DALLAS (FWAA) – The 2021 Football Writers
Association of America Freshman All-America Team features
one of the dynamic playmakers from national champion Georgia, a
key linebacker from national runner-up Alabama, the country's third-leading
passer and a combined 13 players from the Big Ten and Southeastern
This is the 21st season the FWAA has honored freshman All-Americans.
The recipients of the fifth annual FWAA Freshman of the Year,
the 2021 Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award, the
Most Inspirational Freshman Player and the Top Freshman Performance
awards, all presented by Chris Doering Mortgage, will be announced
tonight at 7:45 p.m. ET on a virtual press conference that will
also be streamed on SEC Country.
Three schools had teammates on the Freshman
All-America team, led by Ohio State with three, followed by Iowa
and Texas A&M with two each. The list includes players who were
either redshirt freshmen, true freshmen, or freshmen playing in
their second season via the NCAA's updated COVID eligibility rules
as designated by their respective schools.
Paced by a combined five selections from Iowa and Ohio State, the
Big Ten led all conferences with eight members followed by the SEC's
seven and the Big 12 and Pac-12 had three each. The American Athletic,
Atlantic Coast, Conference USA and Independents had two apiece with
the Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt placing one as all
10 conferences were represented. Of the 32 honored players, 24 are true
"This was among the most competitive FWAA Freshman All-America
Team selections to date, on account of COVID-19 eligibility allowances adding
to the pool of players eligible to make the team," said Mike
Griffith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's DawgNation and the
chair of the 2021 Freshman All-America Committee. "The talented
group of young men who made this team are also to be applauded for
their perseverance, as well as their performances, amid the unprecedented
circumstances of these times in collegiate athletics."
Following is the complete, 32-man 2021 FWAA Freshman All-America
FWAA FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA TEAM
||• Seth Henigan, Memphis
||CJ Stroud, Ohio State
||Inland Empire, Calif.
||• Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
||Fond du Lac, Wis.
||• TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio
||Corey Rucker, Arkansas State
||• Xavier Worthy, Texas
||• Brock Bowers, Georgia
||• Joe Alt, Notre Dame
||North Oaks, Minn.
||• Campbell Barrington, BYU
||• Connor Colby, Iowa
||Cedar Rapids, Iowa
||• Reuben Fatheree II, Texas
||• Bryce Foster, Texas A&M
||• Wyatt Milum, West Virginia
||Kenova, W. Va.
||• Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State
||Oklahoma City, Okla.
||• Maason Smith, LSU
||• Josaiah Stewart, Coastal
||Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
||• Junior Colson, Michigan
||• Eric Gentry, Arizona State
||Cal Haladay, Michigan State
||• Dallas Turner, Alabama
||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
||• Calen Bullock, USC
||• Denzel Burke, Ohio State
||• Duce Chestnut, Syracuse
||• Jack Howell, Colorado State
||Donte Kent, Central Michigan
||• Andrew Mukuba, Clemson
||• Cam Little, Arkansas
||• Nick Haberer, Washington
||Brian Battie, USF
||Jaylin Lane, Middle Tennessee
||Rasheen Ali, Marshall
|• Denotes true treshman
All-Time Freshman All-America Teams (since 2001)
Brock Bowers, the true freshman tight end at Georgia who burst
upon the national scene quickly with a highlight 89-yard catch-and-score
against UAB on Sept. 11, stands out on the team as one of two selections
to also earn FWAA All-America status as its second-team tight end.
Bowers' 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns led all Bulldogs
receivers and the SEC Newcomer of the Year also broke school records
for receptions and touchdown receptions by a tight end in a single
season. Bowers is Georgia's 10th FWAA Freshman All-America selection
of the past six seasons and its 12th of the past 10 seasons.
Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud powers the team as one of two
quarterbacks, along with Memphis' Seth Henigan. Stroud, a true freshman,
was a Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award finalist and had four
games of 400-or-more passing yards. He swept the Big Ten's Offensive
Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Quarterback of the
Year awards, the first time for one player to win all three in the
same season. He led the nation's top offense (561.4 ypg) and a scoring
offense (45.7 ppg) that was fifth in passing yards (380.9 ypg).
Bowers and Stroud, along with Oklahoma State defensive end Collin
Oliver, are the finalists for the 2021 FWAA Freshman of the Year.
Also selected from Ohio State was Denzel Burke at defensive back
and running back TreVeyon Henderson. Burke started all 13 games
at cornerback – a first for a freshman at Ohio State – and led the
team with 12 pass break-ups to go with one interception. Henderson,
the top-ranked running back in the 2021 recruiting class, didn't
disappoint as the Buckeyes' rushing leader with 1,272 yards and
15 touchdowns, setting multiple OSU records along the way. Along
with Stroud, the trio are Ohio State's first Freshman All-America
players in five seasons.
Henigan's deep balls were one of Memphis' top weapons this season
and his 3,322 yards passing were the most among FBS true freshmen.
Henigan earns the school a third consecutive season with a member
of the team, joining all-purpose player Kenneth Gainwell (2019)
and receiver Tahj Washington (2020), and is one of two players from
the American Athletic Conference to make the team. Kick returner
Brian Battie of USF, a first-team FWAA All-American, had three kick
return touchdowns as a constant special teams threat to earn his spot
on the team.
Joining Henderson in the backfield was Big Ten mate Braelon Allen,
who averaged 6.8 yards per rush as Wisconsin's top rusher
with 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. Allen is the
first Wisconsin player selected to the team since center Tyler Biadasz and
running back Jonathan Taylor, both now in the NFL, in 2017.
Xavier Worthy led Texas in receptions (62), receiving yards (981)
and touchdowns (12, most among all FBS freshmen). He is Texas' first
Freshman All-American in three seasons and its first at a skill
position since Colt McCoy in 2006. The other receiver spot went
to Arkansas State's Corey Rucker, who led Sun Belt Conference wide
receivers with nine touchdown catches. Rucker is A-State's first
Freshman All-American since 2014 and its first on offense in nine
The committee awarded six offensive line spots, buoyed by the
Texas A&M pair of Reuben Fatheree II and Bryce Foster. They
are the Aggies' first Freshman All-Americans since 2015 and A&M's
first on the offensive front since Luke Joeckel in 2010. Foster
started every game. Iowa, always a staple for offensive linemen,
has Connor Colby on the team along with teammate Lukas Van Ness
at linebacker. Colby is just the sixth true freshman to start on
the offensive line under Kirk Ferentz. He gave up one sack all season
to become the Hawkeyes' first Freshman All-American on the
since Alaric Jackson in 2017. With Van Ness, it's the first time
for Iowa to have two players on the team.
Joining them on the line are the Notre Dame's Joe Alt and BYU's
Campbell Barrington, who make up the representation from the FBS
Independents. Alt helped reform the Irish up front, moving into
the starting left tackle spot after six games. The Irish line surged
in the second half of the season and helped Kyren Williams, a member
of last year's Freshman All-America team, to become just the fifth
Notre Dame running back to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The Irish have had a Freshman All-American in three consecutive
seasons. Barrington is BYU's first player on the team in three seasons.
West Virginia's Wyatt Milum, who rounds out the offensive line,
made seven starts at right tackle to earn the school's fifth
Freshman All-America honor and first since 2019.
A standout season by two linemen put them at the head
of the defense. Oklahoma State's Oliver took full advantage of his
first start, posting five solo tackles, two sacks and three hurries
in an Oct. 2 win over Baylor. He tied for 15th in the FBS with 11.5
sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Oliver, who had the game-sealing
sack against Oklahoma that sent the Cowboys to the Big 12 Championship
Game, is the fourth Freshman All-American in school history and
the first on defense in 11 seasons. Josaiah Stewart, a true freshman
at Coastal Carolina, was one of the country's top pass rushers,
tallying 12.5 sacks to lead all FBS freshmen and tied for fifth
in the nation. He had four sacks and forced two fumbles against
Georgia Southern. Stewart is Coastal Carolina's third all-time Freshman
All-American, each of them from the past two seasons.
Maason Smith of LSU was the nation's top prep defensive lineman
in the fall of 2020 and became a coaches' pick as an All-SEC Freshman
in 2021. He earned three starts toward the end of the season and
was third on the team with four sacks. Smith gives LSU a defensive
member of the team in five of the last six seasons. Iowa's Van Ness tied for the team lead with 7.0 sacks and was second with 8.5 tackles
for loss among his 33 total tackles. Van Ness, along with Colby,
are the fifth- and sixth all-time Freshman All-America selections
from Iowa and Van Ness is the first on defense since 2010.
Depth in the secondary led the committee to expand to six selections.
Joining Ohio State's Burke, Syracuse's Duce Chestnut became one of the top cover cornerbacks
in the country. He tallied three interceptions and had eight passes
defended to anchor an Orange secondary that allowed just 202 yards
passing per game. He is Syracuse's third defensive Freshman All-America
nod in the past four seasons. Chestnut and Clemson's Andrew Mukuba
are the ACC's two selections on the team. Mukuba was the Tigers'
first freshman to start at safety since 1973 and had eight tackles
and a pass breakup in the opener against Georgia. He had 54 tackles
and a sack this season as Clemson's seventh All-Freshman pick of
the past eight seasons.
Calen Bullock, USC's first true freshman to start an opener at
safety since 2013, had two interceptions on the season, three PBU's
and 40 tackles. He is USC's first All-Freshman player on defense
since 2014. Jack Howell of Colorado State made six starts at safety
for the Rams and finished fifth on the team with 64 tackles, including
3.5 TFL's. He is CSU's third all-time Freshman All-American and
the second in three seasons, and is the lone choice from the Mountain
West. Central Michigan cornerback Donte Kent started all 13 games
and led the MAC with 14 PBU's. He was third on the team with 55
total tackles and second with 45 solo stops. Kent is CMU's second
Freshman All-American, joining Antonio Brown from 2007.
Two true freshmen started for two of the College Football
Playoff teams, both of them linebackers. Michigan won the Big
Ten title with its defense and true freshman Junior Colson was
fourth on the team in tackles with 61 to go with two PBU's and
three quarterback hurries. Colson is Michigan's first Freshman
All-American since 2017 and its first on defense since 2015.
Dallas Turner of Alabama is the Crimson Tide's seventh Freshman
All-American of the past four seasons and the fifth on defense
during that span. He earned a starting role in mid-season and
finished third on the team with 8.5 sacks for the national
Linebacker Cal Haladay of Michigan State started 12 of 13 games
for the Spartans and was third on the team with 96 tackles to go
with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. An honorable mention
All-Big Ten selection, he is Michigan State's first Freshman All-American
since 2016 and its first on defense since 2014. Arizona State linebacker
Eric Gentry had 45 tackles as ASU's first Freshman All-American
Rasheen Ali, selected as the all-purpose player, made an immediate
impact with four touchdowns in Marshall's opener against Navy. He
carried on more than half of the Herd's rushing plays (250 of 449)
and his 23 rushing touchdowns tied for the most in the FBS. He is
only the second player from Marshall to earn FWAA Freshman All-America
honors and its first since 2012. Ali, who also returned a kickoff
for a score, is one of two players from Conference USA on the team,
along with punt returner Jaylin Lane of Middle Tennessee, who was
fourth in the nation in punt return average at 14.6. Lane is MTSU's
fourth Freshman All-American.
Punter Nick Haberer from Washington State is the sixth Australian
to earn a Freshman All-America honor, all of whom are punters. He
finished the season with a 42.8-yard average and is the school's
second Freshman All-American. Arkansas kicker Cam Little led the
team in scoring with 106 points and connected on 20 field goals,
the third-most in school history.
From the Freshman All-America team, California and Texas took
honors as the most common home state with four players each, followed
by two each from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
The panel of nationally-prominent college football experts from
the FWAA membership represented each of the FBS conferences along
with independents in the selecting the team.
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of
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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
FWAA Freshman All-America Teams (.pdf)