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2004 CFN Sophomore All-America Teams
Penn State LB Paul Pozluszny
Penn State LB Paul Pozluszny
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 6, 2007


2004 CFN Sophomore All-America 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention Teams

Writeups and compiled by Richard Cirminiello

First Team Offense

QB Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green – Jacobs did the unthinkable in his first season at the controls by outplaying his predecessor, Josh Harris.  He was a one-man wrecking crew, tossing a nation’s-best 36 touchdown passes, running for four more, and getting picked off a mere four times.

RB Reggie Bush, USC – Bush was an All-American this season, so it goes to figure he’d have a spot here.  Hands down, the Heisman finalist was the most scintillating player of 2004, bringing fans to their feet every time he touched the ball.  Bush ran for six touchdowns, caught seven more and was ranked in the Top 10 in both punt and kickoff returns.

RB Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois – Wolfe came from absolutely nowhere to be one of the biggest surprises of the year.  Buried on the depth chart before the season, he got a chance to play when A.J. Harris was hurt, and wound up leading the country in all-purpose yards.  Four times, Wolfe ran for more than 200 yards, topped by 328 yards in the finale with Eastern Michigan.

WR Steve Savoy, Utah – Whether he was catching passes or taking handoffs from Alex Smith, Savoy was the most versatile weapon in Urban Meyer’s arsenal.  He rushed for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns, and caught 60 passes for 891 yards and another 11 scores.

WR Greg Lee, Pittsburgh – Lee did a commendable job this season replacing Larry Fitzgerald, last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner.  Almost immediately, he developed a rapport with quarterback Tyler Palko, and finished the season with 61 catches, 1,204 yards and nine touchdowns.

TE Joe Newton, Oregon State – The Beavers’ 6-7 target stepped in for the departed Tim Euhus, and became a very reliable set of hands for quarterback Derek Anderson.  Newton’s 49 catches for 602 yards and five touchdowns earned him an honorable mention on this year’s All-Pac-10 team

OL Justin Blalock, Texas – A devastating run blocker and rapidly rising tackle, Blalock is one of the key reasons Texas ranked No. 2 in the country in rushing offense.  Both he and fellow tackle Jonathan Scott were voted to the All-Big XII first team.

OL Dan Mozes, West Virginia – In a short amount of time, Mozes has developed into one of the anchors of a Mountaineer offense that churned out 254 yards a game on the ground.  He elevated himself to the All-Big East first team this season.

OL Steve Vallos, Wake Forest – If postseason honors are any indication of success, Vallos’ off-season switch from right guard to right tackle was a wise move.  The relocation was designed to get the most out of his pass-protection skills, and he responded by being named to the All-ACC second team.

OL Fred Matua, USC – Matua was one of the emotional leaders of a retooled Trojan offensive line this season.  He brought a fiery attitude and that’s usually reserved for his counterparts on the defensive line.     

OL Mike Jones, Iowa – Jones picked up seven starts as a true freshman, building a foundation for a fine sophomore season.  He’s an up-and-comer at left guard, and with Kirk Ferentz as his coach, that should equal plenty of postseason accolades the next two seasons.

First Team Defense

DL Mario Williams, NC State – Williams is one of those freakish athletes, who’s so big and so quick that he wouldn’t look out of place on the Pack basketball team.  With his enormous wingspan and impressive vertical leap, he’s a major obstruction in a quarterback’s passing lanes.  Williams parlayed 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks and seven batted balls into the All-ACC first team. 

DL Tamba Hali, Penn State – A second-team All-Big Ten selection, a dozen of Hali’s 51 tackles occurred behind the line of scrimmage.  He’s an athletic defensive end, who’s strong enough to provide support in the running game. 

DL Larry McSwain, UAB – It took a benching in late September to light a fire under McSwain, but once he got going, few offensive lines on the Blazer’s schedule were able to slow him down.  His 15½ tackles for loss and 11½ sacks were both tops among the nation’s sophomores.

DL Haloti Ngata, Oregon – Ngata is an absolute 345-pound terror on the interior of the Ducks’ line.  He’s a space-eater with outstanding agility for a man of his girth.  Ngata bounced back from an ACL tear, which shelved him for the entire 2003 season, to play his way on to the All-Pac-10 second team.

LB Ahmad Brooks, Virginia – The Butkus Award finalist is a surefire first-round NFL draft choice whenever he decides to leave UVa.  From size and quickness to intensity and intelligence, he has the total package for a linebacker.  Brooks led a talented Cav defense with 85 tackles to go along with nine tackles for loss, six sacks and two interceptions.

LB Ernie Sims, Florida State – Sims is on his way to becoming the best Seminole linebacker since Marvin Jones.  He’s quick and fierce, and very capable of getting after the quarterback from his outside spot.  Sims led Florida State with 78 tackles, and was named to the All-ACC second unit.

LB Paul Posluszny, Penn State – A big reason Penn State had one of the stingiest defenses in the country, Posluszny is a throwback to the days when State College spit out top linebackers like a Pez dispenser.  His team-leading 104 tackles included 12 for loss and three sacks.

DB Antonio Cromartie, Florida State – Cromartie has the size-speed combo to become the next in a long line of great Seminole cornerbacks.  He won the start before the season, and used the opportunity to earn first-team All-ACC recognition.  Cromartie’s four interceptions tied for most in the league.

DB LaRon Landry, LSU – The Tigers’ leading tackler in the regular season also contributed five tackles for loss, three sacks and three interceptions.  Once he adds a little bulk to his frame, Landry figures to resemble the prototypical NFL free safety.
 
DB Charles Gordon, Kansas – Last year’s top Jayhawk receiver led the country with seven interceptions this year.  The versatile Gordon filled a void in the off-season for the Kansas defense, and made a very successful switch to the other side of the ball.  He also had 57 tackles, and led the Big XII with 15 passes defended.

DB Darnell Bing, USC – Bing is a safety with a linebacker’s mentality.  He can punish quarterbacks when he blitzes from the edge or stick with some of the Pac-10’s best receivers.  He made considerable strides from last season in pass coverage, helping land him on the All-Pac-10 second team. 

First Team Special Teams

PK Andrew Wellock, Eastern Michigan – For the second straight season, Wellock was the  biggest story to come out of Ypsilanti.  The Lou Groza Award finalist connected on 21-of-23 field goals, and tied the Eastern Michigan school mark with a 52-yard kick against Idaho. 

P Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor – From walk-on linebacker to Ray Guy Award winner in just over a year, Sepulveda has been one of the most incredible success stories in all of college football.  On a whim his freshman year, he toyed with punting, only to realize he had a gift.  Sepulveda led the nation with 26 punts inside the opponent’s 20, and was No.3 in yards per punt.  

RET Devin Hester, Miami – Hester was a big-play waiting to happen in 2004, which explains why Larry Coker used him nearly everywhere on the field, and opposing special teams coaches avoided him like he was contagious.  He ranked among the Top 10 nationally in both punt and kickoff return average, taking four back for six.   


Second Team Offense

QB Chris Leak, Florida – The maturation of Leak into one of the nation’s most polished quarterbacks accelerated this past fall.  He made fewer bad reads and more big plays in a season that culminated with 28 touchdown passes and nearly 3,000 yards of total offense.  Against bowl-eligible opponents, Leak threw 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.

RB Laurence Maroney, Minnesota – Had he not shared carries with Marion Barber III, Maroney may have been good enough to make a few Heisman short lists.  His blend of speed and power is matched by just a handful of backs in the country.  Maroney led Minnesota with 1,243 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

RB LenDale White, USC – White was the thunder to Reggie Bush’s lightning in the USC backfield this fall.  The second-team All-conference selection powered his way to 985 yards and 13 touchdowns, giving the Trojans their best short-yardage option.

WR Jarrett Hicks, Texas Tech – Hicks was the new star of the Red Raider receiving corps averaging 16.5 yards per catch making 67 grabs for 1,108 yards and 11 touchdowns.  

WR Eric Deslauriers, Eastern Michigan – No one benefited more than Deslauriers from the arrival of head coach Jeff Genyk and his passer-friendly offense.  The second-year starter caught 84 passes for 1,257 yards and 13 touchdowns, each of which ranked him in the Top 10 in the country.

TE Leonard Pope, Georgia – Pope started slowly, but was unstoppable in the second half of the season.  His six touchdown receptions tied for the Georgia lead, and helped land him a spot on the All-SEC first team.

OL Nick Jones, Georgia – Jones is Georgia’s lean, quick guard, who has made the successful switch from center this season.  While his relatively small 288-pound body can cause issues in pass protection, he’s developed into a dynamo in the Dawg running game.

OL Joe Thomas, Wisconsin – Thomas, who coaches believed could also play tight end or defensive end, settled in at left tackle, a spot he’ll occupy the next two seasons.  He’s a big, nimble kid with the potential to be an All-American before he leaves Madison. 

OL Andrew Cameron, Cal – Cameron has made huge strides since arriving in Berkeley, adding strength and establishing a foothold at left tackle.  He’s a key cog in a terrific Cal line that saw all five of its members named to one of the All-Pac-10 teams.    

OL Arron Sears, Tennessee – Sears was Mr. Versatility this year, playing right tackle, left tackle and right guard as the Vols were forced to do more shuffling than a croupier.  Through it all, Sears performed at a high level, despite being slowed by a bum ankle for part of the year.

OL Corey Hilliard, Oklahoma State – Hilliard has the footwork and athleticism of a former tight end, and the expanding physique of a solid tackle.  He moved from the right side to the left side of the line this fall without hiccups, and received honorable mention on the All-Big XII team.


Second Team Defense

DL Mkristo Bruce, Washington State – Wazzu needed help along the front four this year, and got it from their big pass-rushing menace.  Despite chalking up 60 tackles, 12½ tackles for loss and 6½ sacks, Bruce was ignored when Pac-10 plaudits were doled out. 

DL Quinn Pitcock, Ohio State – In his first opportunity to replace long-time starter Tim Anderson, Pitcock recorded 44 tackles, 6½ behind the line of scrimmage.  He’s a high energy run-stopper, who picked up an All-Big Ten honorable mention in November.

DL Ray Edwards, Purdue – The coaching staff was counting on Edwards becoming the next star on an inexperienced defense, and he was up to the challenge.  Edwards is big by college defensive ends standards, but sacrifices nothing in terms of speed or athleticism.  He had ten tackles for loss and seven sacks during the regular season.

DL Tim Crowder, Texas – Depth concerns along the defensive line increased Crowder’s role this year, and he responded with a breakthrough second season.  He was consistently in the offenses backfield, tallying ten tackles for loss, 4½ sacks and a team-best 22 quarterback hurries.

LB Channing Crowder, Florida – If he decides to forego his final two years of eligibility, few doubt Crowder is ready for the NFL today.  He’s big, quick and just nasty enough to intimidate opposing offenses.  Even when he’s not making plays, he’s the type of defender that has to be accounted for at all times.  A mid-season injury kept Crowder from approaching last season’s numbers.

LB H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh – In just his second year on campus, Blades has established himself as the physical and emotional captain of the Panther defense.  A relentless pursuer of the ball carrier, he led Pittsburgh with 102 tackles and 10½ tackles for loss, and also picked off three passes.

LB LaMarr Woodley, Michigan – Big enough to play along the line, and quick enough to be a linebacker, Woodley is a handful to defense.  This future star has a knack for making plays in the opposition’s backfield as evidenced by his team-leading 12 tackles for loss and four quarterback sacks.

DB Bernard Pollard, Purdue – Pollard is a punishing hitter and one of the better run-stopping strong safeties in the country.  His 82 tackles rank second on the team, and represent a big reason why a young Boilermaker defense has been able to remain in the Top 10 nationally in run defense.

DB Ashton Youboty, Ohio State – After Dustin Fox broke his arm in the second game, Youboty stepped into the starting lineup, and became a mainstay at corner.  He paced the Buckeyes with four interceptions and 11 pass breakups, and capped the regular season with a huge effort against Michigan.

DB Brandon Browner, Oregon State – For the second consecutive year, the Beavers’ jumbo-sized corner has raked in the accolades.  A Freshman All-American in 2003, Browner has parlayed another fine season into a spot on the All-Pac-10 second unit. 

DB John Talley, Duke – As a first-year starter, Talley has already risen to the ranks of the ACC elite.  The second-team all-conference corner tied for the league lead with four interceptions and 18 passes defended, and took a pair of picks the other way for long touchdowns. 


Second Team Special Teams

PK Brandon Pace, Virginia Tech – Pace always had a strong leg, but his consistency was a question mark right up until the most recent spring camp.  Not any longer.  He nailed 21-of-26 field goals this fall to rank among the nation’s leaders in conversion percentage. 

P Brandon Fields, Michigan State – Over the last two seasons, the 6-6 Fields has been the Spartan defense’s best friend, controlling field position with his projectile punts.  He led the country with a 47.8-yard average, and was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award.


RET Reggie Bush, USC – When the opposition was fearless enough to kick to Bush, he often made them regret the decision.  He’s currently ninth in the country in punt returns, taking a pair back for scores, and tenth in kickoff returns with a 26.4-yard average.

Honorable Mention

QB Jared Zabransky, Boise State - He led his team to an undefeated season and a BCS ranking. More than the typical Bronco passer, Zabransky has used his legs to be a top running threat as well.

NT Brandon Mebante, California - The underrated anchor of the Bear D line, Mebante made 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

RB Muammar Ali, New Mexico State - Practically unheard of this year, Ali still ran for 572 yards in ten games despite splitting time and carries.

WR Jason Hill, Washington State – Hill was Washington State’s home run threat in the passing game, averaging a league-best 22 yards per catch, and hauling in 12 touchdowns.  Last month, he was named to the All-Pac-10 second team. 

RB Lorenzo Booker, Florida State - The superstar recruit of 2002 split time with Leon Washington but still managed to rush for 786 yards and four touchdowns.