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Jace Sternberger, Braden Mann named to AP All-America first team; Trayveon Williams makes second team

Jace Sternberger, Braden Mann named to AP All-America first team; Trayveon Williams makes second team

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Trayveon Williams

Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams is congratulated by former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning after Williams was named Southeastern Conference Back of the Year by the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club on Monday.

Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger and punter Braden Mann were first-team selections on The Associated Press All-America team, and running back Trayveon Williams was a second-team pick.

It was the first time for each of the juniors to earn AP All-America honors.

Sternberger and Williams both benefited from first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, who installed a pro-set offense. Sternberger, a junior-college transfer, was Fisher’s first recruit. He has 47 receptions for 804 yards with 10 touchdowns, with his yardage and touchdowns the most by any tight end in the nation. Williams has 1,524 yards rushing on 252 carries with 15 touchdowns, a vast improvement from last season when he had 798 yards on 173 carries with eight touchdowns. He also has 27 receptions this season for 278 yards, both career-high efforts.

Mann, who had only two punts before this season, leads the FBS with a 51.15 average, almost a yard better than the NCAA record of 50.28 set by LSU’s Chad Kessler in 1997. Mann also won the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s best punter.

Sternberger and Mann also were named first-team All-Americans by the Football Writers Association of America on Monday, making them consensus All-Americans. They also had been named first-team selections on the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America Team, which also was announced on the College Football Awards Show last week when Mann won the Guy Award. The AP All-American Team, the FWAA, the Camp All-American Team along with the American Football Coaches Association and The Sporting News are the five All-American teams recognized by the NCAA. A player has to make three of the teams to be considered a consensus All-American.

Williams also was named the SEC Back of the Year by the Monday Morning Quarterback Club of Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday. The club is the sole fund raiser for the Crippled Children’s Foundation.

The organization, in its 80th year, has given out the award, along with the SEC Lineman of the Year, since 1949. The first Aggie to win it was quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2012, the Aggies’ first season in the league. Other winners have included Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Archie Manning, Ken Stabler, Steve Spurrier, Billy Cannon, Johnny Majors, Pat Sullivan, Derrick Henry and Amari Cooper.

Williams was in Birmingham to accept the award.

The last time A&M had a trio of AP All-Americans was in 2013 when it had four players selected for a second straight time. In 2012, Manziel and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel were on the first team, defensive end Damontre Moore on the second team and offensive tackle Jake Matthews on the third team. The following season, Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans were first-team picks with Manziel and punter Drew Kaser on the second team.

The 2018 AP All-America first team was dominated by the College Football Playoff semifinalists, which combined for 10 players, including a high of four from No. 1 Alabama.

The Crimson Tide had six players chosen to the teams, more than any other school. No. 2 Clemson has three first-teamers, No. 4 Oklahoma has two All-Americans — including quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray — and No. 3 Notre Dame had one.

The Tide and Sooners meet in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29, and the Tigers play the Fighting Irish at the Cotton Bowl that day. The winners meet in the College Football Playoff national championship game Jan. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The playoff teams combined for 17 overall selections on the teams chosen by a panel of AP poll voters.

The Tide placed two players on each side of the ball, with Outland Trophy winner Quinnen Williams highlighting the defense. Receiver Jerry Jeudy, offensive tackle Jonah Williams and safety Deionte Thompson also made the first team while Tua Tagovailoa was the second-team quarterback.

Tagovailoa finished second behind Murray in the Heisman voting on Saturday. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins was the third-team quarterback after finishing third in the Heisman voting.

Clemson placed defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell on the first team, along with offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt. Cornerback Julian Love represented Notre Dame on the first team.

Clemson, Oklahoma and LSU each had four players on the three teams, trailing only Alabama. Notre Dame, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi State, Washington and Wisconsin each joined A&M with three overall selections.

Kentucky placed two players on the first team: linebacker Josh Allen and guard Bunchy Stallings. The Wildcats have not had an AP All-American since receiver/kick returner Derek Abney in 2002.

AP All-America Teams

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Kyler Murray, junior, Oklahoma

Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, sophomore, Wisconsin; Darrell Henderson, junior, Memphis

Tackles — Jonah Williams, junior, Alabama; Mitch Hyatt, senior, Clemson

Guards — Beau Benzschawel, senior, Wisconsin; Bunchy Stallings, senior, Kentucky

Center — Garrett Bradbury, senior, North Carolina State

Tight end — Jace Sternberger, junior, Texas A&M

Wide receivers — Jerry Jeudy, sophomore, Alabama; Marquise Brown, junior, Oklahoma

All-purpose player — Rondale Moore, freshman, Purdue

Kicker — Andre Szmyt, freshman, Syracuse

DEFENSE

Ends — Clelin Ferrell, junior, Clemson; Sutton Smith, junior, Northern Illinois

Tackles — Quinnen Williams, junior, Alabama; Christian Wilkins, senior, Clemson

Linebackers — Josh Allen, senior, Kentucky; Devin White, junior, LSU; Ben Burr-Kirven, senior, Washington

Cornerbacks — Deandre Baker, senior, Georgia; Julian Love, junior, Notre Dame

Safeties — Grant Delpit, sophomore, LSU; Deionte Thompson, junior, Alabama

Punter — Braden Mann, junior, Texas A&M

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa, sophomore, Alabama

Running backs — Travis Etienne, sophomore, Clemson; Trayveon Williams, junior, Texas A&M

Tackles — Dalton Risner, senior, Kansas State; Andrew Thomas, sophomore, Georgia

Guards — Dru Samia, senior, Oklahoma; Michael Dieter, senior, Wisconsin

Center — Ross Pierschbacher, senior, Alabama

Tight end — T.J, Hockenson, sophomore, Iowa

Wide receivers — Tylan Wallace, sophomore, Oklahoma State; Andy Isabella, senior, Massachusetts

All-purpose player — Greg Dortch, sophomore, Wake Forest

Kicker — Cole Tracy, senior, LSU

DEFENSE

Ends — Montez Sweat, senior, Mississippi State; Jachai Polite, junior, Florida

Tackles — Jerry Tillery, senior, Notre Dame; Gerald Willis III, senior, Miami

Linebackers — Devin Bush, junior, Michigan; David Long Jr., junior, West Virginia; Joe Dineen, senior, Kansas

Cornerbacks — Greedy Williams, sophomore, LSU; Byron Murphy, sophomore, Washington

Safeties — Taylor Rapp, junior, Washington; Amani Hooker, junior, Iowa

Punter — Mitch Wishnowsky, senior, Utah

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, sophomore, Ohio State

Running backs — Benny Snell, junior, Kentucky; Eno Benjamin, sophomore, Arizona State

Tackles — Andre Dillard, senior, Washington State; Cody Ford, junior, Oklahoma

Guards — Terrone Prescod, senior, North Carolina State; Chris Lindstrom, senior, Boston College

Center — Michael Jordan, junior, Ohio State

Tight end — Noah Fant, junior, Iowa

Wide Receivers — A.J. Brown, junior, Mississippi; David Sills V, senior, West Virginia

All-purpose player — J.J. Taylor, sophomore, Arizona

Kicker — Matt Gay, senior, Utah

DEFENSE

Ends — Chase Winovich, senior, Michigan; Jaylon Ferguson, senior, Louisiana Tech

Tackles — Jeffery Simmons, junior, Mississippi State; Ed Oliver, junior, Houston

Linebackers — Paddy Fisher, sophomore, Northwestern; David Woodward, sophomore, Utah State; Te’Von Coney, senior, Notre Dame

Cornerbacks — Hamp Cheevers, junior, Boston College; Lavert Hill, junior, Michigan

Safeties — Andre Cisco, freshman, Syracuse; Jonathan Abram, senior, Mississippi State

Punter — James Smith, sophomore, Cincinnati

FIRST-TEAM BREAKDOWN

By school (first-team selections-overall)

Alabama — 4-6. Clemson — 3-4. Kentucky — 2-3. LSU — 2-4. Oklahoma — 2-4. Texas A&M — 2-3. Wisconsin — 2-3. Georgia — 1-2. Memphis — 1-1. Northern Illinois — 1-1. North Carolina State — 1-2. Notre Dame — 1-3. Purdue— 1-1. Syracuse — 1-2. Washington — 1-3.

By conference

SEC — 11. ACC — 5. Big Ten — 3. Big 12 — 2. American — 1. Pac-12 — 1. MAC — 1. Independent — 1.

By class/eligibility

Freshman — 2. Sophomore — 3. Junior — 12. Senior — 8.

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