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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
SEC — 11. ACC — 5. Big Ten — 3. Big 12 — 2. American — 1. Pac-12 — 1. MAC — 1. Independent — 1.
Freshman — 2. Sophomore — 3. Junior — 12. Senior — 8.