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2005 CFN Freshman All-America First Team
West Virginia QB Pat White
West Virginia QB Pat White
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 5, 2007


West Virginia QB Pat White leads the 2005 CollegeFootballNews.com All-Freshman Team.

Compiled by Richard Cirminiello 

*Indicates player is a true freshman

2005 First Team

Offense
QB Pat White, West Virginia – Other quarterbacks had better numbers, but no freshman meant more to his team’s success than White did to Sugar Bowl-bound West Virginia.  Channeling a young Michael Vick, he lit a spark under the moribund Mountaineer offense, breaking down opposing defenses with his feet and stamping himself as the heir apparent to Rasheed Marshall.  In just over half a season, White ran for 875 yards and accounted for 14 touchdowns.

Offensive Freshman of the Year

*RB Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern – Not long after leaving high school, Sutton developed into a workhorse back and an ideal complement to Brett Basanez and the Northwestern passing attack.  He runs low and hard and is very difficult to get a clean lick on.  Sutton accounted for 1,719 yards and 18 touchdowns, both tops among this year’s freshman class.

*RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas – In less than one year at the college level, McFadden already has the look of a future star.  He’s big and fast and runs with the kind of attitude inherent to so many great backs.  In a two-game stretch against Georgia and South Carolina, he tore off 377 yards, and finished the season with 1,113 yards and 11 scores on the ground. 

WR Sidney Rice, South Carolina – Rice is the first of many Gamecocks that are going to get rich because of Steve Spurrier’s offense.  He didn’t test all that well coming out of high school, but passed with high marks this year, catching 58 passes for 952 and 12 touchdowns, and earning All-SEC first team honors.  Rice has all the gifts to be the best wide receiver Spurrier has ever coached.

WR James Hardy, Indiana – The 6-6 Hardy blossomed beyond expectations in his first year, catching 61 balls for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Oh, not only does he create match ups nightmares for every Big Ten defensive back, but he also has soft hands and catches the ball very well in traffic.

TE Chase Coffman, Missouri – The son of former NFL great Paul Coffman looks like a chip off the old block.  A backup to Martin Rucker, Coffman still surpassed all freshmen tight ends with 39 catches for 404 yards and three catches, saving his best game for Kansas State, dad’s alma mater.

OT Max Unger, Oregon – Had he not injured his hamstring, Unger would have been a key contributor as a true freshman.  As a redshirt, he protected the blindside of Duck quarterbacks and displayed the toughness and leverage that led to All-Pac 10 honorable mention recognition.

OG Cole Popovich, Fresno State – In 2004, Popovich was the first true freshman offensive lineman in the Pat Hill era to start, but was lost for the season in game two, and forced to burn a redshirt.  The year off did nothing to stunt his development.  Popovich enjoyed a terrific season as one of the Bulldogs most reliable run-blockers.   

C Eric Wood, Louisville – On a veteran Cardinal line that allowed just 21 sacks all year, Wood manned the pivot like an old pro.  His development began in the summer, allowing Jason Spitz to remain at guard, and continued throughout the fall.

OG Jeremy Perry, Oregon State – Perry harbors a nasty streak that’s becoming legendary around Corvallis, a real asset for any lineman.  His run and pass blocking skills are so advanced that league coaches voted him Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year and Beaver coaches foresee an Outland Trophy in the future.

OT
Sean Sester
, Purdue – Sester improved each week of the 2005 season, culminating in a spot on the All-Big Ten honorable mention section.  Boiler coaches adore his work ethic and athleticism, and believe he’ll be an anchor once he adds a little more mass to his 6-8 frame.

Defense
*DE Steve Davis, Minnesota – Davis came to the Gophers as an outside linebacker, but is growing into a terrific edge pass rusher with an explosive first step.  He led Minnesota with nine tackles for loss and six sacks, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention honors for his efforts.

DT Mitch King, Iowa – King helped fill an enormous void for a Hawkeye D-line that broke in four new starters this fall.  Despite being built more like a linebacker at 250 pounds, he was named honorable mention All-Big Ten, a testament to his work ethic and relentless motor.

DT Rashaad Jackson, Clemson – Jackson’s emergence was a big boost for a Tiger line that was sorely lacking depth early in the season.  He’s got a very solid base, which enabled him to collect 34 tackles, six in the opposition’s backfield.

DE Brian Orakpo, Texas – Orakpo showed enough in a reserve role to be named Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year by league coaches.  He lacks prototypical size, yet is a sensational all-around athlete with the strength of a tackle and speed of a linebacker.

*LB Michael Brown, Duke – Brown supplanted the injured Codey Lowe early in the year, and cemented his spot at middle linebacker through the 2008 season.  He’s a bit undersized, but has great instincts and pursues very well, as evidenced by his team-leading 92 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

LB Rashad Bobino, Texas – It takes a special freshman to make immediate contributions on a defense that’s as deep and established as the Longhorns.  Bobino is just such an athlete.  He started all year for Texas, flashing great sideline-to-sideline speed and a knack for delivering quite a pop.  Of his 53 tackles, seven were for negative yards.

*LB Freddie Fairchild, Arkansas – A force at the strongside, Fairchild is a big part of the youth movement that’s sweeping through Fayetteville.  He’s already showing a keen nose for the ball, collecting 57 tackles and six for loss, despite not beginning the year as the starter.

CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest – Smith made his mark in the spring and summer, and just kept getting once the season began.  He makes crisp breaks on passes, and was seemingly everywhere this fall, racking up the tackles and tackles for loss like a safety, yet picking off three passes and breaking up nine.

*S Courtney Greene, Rutgers – Greene didn’t get too involved with pass defense, but was absolutely ferocious whenever opposing offenses ran the ball.  He sheds blockers very well for a young player and led the Scarlet Knight defense—and all freshmen—with 104 tackles.

Defensive Freshman of the Year
*S Kenny Phillips, Miami – Phillips assimilated very quickly into the veteran ‘Cane defense, grabbing a starting job after Anthony Reddick tore his ACL and immediately sending notice that he’s the next big thing in Miami safeties.  He plays on the edge and with attitude, but also backed it up by finishing third in tackles on a Miami defense that’s jammed with future pros.  Phillips will be a Thorpe Award candidate before long.

*CB Joe Burnett, UCF – UCF’s shocking turnaround from an 0-11 season was fueled by underclassmen, and few were more significant than Burnett, the team leader in interceptions and the conference leader in punt returns.  He is a superb all-around athlete, and his selection to the All-C-USA first team portends an extremely bright future in Orlando.

Special Teams

P Chris Miller, Ball State – Miller is the reason Ball State finished third in the MAC in net punting.  He averaged nearly 44 yards a boot, best among freshmen, and pinned opponents inside their own 20 on 20 occasions last fall.

K Sam Swank, Wake Forest – Along with punter Ryan Plackemeier, Swank gave the Deacons the best special teams unit this side of Boulder, Colo.  Swank proved to be more than just a huge leg, nailing 19-of-24 field goals, including both attempts from outside 50.

*KR Felix Jones, Arkansas – Jones is an explosive talent, even if he was somewhat lost in the long shadow of fellow freshman RB Darren McFadden.  He averaged more than six yards on his 99 carries and led the country with a gaudy 32-yard kickoff return average. 

*PR Joe Burnett, UCF – Burnett pulled a rare double play, picking up First Team Freshman All-America honors as both a cornerback and a punt returner.  On special teams, he was No. 6 nationally in punt return average, going the distance in each of the last two UCF games.

Second Team

Offense
QB Drew Weatherford, Florida State – It was a trying season of ups and downs for Weatherford, who threw 17 interceptions and was pressured relentlessly, yet matured exponentially since September and has already won his first ACC title.  Particularly late in the season, his development was stunted by an O-line that was struggling in pass protection.

*RB Steve Slaton, West Virginia – In a season filled with surprises, Slaton’s emergence as an All-Big East stud ranked near the top of the list.  Someone was going to pile up yards in this offense, but everyone figured it would have been junior Jason Colson or fellow freshman Jason Gwaltney.  Instead, it was Slaton who carried the load, running for 14 touchdowns and more than 100 yards in six of the final seven games.

*RB Jamaal Charles, Texas – Even on the crowded Longhorn offense, Texas’ gamebreaking back was able to account for 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage.  He’s a homerun hitter, who averaged almost eight yards a carry and might have been a first-teamer if not for some injury woes in the middle of the year.

*WR Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt – Bennett established a new SEC record for freshman with 79 for 876 yards and nine touchdowns.  Three times in the final month of the season, he caught at least 10 passes in a game, which wisely motivated AP voters to include him on the All-SEC second team.

*WR Davone Bess, Hawaii – Hawaii’s WAC Freshman of the Year can leap out of the stadium and was a nightmare for defensive backs to contain this season.  He quickly developed a rapport with new hurler Colt Brennan, pulling a freshman-best 89 balls for 1,124 yards and 14 touchdowns.

TE Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss – After top receiver Antwon Courington was lost for the year with a knee injury, Nelson took over as Dustin Almond’s preferred target, catching a pass in every game this season.  He finished the year with 29 grabs for 419 yards and three touchdowns.

OT Ryan Clady, Boise State – Clady is a Bronco behemoth, who formed quite a bookend this fall with All-WAC linemate Daryn Colledge.  Following the bowl game, Colledge is off to the NFL, meaning Clady instantly becomes the pillar of the Boise O-line for the next three seasons.

OG Dallas Reynolds, BYU – Reynolds is a 345-pound drive blocker, who’s following in the large footsteps of brother Lance, a preseason Rimington Trophy candidate.  He started every game for one of the nation’s top offenses, and with his LDS mission in the rear view mirror, won’t have any breaks in his athletic development.

*C Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas – Luigs was lightly recruited, but wound up being one of this year’s biggest surprises for the Hogs.  He spent most of the season at guard before filling in for injured center Kyle Roper, and is expected to take over at the position full-time in 2006.

OG Antoine Caldwell, Alabama – The 2005 season was a transition period for the young ‘Bama O-line, but the growing pains will pay dividends for years to come because of players such as Caldwell.  He displays terrific athleticism and footwork, and in a pinch, can also shift inside and play center.

OT Yemi Babalola, Texas A&M – A starter for all 11 Aggie games, Babalola was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the media.  He’s an extremely physical lineman, who beat out veteran Jami Hightower in August and is quickly earning a reputation as A&M’s most consistent deliverer of pancake blocks.

Defense
*DE Barry Turner, Nebraska – As a situational pass rusher for the Blackshirts, Turner blocked a pair of kicks and notched a school freshmen-record six sacks in his first season out of high school.  He is blessed with the kind of speed and athleticism that portend plenty more sacks over the next three seasons. 

*DT McKinner Dixon, Texas Tech – Dixon is the type of lineman that typically winds up in Austin or College Station, and Tech fans are absolutely geeked he’ll be in Lubbock the next three years.  A former end, who’s grown into a tackle, Dixon picked up six tackles for loss and some valuable reps en route to becoming a future star in the Big 12.

DT Nick Vacardipane, Western Michigan – Vacardipane was one of the unsung Bronco heroes in the resurgence that took place in Kalamazoo this past year.  He used a nice blend of size and speed to collect 50 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks in his first season.

*DE Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin – Badger coaches absolutely love Shaughnessy, and why not?  He’s very big and very quick, and was maturing into Wisconsin’s best pass rusher before tearing his ACL in November.  Shaughnessy was named All-Big Ten honorable mention and Wisconsin’s rookie of the year for 2005.

*LB
Greg Trent, Washington State – Trent did a pretty believable Will Derting impression after the perennial All-Pac 10 linebacker was lost to injury.  Manning the middle like a veteran, he was in on 69 tackles, second best on the Wazzu defense.

LB
Jason Phillips
, TCU – A backup fullback just nine months ago, Phillips parlayed 63 tackles and 7½ tackles for loss into becoming just the fourth freshman in Mountain West history to be named to the league’s all-conference team.

LB Bryant Haines, Ball State – At 6-5, Haines is destined for defensive end once he adds some much-needed girth.  For now, he’s a pretty disruptive linebacker, who paced the Ball State defense with 83 tackles and added seven tackles behind the line.

*CB Louis Delmas, Western Michigan – Playing one of the most demanding positions for a first-year player, Delmas immediately excelled in the Bronco secondary.  Flashing good quickness and instincts, he had 82 tackles and three picks, which helped solidify a spot on the All-MAC second team.

S Patrick Chung, Oregon – The Ducks’ big-hitting rover finished the regular season with a pair of interceptions and 79 tackles, good for second on the team.  He brought a much-needed attitude to the Oregon secondary and was named honorable mention All-Pac 10 last month. 

S Michael Hamlin, Clemson – Hamlin cracked the starting lineup midway through the season, and made the promotion look like a stroke of genius.  He contributed 53 tackles in six starts at CAT safety, and at 6-3 and 200 pounds, can pack a wallop like a linebacker.

*CB Mike Mickens, Cincinnati – Head coach Mark Dantonio was in dire of need of a lock down corner this season, and it didn’t take long before Mickens accepted the role.  He was active in run support, but more important, broke up 15 passes in 10 games, which was second best in the nation.

Special Teams
*P Justin Brantly, Texas A&M – Brantly wants to follow in the footsteps of former Aggie All-America Shane Lechler.  He’s off to a smashing start after averaging more than 43 yards a kick just a year out of prep school and smashing his idol’s school mark for freshmen set a decade ago.

*K Jordan Congdon, Nebraska – Congdon picked up where he left off his All-America high school career, connecting on 81% of his field goal attempts and setting a Husker record with 18 three-pointers in a single season.  Just 19, he’s got the unflappable demeanor that usually doesn’t develop until a kicker reaches the NFL.

KR Cedric Peerman, Virginia – Before spraining his knee in early November, Peerman was leading ACC rookies in all-purpose yards and appeared headed for an all-conference season.  Despite the setback, he finished the regular year second in the ACC in kickoff return average.

*PR Brandon Tate, North Carolina – Tate was one busy Tar Heel this fall, fielding 50 returns and finishing third in the ACC in both punt and kickoff returns.  For his efforts on special teams, he was given honorable mention on this year’s all-conference squad. 

Third Team

Offense
*QB Tim Hiller, Western Michigan – Thrust into the starting lineup midway through the season, Hiller was a revelation and the eventual Freshman of the Year in the MAC.  In just five full games, the polished teen threw for 1,334 and 20 touchdowns, while getting picked just three times and helping guide the Broncos to their best season in five years.

*RB Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan – Asked to replace incumbent Jerry Seymour just before the season began, Sneed stepped into an impossible situation, yet authored one of the most productive years in Chippewa history.  In 11 starts, he scored 11 times and produced 1,498 yards from scrimmage, second among freshman to just Northwestern’s Tyrell Sutton.

*RB James Davis, Clemson – Before injuring his wrist in mid October, Davis was a sensational blend of power and speed, and the best thing in a Clemson back in years.  His numbers were stunted by the time off, but Davis was still honored as the ACC Rookie of the Year.

WR Deon Butler, Penn State – A former walk-on, Butler quickly became Michael Robinson’s favorite target and ended up leading Penn State receivers in every statistical category.  After stud freshman Derrick Williams was lost for the year at the midway point, Butler actually elevated his game to fill the gaping void in the receiving corps.

WR Ryan Grice-Mullen, Hawaii – With all due respect to Florida State’s Greg Carr and Arizona’s Michael Thomas, both of whom had breakthrough seasons, it’s just impossible to ignore the kind of numbers Grice-Mullen posted this year.  Yeah, Hawaii throws the ball a million times, but 85 catches, 13 touchdowns and a freshmen-best 1,228 receiving yards are incredible for any first-year player.

*TE Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M – At 6-7 and 250 pounds, Bennett has the potential to be one of the game’s premier pass-catchers, however, his biggest impact in 2005 was as a run blocker in the Aggie ground game.  Bennett suffered from a bad case of the drops in September, but improved as the year progressed.  

*OT Jared Gaither, Maryland – At 6-9 and way north of 300 pounds, Gaither is bigger than any lineman—or power forward—to ever play in College Park.  His size is surpassed only by his potential, and despite struggling at times in his rookie year, Gaither exhibited flashes of greatness as a starter in the second half of the year.

OG B.J. Stabler, Alabama – Stabler broke into the starting lineup in week three, and never looked back, locking down the job at right guard for the balance of the year.  Like the rest of the young Tide front, he took his share of lumps this past fall, but should be better for it by the time the 2006 season begins. 

C David Washington, Oklahoma State – Washington won the starting job in the spring, and wound up being an 11-game rock in the middle for the Cowboys.  Washington is particularly adept at the shotgun snap, a necessity in Mike Gundy’s offense.

*OG Michael Oher, Ole Miss – One of Ed Orgeron’s prized recruits from his first class has already paid dividends.  Yeah, Oher missed his share of assignments, but the 330-pund teen started the Rebs’ last 10 games and is on the fast track to a cult following in the grove.

*OT Alex Boone, Ohio State – The hulking teen stepped into the lineup for injured starter Kirk Barton in October and quickly showed why he was one of the most coveted recruits in the nation earlier in the year.  With senior Rob Sims vacating his left tackle spot, Buckeye coaches will find a way to get Boone on the field more regularly in 2006.

Defense
DE Kevin Grant, Akron – From his bandit position, Grant finished the regular season fourth on the Zips with 10½ tackles for loss and third with 4½ sacks.  He’s only 6-2 and 235 pounds, but makes up for his size with outstanding acceleration and field awareness.

*DT Chase Moline, UCLA – Moline didn’t get many looks coming out of high school, however, he’s turned plenty of heads ever since.  He compensates for a lack of off-the-charts size and speed with intangibles, such as toughness and work ethic, and has been a starter on the Bruin interior since September.

DT Jason Chapman, Wisconsin – For a 6-4, 280-pound lineman, Chapman exhibits the quickness and athletic tendencies of a defensive end.  He stepped into the lineup after starter Justin Ostrowski suffered a preseason knee injury, and exceeded the coaching staff’s expectations.

DE Craig Rusch, Northern Illinois – Despite missing nearly a third of the season, Rusch helped solidify the Huskie defensive line and led the team with six sacks.  He has a non-stop motor, and if he winds up adding some bulk, could eventually move inside for Joe Novak.

LB Clint Sintim, Virginia – Sintim has his sights set on becoming the next great linebacker to play for Al Groh.  He’s off to a fine start.  Sintim started every game at outside linebacker for the Cavs, finishing the regular season fifth in tackles and third in sacks and tackles for loss.

*LB
Corey Smith
, Cincinnati – Someone was going to benefit from the mass exodus that took place on the Cincinnati defense last year and Smith made sure he was one of the chief beneficiaries.  Before a shoulder injury curtailed his season, he was making plays everywhere and leading the young Bearcats in tackles with 64.

*LB Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan – Holtzclaw performed well enough in his rookie year to even overcome the anonymity of playing in Ypsilanti, Mich.  In 11 starts, he contributed 86 stops, 5½ tackles for loss and led EMU with three interceptions.    

CB Tony Carter, Florida State – What Carter lacks in stature, he makes up for with quickness and developing ball skills.  He got banged up at times during this first year, but saw enough action to break up eight passes while building a solid foundation for the next three years.

*S Reggie Smith, Oklahoma – Smith gave hints as the starter this season why many around Norman feel he’ll develop into the next in a long line of great Sooner strong safeties.  He has all the tools to be a force in the Oklahoma secondary real soon, and picked up some valuable on-the-job training in 2005 as the program as a whole began to grow up together.

S Jason Venson, UCF – Had it not been for a knee injury, Venson would have earned plenty of reps last year as a true freshman.  Instead, he flourished this fall as the Knights’ leading tackler and a versatile safety, who showed a steady knack for really dishing out the punishment.

CB Keenan Lewis, Oregon State – As a whole, the Beaver secondary took its lumps in 2005, and Lewis can’t be excluded.  Opposing quarterbacks looked his way often, however, he got off the turf every Saturday, and finished the season with a team-best 11 passes defended.

Special Teams
P Britton Colquitt, Tennessee – Britton is the next in a long line of Colquitts that have handled punting duties in Knoxville.  He averaged a modest 41 yards a punt, but got better as the season progressed and dropped more than a third of his kicks inside the opponents 20-yard line.   

*K Kevin Kelly, Penn State – For the first time in three years, the Lions could count on a consistent kicker when drives stalled.  Kelly missed just five field goals all year, and set the Penn State single-season record for points by a freshman.

KR Jessie Henderson, SMU – A reserve running back with a great burst, Henderson led C-USA in kickoff return average and took one back for a touchdown in the September loss to Tulane.

*PR B.J. Hill, Ball State – Hill was second to just Miami’s Ryne Robinson in MAC punt returners, averaging more than 11 yards each time he shunned the fair catch.  At just 5-7 and 170, he showed a penchant for getting lost behind his blockers and squirting through small cracks of daylight.