NEW YORK -- Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny and
Southern California receiver Dwayne Jarrett overcame adversity to
become two-time Associated Press All-Americans.
Posluszny and Jarrett were selected to the first-team for the
second consecutive season Tuesday, joining Heisman Trophy winner
Troy Smith and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden on the AP's
Smith, the senior quarterback, is one of three Ohio State
players on the first team, along with defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock and linebacker James Laurinaitis. Big Ten rival Michigan
matched the Buckeyes for the most first-teamers with defensive end
LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Leon Hall and offensive tackle Jake Long.
Smith and the top-ranked Buckeyes will play Florida in the BCS Championship Game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. The Gators were represented
on the first-team by safety Reggie Nelson.
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who finished third behind
Smith and McFadden in the Heisman voting, made the second-team.
Posluszny is the first Penn State linebacker to be a two-time AP
All-American, quite a feat considering Linebacker U. has produced
the likes of LaVar Arrington, Shane Conlan and Jack Ham.
Posluszny returned to Penn State for his senior season after
injuring his knee in the Orange Bowl in January. Playing with a
bulky brace and trying to adapt to a new position, Posluszny needed
a few games to get comfortable in 2006.
"Things were a lot tougher this year," the senior said. "A
little more complicated."
In 2005, Posluszny was dominant while playing outside linebacker
in a 4-3 defense. To make better use of their personnel, the
Nittany Lions shifted to a 3-4 set this season and moved the
240-pound Posluszny inside.
The first few games, Posluszny was healthy but not playing as
well as he did last season.
"The knee was fine except the first couple of games they made
me wear this really immobile brace. So that was a problem, but we
got that taken care of," he said recently. "It was the position
switch. I felt so comfortable playing outside linebacker. It was a
little bit harder to get used to everything mentally."
Once he started getting the hang of his new gig, Poz was his old
Posluszny finished the regular season with 108 tackles, three
sacks and two forced fumbles. He became the second two-time winner
of the Chuck Bednarik Award as national defensive player.
Mississippi's Patrick Willis, the Butkus Award winner, is the
other All-American linebacker.
Joining McFadden in the backfield is West Virginia's Steve Slaton, a sophomore, like McFadden, who was third in the nation in
rushing at 144.4 yards per game.
Jarrett's season was complicated by an early-season shoulder
injury that forced him to miss a game and limited him in several
others. But when the 6-foot-5 junior was at full strength, he was
USC's best weapon. He caught 58 passes for 773 yards and 10
Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, another junior and big-time NFL
prospect, is the other All-American receiver. He caught 13
Minnesota senior Matt Spaeth is the tight end. Long is joined on
the offensive line by Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, the Outland
Trophy winner. Justin Blalock of Texas and Josh Beekman of Boston
College are the guards and West Virginia's Dan Mozes is the center.
UCLA's Justin Medlock, who leads the nation with 26 field goals,
is the first-team kicker, and California receiver DeSean Jackson,
who returned four punts for touchdowns, was selected as an
LSU's defense, the best in the Southeastern Conference, is
represented on the first-team by defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and
safety LaRon Landry.
Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who picked off eight passes and
returned two for TDs, and Atlantic Coast Conference defensive
player of the year Gaines Adams of Clemson complete the defense.
Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda, after being a third-team
All-American as a sophomore and a second-teamer last year, is a
first-teamer this season.
Michigan led all schools with six players receiving All-America
honors. Tailback Mike Hart, linebacker David Harris and defensive
tackle Alan Branch made the second-team.
Ohio State had five players on the three teams, with guard T.J. Downing and receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. making the second team.
Florida had one player on each of the three teams. Cornerback
Ryan Smith made the second team and linebacker Brandon Siler was a