2014 Sophomore All-American
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CFN Sophomore All-America Teams
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- 2014 CFN All-Sophomore Defense
Offensive Sophomore of the Year: RB James Conner, Pitt
QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
Quarterbacks, like coaches and baseball pitchers, are judged by wins and losses. And by that measurement, Winston has been perfect, winning all 26 starts of his Seminole career. Sure, the passing numbers weren’t nearly as impressive as a season ago, especially the 17 interceptions. But on some level, Winston elevated his game as a sophomore by calmly leading Florida State to victory in six games decided by a touchdown or less. He is the most clutch second-half player in the game today.
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh
Despite being a virtual solo act in the Pitt offense, Conner has still rushed for an ACC-best 1,675 yards and 24 touchdowns on 277 punishing carries. His league’s Offensive Player of the Year is both a downhill throwback and a new-age Bus in Western Pennsylvania, burying defenders daring to enter his path. Conner has three times gone over 200 yards on the ground, often gaining a head of steam as games wear on.
RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
If Conner is the thumper of this year’s All-Sophomore Team, Pumphrey is its game-breaking scatback. He’s just 5-9 and 170 pounds, but size is inconsequential for the Las Vegas product. The Aztecs rolled the dice on a back largely ignored by the Pac-12, and have been reaping the rewards ever since. Pumphrey ranks among the nation’s leaders in rushing with 1,761 yards and 19 scores on 256 carries.
WR William Fuller, Notre Dame
Fuller arrived from Philadelphia a year ago with ample speed. He added polish to those jets to become the biggest beneficiary of QB Everett Golson’s return from academic suspension. Fuller has 71 receptions for 1,037 yards and 14 scores, with eight of the touchdowns coming from at least 20 yards out. At 6-1, he has good length, and he’ll continue to improve as he sharpens his route-running and ball skills.
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Two years ago, interest in Higgins was minimal. Today, he’s one of the country’s most prolific pass-catchers and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. Higgins has been consistently unstoppable this season, racking up 89 catches for 1,640 yards and an FBS-high 17 touchdown receptions. He has the speed to take the top off the defense, getting behind the secondary even when everyone knows he’s in QB Garrett Grayson’s crosshairs.
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
At Minnesota, where sure-handed tight ends are coveted, Williams has been a perfect fit. The Golden Gophers don’t throw it much, but they like to target No. 88 when they do. Williams has pulled down 29 catches for 471 yards and seven of the team’s 11 touchdown receptions. He has sticky hands and the overall athleticism to make acrobatic grabs appear routine.
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
In 2014, Conklin’s second season as a starter, he took a giant step toward being one of the top young tackles in the country. The 6-6, 303-pound former walk-on is a fortress in pass protection, which was never more evident than when he shut out Big Ten sack leader Joey Bosa. Conklin earned All-Big Ten in 2014, and will have an All-American ceiling in his junior year … if the NFL doesn’t get him first.
OG Pat Elflein, Ohio State
Elflein picked up where he left off at the end of his rookie year, evolving into a First Team All-Big Ten performer and the Buckeyes’ most reliable blocker up front. He’s tough, physical and smart, putting the time in the film room, the weight room and the practice field. In Elflein, Ohio State boasts a blue-collar enforcer, who can set the tone at the line of scrimmage.
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
A year after being the nation’s top freshman center, Voltz is predictably the country’s top sophomore center. He’s everything that’s expected from a Badger interior lineman these days, rugged with a penchant for finishing his blocks. Voltz earned honorable mention All-Big Ten, as he attempts to become the next in a growing line of Wisconsin centers drafted into the NFL.
OG Greg Pyke, Georgia
Pyke was a key cog in a Bulldog line that blocked extremely well, first for Todd Gurley and then for Nick Chubb. At 6-6 and 321 pounds, he carries his weight very well, which allows him to beat opponents with his strength as well as his agility. Pyke was named Second Team All-SEC, quite an achievement for a young lineman who appeared in just a pair of games in 2013.
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
There was a slight detour, a bicep injury that cost him two games, but Tunsil is back on track to being one of the nation’s top young blockers. He was built to protect the blindside of quarterbacks, with long arms and some of the best feet and agility in the game. The two-time All-SEC selection is a year away from being draft-eligible, when it’s expected he’ll be one of the first linemen taken off the board.
QB Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
RB Paul Perkins, UCLA
WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
OG Johnny Caspers, Stanford
C Kyle Fuller, Baylor
OG Denver Kirkland, Arkansas
OT Dan Skipper, Arkansas
QB: Tommy Armstrong (Nebraska), Kevin Ellison (Georgia Southern), Dane Evans (Tulsa), Jared Goff (Cal), Austin Grammer (Middle Tennessee), Drew Hare (Northern Illinois), Kenny Hill (Texas A&M), Tyler Jones (Texas State), Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati), Sefo Liufau (Colorado), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Maty Mauk (Missouri), Cyler Miles (Washington), Cooper Rush (Central Michigan), Zach Terrell (Western Michigan), Chad Voytik (Pittsburgh), Davis Webb (Texas Tech), Logan Woodside (Toledo)
RB: Alex Collins (Arkansas), Matt Breida (Georgia Southern), Marcus Cox (Appalachian State), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame), Derrick Henry (Alabama), Jordan Howard (UAB), Kareem Hunt (Toledo), Aaron Jones (UTEP), Shock Linwood (Baylor), Elijah McGuire (Louisiana), Jacobi Owens (Air Force), Brandon Radcliff (Louisville), Rushel Shell (West Virginia)
WR: Victor Bolden (Oregon State), Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan), Corey Coleman (Baylor), Pharoh Cooper (South Carolina), River Cracraft (Washington State), Travin Dural (LSU), Samajie Grant (Arizona), Ajalen Holley (UL-Monroe), Mack Hollins (North Carolina), Cayleb Jones (Arizona), Corey Jones (Toledo), Isaiah Jones (East Carolina), Keevan Lucas (Tulsa), Teldrick Morgan (New Mexico State), Josh Reynolds (Texas A&M), Jalen Robinette (Air Force), Demarcus Robinson (Florida), Cameron Smith (Arizona State), Dwayne Stanford (Oregon), Ryan Switzer (North Carolina), Trent Taylor (Louisiana Tech), Michael Thomas (Ohio State), Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss), Jordan Westerkamp (Nebraska), Mike Williams (Clemson), Tyler Winston (San Jose State)
TE: Tre’Von Armstead (Baylor), Thomas Duarte (UCLA), Jarred Gipson (Nevada), David Grinnage (NC State), Hunter Henry (Arkansas), Josiah Price (Michigan State), Jonnu Smith (Florida International)
OL: Zach Banner (USC), Chris Borrayo (Cal), J.T. Boyd (East Carolina), Freddie Burden (Georgia Tech), Shon Coleman (Auburn), Dan Feeney (Indiana), Sean Harlow (Oregon State), Jerald Hawkins (LSU), Ethan Pocic (LSU), Alex Redmond (UCLA), Graham Shuler (Stanford)
- 2014 CFN All-Sophomore Defense
E-mail Rich Cirminiello