First Team Defense
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Bosa, the Fort Lauderdale gem who spurned Florida State and Florida, has played like a budding superstar in his first season in Columbus. At 6-6 and 275 pounds, the honorable mention All-Big Ten pick has tremendous size to go along with the get-off and the drive to become an elite pass rusher. Bosa has been a starter since early in the year, recording 39 tackles, 12.5 stops behind the line, 6.5 sacks and a team-high six hurries.
DE A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
True freshman defensive linemen don't often play for Nick Saban. Robinson, though, is different than most of his predecessors in Tuscaloosa. At 6-4 and 320 pounds, with quick feet, he's just so tough to block. And he's only going to get better with more reps. Despite just a couple of starts, Robinson leads ‘Bama with 5.5 sacks and is second in tackles for loss.
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
The nation's most heralded recruit showcased his versatility by starting six early games at end and four late ones at tackle. The 6-5, 294-pounder is strong enough to play inside, yet quick enough to line up opposite the tackle. Heck, he even played some halfback in the Egg Bowl, exploding through the line with incredible suddenness. Nkemdiche was a little dinged up this fall, but managed to make 29 stops and eight tackles for loss, while strengthening his case as an emerging star.
DE Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Vanderdoes took the winding road to Westwood, including a stop in South Bend, but the Bruins are just thrilled to have him. Uncommonly athletic for a 6-4, 305-pounder, he operates with all of the quickness and agility of a much smaller lineman. How nimble has the part-time starter been? Not only does Vanderdoes have 38 tackles, but he's also rushed for a score and caught an 18-yard pass.
LB Addison Gillam, Colorado
Gillam didn't start playing high school football until his junior year, and he was largely overlooked coming out of tiny Palo Cedro, Calif., but he's on the Pac-12 radar now. After enrolling early and nabbing the job in the middle, he went on to collect a team-high 119 tackles, seven stops for loss and three sacks. Gillam has the right size, range and toughness to evolve very quickly into an anchor in Boulder.
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
Dual-threats don't typically play linebacker, but Jack isn't the garden variety rookie. In an incredible testament to versatility, he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year … on offense and defense. Freakishly athletic, he's made 70 stops and has broken up 11 passes, yet he's also rushed for 267 yards and seven scores on 37 carries. Jack has the potential to be a household name by 2014.
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Smith has taken his first steps toward becoming the next great linebacker to play in South Bend. The nation's top-rated player at his position hasn't just met lofty expectations; he's exceeded them by starting all 12 games on the outside. An exceptional all-around athlete at the position, Smith has used his range and closing speed to rank third on the team with 61 tackles, 6.5 of which were behind the line.
CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
The Baltimore native has immediately shown why he was one of the most coveted East Coast recruits, earning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and a spot on the all-league second team. A starter in all but one game, he has 56 tackles, six picks and a team-best 16 passes defended. Fuller's versatility was crucial when the Hokies suffered injuries, starting six games at outside linebacker in packages.
S Su'a Cravens, USC
The five-star gem of Lane Kiffin's final recruiting class at Troy has instantly fit in as a regular in the secondary. Cravens is mature, heady and physically ready to excel at this level. The starter in all but one game at strong safety has shown violent pop in making 45 tackles, while ranking second on the Trojans with four interceptions.
S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
You want versatility in a rookie? Ramsey became the first true freshman to start at cornerback for the Seminoles since Deion Sanders in 1985. Then he started a pair of games at strong safety, before closing the year in the lineup at free safety. Like a defensive version of Jameis Winston, Ramsey has all of the physical tools to be a star, as well as the rare intangibles that can't be taught.
CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
After starting the year on the bench, the Gators had no choice but to promote Hargreaves. He was just too good to be used as a part-timer. Flashing lockdown corner potential, the rookie ball-hawk already looks capable of becoming one of the SEC's top pass defenders by 2014. Instinctive and intelligent in coverage, he parlayed a team-high three picks and 11 passes defended into becoming a Thorpe Award semifinalist.
PK Robert Aguayo, Florida State
Even the kickers have been elite this season in Tallahassee. Aguayo studied behind Dustin Hopkins as a first-year redshirt in 2012, and then proceeded to follow in his footsteps this past season. The Groza Award finalist connected on all but one of his 20 field goal attempts, including a 53-yarder, to earn a spot on the All-ACC Second Team.
P Austin Rehkow, Idaho
No one in the FBS averaged more yards per punt than Rehkow, who normed a school-record 47.8 yards for the Vandals. He was also the program's placekicker and a good enough all-around athlete to earn a walk-on tryout with Don Verlin's hoops team. Rehkow is a 6-3, 202-pounder who really drives his leg into the ball.
DE Chris Jones, Mississippi State
DE Carl Lawson, Auburn
DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
DE Avery Moss, Nebraska
LB Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
LB Steve Longa, Rutgers
CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech
S Nate Andrews , Florida State
S Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest
CB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
PK Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
P Cameron Johnston, Ohio State
DL: Tarell Basham (Ohio), Jesse Brubaker (Tulsa), Ralphael Green (Indiana), Treyvon Hester (Toledo), Monty Nelson (NC State), Ifeadi Odenigbo (Northwestern), Darius Philon (Arkansas) LB: Darian Claiborne (Texas A&M), Dakota Cox (New Mexico), Salamo Fiso (Arizona State), T.J. Holloman (South Carolina), Skai Moore (South Carolina), Hardy Nickerson (Cal), Michael Rose (Nebraska), Zack Ryan (Ball State), T.J. Simmons (Indiana), Christian Tago (San Jose State), Steve Taylor (Houston), Lucas Wacha (Wyoming), Ben Weaver (Boise State), Scooby Wright (Arizona)
DB: Tony Conner (Ole Miss), DeVon Edwards (Duke), Jacoby Glenn (UCF), Zach Edwards (Cincinnati), Dominique Green (North Carolina), Will Likely (Maryland), Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut), Darius Mosely (Illinois), Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), Sojourn Shelton (Wisconsin), Jack Tocho (NC State), Cameron Walker (Cal), Tre'Davious White (LSU)
PK: Colby Delahoussaye (LSU), Jake Elliott (Memphis), Elliott Fry (South Carolina), Michael Geiger (Michigan State), Andy Phillips (Utah)
P: Sean Covington (UCLA), Cole Leininger (Cal)
- 2013 CFN Freshman All-America Offense
Offensive Freshman of the Year: QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
Forget the freshman class. Winston was arguably the best player in college football this season … period. The precocious second-year freshman did it all for the Seminoles in 2013, amassing pristine numbers while leading his team to an ACC title, a perfect record and a crack at a national championship. Winston has thrown for 38 touchdowns, and his passer rating of 190 is easily tops among all FBS quarterbacks.
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
The former five-star gem from Plantation, Fla. was every bit as good as advertised in his debut in Fayetteville. Collins leads all freshmen running backs with 1,026 yards and four touchdowns on 190 carries, showing the quickness and the vision that'll help make him one of the budding superstars of the SEC over the next couple of seasons.
RB Shock Linwood, Baylor
Linwood was Exhibit A pertaining to the Bears' depth in the backfield this season. Buried on the depth chart when the season began, he made the most of his touches after Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin were sidelined with injuries. Linwood reeled off three straight 100-yard games against Big 12 opponents, lighting up Oklahoma and Texas Tech for 182 yards and 187 yards on the ground, respectively.
WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Boyd's first season at Pitt hasn't been easy; it just looks that way sometimes. He's been an instant impact performer for the Panthers, starting the opener and going on to catch 77 passes for 1,001 yards and seven touchdowns. Ultra-consistent and hard-working, Boyd's advanced hand-eye coordination allows him to make the difficult grabs that are usually reserved for more seasoned players.
WR Stacy Coley, Miami
Coley has scored touchdowns four different ways in his collegiate debut, seven as a receiver and one each as a runner, a punt returner and a kick returner. Already one of the fastest players in the ACC, he operates as if shot from a cannon, exploding through the seams of a defense or a wedge. Still somewhat raw as a pass-catcher, Coley might be unstoppable once his fundamentals match his jets.
TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Henry has a tremendous future ahead of him with the Hogs, especially since Bret Bielema loves employing tight ends in his offense. The true freshman wasted no time fitting in, finishing second on the team with 28 receptions for 409 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-6, 250-pound Henry is the total package at the position, with a ceiling that hasn't even begun to be approached.
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Conklin started every game for the Big Ten champs, switching from right tackle to left tackle for the Notre Dame game in September. He's a 6-6, 326-pound monster, quiet away from the field, yet nasty when he gets back on it. Conklin is third on the Spartans in knockdowns, doing his best work when the offense was running the ball right at the opposition.
OG Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
Ifedi has been a rock on the right side for the Aggies, despite his relative inexperience. He's started every game this season, bringing a certain physicality and nastiness to the front wall, especially on running downs. Despite being 6-5 and 311 pounds, Ifedi is light on his feet, and he can get to the second level in a hurry.
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
There were ups-and-downs, sure, but the Badgers still like the potential of Voltz to become an anchor in the middle of the line in Madison. Slowed by a hamstring injury in the preseason, he eventually lost his job to junior Dallas Lewallen. However, when Lewallen hurt his knee, Voltz seamlessly stepped in to start five games at the pivot.
OG Alex Redmond, UCLA
In a season of uncertainty in the trenches for the Bruins, Redmond stood out as one of the blockers that could be counted on, week-in and week-out. Sure, there was a learning curve for the 6-5, 305-pound freshman, but he didn't miss a start, and he improved as the season progressed. For his development, Redmond was named honorable mention All-Pac-12.
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
Tunsil is the real deal in Oxford, a five-star blindside protector who already looks as if he's on the fast track to the NFL. One of just two FBS true freshmen to be starting at left tackle, the 6-5, 315-pounder is a natural pass blocker, from his hand placement to his strong base. After starting for most of his rookie year, Tunsil could be an All-SEC candidate in 2014.
QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo
RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon
WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
OT Jerald Hawkins, LSU
OG Alex Kozan, Auburn
C Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati
OG Caleb Peterson, North Carolina
OT Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech
QB: Jared Goff (Cal), Sefo Liufau (Colorado), Maty Mauk (Missouri), Baker Mayfield (Texas Tech), John O'Korn (Houston), P.J. Walker (Temple), Davis Webb (Texas Tech)
RB: Michael Adkins (Colorado), Corey Clement (Wisconsin), James Conner (Pittsburgh), Jordan Chunn (Troy), Trey Edmunds (Virginia Tech), Jordan Howard (UAB), Aaron Jones (UTEP), Jarrod Lawson (San Jose State), Elijah McGuire (Louisiana), Paul Perkins (UCLA), Donnel Pumphrey (San Diego State), William Stanback (UCF), Kelvin Taylor (Florida), Zaire Williams (Temple)
WR: River Cracraft (Washington State), Rashard Higgins (Colorado State), Kenny Lawler (Cal), Keevan Lucas (Tulsa), Marquez North (Tennessee), Nate Phillips (Arizona), Jhajuan Seales (Oklahoma State), Daikiel Shorts (West Virginia), Joshua Stanford (Virginia Tech), Jamari Staples (UAB), Tyler Winston (San Jose State)
TE: Thomas Duarte (UCLA), Evan Engram (Ole Miss), Billy Freeman (San Jose State), O.J. Howard (Alabama), Johnny Mundt (Oregon), Jonnu Smith (Florida International)
OL: Jacob Bailey (Indiana), Steven Bell (Ball State), Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh), Michael Dunn (Maryland), Sean Harlow (Oregon State), Jon Heck (North Carolina), Cory Helms (Wake Forest), Cameron Hunt (Oregon), Andrew Jelks (Vanderbilt), Kyle Kalis (Michigan), Kaydon Kirby (North Texas), Steven Moore (Cal), Dan Skipper (Arkansas), Eric Smith (Virginia), Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame), Jon Toth, (Kentucky), Chad Wheeler (USC), Avery Young (Auburn)
- 2013 CFN Freshman All-America Defense & Special Teams