Joined: August 6th, 2004, 9:21 am
NEW YORK - Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny and Southern California receiver Dwayne Jarrett overcame adversity to become two-time Associated Press All-Americans.
Posluszny and Jarrett were selected to the first-team for the second consecutive season Tuesday, joining Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden on the AP's honor roll.
Smith, the senior quarterback, is one of three Ohio State players on the first team, along with defensive tackle Justin Pitcock and linebacker James Laurinaitis. Big Ten rival Michigan matched the Buckeyes for the most first-teamers with defensive end LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Leon Hall and offensive tackle Jake Long.
Smith and the top-ranked Buckeyes will play Florida in the national title game Jan. 8 in Arizona. The Gators were represented on the first-team by safety Reggie Nelson.
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who finished third behind Smith and McFadden in the Heisman voting, made the second-team.
Posluszny is the first Penn State linebacker to be a two-time AP All-American, quite a feat considering Linebacker U. has produced the likes of LaVar Arrington, Shane Conlan and Jack Ham.
Posluszny returned to Penn State for his senior season after injuring his knee in the Orange Bowl in January. Playing with a bulky brace and trying to adapt to a new position, Posluszny needed a few games to get comfortable in 2006.
"Things were a lot tougher this year," the senior said. "A little more complicated."
In 2005, Posluszny was dominant while playing outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. To make better use of their personnel, the Nittany Lions shifted to a 3-4 set this season and moved the 240-pound Posluszny inside.
The first few games, Posluszny was healthy but not playing as well as he did last season.
"The knee was fine except the first couple of games they made me wear this really immobile brace. So that was a problem, but we got that taken care of," he said recently. "It was the position switch. I felt so comfortable playing outside linebacker. It was a little bit harder to get used to everything mentally."
Once he started getting the hang of his new gig, Poz was his old self.
Posluszny finished the regular season with 108 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He became the second two-time winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award as national defensive player.
Mississippi's Patrick Willis, the Butkus Award winner, is the other All-American linebacker.
Joining McFadden in the backfield is West Virginia's Steve Slaton, a sophomore, like McFadden, who was third in the nation in rushing at 144.4 yards per game.
Jarrett's season was complicated by an early season shoulder injury that forced him to miss a game and limited him in several others. But when the 6-foot-5 junior was at full strength, he was USC's best weapon. He caught 58 passes for 773 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, another junior and big-time NFL prospect, is the other All-American receiver. He caught 13 touchdown passes.
Minnesota senior Matt Spaeth is the tight end. Long is joined on the offensive line by Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, the Outland Trophy winner. Justin Blalock of Texas and Josh Beekman of Boston College are the guards and West Virginia's Dan Mozes is the center.
UCLA's Justin Medlock, who leads the nation with 26 field goals, is the first-team kicker, and California receiver DeSean Jackson, who returned four punts for touchdowns, was selected as an all-purpose player.
LSU's defense, the best in the Southeastern Conference, is represented on the first-team by defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and safety LaRon Landry.
Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who picked off eight passes and returned two for TDs, and Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year Gaines Adams of Clemson complete the defense.
Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda, after being a third-team All-American as a sophomore and a second-teamer last year, is a first-teamer this season. Michigan led all schools with six players receiving All-America honors. Tailback Mike Hart, linebacker David Harris and defensive tackle Alan Branch made the second-team.
Ohio State had five players on the three teams, with guard T.J. Downing and receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. making the second team.
Florida had one player on each of the three teams. Cornerback Ryan Smith made the second team and linebacker Brandon Siler was a third-teamer.
The AP All-America team selection panel:
Dick Weiss, Daily News (New York); Jeff Shain, The Miami Herald; Bob Thomas, The Florida Times-Union; Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News; Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press; Blair Kerkoff, The Kansas City Star.
AP Sports Writers Jeff Latzke (Oklahoma City), Paul Newberry (Atlanta), Andrew Bagnato (Phoenix), Tim Reynolds (Miami) and Ralph D. Russo (New York), and Associated Press Writer Genaro C. Armas (State College, Pa.).