DALLAS (FWAA) – The 2021 Football Writers Association
of America All-America Team, presented in partnership with the
Cotton Bowl Classic, is headlined by seven first-teamers from the
four teams competing in the College Football Playoff, nine repeat
All-Americans, six first-teamers from both the Big Ten and Southeastern
Conferences, six explosive wide receivers, a sensational freshman
running back and a record-setting punter. There are 23 schools represented
from nine Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on the first team
and 37 different schools are represented on the complete 54-man team.
"The partnership between the FWAA and the Goodyear Cotton
Bowl Classic is one we take a lot of pride in," said Bry Patton,
Chairman, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association and Cotton Bowl
Foundation. "We're honored to play a small role in celebrating
the on-field accolades these student-athletes achieved this
"The FWAA is proud to partner with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl
Classic to highlight these amazing athletes, but it’s never an
easy choice to whittle down the field," said FWAA president
Heather Dinich, a senior writer for ESPN.com. "What makes it so
difficult is that there's always – always – more than one
deserving player at each position. This year's combined team,
though, reflects dominant seasons by both the Big Ten and the
SEC, along with the Group of Five's historic season, as a record
12 players were included."
Alabama, the top seed in the College Football Playoff, has
first-team selections and leads all schools with four on the combined
team. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr., offensive lineman Evan Neal
and quarterback Bryce Young made the first team with kick returner
Jameson Williams on the second team. Anderson won the FWAA's Bronko
Nagurski Trophy this season, Neal is the latest Crimson Tide standout
All-American on its offensive front and Young, the winner of the
Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award
Tuesday night, surged late with a dramatic comeback against Auburn and a record-setting performance
in the SEC Championship Game. No one has averaged more yards per
touch (22.6) than Williams this season, who is also a standout
The defensive secondary has two returning first-team All-Americans
in Ahmad Gardner of Cincinnati and Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame.
Gardner is the first two-time FWAA All-American in Cincinnati history
and Hamilton is the Irish's first two-time FWAA All-American in
16 seasons (wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in 2005-06). Oregon defensive
end Kayvon Thibodeaux, another two-time selection, moves to the
first team after a second-team nod last year. Also from the secondary
are App State defensive back Steven Jones Jr., the Mountaineers'
first All-American at the FBS level, and Jalen Pitre of Baylor,
a second defensive first-teamer for the Bears of the last three
The four defensive linemen, collectively, may be the best group
in the history of the team. Jordan Davis of Georgia, the Outland
Trophy and Bednarik Award winner on the nation's top defense, Michigan defensive
end Aidan Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, along with Thibodeaux
and Iowa State's Will McDonald IV, the Big 12's Co-Defensive Lineman
of the Year with 11.5 sacks, make up a formidable front. Nakobe
Dean, the Butkus Award winner at Georgia, and Devin Lloyd of Utah join
Anderson as the first-team linebackers.
Back on offense, Doak Walker Award winner Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State
has been the
national leader in rushing for most of the season and is on the
first team along with Syracuse's eye-catching freshman, Sean Tucker.
Walker is second in the FBS in rushing at 1,636 yards (136.3
ypg) with 18 touchdowns. Tucker, a second-year player with freshman
eligibility, set the Orange's single-season rushing mark at 1,496
yards, fourth nationally, with nine 100-yard games and 14 total
touchdowns. Tucker becomes the first freshman running back on the
first team since Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma in 2004 and the first
freshman at any skill position on the first team since Florida State
quarterback Jameis Winston in 2013.
The standout wide receivers gave a menagerie of options to the
FWAA voters. Ohio State gained two of the six spots. For the
first time, the FWAA selected three receivers on each of its two
teams and thus 12-man offensive teams. Garrett Wilson
becomes a two-time All-American here after a second-team spot last
year and Chris Olave is on the second unit. Pitt's Jordan Addison,
the Biletnikoff Award winner,
caught more touchdowns (17) than any other player, keying the Panthers'
offensive resurgence this season. He's on the first team and his
quarterback, Kenny Pickett, leads off the second team. Purdue's
David Bell produced highlight plays that prompted two of the biggest
upsets this season and earned first-team honors. Along with Olave,
second-team receivers Jerreth Sterns of WKU caught 39 more passes
than any other player and was the national leader in receiving yards,
and Drake London of USC averaged 135.5 yards per game with seven
touchdowns despite playing in only eight games due to injury.
Tyler Linderbaum of Iowa, the winner of the Rimington Trophy,
returns to become a two-time All-America
center, this year on the first team after a second-team nod in 2020.
Ohio State lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere was the leader at the front
of the nation's top offensive team. Kentucky tackle Darian Kinnard
led one of the four Joe Moore Award finalist units and Ikem Ekwonu
is N.C. State's second first-team lineman of the past four seasons.
Iowa was one of three schools (along with Georgia and Ohio
State) to have three All-Americans. The Hawkeyes have linebacker
Jack Campbell and defensive back Riley Moss on the second team
and Georgia added offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer to the second
team. Texas A&M and Iowa State have repeat members on the second
team after first-team spots last year. The Aggies have players
on both the second-team offensive (Kenyon Green) and defensive
(DeMarvin Leal) lines, and running back Breece Hall gives Iowa
State a pair of All-Americans for a second consecutive season.
Also from the second team, defensive lineman Arnold Ebiketie
and defensive back Jaquan Brisker give Penn State a pair of FWAA
All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 2008.
Rounding out the eight schools that had a pair of honorees is
punt return phenom Britain Covey at Utah, Oregon with defensive
back Verone McKinley III and Baylor with offensive lineman Jacob
Gall. Oklahoma State has its first defensive All-American since
2013 with linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez alongside Leo Chenal of
Wisconsin on the second team. Offensive linemen Zach Tom of Wake
Forest and Olusegun Oluwatimi of Virginia, along with defensive
lineman Jermaine Johnson II of Florida State, were three of the
ACC’s seven selections, third-best among the conferences.
Rutgers has its first FWAA All-America selection since 2006
with punter Adam Korsak on the second team as well as Missouri
kicker Harrison Mevis, the Tigers’ first All-American on special
teams since Jeremy Maclin in 2007.
The so-called Group of Five schools put a record 12 players
on the combined team – 22 percent of the total picks – and seven
on the first team including all four special teams spots and both
tight ends. Houston's Marcus Jones, the Paul Hornung Award
winner, repeats as the first-team punt
returner and Sincere McCormick of UTSA repeats as a second-team
All-America running back. Matt Araiza of San Diego State, currently
the all-time leader in FBS history with a 51.4-yard season average, is the easy choice at punter
following his selection as the Ray Guy Award winner. Colorado State
tight end Trey McBride is the 20th-leading receiver nationally
with 1,121 yards as the first-team selection and Coastal Carolina's
Isaiah Likely on the second. McBride is the John Mackey Award
Bowling Green's field goal ace Nate Needham, 19 for 20 on
field goal attempts, is the first-team
kicker and USF's Brian Battie, who had three kick return touchdowns,
is the first-team kick returner and the only other freshman besides
Tucker. One of the country's interception leaders with five, second-team
defensive back Ja'Quan McMillian is East Carolina's first defensive
All-American since 1991.
The Big Ten leads all conferences with 13 players on the combined
teams from a spread of eight different schools, which also led all
conferences. The SEC has 11 members from five different schools
and the ACC had seven from six different schools. The Big 12 and
Pac-12 had five members each, followed by the American Athletic
(4), Mountain West (3), Conference USA and Sun Belt (2
each) and the Independents and Mid-American (1).
Many of the 2021 All-Americans had immediate impacts on their
teams. Nearly one-fifth of the team – 10 of 54 players – were FWAA
Freshman All-America selections earlier in their careers. Tops on
that list is Anderson Jr., the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner
and the 2020 FWAA Freshman Player of the Year, and Davis, who was
on the 2018 FWAA Freshman All-America team. Six of the 10 – Bell,
Ekwonu, Neal, Thibodeaux, Gardner and Hamilton – are first-teamers
on the 2021 list. McCormick and McKinley are second-teamers.
Of the first-team members' home states, California led the way
with four followed by Florida and North Carolina with three each.
On the complete 1st-2nd teams, California and Texas tied with seven
each followed by Maryland and North Carolina with four and Florida,
Georgia, Indiana and Iowa with three each.
The FWAA's All-America Committee selected this 78th annual team
based on nominations from the entire membership. This is the
ninth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named
a second team. For
a fifth consecutive year, the FWAA has selected a 54-man full
team, but the additional wide receivers were selected in lieu of
recognizing all-purpose players this season.
FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM
||Bryce Young, Alabama
||Sean Tucker, Syracuse
||Owings Mills, Md.
||Kenneth Walker III, Michigan
||Jordan Addison, Pitt
||David Bell, Purdue
||Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
||Trey McBride, Colorado State
||Fort Morgan, Colo.
||Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State
||Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
||Evan Neal, Alabama
||Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio
||Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
||Jordan Davis, Georgia
||Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
||Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
||Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
||Los Angeles, Calif.
||Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
||Nakobe Dean, Georgia
||Horn Lake, Miss.
||Devin Lloyd, Utah
||Chula Vista, Calif.
||Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
||Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
||Steven Jones Jr., App State
||Jalen Pitre, Baylor
||Nate Needham, Bowling Green
||Matt Araiza, San Diego State
||San Diego, Calif.
||Brian Battie, USF
||Marcus Jones, Houston
FIRST TEAM ONLY BREAKDOWN
School (23): Alabama 3; Georgia 2, Ohio
State 2; App State, Baylor, Bowling Green,
Cincinnati, Colorado State, Houston, Iowa, Iowa
State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C.
State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pitt, Purdue, San
Diego State, Syracuse, USF, Utah 1.
(9): Big Ten 6, SEC 6, ACC 3, American
Athletic 3, Big 12 2, Mountain West 2, Pac-12 2,
Independents 1, Mid-American 1, Sun Belt 1.
Juniors 12, Seniors 8, Sophomores 5, Freshmen 2.
State (14): California 4, Florida 3,
North Carolina 3, Georgia 2, Indiana 2, Maryland
2, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Alabama 1,
Colorado 1, Iowa 1, Mississippi 1, Wisconsin 1.
FWAA ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM
QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt; RB Breece Hall, Iowa State;
RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA; WR Drake London, USC;
WR Chris Olave, Ohio State; WR Jerreth Sterns, WKU;
TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; OL Jacob Gall,
Baylor; OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M; OL Jamaree
Salyer, Georgia; OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest; C Olusegun
Oluwatimi, Virginia. Defense: DL
Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State; DL Jermaine Johnson
II, Florida State; DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M;
DL Cameron Thomas, San Diego State; LB Jack Campbell,
Iowa; LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin; LB Malcolm Rodriguez,
Oklahoma State; DB Jaquan Brisker, Penn State; DB
Verone McKinley III, Oregon; DB Ja’Quan McMillian,
East Carolina; DB Riley Moss, Iowa. Specialists:
K Harrison Mevis, Missouri; P Adam Korsak, Rutgers;
KR Jameson Williams, Alabama; PR Britain Covey,
COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND TEAM BREAKDOWN
School: Alabama 4; Georgia 3, Iowa 3,
Ohio State 3; Baylor 2, Iowa State 2, Oregon 2,
Penn State 2, Pitt 2, San Diego State 2, Texas
A&M 2, Utah 2; App State, Bowling Green,
Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State,
East Carolina, Florida State, Houston, Kentucky,
Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, N.C. State,
Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rutgers,
Syracuse, USC, USF, UTSA, Virginia, Wake Forest,
WKU, Wisconsin 1.
(10): Big Ten 13, SEC 11, ACC 7, Big 12
5, Pac-12 5, American Athletic 4, Mountain West
3, Conference USA 2, Sun Belt 2, Independents 1,
Juniors 24, Seniors/Graduates 20, Sophomores 8,
State (24): California 7, Texas 7,
Maryland 4, North Carolina 4, Florida 3, Georgia
3, Indiana 3, Iowa 3, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2,
Wisconsin 2, Alabama 1, Colorado 1, Kansas 1,
Louisiana 1, Massachusetts 1, Minnesota 1,
Mississippi 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Ohio 1,
Oklahoma 1, Pennsylvania 1, Utah 1. (Australia
All-Time All-America Teams (since 1944) |
The FWAA All-America Team was first selected in 1944, 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.
Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five
teams used to formulate the NCAA's annual consensus All-America
team, which will be announced later this week. Since the 2002 season,
the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated
Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation
have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.
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 such
noted hosts as Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.
After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA
Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute
television program. The team was part of ABC-TV's 1981 College Football
Series. From 1983-90, the team was introduced on either ABC or ESPN.
In 2002 and ‘03, the All-America team was honored with a banquet
at the Citrus Bowl.
The same bowl also was a sponsor when the team was featured on
ABC and ESPN from different locations on Disney properties from
2004-07. From 2008-10, the team had been the subject of a one-hour
For seven decades 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. From that All-America team, the
FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman)
and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).
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. The FWAA All-America team is steeped in tradition and history
and is selected by a writers' group with those same attributes.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America
consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers
and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works
to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards
and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information
about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive
Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will play host
to a College Football Playoff semifinal when No. 4 Cincinnati takes on
No. 1 Alabama at AT&T Stadium on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl is the 13th Classic to be played at
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the third national
2021 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson,
ESPN.com; Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Kirk Bohls, Austin
American-Statesman; Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle;
Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews;
Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic;
Scott Farrell, collegepressbox; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; John
Hoover, SI.com; Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports; Nate Mink, Syracuse
Post-Standard; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil
Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris
Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade.
FWAA All-America Teams (.pdf)
Download the FWAA
All-America Team logos and social media graphics