SANTA JOSE, CA (FWAA) – The 18th annual Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team features five players taking part in tonight's College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., and includes Clemson starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama starting cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences with six total selections, led by Georgia, which led all schools with three: offensive linemen Cade Mays and Isaiah Wilson and and defensive lineman Jordon Davis. The Big 12 was second with five, followed by the Big Ten with four. All 10 FBS conferences and two independents are represented on the team.
Heading into tonight's National Championship, Lawrence has posted one of the best regular seasons by a true freshman quarterback in history. Lawrence, a highly-touted early enrollee, played in the Tigers' first four games before taking over as the starter. The Cartersville, Ga., product has thrown for 2,933 yards and 27 touchdowns and only four interceptions while averaging 12.3 yards per completion. Clemson's offense is just 293 yards shy of breaking its own ACC record of 7,718 total yards set in 2015. The Tigers are averaging 530.4 total yards and 44.3 points per game. Lawrence has completed 65 percent of his passes.
Purdue's Rondale Moore, among two Freshman All-Americans to be named to the FWAA's All-America Team last month, leads the FBS with 114 receptions, the second-most in a season by a Big Ten player, and led the conference with 1,258 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. Including his special teams yardage, Moore led the conference in all-purpose yards with 2,215, fourth nationally. In his debut, Moore set the Purdue single-game record with 313 all-purpose yards against Northwestern on Aug. 30, gaining 79 rushing yards, 109 receiving yards and 125 kickoff return yards.
Kicker Andre Szmyt of Syracuse was also a first-team FWAA All-America selection. He led the nation in scoring with 151 points, making 30 of 34 field goal attempts – including 3-for-3 beyond 50 yards – and all 61 extra-point attempts. Szmyt's teammate, safety Andre Cisco, among the national leaders with seven interceptions, gives the Orange a pair of players on the team. Alabama is the only other school with teammates honored, as wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was selected to the team.
Josh Heupel, who coached UCF to a 13-0 regular season and the American Athletic Conference title, is the First-Year Coach of the Year.
The 13-person panel of nationally-prominent college football experts represented each of the FBS conferences along with independents in the selecting the team. Both true freshmen (18 players) and redshirt freshmen (14 players) were considered for the team and are so noted on the list below.
|QB||• Trevor Lawrence, Clemson||6-6||215||Cartersville, Ga.|
|QB||• Adrian Martinez, Nebraska||6-2||220||Fresno, Calif.|
|RB||• Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State||5-11||211||Harbor City, Calif.|
|RB||Anthony McFarland, Maryland||5-8||193||Hyattsville, Md.|
|WR||• Rondale Moore, Purdue||5-9||175||New Albany, Ind.|
|WR||• Jayden Reed, Western Michigan||6-0||170||Aurora, Ill.|
|WR||• Jaylen Waddle, Alabama||5-10||177||Houston, Texas|
|OL||• Trace Clopton, Southern Miss||6-2||290||Brookhaven, Miss.|
|OL||Keegan Cryder, Wyoming||6-4||291||Littleton, Colo.|
|OL||James Empy, BYU||6-4||297||American Fork, Utah|
|OL||Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma||6-5||325||Shawnee, Okla.|
|OL||• Cade Mays, Georgia||6-6||318||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|OL||Isaiah Wilson, Georgia||6-7||340||Brooklyn, N.Y.|
|DL||• Jordan Davis, Georgia||6-6||320||Charlotte, N.C.|
|DL||• Jamal Hines, Toledo||6-2||216||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|DL||Juwuan Jones, WKU||6-3||270||Sugar Hill, Ga.|
|DL||• Austin Lewis, Liberty||6-6||230||Jonesborough, Tenn.|
|LB||Zaven Collins, Tulsa||6-4||250||Hominy, Okla.|
|LB||Carlton Martial, Troy||5-10||216||Mobile, Ala.|
|LB||• Merlin Robertson, Arizona State||6-3||235||Gardena, Calif.|
|LB||• Mike Rose, Iowa State||6-3||228||Brecksville, Ohio|
|DB||Paulson Adebo, Stanford||6-1||189||Mansfield, Texas|
|DB||• Andre Cisco, Syracuse||6-0||199||Valley Stream, N.Y.|
|DB||Adrian Frye, Texas Tech||6-1||175||Houston, Texas|
|DB||• Caden Sterns, Texas||6-1||192||Cibolo, Texas|
|DB||• Patrick Surtain II, Alabama||6-2||202||Plantation, Fla.|
|DB||• Bryce Thompson, Tennessee||5-11||180||Irmo, S.C.|
|P||Clayton Howell, Appalachian State||6-0||183||High Point, N.C.|
|K||Andre Szmyt, Syracuse||6-1||195||Vernon Hills, Ill.|
|KR||K.J. Hamler, Penn State||5-9||173||Pontiac, Mich.|
|PR||Marcus Hayes, New Mexico||6-0||199||Rockford, Ill.|
|AP||• Pooka Williams Jr., Kansas||5-10||170||Marrero, La.|
|Josh Heupel, UCF|
|• 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.