I was hoping to be able to include a photo of Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon holding the Heisman Trophy at the beginning of this post. But despite having one of the best seasons a running back has ever had, he finished 2nd in the voting for the Heisman; so you'll have to settle for a pre-game photo (above) of him from the Badgers' Week 4 game against Bowling Green instead.
Gordon is one of 22 players who are repeat selections from last season's team. As for the other 50 players who were on the 2013 team, 12 didn't repeat because they didn't play well enough to, 3 didn't make it because they no longer have dreads, and the remaining 35 were either seniors or underclassmen who entered the NFL draft. Of those 35, 22 were on NFL rosters (including practice squads) in 2014, 18 of which were draft choices. No doubt several of the players making this year's team will be drafted into the NFL too.
In a familiar refrain from previous seasons, quarterback and center once again are the weakest positions on the team - mainly because there simply aren't very many quarterbacks and centers with dreads. I counted less than 10 QBs with dreads in Division 1 - just two that I know of in the FBS - and none of them were all-conference selections. Most of them didn't even play regularly. And the pickings were even slimmer at center. Surely there must be more than two centers with dreads in D-1, right? But I know of only two, so I will have to include three guards on my 3rd team, and one of them will have to do the snapping.
There's no shortage of talent at the other positions. The depth on the offensive line might be a bit thin, but I'd say the starters are solid. The running backs and receivers are excellent. And the whole defense is outstanding. Several members of the D will likely be playing on Sundays in the years ahead.
As always, player stats are for the 2014 season only; and the 1, 2, 3, or HM in parenthesis following a player's name indicates where he ranked on the 2013 team (that is, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team or honorable mention). Last year I listed the offense first, so I'll begin with the defense this time.
1st TEAM DEFENSE
--- Vic Beasley - Clemson - SR - ACC defensive player of the year - 1st team AP all-America - 34 tackles (28-6), 21.5 TFL, 12 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF, 1 TD
--- Alvin "Bud" Dupree (HM) - Kentucky - SR - 1st team all-SEC - 74 tackles (45-29), 12.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 2 FF, 1 BLK, 1 TD
--- Malcom Brown (2) - Texas - JR - 1st team all-Big 12 - 1st team AP all-America - 72 tackles (39-33), 15 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF
--- Darius Philon (3) - Arkansas - SOPH - HM all-SEC - 46 tackles (25-21), 11.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 3 FR, 1 FF, 1 TD
--- Lorenzo Mauldin (3) - Louisville - SR - 2nd team all-ACC - 51 tackles (36-15), 13 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FF
--- Jaylon Smith (2) - Notre Dame - SOPH - 1st team all-Independent - 2nd team AP all-America - 112 tackles (65-47), 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FF
--- Shaq Thompson (2) - Washington - JR - 1st team all-Pac-12, 81 tackles (52-29), 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 PBU, 4 FR, 3 FF, 4 TD
--- Zack Sanchez (HM) - Oklahoma - SOPH - 1st team all-Big 12 - 43 tackles (31-12), 1 TFL, 6 INT, 8 PBU, 1 BLK, 1 TD
--- Trae Waynes (HM) - Michigan State - JR - 1st team all-Big 10 - 3rd team AP all-America - 46 tackles (34-12), 2 TFL, 1 sack, 3 INT, 8 PBU, 1 FR
--- Clayton Geathers (HM) - UCF - SR - 1st team all-AAC - 97 tackles (58-39), 6.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT, 9 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF
--- Anthony Harris (1) - Virginia - SR - 3rd team all-ACC - 108 tackles (49-59), 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 10 PBU
--- Kaelin Clay - Utah - SR - 1st team all-Pac-12 - 23 PR for 346 yards (15.0 average) and 3 TD
Although he technically switched positions from DE to LB, Lorenzo Mauldin (above left) still spent most of his time rushing QBs. His 6.5 sacks upped his career total to 20.5 in 3 seasons with Louisville. Shaq Thompson (above right), on the team for the 3rd straight year but on the 1st team for the first time, had a fascinating season. He scored 3 TD on fumble returns and took an interception return to the house as well in part-time duty at LB. He wasn't a full-time defender because he got significant playing time at RB. He ended up carrying the ball in 6 games (including 3 starts) and rushed for 456 yards and 2 TD, averaging a whopping 7.5 yards per carry. Scoring 4 TD on defense and 2 on offense, Thompson deservedly earned a 1st team nod on the AP all-America team as an all-purpose player.
Zack Sanchez (above right) returns an interception 43 yards to the house for a 17-3 lead during 2nd quarter of Oklahoma's 31-26 win over Texas on Oct. 11. Sanchez's 6 INT for the season were good for a tie for 9th place among all FBS players and a tie for 1st place among Big 12 players. Trae Waynes (above left) makes one of his 2 INT during Michigan State's 27-22 home win over Nebraska in Week 6. Waynes is expected to be the first CB selected in this year's NFL draft.
Clayton Geathers (on right) makes BYU RB Paul Lasike pay for his 19-yard reception during 2nd quarter of UCF's 31-24 win on Oct. 9. Geathers is one of 3 players from the AAC on the 1st team. Anthony Harris (above) breaks up a pass intended for Louisville WR Eli Rogers during Virginia's 23-21 win in Week 3. Of the 12 players on last year's 1st team defense, Harris is the only one who repeats on the 1st team this season. (8 were NFL draft picks, one was a senior not drafted, and the other two made the team but not the 1st team.)
1st TEAM OFFENSE
--- T.J. Clemmings - Pittsburgh - SR - 1st team all-ACC
--- Tyrus Thompson (2) - Oklahoma - SR - 1st team all-Big 12
--- Leon Brown - Alabama - SR
--- A.J. Cann (1) - South Carolina - SR - 1st team all-SEC - 2nd team AP all-America
--- Deyshawn Bond - Cincinnati - SOPH
--- Will Fuller - Notre Dame - SOPH - 1st team all-Independent - 76 receptions for 1,094 yards (14.4) and 15 TD
--- Breshad Perriman (HM) - UCF - JR - 1st team all-AAC - 50 receptions for 1,044 yards (20.9) and 9 TD
--- Kevin White - West Virginia - SR - 1st team all-Big 12 - 2nd team AP all-America - 109 receptions for 1,447 yards (13.3) and 10 TD
--- Jay Ajayi (2) - Boise State - JR - 1st team all-MWC - 3rd team AP all-America - 347 carries for 1,823 yards (5.3) and 28 TD; 50 receptions for 535 yards and 4 TD
--- Melvin Gordon (2) - Wisconsin - JR - Big 10 offensive player of the year - 1st team AP all-America - 343 carries for 2,587 yards (7.5) and 29 TD; 19 receptions for 153 yards and 3 TD
--- Bennie Coney (3) - Eastern Kentucky - SOPH - 92 for 171 (53.8%) for 1,185 yards and 7 TD (9 INT); 50 carries for 127 yards and 0 TD
--- DeAndre Reaves - Marshall - JR - 32 KR for 931 yards (29.1) and 1 TD
Jay Ajayi and Melvin Gordon must have been angry at me for putting them on the 2nd team last year despite having outstanding seasons, because they went out and put up ridiculous numbers and made sure I had to put them on the 1st team this year. Ajayi (above left) set a new Boise State record for rushing yards in a season; and he became the first FBS RB ever to have 1,800+ rushing yards and 500+ receiving yards in the same season. In addition to finishing 2nd in the voting for the Heisman, Gordon (above right) was named winner of the Doak Walker Award (the nation's best RB). His 2,587 yards rushing are a new Big 10 record and the second most ever by an FBS RB. His incredible 408 yards rushing against Nebraska in Week 12 was a new FBS single-game record (a record that was broken a week later). He averaged "only" 7.5 yards per carry this season, which lowered his career average to 7.79, but that's still a new NCAA career record. After finishing tied for the FBS lead in touchdowns this season, Ajayi and Gordon would completely rewrite their respective schools' record books if they hung around for their senior year; but both wisely have decided to enter this year's NFL draft.
The Big 12 and SEC each have 4 players on the 1st team, including Tyrus Thompson (above right) and A.J. Cann (above left). Cann, on the team for the 3rd straight year, is the only offensive player to repeat as a 1st team selection from last season; while the monstrous Thompson (6-foot-5, 336 pounds) makes the 1st team for the first time. Both hope to be playing on Sundays next season.
A pair of 11's with sick dreads claim two of the three WR spots on the first team, and both made huge improvement over their numbers from 2013. Kevin White (above left) played so well for West Virginia that he was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (given to the nation's best WR). His totals of 109 receptions (3rd most in the FBS) and 1,447 yards (6th most) were roughly three times as many as he had in 2013. He likely will be the first offensive player with dreads taken in this year's NFL draft. Averaging over 20 yards per catch for the 2nd straight year, Breshad Perriman (above right) nearly doubled the combined numbers he put up during his freshman and sophomore seasons, a performance good enough to convince him to enter the draft now rather than return to UCF for his senior season. The other WR spot goes to Will Fuller (below), who was a true sophomore, so he can't enter the draft yet. After catching only 6 passes all season as a freshman in 2013, he had at least that many catches in 7 of Notre Dame's 13 games in his first season with dreads this year; and his total of 15 TD catches were only two off the FBS lead.
Marshall's less than stellar defense kept KR DeAndre Reaves (above right) busy. He had 32 kickoff returns in 2014 and took one of them to the house. His 29.1 average per return ranked #7 in the FBS and #1 among FBS players with dreads. The only FCS player on the first team, Bennie Coney (above left) threw more INT than TD passes; but he still was by far the best QB with dreads in Division 1 this season. After sharing time playing time this season, he figures to be the full-time starter for Eastern Kentucky next season.
2nd TEAM DEFENSE
--- Markus Golden (2) - Missouri - SR - 2nd team all-SEC - 78 tackles (35-43), 20 TFL, 10 sacks, 2 PBU, 3 FR, 3 FF, 1 TD
--- Terrell Hartsfield - Cincinnati - SR - 1st team all-AAC - 38 tackles (22-16), 12 TFL, 9 sacks, 2 PBU, 3 FR, 1 FF
--- Sheldon Day - Notre Dame - JR - 1st team all-Independent - 40 tackles (24-16), 7.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 2 FR
--- Rakeem Nunez-Roches - Southern Mississippi - JR - 1st team all-CUSA - 58 tackles (32-26), 14 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 BLK
--- A.J. Johnson (1) - Tennessee - SR - HM all-SEC - 101 tackles (58-43), 9 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 2 FF, 1 BLK
--- Terrance Smith (HM) - Florida State - JR - 2nd team all-ACC - 87 tackles (48-39), 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 1 PBU, 2 FF, 1 TD
--- Ramik Wilson (1) - Georgia - SR - 2nd team all-SEC, 110 tackles (56-54), 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF
--- Maurice Canady - Virginia - JR - 2nd team all-ACC - 37 tackles (23-14), 1.5 TFL, 3 INT, 12 PBU, 1 FF, 1 TD
--- Steven Nelson (2) - Oregon State - SR - 2nd team all-Pac-12 - 60 tackles (37-23), 2 TFL, 2 INT, 8 PBU
--- Antonio Allen - Indiana - SOPH - HM all-Big 10 - 74 tackles (45-29), 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 1 PBU
--- Jordan Haden - Toledo - SR - 2nd team all-MAC - 46 tackles (32-14), 1 TFL, 3 INT, 4 PBU
--- Lucky Whitehead - FAU - SR - 19 PR for 311 yards (16.4) and 1 TD
With Florida State trailing Florida 9-0 late in 1st quarter, Terrance Smith makes one of the bigger plays of the season for the Seminoles, picking off a pass and returning it 94 yards to the house (above right), changing the momentum of a game that FSU eventually won 24-19 to keep their undefeated season alive. Ramik Wilson (above left), a 1st teamer last season, has to settle for a 2nd team nod this time. He certainly played well, but I just think others played better. And yes, when I do my dread all-America team, Wilson will certainly be on that one too.
Markus Golden takes a fumble return 21 yards to the house (above left) to give Missouri a 35-0 lead at Florida in Week 8, while Sheldon Day (above right) tries to sack Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt in Week 5. With his 20 TFL, 10 of which were sacks, it was hard to keep Golden off the 1st team; but the SEC coaches voted Bud Dupree 1st team and Golden 2nd team, so I guess I should do the same. When I do my NFL draft preview, Golden will be in the "likely to be drafted" category. Day also is an NFL prospect but decided to return to Notre Dame for his senior season, a season in which ND figures to seriously contend for a playoff spot.
Steven Nelson (above left) defends against Arizona State star WR Jaelen Strong during Oregon State's 35-27 win in Week 12. Nelson, who repeats on the 2nd team, made the dread stars list for his strong game against Strong, who failed to score a TD for only the 3rd time all season.
After Nelson, Zack Sanchez, and Trae Waynes, it was a toss-up for the remaining CB spots on the team. I decided to go with Maurice Canady of Virginia (above right, taking an INT return 69 yards to the house in Week 5) on the 2nd team mainly because his 15 passes defensed (3 INT, 12 PBU) tied for the most by any CB with dreads in one of the big five conferences.
When I compiled a rough list of players to be considered for the team, Antonio Allen (above right) was not on it; so when I later checked all of the all-conference teams, I was surprised to see he was honorable mention all-Big 10. That plus the fact he led the Hoosiers in tackles was enough to convince me to name him to the 2nd team. The only player from the MAC on the team, Jordan Haden returns an INT against Missouri during Week 2 (above left) - an INT he didn't enjoy very much because it ended with him fumbling the ball back to Missouri. Haden's older brother, Joe, is a star CB with the Cleveland Browns; but it's a long shot that we'll be seeing Jordan playing on Sundays in the future.
2nd TEAM OFFENSE
--- Terry Poole - San Diego State - SR - 2nd team all-MWC
--- Avery Young (2) - Auburn - SOPH
--- Tyler Fisher - ODU - SOPH - HM all-CUSA
--- Ramsey Meyers - Kentucky - FR
--- Lenicio Noble - San Diego State - JR
--- Sammie Coates (3) - Auburn - JR - 2nd team all-SEC - 34 receptions for 741 yards (21.8) and 4 TD
--- Bradley Marquez - Texas Tech - SR - HM all-Big 12 - 65 receptions for 821 yards (12.6) and 10 TD
--- Mike Williams - Clemson - SOPH - 2nd team all-ACC - 57 receptions for 1,030 yards (18.1) and 6 TD
--- Todd Gurley (1) - Georgia - JR - 123 carries for 911 yards (7.4) and 9 TD
--- Paul Perkins - UCLA - SOPH - 251 carries for 1,575 yards (6.3) and 9 TD; 26 receptions for 201 yards and 2 TD
--- Larry Brihm - Bethune-Cookman - FR - 44 for 71 (62.0%) for 491 yards and 4 TD (0 INT); 51 carries for 224 yards and 4 TD
--- Devin Brown - Coastal Carolina - SOPH - 1st team all-Big South - 29 KR for 808 yards (27.9) and 2 TD
When Sammy Watkins moved on to the NFL at the end of the 2013 season, I thought it would end the streak of Clemson WRs appearing on the team - but I thought wrong! Near the end of September I discovered that another outstanding Clemson WR had started growing dreads; and so, sophomore Mike Williams (above right, celebrating a Week 7 win over Louisville with Coach Swinney and fans), who had four 100-yard receiving games this season, makes it 4 years in a row with a Clemson WR on the team. Bradley Marquez (above left) had career highs in receptions, yards, and TD in his senior season for Texas Tech, and those numbers were good enough for him to make the 2nd team.
Actually I still think Todd Gurley (above right) was better than all the other RBs this season. But after he missed 7 games due to a suspension and then an injury, I'm sorry but I couldn't rank him above Jay Ajayi and Melvin Gordon. But after he rushed for over 900 yards in only 6 games, I couldn't rank anybody else above him either. Despite suffering a torn ACL in November Gurley is still expected to be an early-round NFL draft pick next month.
I demand an investigation! Paul Perkins (above left) led the Pac-12 in rushing and didn't even make the all-conference team?? Well, at least his nearly 1,800-yard season in total yards were good enough to make this team.
Virginia's two representatives on the team, and two of the 7 ACC players on the team, 2nd team CB Maurice Canady (#26) and 1st team S Anthony Harris, celebrate Canady's pick six in a 45-13 victory over Kent State on Sept. 27.
3rd TEAM DEFENSE
--- Ryan Delaire (HM) - Towson - SR - 1st team all-CAA; 3rd team AP FCS all-America - 64 tackles (27-37), 14.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 PBU, 3 FF
--- Za'Darius Smith (HM) - Kentucky - SR - 61 tackles (26-35), 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FR
--- Tyeler Davison - Fresno State - SR - 1st team all-MWC - 61 tackles (35-26), 13 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 FR, 2 FF
--- Xavier Williams (HM) - Northern Iowa - SR - 1st team all-MVFC; 3rd team AP FCS all-America - 93 tackles (38-55), 14 TFL, 8 sacks, 3 PBU, 2 BLK
--- Josh Forrest - Kentucky - JR - 110 tackles (63-47), 8 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 2 PBU, 1 FF, 1 TD
--- Nigel Harris - South Florida - SOPH - 77 tackles (52-25), 10.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FR, 6 FF
--- Curt Maggitt - Tennessee - JR - HM all-SEC - 48 tackles (34-14), 15 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 FF
--- Briean Boddy-Calhoun - Minnesota - JR - 2nd team all-Big 10 - 51 tackles (39-12), 2 TFL, 5 INT, 9 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF
--- Parry Nickerson - Tulane - FR - HM all-AAC - 51 tackles (40-11), 2.5 TFL, 6 INT, 6 PBU, 1 FR
--- Devin Centers - Utah State - SOPH - HM all-MWC - 74 tackles (38-36), 6.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 10 PBU, 3 FR, 2 TD
--- Brian Randolph - Tennessee - JR - 88 tackles (65-23), 1.5 TFL, 2 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF, 1 TD
--- Ladarius Vanlier - Tennessee Tech - JR - 2nd team all-OVC - 17 PR for 245 yards (14.4) and 2 TD
In addition to Za'Darius Smith the other three D-linemen on the team possibly will be playing on Sundays next season too, including Tyeler Davison (above left), whose 8.5 sacks were the most by any DT with dreads this season, and Xavier Williams (above right), whose 93 tackles were by far the most by any DT with dreads in 2014.
When the season began, I never would have thought Josh Forrest and Nigel Harris would make the team; but here they are. Forrest (above left), who had 16 tackles as a sophomore, led UK with 110 tackles as a junior this season. Harris (above right) led the FBS with his 6 fumbles forced.
Curt Maggitt (on left) bounced back strong after missing 2013 while recovering from a torn ACL. Maggitt, whose main responsibility was rushing the QB, had 11 sacks, the most of all FBS LBs with dreads; and almost one third of his tackles were TFL (15 of 48).
Briean Boddy-Calhoun makes his 2nd INT of the season (above right) against TCU in Week 3. Boddy-Calhoun, who also bounced back big time after missing most of 2013 due to a knee injury, was in on 7 turnovers (5 INT, 2 FF, 1 FR), including a huge FF and FR on the same play late in Minnesota's win at Nebraska in Week 13.
I'll admit that maybe there are a couple CBs who had a better season than Tulane redshirt freshman Parry Nickerson (above left). But with his 6 INT (tied with Zack Sanchez for the most by any FBS player with dreads), I simply couldn't leave him off the team.
Devin Centers takes a fumble return 47 yards to the house (on left) in Utah State's Week 3 home win over Wake Forest, the first of his 2 TD this season. Centers, a redshirt sophomore, tied for the lead among FBS safeties with dreads in three categories: TFL, PBU, and FR.
3rd TEAM OFFENSE
--- Fahn Cooper - Mississippi - JR
--- Camrhon Hughes - Texas - SOPH
--- Justin Bell - Mississippi - JR
--- Joe Hawkins - Weber State - JR - HM all-Big Sky
--- Marquis Lucas (3) - West Virginia - JR
--- Deontay Greenberry (1) - Houston - JR - 2nd team all-AAC - 72 receptions for 841 yards (11.7) and 6 TD
--- Kolby Listenbee - TCU - JR - HM all-Big 12 - 41 receptions for 753 yards (18.4) and 4 TD
--- De'Runnya Wilson - Mississippi State - SOPH - 47 receptions for 680 yards (14.5) and 9 TD
--- Dalvin Cook - Florida State - FR - 2nd team all-ACC - 170 carries for 1,008 yards (5.9) and 8 TD; 22 receptions for 203 yards and 0 TD
--- Dee Hart - Colorado State - JR - 2nd team all-MWC - 194 carries for 1,275 yards (6.6) and 16 TD; 18 receptions for 189 yards and 2 TD
--- Devin Powell (2) - Tulane - SOPH - 10 for 26 (38.5%) for 111 yards and 0 TD (0 INT); 5 carries for 24 yards
--- Xavier Roberson (1) - Southeastern Louisiana - JR - 2nd team all-SLC - 17 KR for 523 yards (30.8) and 0 TD
I can't deny it, and Deontay Greenberry can't deny it either. It was a very disappointing junior season for the Houston WR. Greenberry (above left) had nearly 400 less yards than in 2013, so I had no choice but to drop him from the 1st team. But it wasn't just that - it also seemed like he dropped a lot of passes, way too many for someone as talented as he is. Despite the subpar season, Deontay's plan was to go to Houston for 3 years and then enter the NFL draft, and he's sticking to it. Opposite of Greenberry we have sophomore De'Runnya Wilson (above right), who nearly doubled his receptions and yards from 2013 and tripled his TD catches from 3 to 9. If he continues to improve like that next season, he might be headed to the NFL after three college seasons too.
There are two teams with two O-linemen on the team. San Diego State has two on the 2nd team, and Mississippi has two on the 3rd team. In his first season with the Rebels after a transfer from junior college, Fahn Cooper (above right) started all 13 games and for most of them lined up alongside Justin Bell on the right side of the line. Neither Cooper nor Bell are highly ranked at their positions on the list of NFL prospects right now, but they both have one more year at Ole Miss to get better.
I wasn't kidding when I said it was hard to find good QBs with dreads. Devin Powell (above left) completed only 10 passes all season, none of them for TD. After appearing in only 3 games in his sophomore season (he played in 8 as a freshman), I dropped him from 2nd to 3rd team, mirroring his drop from 2nd to 3rd string on the Tulane depth chart.
Once again this season I limited the team to 72 players (FBS teams are allowed to have as many as 85 players on scholarship), so once again there are a lot of players with dreads who had great seasons that weren't quite good enough to make the team. Here's the list of those players.
- OT Ian Gray - Rice - SR - HM all-CUSA
- TE E.J. Bibbs (HM) - Iowa State - SR - 1st team all-Big 12
- WR Chris Conley - Georgia -SR
- WR Keon Hatcher - Arkansas - JR
- WR Chris Moore (HM) - Cincinnati - JR - 22.4 yards per catch average was 3rd best in the FBS
- WR Mark Roberts - Lamar - SR - 1st team all-SLC; 3rd team AP FCS all-America
- WR Lucky Whitehead - FAU - SR - 1st team all-CUSA
- RB Breon Allen (photo below) - East Carolina - SR
- RB Mark Boone - Cincinnati - FR
- RB Alex Collins (HM) - Arkansas - SOPH
- RB Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - SR - SWAC co-offensive player of the year; 3rd team AP FCS all-America
- RB Jowan Davis - Rice - SOPH - HM all-CUSA
- RB Travis Greene (3) - Bowling Green - JR
- RB De'Angelo Henderson - Coastal Carolina - SOPH - 1st team all-Big South - 1,534 yards and 20 TD rushing
- RB Derrick Henry (photo below) - Alabama - SOPH
- RB Matt Jones - Florida - JR
- RB Gus Johnson (HM) - Stephen F. Austin - SR - SLC player of the year - 2nd team AP FCS all-America
- RB Kalif Phillips - UNC-Charlotte - SOPH - 1,436 yards and 20 TD rushing
- RB Darius Victor - Towson - SOPH - 1st team all-CAA - 1,305 yards and 12 TD rushing
- KR Tevin Allen - Illinois State - SR - HM all-MVFC
- KR Kaelin Clay - Utah - SR
- KR Darion Hall - Tennessee State - SR
- KR Tay Willis - Southern Illinois - SR - 1st team all-MVFC
- DE Nordly Capi (photo below) - Akron - SR - 2nd team all-MAC
- DE Perez Ford - Northern Illinois - JR - 2nd team all-MAC
- DE P.J. Hall - Sam Houston State - FR - 1st team all-SLC
- DE Lenny Jones - Nevada - JR
- DE Denzel Perine - FIU - JR - HM all-CUSA
- DT Josh Augusta - Missouri - SOPH
- DT Darryl Render - Pittsburgh - JR
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson - Alabama - SOPH
- DT Jordan Williams - Tennessee - SR
- LB Kendell Beckwith - LSU - SOPH
- LB De'Vondre Campbell - Minnesota - JR
- LB Isiah Corbett - Southeastern Louisiana - SR - 1st team all-SLC; 3rd team AP FCS all-America
- LB Peter Kalambayi - Stanford - FR
- LB Alex Lyons - Rice - SOPH - HM all-CUSA
- LB Boomer Mays - Northern Illinois - JR - 2nd team all-MAC
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (photo above) - Tennessee - SOPH
- LB Steven Taylor (3) - Houston - SOPH
- LB Earnest Thomas - Illinois - SR
- CB Jalen Collins - LSU - JR
- CB Ronald Darby - Florida State - JR - 3rd team all-ACC
- CB Jamerson Love - Mississippi State - SR
- CB Cole Luke - Notre Dame - SOPH - 1st team all-Independent
- CB Danzel McDaniel - Kansas State - JR - 2nd team all-Big 12
- CB Jonathan McKnight (HM) (photo below) - Arizona - SR - HM all-Pac-12
- CB Jordan Ozerities - UCF - SR
- CB Darryl Roberts - Marshall - SR - 1st team all-CUSA - 17 PBU
- CB Kevon Seymour - USC - JR
- CB Tye Smith - Towson - SR - 1st team all-CAA; 3rd team AP FCS all-America
- CB Fred Tiller - Kentucky - JR
- CB Corey Trim - Louisiana-Lafayette - SR - 2nd team all-SBC
- CB Brison Williams - South Carolina - SR
- CB Ronald Zamort - Western Michigan - JR - 3rd team all-MAC
- S Jamie Byrd - South Florida - JR
- S Corey Cooper (HM) - Nebraska - SR
- S Trae Elston (HM) - Mississippi - JR
- S Matthias Farley - Notre Dame - SR
- S Quentin Hayes (photo below) - Oklahoma - SR
- S Taj Letman - Marshall - JR
- S Darion Monroe (HM) - Tulane - JR
- S Demarkus Perkins - FIU - SR
- S Deion Stanley - Georgia Sourthern - SR - HM all-SBC
- S Trevon Stewart (3) - Houston - JR
- S Alan Turner - Arkansas - JR
- PR Je Ryan Butler - South Dakota State - JR
- PR Jonathan Epps - Abilene Christian - JR - 2nd team all-SLC
- PR Devonte Johnson - FAMU - SR
- PR and WR Janawski Davis - Murray State - JR - 2nd team all-OVC as WR - 13 TD catches and 2 PR for TD
- PR and KR Speedy Noil - Texas A&M - FR - HM all-SEC as KR - 12.0 average on PR ranked 8th best in the FBS
Jamerson Love (on right) finished tied with fellow honorables Jalen Collins and Fred Tiller for the most PBU by any SEC CB with dreads. They all had 9.
Opposing QBs keep trying Western Michigan CB Ronald Zamort, and sometimes he makes them pay. After recording 18 PBU as a sophomore in 2013, he had 17 more this season and also picked off 4 passes (he had no INT last season), including this one (above left) against Virginia Tech in Week 5.
We came very close to having a TE make the team this year. But despite finishing with 8 TD catches, I excluded E.J. Bibbs (above right) because I just didn't think averaging 38 yards per game was quite enough to include him. Of course, I'll be very happy if he averages 38 yards next season - because he'll be doing it on Sundays.
Travis Greene (above left) was still Bowling Green's starting RB this season; but he had 100 fewer carries than in 2013, so it was impossible for him to duplicate the nearly 1,600-yard season he had. He still managed 949 yards rushing this season, but it wasn't quite enough for him to repeat on the team.
The SEC has the most players on the team - and the most players on the honorable mention list as well - 16. Running backs with dreads carried the ball for 8 different SEC teams in 2014, and Matt Jones and Alex Collins were among the best of them. Thanks to Todd Gurley's injury, Collins (above right) was the only SEC RB with dreads with over 1,000 yards. His final total of 1,100 was 74 more than he had as a freshman in 2013, and he tripled his TD scored from 4 last year to 12 in 2014. Jones (above left), back strong after a knee ended his sophomore season midway through the season, rushed for 817 yards, which was 200 more than in his first two seasons combined.
And as you can tell, with dreads like these, both Jones and Collins are serious contenders to make my dread all-America team also.
From two of the best RB with dreads in the SEC, we go to two of the best in the FCS. Both Malcolm Cyrus (above right) and Gus Johnson (above left, trying to elude LB WaDerroius Sellers of Northwestern State in Week 13) were conference players of the year. After hovering near the 1,000-yard mark the last two seasons, Johnson exploded this year, finishing with 1,683 yards and 23 TD rushing. Cyrus did nearly as well. After serving as a sidekick to Isaiah Crowell the previous two seasons at Alabama State, Malcolm moved into the starting lineup and rushed for many more yards than Crowell did in a season - although not quite as many TD - finishing with 1,662. He also had 380 yards receiving to finish with 2,042 total yards and 13 TD. I don't know if either of them will get drafted, but both certainly will be in NFL training camps this summer.
That's the team for 2014. I tried very hard not to miss anybody. But if there's somebody who deserves to be mentioned that I didn't mention, or if you have a different opinion than mine with some of the selections .... please, you know where the comment button is.
Coming soon, well, maybe not so soon, the 2014 dread all-America team, featuring some of the best dreads on Saturdays this season.