Hits and Misses of 2013 College Football AP All-America Team
The announcement of the AP All-America Team is a topic of much controversy.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press released its 2013 team. As expected, there are a lot of decisions that should be applauded and some that have left fans scratching their heads.
What are the decisions the AP got right? Which ones did it get wrong? Who is deserving or not deserving of their spots?
Join B/R as we answer those questions and more.
Hit: DT Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh)
The Pittsburgh Panthers may be 6-6, but that doesn’t discredit the kind of season Aaron Donald has put together for the team.
Through 12 games, the senior has recorded 54 tackles (26.5 for loss), 10 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries, forced four fumbles and blocked a punt. Furthermore, he ranks No. 1 in the nation in tackles for loss, No. 8 in fumbles forced and No. 13 in sacks.
Behind Donald’s strong play, Pittsburgh defense has been respectable this season.
His standout game came against Georgia Tech on Nov. 2. Donald recorded 11 tackles (six for loss), collected a sack and forced two fumbles.
It’s performances like that that ended up winning Donald four end-of-season awards, including the Outland Trophy, Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award.
Nobody deserves a spot on the AP All-America First Team more than Donald.
Miss: QB Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois)
There’s no doubt Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch had a sensational 2013 season.
The senior dominated opponents with his legs, rushing for an incredible 1,881 yards and 22 touchdowns on 274 carries. Furthermore, he broke the FBS single-game rushing record for a quarterback not once, but twice.
But AP First Team All-American as an all-purpose player? That’s a joke.
In the rankings for all-purpose yardage, which don’t consider passing yards, Lynch only ranks No. 19 in the nation. In comparison, second-teamer Ty Montgomery of Stanford ranks No. 10 and third-teamer Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU ranks No. 3.
Given that Montgomery and Beckham have both changed the outcomes of games with their versatility, it’s a shame to see those two passed up in favor of a quarterback—one who struggles throwing the ball, no less.
Lynch is certainly deserving of a spot on the list, but the first team is a bit of a stretch.
Hit: First- and Second-Team Running Backs
Could 2013 be the year of the running back?
All four of the AP’s selections for first and second team in the backfield could just as easily have been considered for the first team.
Andre Williams (329 carries, 2,102 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Ka’Deem Carey (322 carries, 1,716 yards, 17 TDs) were both shoo-ins for the first team. The former led the nation in rushing and helped Boston College record seven wins a year after winning just two, while the latter finished second and helped Arizona record an impressive upset of Oregon in Week 14.
The second team doesn't feature much of a drop-off with Tre Mason (283 carries, 1,621 yards, 22 TDs) and Bishop Sankey (306 carries, 1,775 yards, 18 TDs).
After a slow start, Mason turned his season around and was an integral part of Auburn’s run to the BCS title game. Meanwhile, Sankey helped Washington continue its upward momentum and put up numbers no matter what defense he faced.
It’s an impressive list that will leave many deserving running backs feeling snubbed, such as Todd Gurley, Carlos Hyde, Marion Grice and Tyler Gaffney among others.
Miss: Fresno State Stars
The Bulldogs had one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football in 2013.
The team ranks No. 5 in scoring (45.3 points per game) and No. 3 in total offense (570.6 yards per game). Furthermore, Fresno State boasted the nation’s top-ranked passing attack, averaging 409.8 yards per game.
A lot of that credit belongs to quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams.
Carr finished the season throwing for 4,866 yards, 48 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 70.1 percent passing. Meanwhile, Adams caught 122 passes for 1,645 yards and 23 scores.
However, the AP selected Adams to just the second team, while Carr was nowhere to be seen.
It’s almost inexcusable to completely bypass the nation’s leading passer in yards and touchdowns.
Putting Brandin Cooks ahead of Adams on the first team is quite mind-boggling as well. Adams had only 25 fewer yards than Cooks and eight more touchdowns.
No love for the Bulldogs.
Hit: Florida State
What more accolades and honors do the Seminoles need?
The team is currently ranked No. 1 and is the only undefeated team in the nation. Quarterback Jameis Winston recently took home the Heisman Trophy.
Most importantly, Florida State is preparing to take on Auburn in the BCS title game next month.
Now, the team can add six AP All-American players to the resume.
The Seminoles landed a whopping four players on the first team. Winston, center Bryan Stork, kicker Roberto Aguayo and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner led the way.
Another two Florida State players made the second team: offensive tackle Cameron Erving and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
Several other players on the team were also deserving of placement on this list.
It’s now time for the Seminoles to back up all the awards and critical acclaim by taking care of business in the BCS title game.
Miss: RB Tyler Gaffney (Stanford)
One of the biggest snubs has to be Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney.
The senior rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns on 306 carries. He’s also caught 14 passes for 88 yards and another score.
Furthermore, Gaffney topped the century mark in seven of the Cardinal’s last eight games. That includes finding the end zone 14 times in that span.
With a passing attack that is below average at best—the team ranks No. 91 in passing—Stanford has had to rely on Gaffney heavily to win several games.
Wins against Oregon State, Arizona State and UCLA come to mind.
The fact that AP voters left someone who was the go-to-guy on offense for a Top Five squad off the list altogether is one of their most baffling decisions.
Hit: Excluding DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
Believe it or not, the AP got it right by excluding defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from its list.
The junior finished 2013 with 35 tackles (10.5 for loss), 3.0 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and one fumble forced. That pales in comparison to his numbers from last season: 54 tackles (23.5 for loss), 13 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Furthermore, Clowney has been outperformed by several of his teammates. He ranks 10th on the Gamecocks in tackles while finishing second in sacks and tackles for loss.
Whether it’s fair or not, the Rock Hill, S.C., native has been held to the standards of his 2012 season.
Given the hype and overall disappointment of his 2013 campaign, the AP made the right decision to leave Clowney off the list.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.