NEW ORLEANS (FWAA) – The 2019 Football Writers Association of America-Shaun Alexander Freshman All-America Team presented by Stand Together features LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who is playing in tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, two other members of the FWAA All-America Team, and four teams which have two players each on the 32-man list.
The Pac-12 Conference leads all conferences with six total selections, led by a pair from Oregon and UCLA, the Big 12 is next with five and the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences had four each. Alabama and Purdue tie Oregon and UCLA for the most from one school. All 10 FBS conferences and two independents are represented on the team.
Stingley Jr. is a consensus All-America selection and the most decorated freshman in LSU’s history. He was the 17th defensive true freshman to start a season opener for the Tigers (14-0), who face Clemson (14-0) for the national championship tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. He leads the SEC and is in the top five nationally in both interceptions (six, 5th nationally) and passes defended (21, 4th nationally). The Baton Rouge, La., product started all 14 games and is 10th on the team with 36 tackles – 30 of them solo – and had at least one tackle for loss in 13 games. He also returns punts and has 163 all-purpose yards, 146 of them on punt returns plus 17 more on interception returns. He is the grandson of the late Darryl Stingley, a former NFL player whose pro career ended with a spinal cord injury.
Miami defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau and Kansas State kick returner Joshua Youngblood joined Stingley as members of the both the FWAA’s Freshman All-America Team and the FWAA All-America Team. Both were second-team selections.
Rousseau, the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, finished with 15.5 sacks and in a tie for the third-most sacks in a single season for the Hurricanes. The redshirt freshman had 54 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. Youngblood helped set the Kansas State record with a 29.5-yard kickoff return average with a nation-leading three returns for touchdowns.
Oregon is the only school with a tandem on the same side of the ball. Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was second nationally among freshmen with 9.0 sacks and third in tackles for loss with 14.0. Free safety Verone McKinley III came on in the second half of the season with four interceptions, tied for third nationally among freshmen. UCLA has offensive tackle Sean Rhyan, the first Bruins freshman to start a season-opener at offensive tackle in seven seasons, and punt returner Kyle Phillips, who was second in the nation with a 22.5-yard average.
Alabama middle linebacker Shane Lee moved into the starting lineup after a season-ending injury to Dylan Moses and led all SEC freshmen with 77 tackles and tied for fourth in the league with 5.5 tackles for loss. Evan Neal started all 13 games for the Crimson Tide at left guard, assisting on a line that gave up only 12 sacks in 381 pass attempts. Defensive end George Karlaftis was third on the Boilermakers’ defense with 54 total tackles (30 solo) with 17.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks – the TFL count was the most by a Purdue player since 2011, and the sack total the highest since 2010. Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell, the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, led the conference with 86 receptions in the regular season for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns. Purdue has had a FWAA Freshman All-America wide receiver in consecutive years following Rondale Moore last season.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is one of two signal-callers on the team. His 38 passing touchdowns are the most by a true freshman in FBS history. The previous record was 30 from Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, one of two quarterbacks on last year’s FWAA Freshman All-America Team. Kedon Slovis was USC’s first quarterback to pass for 400 yards four times in a season and ranks in the national top 20 in five passing categories including yards, completions and touchdowns. Both were their conference’s Rookie (ACC) or Freshman Offensive Player of the Year (Pac-12).
Running back Javian Hawkins is Louisville’s first player to rush for 1,500 yards, finishing with 1,525 yards and third on the school’s single-season rushing list. He had eight 100-yard games. UTSA’s Sincere McCormick finished with 1,177 all-purpose yards to break the school’s single-season record. His 983 rushing yards were second all-time at UTSA.
Ohio State’s Ryan Day is the First-Year Coach of the Year after guiding the Buckeyes into their second College Football Playoff with a 13-0 record and a Big Ten Championship. Ohio State closed 13-1 after falling to Clemson in a Fiesta Bowl semifinal classic, but not before overseeing the nation’s No. 1 defense, No. 4 scoring defense, No. 5 offense and No. 1 scoring offense. He is Ohio State’s first Big Ten Coach of the Year since 1979.
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 (20 players) and redshirt freshmen (12 players) were considered for the team and are so noted on the list below.
QB • Sam Howell, North Carolina 6-2 225 Indian Trail, N.C.
QB • Kedon Slovis, USC 6-2 200 Scottsdale, Ariz.
RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville 5-9 182 Titusville, Fla.
RB • Sincere McCormick, UTSA 5-9 200 Converse, Texas
WR • David Bell, Purdue 6-2 210 Indianapolis, Ind.
WR • C.J. Johnson, East Carolina 6-2 229 Greenville, N.C.
WR • Dante Wright, Colorado State 5-10 165 Navarre, Fla.
OL • Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State 6-4 308 Charlotte, N.C.
OL Travis Glover, Georgia State 6-6 330 Vienna, Ga.
OL • Evan Neal, Alabama 6-7 360 Okeechobee, Fla.
OL • Sean Rhyan, UCLA 6-4 323 Ladera Beach, Calif.
OL Nick Rosi, Toledo 6-4 290 Powell, Ohio
OL • O’Cyrus Torrence, Louisiana 6-5 342 Greensburg, La.
DL Solomon Byrd, Wyoming 6-4 243 Palmdale, Calif.
DL • George Karlaftis, Purdue 6-4 265 West Lafayette, Ind.
DL Gregory Rousseau, Miami 6-6 251 Coconut Creek, Fla.
DL • Kayvon Thibodeuax, Oregon 6-5 242 Los Angeles, Calif.
LB • Shane Lee, Alabama 6-0 246 Burtonsville, Md.
LB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia 6-3 240 Marietta, Ga.
LB Devin Richardson, NMexico State 6-3 233 Klein, Texas
LB • Omar Speights, Oregon State 6-1 233 Philadelphia, Pa.
DB • Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati 6-2 185 Detroit, Mich.
DB • Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame 6-4 240 Atlanta, Ga.
DB Verone McKinley III, Oregon 5-10 192 Carrollton, Texas
DB • Tykee Smith, West Virginia 5-10 184 Philadelphia, Pa.
DB • Derek Stingley Jr., LSU 6-1 190 Baton Rouge, La.
DB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU 5-8 175 Shreveport, La.
P • Austin McNamara, Texas Tech 6-4 175 Gilbert, Ariz.
K Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma 6-2 175 Chardon, Ohio
KR • Joshua Youngblood, K-State 5-10 180 Tampa, Fla.
PR Kyle Phillips, UCLA 5-11 181 San Marcos, Calif.
AP Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis 5-11 183 Yazoo City, Miss.