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2007 CFN Freshman All-America First Team
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 5, 2007


Who are the new star players and the ones who'll dominate college football for the next few years? Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency and leads the Fourth Annual CollegeFootballNews.com All-Freshman Team.

Compiled by Richard Cirminiello 

- CFN Freshman All-America Teams 2004 | 2005 | 2006

- CFN 2007 Freshman All-America
Second Team

Offensive Freshman of the Year: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Defensive Freshman of the Year: S Eric Berry, Tennessee  

*Indicates player is a true freshman

Offense

QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma – No lock to even start under center before the season began, Bradford went ahead to have one of the greatest seasons ever by a freshman quarterback.  A picture of poise in the huddle and the pocket, he tossed 34 touchdown passes to just seven picks, while leading the nation in passing efficiency and his Sooners to a Big 12 Championship.  

RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia – A lot was expected of Moreno in Athens, but not this much, this fast.  One of the main catalysts of the Bulldogs’ torrid stretch run, he’s rushed for 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns, doing most of his damage against the heart of the SEC schedule.  A powerful, high-energy back that explodes through the hole, he’s poised to become the next in a long line of superb Georgia backs.       

*RB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh – A burgeoning superstar at this level, McCoy wasted no time becoming the face of the Panther program, pacing the nation’s freshmen with 1,328 yards and 14 touchdowns, while chipping in 33 receptions.  On the verge of being a complete back that can beat defenses to the outside or between the tackles, he ended his first season by helping carry Pitt to a monumental upset of West Virginia.

WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech – A spot on the Freshman All-America team is chump change for a player destined for far bigger honors this month.  Crabtree has already become the first freshman since Herschel Walker in 1980 to be named to the AFCA All-America team after hauling in 125 catches for 1,861 yards, 21 touchdowns, and a war chest of records.  No system guy, he’d be a star in just about any program this side of Navy.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri – One of the nation’s most dynamic players this season, Maclin was always one seam away from going the distance, whether he was taking a handoff, catching a pass, or fielding a kick.  Second nationally in all-purpose yards, he caught 77 passes for 1,023 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 349 yards and four scores on the ground and three more touchdowns on returns.    

*TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona – This fall, Gronkowski had an instant impact for the Wildcat passing game, catching 28 passes for 525 passes and six touchdowns.  By next fall, he might be contending for the Mackey Award given to the nation’s premier tight end.  At 6-6 and 250 pounds, he’s a major talent with the size to run through arm tackles and the wheels to stretch a defense down the middle of the field.

*OT Trinton Sturdivant, Georgia – The first true freshman lineman in almost two decades to start in Athens, Sturdivant has been outstanding at left tackle, a key reason that Matthew Stafford has been sacked just 15 times in a dozen games.  At 6-5 and 300 pounds, he’s got the long arms and good feet to be an All-American before leaving college.   

*OG Maurkice Pouncey, Florida – Pouncey stepped into the lineup after starter Phil Trautwein went down with a foot injury in August, and hasn’t skipped a beat.  He’s held his own against the titans of the SEC, including LSU’s Glenn Dorsey, prompting head coach Urban Meyer to suggest that Pouncey could eventually develop into the best ever to open holes in Gainesville.    

C Ryan McMahon, Florida State – It takes a special player to start at center as a freshman, something McMahon did very well throughout the regular season.  A defensive lineman a year ago, he’s made a seamless transition to the other side of the ball, calling line assignments like a vet, and rarely muffing a snap.

*OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State – Seminole offensive line coach Rick Trickett is determined to surround himself with the type of linemen he had for years at West Virginia, rugged, smart and athletic.  He’ll begin with Hudson, who’s been a revelation in his rookie year, quickly becoming Florida State’s most dependable blocker, and earning a spot on the All-ACC second unit.  If he keeps outworking everyone around him, Hudson will be a fixture on honor rolls for the next three years. 

*OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn – Opportunity crossed paths with immense talent in August, affording Ziemba a rare chance to start at tackle in the SEC just months after leaving high school.  Sure, there were rookie mistakes, but he played very well as a 12-game starter, and will get even better after adding more strength during the offseason conditioning program.  

Defense

*DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State The groundswell of hype beginning to surround Heyward is all warranted.  At 6-6 and 280 pounds with uncommon agility and work habits, it’s a matter of when, not if he blossoms into a full-blown star at this level.  Heyward seized an opportunity for more playing time after Lawrence Wilson broke his leg in the opener, finishing the regular season with 30 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma – Don’t judge McCoy’s first season of live action based on his numbers, a pedestrian 16 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks.  He’s the type of player that explodes off the ball, occupying multiple blockers and making everyone around him better.  McCoy has Tommie Harris-like potential, which was recognized by those Big 12 coaches that tabbed him the Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.    

*DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina – Yup, Austin looks like he’s going to be worth all of those scholarship offers he received a year ago.  An elite all-around athlete for an interior lineman, he debuted in Chapel Hill with 26 tackles, six tackles for loss, and four sacks, a foundation for what’s going to be an outstanding college career.

DE Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh – After redshirting last year, Romeus is in the midst of making the leap from really good athlete to really good football player in a short period of time.  A raw individual that played only one season of high school ball, he laid the foundation for a promising career at Pittsburgh with 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks, flashing tremendous closing speed and leaping ability.

*LB Greg Jones, Michigan State – After playing his way into the starting lineup midway through the season, Jones has a chance to become a favorite of Mark Dantonio, who loves aggressive, big-play linebackers.  Despite getting a late start as a regular, he has a Spartan-high 73 tackles to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

LB Obi Ezeh, Michigan – Wolverine fans got a glimpse of Ezeh’s substantial upside in the Michigan State game, when he racked up 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks.  It was the crowning moment in an otherwise solid season that figures to be a launching point for one of the Big Ten’s fast rising linebackers.  

LB Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut – One of the stalwarts of a Husky defense that was air-tight in all but the regular season finale with West Virginia, Wilson is second on the team with 106 tackles, 7.5 of which were for negative yards.  An undersized player at 6-1 and 220 pounds, he has outstanding and a knack for being around the ball.
 
*CB Joe Haden, Florida – Yeah, opposing quarterbacks took advantage of the rebuilt Gator secondary at times, but it’ll be better for it down the road because of players like Haden.  A supreme athlete that had never played cornerback before this season, he showed enough in August to become the first true freshman in school history to start at the position in the opener.  With more reps and seasoning, opposing quarterbacks might be avoiding his side for the next few seasons. 
 
*S Eric Berry, Tennessee – There’s no better defensive back than the safety that covers like a corner or the corner that sticks like a safety.  Berry is just such a player.  A gifted playmaker that’s played both positions this season, he’s on the brink of stardom after debuting in Knoxville with 83 tackles, a couple of fumble recoveries, and five picks for a school-record 222 yards.

*S Major Wright, Florida – One of the many true freshmen that had an impact on this year’s 9-3 Gator team, Wright contributed 58 tackles and three forced fumbles to a young defense that’s only going to get better in 2008.  A ferocious hitter with great closing speed, he’ll administer a fair amount of pain before leaving Gainesville.

*CB Donovan Warren, Michigan – Warren made the expected rookie mistakes, but generally played well beyond his years as a rare true freshman starter in the Wolverine secondary.  A fluid, 6-1 thoroughbred that isn’t afraid to be left alone in man coverage, he’s got 49 tackles and four passes defended, the start of what’s likely to be a terrific college career.

Special Teams


K Thomas Weber, Arizona State – One of the most obvious of this year’s selections, Weber connected on 22-of-23 field goal attempts, including one from 53 yards and all six over 40 yards.  He also averaged a healthy 65 yards on kickoffs, showing tremendous leg strength, and adequately handled punting duties over the second half of the year.  A Lou Groza Award finalist, Weber has quite a career ahead of him in Tempe.

P Keenyn Crier, Arizona – The Pac-10 leader with a 43.6-yard average, Crier is also a finalist for the Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s best punter.  He has one of the strongest legs in the country, but has also made strides this year with the finer areas of the position, such as hang time and improving his directional kicks.


2007 Freshman All-America Second Team