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2004 CFN Freshman All-America First Team
Michigan QB Chad Henne
Michigan QB Chad Henne
Posted Dec 5, 2007

Michigan QB Chad Hen leads the inaugural All-Freshman team.

Writeups and compiled by Richard Cirminiello

First Team Offense
QB Chad Henne*, Michigan – This was supposed to be a redshirt year for Henne, but instead, it was a baptism under fire after Matt Gutierrez couldn’t start the opener.  And he performed well enough to have many believe he’ll be the most prolific Wolverine quarterback of all-time.  Henne led all freshmen with 21 touchdown passes and 2,516 yards through the air.

RB Adrian Peterson*, Oklahoma – Much more than just a Freshman All-American, this year’s Heisman runner-up authored one of the great seasons by a true freshman in college football history.  Peterson ran for 1,843 yards and 15 touchdowns, saving his most electrifying performances for the Sooners’ most important games.
RB Michael Hart*, Michigan – Someone had to replace Chris Perry in the backfield, but no one figured before the season began it would be a true freshman.  After taking over the starting job in late September, Hart bobbed and weaved his way to nearly 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns, forever ending the speculation over who’d be Perry’s successor.

WR Dwayne Jarrett*, USC – It took some time and a bunch of dropped passes, but Jarrett eventually developed into Matt Leinart’s favorite target.  The Trojans’ next big thing at the receiver position caught 50 passes for 734 yards and 12 touchdowns, and in this offense, appears destined for Mike Williams-like stardom.

WR Todd Blythe, Iowa State – Big, physical receivers were certainly in style on this year’s Freshman All-American team.  Witness Blythe, another of these 6-5 pass catches, who hauled in 36 balls for 791 yards and nine touchdowns for an improving Cyclone passing attack.

TE Zach Miller*, Arizona State – Miller gave Andrew Walter something he didn’t have in his arsenal last season, a fluid pass-catching tight end that could stretch defenses.  He led all freshmen tight ends this fall with 51 receptions for 524 yards and six touchdowns.

OL Jake Long, Michigan – If his first season is any indication, Michigan’s massive tackle is ready to carry on the long tradition of premier Wolverine offensive linemen.  Long had a sensational debut, earning a spot on the All-Big Ten second team.

OL Sam Baker, USC – On a unit that was seeking an identity, Baker stood out as its most consistent member.  He started each Trojan game at left tackle, drawing favorable comparisons to last season’s All-American, Jacob Rogers.

OL Barry Richardson*, Clemson – The Tigers’ behemoth teen left high school early to get a jump on the other freshmen, and it certainly paid off.  The 6-7, 350-pound Richardson worked his way up the depth chart this fall, starting the team’s final six games at tackle.  He has the raw skills and potential to one day be an All-American.

OL Kory Lichtensteiger, Bowling Green – In his maiden voyage on the Bowling Green line, Lichtensteiger started all 11 games, and earned a spot on the All-MAC second team.  He displayed terrific athleticism for a 300-pound left guard.

OL Charlston Gray*, North Carolina – The only underclassman on a talented, veteran offensive line, Gray held his own for the Tar Heels.  He started the final eight games of the season, and was responsible for just a single sack.

First Team Defense
DL Wallace Gilberry, Alabama – Gilberry wasn’t even a starter this fall, yet led the Tide with 12 tackles for loss and 6½ sacks.  He’s got a motor that doesn’t quit, and an infectious passion for the game that makes defensive coaches giddy.

DL Lawrence Jackson, USC – Once he steps outside the shadow of Trojan greats, like Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson, Jackson looks capable of chasing postseason All-American honors himself.  He collected 11 tackles for loss and six sacks this year, numbers that could rise markedly in 2005.

DL Quentin Groves, Auburn – Groves and Stanley McClover will give the Tigers pass-rushing bookends for the next three seasons.  Both redshirt freshmen finished the regular season with 10 tackles for loss and 7½ sacks, tops on the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense.    

DL Tony Jenkins, Syracuse – Jenkins was a big, running stuffing force in the middle of the Orange defensive line.  His 43 tackles don’t do justice to the impact he had on the Syracuse run defense.

LB Brandon Siler*, Florida – For the second straight year, Gainesville has been home to one of the best freshman linebackers in America.  In 2003, the SEC was introduced to Channing Crowder, and in 2004, Siler made his debut.  Injuries prematurely forced him from the sidelines, and Siler responded with a monster second-half that earned him the coaches’ vote for SEC Freshman of the Year. 

LB Dan Connor*, Penn State – Connor arrived in Happy Valley with a heady advanced billing, and failed to disappoint.  He collected 85 tackles for the Lions, and was peaking as the season came to an end.  Over the next three years, young stars like Connor and sophomore Paul Posluszny will give Penn State a chance to recapture the title, Linebacker U.

LB Jonathan Abbate, Wake Forest – The adjective “tackling machine” is often overused, but apropos when describing Wake Forest’s first-year linebacker.  Abbate’s 101 stops were 30 more than the nearest Deacon, helping him become just the second Wake freshman to ever earn a spot on the All-ACC squad. 

DB Ko Simpson*, South Carolina – Lightly recruited coming out of high school, Simpson was a revelation for a Gamecock secondary that was in dire need of playmakers before the season began.  The AP’s SEC Freshman of the Year scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, and led the conference with six interceptions  

DB Roshaun Fellows, Tennessee – After one season, Fellows displayed the kind of cover skills and overall athleticism that could propel him to becoming one of the SEC’s elite corners before too long.  His 13 passes defended include three interceptions, and leads the Volunteers.

DB Antoine Cason*, Arizona – Cason consistently went step-for-step with some of the Pac-10’s better receivers, establishing himself as one of the cornerstones of Mike Stoops’ defense for the next three seasons.  He chipped in with 70 tackles, and paced the ‘Cats with four interceptions. 

DB Anthony Reddick*, Miami – Reddick was forced into action after Brandon Merriweather injured his shoulder, and immediately showed ‘Cane fans that the secondary will be in good hands the next three years.  Despite getting limited snaps early on, he has 62 tackles, two punt blocks, and has showed why he was one of the most sought after defensive backs in Florida last winter.

First Team Special Teams

PK Travis Bell, Georgia Tech – A walk-on, Bell quickly elevated the Tech kicking game from a potential concern to an area of strength.  After missing his first kick of the year, he connected on his next 15 attempts to establish a new school record.  

P Chris MacDonald, Arizona State – A walk-on last year, MacDonald is now walking away with All-America honors in his first season as the Sun Devil punter.  He’s prone to occasional lapses in consistency, but possesses a booming leg that’s helped him lead all freshmen with a 43-yard punting average.  

RET Ted Ginn Jr.*, Ohio State – Originally signed as a corner, Ginn had a marvelous debut as a receiver and a punt returner.  He caught 19 passes in the second half, led the nation in punt returns and took an NCAA-record four back for touchdowns.  Once he adds some weight to his 170-pound frame, the Buckeyes will have a more explosive version of Chris Gamble.    

Second Team Offense

QB Erik Ainge*, Tennessee – Before being lost for the season with a separated shoulder, Ainge spent September and October playing with the poise of an upperclassmen.  He and fellow freshman Brent Schaefer shared snaps early on, but it was Ainge who wound throwing 17 touchdown passes, and leading the Vols to wins over Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

RB Jamario Thomas*, North Texas – If not for a season-ending knee injury to Patrick Cobbs, Thomas may never have gotten off the Mean Green bench in 2004.  As fate would have it, he stepped into the lineup, raced for more than 200 yards in six of eight starts, and became the second North Texas back in as many years to lead the country in rushing.  

RB Marshawn Lynch*, Cal – Lynch caddied for senior J.J. Arrington this fall, but showed enough flashes of brilliance to ensure Bear fans that the running is set for the foreseeable future.  He averaged more than nine yards on his 66 carries, caught two touchdown passes and even threw another. 

WR Calvin Johnson*, Georgia Tech – An acrobat with terrific size and leaping ability, Johnson became just the 11th player in ACC history to be named first team as a freshman.  His 46 catches, 776 yards and six touchdown receptions all led the Yellow Jackets.

WR Ernie Wheelwright*, Minnesota – Throughout the season, Wheelwright used his 6-5 frame to out muscle and out leap helpless defenders.  With defenses paying so much attention to the Gopher running game, he became Bryan Cupito’s best long ball threat, catching 30 passes for 654 yards and seven touchdowns.

TE Martin Rucker, Missouri – Rucker entered fall practice No. 4 on the depth chart before bolting past the competition, and starting each of Mizzou’s 11 games.  On the season, he hauled in 19 passes, four of which went for scores.

OL Martin O’Donnell, Illinois – O’Donnell took over at left guard for the Illini after starter Bryan Koch went down with a season-ending injury in week one.  He started the next 10 games, grading out at over 90 percent.  It’s the second straight year Illinois had an offensive lineman named Freshman All-American.

OL Chris Yoder, Texas A&M – Geoff Hangartner moved to tackle before the season, allowing Yoder to start at center, and the freshman proved he was up to the challenge.  He started all 11 Aggie games this fall, averaging 10 knockdowns per Saturday.  

OL Ryan Wendell*, Fresno State – Injuries thrust Wendell into the Bulldogs’ starting rotation, and he performed well enough to be named the WAC Co-Freshman of the Year.  He started the final eight games of the season at left guard.

OL Kirk Barton, Ohio State – After redshirting last season, Barton began to show why he was a prized recruit for Ohio State in 2003.  Despite being 6-6, the tackle is a terrific athlete, drawing comparisons to former Buckeye, Jim Lachey when he climbed the depth chart in October.

OL Will Arnold, LSU – When he wasn’t switching positions or recovering from a knee injury, Arnold showed the kind of ability that should make him an immediate standout in the SEC.  He started eight games this season, five at left guard.

Second Team Defense

DL Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech – The Hokies beat out rival Virginia for Ellis’ signature two years ago, and they’ll spend the next three years being happy they did.  He saw considerable playing time behind Jim Davis and Darryl Tapp, collecting 30 tackles, 7½ tackles for loss and three sacks.

DL Michael Tuohy, New Mexico – Tuohy gives the Lobos a Freshman All-American for the fourth consecutive year.  Despite notching just four starts in 2004, he used a quick first step and a non-stop motor to tally 10½ tackles for loss and 6½ sacks.

DL Tommy Blake, TCU – On a unit that ranked No. 99 in total defense, Blake was one of the few bright spots.  The converted running back found a home at defensive end, where he raced his way to five sacks this past season.

DL Jason Jack, Texas A&M – Jack was a key component of the youth movement that symbolized the Aggie front seven.  His 48 tackles and six tackles for loss were good enough to warrant All-Big XII honorable mention recognition.

LB Brian Toal*, Boston College – It didn’t take Toal long to show why he was one of the highest rated high school linebackers last year.  He earned a starting job midway through the season, and quickly joined Mathias Kiwanuka as the Eagles’ second defensive star.  The Big East Rookie of the Year has the physical and mental capacity to become one of BC’s all-time greatest defenders.

LB Josh Williams, Arkansas State – Down in Jonesboro, Arkansas State was a breeding ground this year for young, talented defenders.  The small, but speedy Williams led the charge with 110 tackles, most by of any freshman in the nation in 2004.

LB Jordon Dizon*, Colorado – Dizon broke barriers in Boulder this year, establishing a new school mark for tackles by a true freshman with 78, and becoming the first rookie to ever start at linebacker for Colorado.  For his work, Dizon was honored as the Big XII’s Defensive Freshman of the Year.

DB Darrelle Revis*, Pittsburgh – In a season full of surprises, Revis was one of the most pleasant developments for the Panthers.  Although he wasn’t even the hottest defensive back recruited by Walt Harris last year, Revis claimed a starting spot in time for the opener, and went on to lead the team with 11 passes broken up. 

DB Japhus Brown, Texas A&M – Brown was active from his safety position, amassing 58 tackles and picking off three passes during the regular season.  He was one of a number of underclassmen that saw significant playing time as the Aggies took baby steps toward recapturing their Wrecking Crew image.

DB Jonathan Hefney*, Tennessee – What Hefney lacks in size, he makes up for with great closing speed and athleticism.  The other half of Tennessee’s starting freshmen corners is fourth on the Vols with 61 tackles, and tied for the team lead with 10 passes broken up.

DB Quentin Demps, UTEP – The WAC’s co-Freshman of the Year was one of the ball hawking disciples of Tim Hundley’s aggressive defense.  Demps has followed up a breakout spring with 52 tackles, 2 interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles in ten starts.

Second Team Special Teams

PK Alexis Serna, Oregon State – Serna began the year as the poster child for inconsistent kicking, lost his job for a week, and then missed just a single kick over the final nine games of the season.  After getting vilified for missing three extra points in the gut-wrenching opening day loss to LSU, he found his mark and earned a scholarship in the process.

P Kenneth DeBauche, Wisconsin – DeBauche unseated senior incumbent R.J. Morse in the summer, and never lost his grip on the job in the fall.  He averaged just over 41 yards a punt, but exhibited outstanding hang time and consistently pinned Badger opponents inside their own 20.

RET Kevin Robinson
*, Utah State – The nation’s No. 2 punt returner scored three special teams touchdowns this year, and was an integral part of the Aggie passing attack.  Robinson led Utah State receivers with 44 catches for 602 yards and three scores. 

* Denotes player is a true freshman