Football Writers Association of America Dec. 9, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Big Ten lands six players on prestigious team

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (FWAA) The Football Writers Association of America's 63rd All-America Team was announced on Saturday afternoon and shown on ABC from the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney's Boardwalk.

The FWAA team, the second longest continuously published team in college football, has been a staple of the college football scene since 1944. And, for the third straight season, the unveiling of the team has been shown on television during a program sponsored by Cingular.

Michigan, which lost only to top-ranked Ohio State this past season, placed three players on the 25-man team for the second time in three years. Ohio State, Texas, West Virginia and UCLA each had two players on the team. Defending national champion Texas last failed to have at least one player on the team in 1993.

Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija, a wide receiver, is the only repeat All-America on the team. The squad also includes the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman), offensive tackle Joe Thomas of Wisconsin, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (FWAA's Defensive Player of the Year), Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis.

Michigan's trio of offensive lineman Jake Long, defensive back Leon Hall and defensive end LaMarr Woodley matched the total of two seasons ago when the Wolverines had three on the FWAA team.

Ohio State had two players on the team, Laurinaitis and quarterback Troy Smith; Texas placed two, defensive back Aaron Ross and offensive lineman Justin Blalock; West Virginia two, center Dan Mozes and running back Steve Slaton, and UCLA two, kicker Justin Medlock and defensive lineman Justin Hickman.

The Big Ten led all conferences with six players and the Southeastern, Big East, and Pac-10 had four each. The Big 12 had three, the Atlantic Coast Conference landed two and the Western Athletic Conference and Notre Dame one each.

Two standout players from losing teams made the team as a testimonial to their proficiency: Mississippi linebacker Patrick Willis and Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda.

There are four sophomore on team, including both running backs, Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Slaton, Laurinaitis and California return specialist DeSean Jackson.

Also, during the program, 1957 All-American running back Jim Bakhtiar of Virginia, was presented with the FWAA All-America Alumni Award. A native of Tehran, Iran, Bakhtiar, at 72, continues his psychiatry practice in West Virginia. Previous Alumni Award recipients are Jerry LeVias of SMU and Tennessee's Reggie White.

Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
QB Troy Smith, Ohio State 6-1 215 Sr. Cleveland, Ohio
RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas 6-2 205 So. Little Rock, Ark.
RB Steve Slaton, West Virginia 5-10 195 So. Levittown, Pa.
WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech 6-5 235 Jr. Tyrone, Ga.
WR Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame 6-5 218 Sr. Valparaiso, Ind.
WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee 6-3 210 Jr. Tulsa, Okla.
OL Sam Baker, USC 6-5 305 Jr. Tustin, Calif.
OL Justin Blalock, Texas 6-4 329 Sr. Plano, Texas
OL Jake Long, Michigan 6-7 313 Sr. Lapeer, Mich.
OL Joe Thomas, Wisconsin 6-8 313 Sr. Brookfield, Wis.
C Dan Mozes, West Virginia 6-4 290 Sr. Washington, Pa.
Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
DL Gaines Adams, Clemson 6-5 260 Sr. Greenwood, S.C.
DL Eric Foster, Rutgers 6-2 260 Jr. Homestead, Fla.
DL Justin Hickman, UCLA 6-2 263 Sr. Glendale, Ariz.
DL LaMarr Woodley, Michigan 6-2 269 Sr. Saginaw, Mich.
LB H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh 6-0 240 Sr. Plantation, Fla.
LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State 6-3 244 So. Hamel, Minn.
LB Patrick Willis, Mississippi 6-2 240 Sr. Bruceton, Tenn.
DB Leon Hall, Michigan 5-11 193 Sr. Vista, Calif.
DB Aaron Ross, Texas 6-1 192 Sr. Tyler, Texas
DB Reggie Nelson, Florida 6-1 193 Jr. Melbourne, Fla.
DB Dwight Lowery, San Jose State 6-1 185 Jr. Santa Cruz, Calif.
Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
K Justin Medlock, UCLA 6-0 197 Sr. Fremont, Calif.
P Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor 6-3 230 Sr. Dallas, Texas
KR DeSean Jackson, California 6-0 166 So. Los Angeles, Calif.

First selected three years after the organization was formed, the FWAA's inaugural team included Army's Heisman Trophy tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech's Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas' head football coach and athletic director.

Over the years, the FWAA team has highlighted all the game's great players in several media forums.

From 1946-70, LOOK Magazine published the FWAA team and brought players and selected writers to New York City for a celebration. During that 25-year period, the FWAA team was introduced on national television shows by Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Perry Como and others.

After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute television show and sold it to sponsors. The team was part of ABC Television's 1981 College Football Series.

From 1983-90, the team was either on ABC or ESPN, and now has returned to the national spotlight on ABC.

For 63 years, the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee which represents all the regions in the country.

Some of the true greats of the writing profession have helped to select this team over the years: Grantland Rice, Bert McGrane, Blackie Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Pat Harmon, Fred Russell, Edwin Pope, Murray Olderman, Paul Zimmerman and the list goes on and on.

Eric Bailey Tulsa World Conference USA
Chad Cripe Idaho Statesman WAC
Scott Ferrell Shreveport Times SEC, Sun Belt
Robert Gagliardi Wyoming Tribune-Eagle Mountain West
Eric Hansen South Bend Tribune MAC, Notre Dame
Tom Luicci Newark Star-Ledger Big East
Andrew Logue Des Moines Register Big Ten
Jeff Metcalfe Arizona Republic Pac-10
George Schroeder Daily Oklahoman Big 12
Norm Wood Newport News Daily Press ACC