but other than Devin Powell and him, I don't think there were any other QBs with dreads in the FBS, so he makes the team by default.
2nd TEAM DEFENSE
- DL Chris Davenport (2) - Tulane - SR
- DL Ferrington Macon - UTSA - JR
- DL Will Sutton - Arizona State - SR
- DL DeJazz Woods - Illinois - JR
- LB Derrell Johnson (3) - East Carolina - SR
- LB T.J. Stripling (2) - Georgia - SR
- LB Grandville Taylor - Arizona State - SR
- CB Dayonne Nunley (3) - Miami (Ohio) - SR
- CB Charles Sawyer (2) - Mississippi - SR
- S Demetrius Pettway (HM) - Western Michigan - SR
- S Fabrice Pratt - Kent State - SR
- PR J.D. McKissic (3) - Arkansas State - SOPH
With dreads like these, Dayonne Nunley (left photo above) and Charles Sawyer (above right) could just as easily have made the 1st team. Nunley was a 1st team all-MAC selection at CB for the 3rd straight season, but it was as noticeable as a tree falling in the forest during Miami's 0-12 season. He finishes his career with 13 career INT. Sawyer had a disappointing senior season due to injury and an early-season DUI arrest. He finishes his career with 8 INT for Ole Miss. Yes, I'd love to see these dreads on Sundays next season, both but Nunley and Sawyer will have their work cut out for them making anybody's roster.
The competition for spots on the team at the safety position wasn't quite as stiff as it has been in previous seasons, so Demetrius Pettway (left photo above) made it this season after back-to-back honorable mentions. Pettway is one of 8 players from the MAC on the team, the most of any FBS conference. J.D. McKissic (right photo), who has 185 receptions in his first two seasons in an Arkansas State uniform, couldn't quite make the team as a WR but gets a 2nd team nod as a punt returner. Between all of his catches and punt and kickoff returns, J.D. racked up 1,575 all-purpose yards in 2013.
That's all for Part 1. Check out Part 2 for the best dreads in the FCS as well as the dreads that barely missed making the team.