DALLAS (NCBWA) – Paced by the five finalists for the 2021 Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headwear, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association 23rd Division I All-America baseball squads (first, second and third teams) features a true Whos Who of the best in college baseball this spring.
Standouts from 47 different schools and 19 conferences join Howser Trophy finalists Jace Jung of Texas Tech, Kevin Kopps of Arkansas, Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker of Vanderbilt, and Matheu Nelson of Florida State all first-team selections · on this dream team of collegiate diamondmen.
Among some of the conference players of the year are FSUs Nelson of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Arkansas· Kopps (SEC Pitcher of the Year and Collegiate Baseball magazine Player of the Year), Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year Jung, and probable consensus All-America righthanders Leiter and Rocker.
Nelson is tied with South Carolinas Wes Clarke prior to the NCAA World Series June 19-29/30 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the national lead in home runs with 23. Kopps tops all Division I hurlers with a 0.90 earned run average, and Leiter and Rocker enter Vandy·s trek to the World Series Nos. 1 and 2 nationally in strikeouts with 156 and 155, respectively. Jung, the 2021 NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year, also led the Big 12 in home runs with 21 for Tech·s Super Regional entry.
Fans and media will have a chance to see many of these All-America choices in the World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Tanner Allen of Mississippi State nailed down a first team outfield slot for his Omaha-bound Bulldogs while teammate and relief ace Landon Sims of the Bulldogs joined him on the top unit.
Outfielder Jonny Butler (second team) of NC State, which upended No. 1 seed Arkansas to make it to the CWS, Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year Ty Madden of Texas (making a NCAA-record 37th trip to Omaha), pitcher Blake Bales of Virginia, and pitchers Brendan Beck and Zach Grech of Stanford all paced their teams to berths in the Final Eight of Division I baseball. NCBWA national Freshman Pitcher of the Year and the Co-National Freshman of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Andrew Taylor of Central Michigan also was a first-team honoree.
The U.S. service academies also are represented on the first team by Air Forces Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year and Collegiate Baseball·s Co-National Freshman of the Year utility player Paul Skenes with a .410 batting average, 11 home runs and 11 saves in relief.
This group sports some of the most impressive pitching in the 23-year history of NCBWA All-America selections. The starting pitching first teamers are a composite 65-13 (combined .833 winning percentage) with 10-plus strikeouts per nine innings pitched. The first unit relief staff has a combined 21-5 mound record and 68 saves.
The second team is equally impressive with starting pitchers logging a total of 65 wins against just 16 losses and a relief corps with a composite record of 16-12 in 133 appearances with 46 total saves.
The 2021 All-America team announcement precedes the presentation of the 34th Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headwear. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 18, first on MLB Network and then at a national news conference via Zoom call at a time to be determined just prior to the 74th NCAA College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The announcement of the NCBWA 2021 Stopper of the Year and National Coach of the Year also will take place on Friday via online national release.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami, 1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J.D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, Southern California, 2001; Khalil Greene, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, Southern, 2003; Jered Weaver, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, Houston, 2006; David Price, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, Rice, 2010, Taylor Jungmann, Texas, 2011, Mike Zunino, Florida, 2012 and Kris Bryant, San Diego, 2013; A.J. Reed, Kentucky, 2014; Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas, 2015; Seth Beer, Clemson, 2016; and Brendan McKay, Louisville, 2017; Brady Singer, Florida, 2018; Adley Rutschman, Oregon State, 2019.
For more information on the NCAA Division I All-America team, contact NCBWA Assistant Executive Director Mike Montoro of West Virginia University at 304-293-2821.