Football Writers Association of America Jan. 9, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Griffith
.pdf version
16th annual team features 34 first-year stars
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TAMPA (FWAA) – Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence headlines the 2016 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team presented by Sound Mind Sound Body Camps. Lawrence is the lone selection playing in tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa.

"Dexter is obviously very gifted from the standpoint of the physicality it takes to play inside," said Clemson defensive line coach Dan Brooks, the AFCA's assistant coach of the year.

"We opened the season at Auburn and threw him in the mix, and he had our first sack of the season. Dexter is a very coachable young man with a great attitude who is mature beyond his years."

The 10 FBS conferences are each represented with at least one player on the team, and there are two players from schools with independent status.

The SEC and Big Ten each placed six players on the 34-member team, while the Pac-12 and ACC had five players from their respective conferences.

Other 2017 College Football Playoff participants on the Freshman All-American team are Taylor Rapp (safety, Washington), Mike Weber (tailback, Ohio State), Dre’Mont Jones (defensive lineman, Ohio State) and Michael Jordan (offensive lineman, Ohio State).

The First Year Coach of the Year Award had co-winners for the first time since its inception 15 years ago, with Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente and USC’s Clay Helton sharing the award.

Helton, in his first full season as the Trojans’ head coach, led USC to nine consecutive victories to close the season, including a stirring 52-49 Rose Bowl victory over Penn State.

Fuente was selected as the ACC Coach of the Year, guiding the Hokies to the ACC Championship Game for the first time since 2011.

The 12-person panel of nationally-prominent writers represented each of the FBS conferences along with independents in the selecting the team.

Both true freshmen (20 players) and redshirt freshmen (14 players) were considered for the team and are so noted on the list below.

While Clemson's Lawrence is the only freshman All-American in uniform tonight, there are six former selections on the rosters: Outland Trophy winner Cam Robinson (2014); All-SEC punter JK Scott (2014); Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (2015); and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (2015) are the four Crimson Tide players, while All-ACC offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt (2015) and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (2015) will represent Clemson.

Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown
QB Sam Darnold, USC 6-4 225 Capistrano Beach, Calif.
RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State 5-10 171 Tulsa, Okla.
RB Benny Snell, Kentucky 5-11 220 Westerville, Ohio
RB Mike Weber, Ohio State 5-10 212 Detroit, Mich.
WR Ty Lee, Middle Tennessee 5-9 155 Moultrie, Ga.
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami 6-1 192 Wellington, Fla.
WR Demetris Robertson, California 6-0 175 Savannah, Ga.
TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia 6-4 246 Buford, Ga.
OL Ryan Bates, Penn State 6-4 305 Warrington, Pa.
OL Ben Bredeson, Michigan 6-5 310 Hartland, Wis.
OL Michael Jordan, Ohio State 6-7 310 Canton, Mich.
OL Zach Shackelford, Texas 6-3 290 Belton, Texas
OL Thomas Shoaf, BYU 6-5 280 Columbus, Ind.
OL Jawaan Taylor, Florida 6-5 340 Cocoa, Fla.
AP Donnie Corley, Michigan State 6-2 186 Detroit, Mich.
Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown
DL Brian Burns, Florida State 6-5 218 Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
DL Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State 6-3 280 Cleveland, Ohio
DL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson 6-5 340 Wake Forest, N.C.
DL Ed Oliver, Houston 6-2 290 Houston, Texas
DL Reggie Walker, Kansas State 6-2 239 Ponchatoula, La.
LB Troy Dye, Oregon 6-4 225 Norco, Calif.
LB Leo Lewis, Mississippi State 6-2 240 Brookhaven, Miss.
LB David Reese, Florida 6-0 244 Farmington, Mich.
LB Josiah Tauaefa, UTSA 6-1 230 Corinth, Texas
LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming 6-2 225 Casper, Wyo.
DB Jessie Bates, Wake Forest 6-2 200 Fort Wayne, Ind.
DB Xavier Crawford, Oregon State 6-1 182 Pittsburg, Calif.
DB Clifton Duck, Appalachian State 5-10 175 Matthews, N.C.
DB Javon Hagan, Ohio 6-0 211 Jacksonville, Fla.
DB Taylor Rapp, Washington 6-0 202 Bellingham, Wash.
Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown
K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia 6-1 191 Marietta, Ga.
P Tom Sheldon, North Carolina 6-3 200 Echuca, Australia
PR Malik McGue, Army 5-8 174 Johnson City, Tenn.
KR Tony Pollard, Memphis 5-11 200 Memphis, Tenn.
Clay Helton, USC and Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
• Denotes true freshman

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at

All-Time FWAA Freshman All-America Teams
2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Mark Anderson (MW)
Lee Barfknecht (Big Ten)
Mark Blaudschun (ACC)
Andrew Greif (Pac-12)
Mike Griffith (Chair/Independents)
Tommy Hicks (Sun Belt)
Ron Higgins (SEC)
Blair Kerkhoff (Big 12)
Steve Richardson (FWAA Executive Director)
Doug Smock (American Athletic)
Phil Stukenborg (C-USA)
John Wagner (MAC)