FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A trio of Arkansas football players were honored on Wednesday as members of the fifth annual Freshman All-America team selected by The Football Writers Association of America and Scripps. Tailback Darren McFadden, offensive lineman Jonathan Luigs and kickoff returner Felix Jones all earned recognition on the national team comprised of both true and redshirt freshmen.
The 27-man team features three players from Arkansas, including the only unanimous selection, McFadden. The ACC led all conferences with five players, including a pair from Florida State. Nebraska also had two players named to the team. The team was announced by the FWAA on Wednesday morning at the association’s annual breakfast in Los Angeles. In addition, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was named the top first-year coach at his school.
“It is a tremendous credit to our freshmen class and our entire football team to have three players named to the FWAA Freshman All-America team,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “I think people around the nation have taken notice of some of the rising stars in our program. Darren, Jonathan and Felix each had outstanding freshman seasons and this recognition is well deserved. I’m excited to get all of the players back on campus and resume our preparation for next season.”
McFadden was a consensus freshman All-America selection this season after racking up 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He became the first Razorback freshman and only the seventh freshman in Southeastern Conference history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He was a first-team All-SEC selection at running back and was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by both The Associated Press and league coaches.
Luigs was a versatile performer up front for the Hogs this season. He started seven games at right guard before manning the starting position at center for the final three games. He racked up 52 knockdown blocks on the season. He helped clear the way for 10 100-yard rushing efforts by UA running backs and a 1,000-yard rusher (McFadden). Arkansas led the SEC and ranked 13th in the nation in rushing yards per game (216.91).
Jones finished second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 31.9 yard-per-attempt average. He returned 17 kickoffs for 543 yards and one touchdown. The Tulsa, Okla., product was named to the College Football News.com All-America team as a kickoff returner. Jones is the only freshman in UA history to earn first-team All-America honors.
2005 FWAA FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA TEAM OFFENSE Pos., Player, School, Ht., Wt., HometownQB – Drew Weatherford, Florida State, 6-3, 210, Land O’ Lakes, Fla. RB – • Darren McFadden, Arkansas, 6-2, 210, North Little Rock, Ark. RB – • Steve Slaton, West Virginia, 5-10, 185, Levittown, Pa. RB – • Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern, 5-9, 190, Akron, Ohio WR – • Davone Bess, Hawaii, 5-10, 187, Oakland, Calif. WR – Sidney Rice, South Carolina, 6-4, 191, Gaffney, S.C. OL – Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech, 6-6, 285, Tyrone, Ga. OL – Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas, 6-4, 301, Little Rock, Ark. OL – Jeremy Perry, Oregon State, 6-2, 315, Kahuku, Hawaii OL – Cole Popovich, Fresno State, 6-2, 275, Oakhurst, Calif. OL – Max Unger, Oregon,6-5, 305, Honaunau, Hawaii C – Robby Felix, UTEP, 6-3, 275, Corona, Calif.
DEFENSE Pos., Player, School, Ht., Wt., Hometown DL – • Steve Davis, Minnesota, 6-2, 230, St. Louis, Mo. DL – Mitch King, Iowa, 6-3, 250, Burlington, Iowa DL – Brian Orakpo, Texas, 6-4, 238, Houston, Texas DL – • Barry Turner, Nebraska, 6-3, 245, Antioch, Tenn. LB – • Michael Brown, Duke, 5-11, 225, Houston, Texas LB – • Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan, 6-2, 220, Enid, Okla. LB – • Rey Maualuga, USC, 6-5, 250, Eureka, Calif. LB – Tim McCarthy, Northern Illinois, 6-0, 235, Neenah, Wis. DB – • Joe Burnett, Central Florida, 5-11, 180, Eustis, Fla. DB – Tony Carter, Florida State, 5-9, 160, Jacksonville, Fla. DB – • Courtney Greene, Rutgers, 6-1, 180, New Rochelle, N.Y. DB – • Kenny Phillips, Miami, 6-2, 200, Miami, Fla.
SPECIALISTS Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown K – • Jordan Congdon, Nebraska, 5-11, 180, San Diego, Calif. P – Chris Miller, Ball State, 6-2, 208, Libertyville, Ill. KR – • Felix Jones, Arkansas, 6-0, 195, Tulsa, Okla.
• Indicates true freshmen
First-year Coach of the Year: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina