2006 CFN Sophomore All-America First Team

Posted Dec 13, 2006

Arkansas RB Darren McFadden is the CFN SEC Player of the Year and also leads our Third Annual CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore team.

Compiled by Richard Cirminiello 

Sophomore All-America Second Team

Offensive Sophomore of the Year: RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas
Defensive Sophomore of the Year: LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

*Indicates player is a true freshman

First Team

QB Patrick White, West Virginia – The Big East’s Offensive Player of the Year made strides as a passer in his second season, however, it’s his open field speed and ability to take off with the ball that make him so dangerous and tough to defense.  White was the only quarterback in 2006 to rush for more than 1,000 yards and his 17 touchdowns were more than all but eight players, most of whom were backs that had substantially more touches.

RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas – From relative anonymity outside SEC country, McFadden played his way to second place in the Heisman vote, the highest finish ever for a sophomore.  He did a little of everything for the Hogs in 2006, running for 1,558 yards and 14 scores, throwing three touchdown passes, catching a touchdown pass and returning a kick for a score.  Much more than just a compiler, McFadden often saved his biggest efforts for Arkansas’ toughest opponents.

RB Steve Slaton, West Virginia – The other half of the Mountaineers’ dynamic duo, Slaton finished No. 3 nationally in rushing behind Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe and Boise State’s Ian Johnson.  One of just two players with more than 2,000 all-purpose yards, the big play sophomore with track speed finished fourth in last week’s Heisman balloting.

WR Jarett Dillard, Rice – Dillard was built for the new spread offense that was employed by Rice this year in place of the old wishbone.  He flourished in the new system, catching 82 passes for 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns, including one in a record-tying 12 straight games.  What won’t show up on the back of Dillard’s trading card is his role in getting the Owls back to a bowl game for the first time since 1961.

WR DeSean Jackson, Cal – Arguably the most dynamic home run threat in America, Jackson can demoralize a defense or punt coverage unit every time the ball is in his hands.  He averaged more than 18 yards on his 54 receptions, catching nine touchdown passes and adding another four scores on punt returns.  Jackson is one of those rare talents that forces opposing coaches to work overtime trying to contain. 

TE Travis Beckum, Wisconsin – One year after seeing spot duty at defensive end, Beckum exploded for 56 catches for 821 yards and four touchdowns, the best output for a tight end in 2006.  He’s more of an H-back than a traditional blocking tight end, who causes major match up problems with his size, athleticism and leaping ability.

OL Jeremy Perry, Oregon State – One year after being named a Freshman All-American, Perry is progressing very quickly, earning All-Pac 10 first team honors in 2006.  He’s a mauler, particularly in the running game, with a nasty streak that Beaver coaches adore.

OL Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas – Luigs anchored a very talented Hog line, grading out at a team-best 89.7%, while becoming the only sophomore this year named a Rimington Award finalist.  While starting all 13 games in 2006, he had 30 knockdowns and earned a first team All-SEC nod, helping pave the way for Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden.

OL Alex Mack, Cal – Mack showed this fall that he learned a thing or two as an understudy to center Marvin Philip last year.  He seamlessly took over at the pivot, bullying opposing linemen and opening holes for Marshawn Lynch, en route to the coaches’ All-Pac 10 first team.

OL Max Unger, Oregon – In two years, Unger has really filled out and improved his run blocking, while developing into an All-Pac 10 performer at left tackle.  Relatively unheralded coming out of high school, he’s already exceeded expectations and will be the athletic anchor of the Duck front wall for the next two seasons. 

OL Duke Robinson, Oklahoma – The Sooners lost four seniors from last year’s line, but it was hard to tell because of the development of players like Robinson, a massive 330-pound guard that started on the left side, but was also versatile enough to shift outside and contribute at tackle. 


DL Albert McClellan, Marshall – The NFL cannot wait to get its paws on McClellan, a speed-rushing beast that hasn’t even approached his entire potential.  The Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year finished his second season with 77 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks, highlighted by a two-game stretch in November, when he bagged 9½ tackles for loss and six sacks in utterly dominant performances.  

DL Ian Campbell, Kansas State – A former walk-on, Campbell earned his free ride in 2006 with 11½ sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 60 tackles, tops among Big 12 defensive linemen.  Although he wasn’t even assured of a starting job back in August, he worked his way on to the all-league first team and was an unexpected semifinalist for the Hendricks Award given annually to the country’s top defensive end.

DL Tyson Jackson, LSU – At 6-5 and 290 pounds, Jackson is built more like a tackle, but has the quickness and team-leading eight quarterback sacks that screams premier defensive end.  Despite being surrounded by a ton of talent on the Tiger front, he still was able to distinguish himself in 2006, earning a spot on the All-SEC second team.   

DL Calais Campbell, Miami – Playing like a modern day Ted Hendricks, Campbell was a beast in the second half of the season, terrorizing quarterbacks with a great burst and an enormous wingspan that comes with a 6-8 frame.  He had 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks over the last eight games, landing on the All-ACC first team, while conjuring up visions of Mario Williams in the minds of some NFL scouts. 

LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State – In 2006, Laurinaitis became the poster child for how quickly the Buckeye D reloaded after losing nine starters from last year’s unit.  In his first season as a starter at this level, he parlayed 100 tackles, 8½ tackles for loss, four sacks, five picks and three forced fumbles into a spot on numerous All-America teams and the Nagurski Trophy given to the nation’s top defensive player.

LB Rey Maualuga, USC – Maualuga hasn’t even approached his full potential, but has already flashed the potential of a future All-American and first-day NFL draft choice.  A Butkus Award semifinalist and All-Pac-10 first-teamer, the 6-3, 250-pound middle linebacker is a passionate playmaker, who pursues extremely well and can hit like a locomotive. 

LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee – Despite missing most of the final two games with a kneecap injury, Mayo had 82 tackles, while leading the Vols with 12½ tackles for loss and five sacks.  He’s a prototypical size-speed linebacker, who can stuff the run, but is at his disruptive best when he’s allowed to wreak havoc rushing off the edge.  

DB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State – Jenkins lettered as a true freshman, emerging this year as a starter and a first team All-Big Ten cornerback on the nation’s No. 8 pass efficiency defense.  He’s a next level talent with the size to support in run defense and the feet and instincts to neutralize opposing receivers.  Jenkins has the talent to begin next year as the premier corner in the country.      

DB Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin – Ikegwuonu was enjoying quite a breakout year as the Badgers’ top corner before being charged last month with residential burglary and criminal trespass, leaving his future at Wisconsin in doubt.  The first team All-Big Ten corner has terrific size and athleticism, but after allegedly breaking into an apartment to steal an Xbox, common sense and maturity are not two of his strengths. 

DB Aqib Talib, Kansas – Talib sat out the opener for disciplinary reasons, yet still led the country with 28 passes defended, seven more than any other player in America.  He’s an outstanding cover corner with great ball instincts and quickness on his breaks.  Talib is chatty, but backs it up with consistently solid play against the Big 12’s premier receivers.   

DB Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech – No one, except maybe Flowers, expected him to be this good, this fast.  Taking over for Jimmy Williams at boundary corner, he was No. 2 in the country in passes defended on the nation’s top-ranked pass defense.  He chipped in 48 tackles, 7½ tackles for loss and 3½, displaying uncommon pop for an undersized defensive back.      

K Sam Swank, Wake Forest – A Lou Groza Award semifinalist in each of his first two seasons, Swank was arguably the most important offensive player in Wake’s unlikely drive to the ACC championship.  The all-league kicker nailed 21-of-28 field goals, many in clutch situations and five of 50 yards or longer.  No one-trick deacon, Swank was also a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s top punter.

P Britton Colquitt, Tennessee – The youngest of the Colquitts, Britton is seamlessly carrying on the family tradition of great punters in Knoxville.  He led the SEC with a 45.0-yard average this year to earn a spot on the all-league first team.  Colquitt’s 4:1 ratio of punts inside the 20 to touchbacks helped the Vols finish 14th nationally net punting average. 

Sophomore All-America Second Team