1998 All American Football Team
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Williams, the Texas tailback who ran for 2,124 yards and 27 touchdowns, was the only repeater from last year’s team. He finished his career with 6,279 yards, breaking Tony Dorsett’s rushing record.
McNown led the Bruins on a 20-game winning streak before their national title hopes ended with a loss to Miami in the season finale. The left-hander threw for 3,130 yards and 23 touchdowns and set nearly every school single-season and career record.
Even in defeat, McNown was spectacular, throwing for a school-record 513 yards, with five TD passes and a rushing TD, in the 49-45 loss to the Hurricanes. He finished third in the Heisman balloting.
Florida State had three players on the team, the most by any school, with wide receiver Peter Warrick, kicker Sebastian Janikowski and noseguard Corey Simon.
In a year loaded with record-setting quarterbacks, Kentucky’s Tim Couch made the second team and Kansas State’s Michael Bishop the third team.
The Atlantic Coast Conference was the top league, placing six players on the team, which consisted of 16 seniors, eight juniors, and two sophomores.
Georgia’s all-purpose star Champ Bailey made the team as a defensive back, although he did much more for the Bulldogs. Bailey had three interceptions and a fumble recovery, but also caught 47 passes for 744 yards and five TDs and averaged 21.8 yards per kickoff return.
Boston College running back Mike Cloud, the nation’s third-leading rusher with 1,726 yards and 14 TDs, joined Williams in the backfield. Cloud’s rushing total was school and Big East Conference records.
Torry Holt of North Carolina State joined Warrick as the other wide receiver and Rufus French of Mississippi was the tight end.
Holt set ACC records with 88 catches for 1,604 yards. The senior scored on a 68-yard punt return and a 63-yard reception in the Wolfpack’s 24-7 upset of Florida State on Sept. 12. He averaged 145.8 yards receiving per game – second in the nation.
Warrick caught 61 passes for 1,232 yards and 12 TDs, averaging 20.2 yards per catch. Holt and Warrick were threats on reverses and punt returns.
French caught 35 passes for 386 yards and two TDs and was among the team’s best blockers this season.
The offensive line averages 314.6 pounds. Craig Page of Georgia Tech was the center. The other linemen were Outland Trophy winner Kris Farris of UCLA, Aaron Gibson of Wisconsin, Rob Murphy of Ohio State, and Matt Stinchcomb of Georgia.
Janikowski, who won the Groza Award, hit 27 of 32 field goal attempts and 42 of 43 extra points. He set an ACC scoring record with 123 points.
Kansas State’s David Allen, who led the nation with a 22.1-yard punt return average, was the all-purpose player. He tied an NCAA record with four punt returns for TDs this season.
The defense was anchored by award-winning linebackers Chris Claiborne of Southern California and Dat Nguyen of Texas A&M.
Claiborne, the Butkus Award winner, led the Trojans with 107 tackles, five sacks, and six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Nguyen, undersized for a linebacker at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, was a whirlwind all season. He averaged 11.3 tackles per game, including 20 stops for losses. The Lombardi Trophy winner also had four sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
The other linebackers were Al Wilson of Tennessee and Jeff Kelly of Kansas State. Wilson anchored a defense that allowed just 93.9 yards rushing per game. Kelly had 87 tackles – 23 for losses – with six sacks, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
Bailey was joined in the secondary by Chris McAlister of Arizona, Antoine Winfield of Ohio State, and Anthony Poindexter of Virginia.
Winfield won the Thorpe Award as the best defensive back and was a big reason the Buckeyes were second in the nation in pass defense.
Joining Simon on the line were Tom Burke of Wisconsin, Anthony McFarland of LSU, and Montae Reagor of Texas Tech. Burke led a defense that allowed 10.2 points – tops in the nation.
Joe Kristosik of UNLV was the punter. He led the nation with a 46.2-yard average on 76 punts.
Check out the 1998 all American football team via today’s blog.
Quarterback – Cade McNown, UCLA, 6-1, 209, senior, West Linn, Ore.
Running backs – Mike Cloud, Boston College, 5-11, 201, senior, Portsmouth, R.I.
Ricky Williams, Texas, 6-0, 225, senior, San Diego.
Wide receivers – Torry Holt, North Carolina State, 6-2, 188, senior, Gibsonville, N.C.
Peter Warrick, Florida State, 6-0, 190, junior, Bradenton, Fla.
Tight End – Rufus French, Mississippi, 6-4, 250, junior, Amory, Miss.
Center – Craig Page, Georgia Tech, 6-3, 300, senior, Jupiter, Fla.
Guards-Tackles – Kris Farris, UCLA, 6-9, 310, junior, Mission Viejo, Calif.
Aaron Gibson, Wisconsin, 6-7, 372, senior, Indianapolis
Rob Murphy, Ohio State, 6-5, 300, junior, Cincinnati
Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia, 6-6, 291, senior, Lilburn, Ga.
Placekicker – Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State, 6-2, 255, sophomore, Daytona Beach, Fla.
All-Purpose – David Allen, Kansas State, 5-9, 185, sophomore, Liberty, Mo.
Linemen – Tom Burke, Wisconsin, 6-4, 249, senior, Poplar, Wis.
Anthony McFarland, LSU, 6-1, 290, senior, Winnsboro, La.
Montae Reagor, Texas Tech, 6-4, 270, senior, Waxahachie, Texas
Corey Simon, Florida State, 6-4, 275, junior, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Linebackers – Chris Claiborne, Southern California, 6-3, 250, junior, Riverside, Calif.
Jeff Kelly, Kansas State, 6-0, 250, senior, LaGrange, Texas
Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M, 5-11, 230, senior, Rockport, Texas
Al Wilson, Tennessee, 6-0, 226, senior, Jackson, Tenn.
Backs – Champ Bailey, Georgia, 6-1, 186, junior, Folkston, Ga.
Chris McAlister, Arizona, 6-1, 206, senior, Pasadena, Calif.
Anthony Poindexter, Virginia, 6-1, 220, senior, Forest, Va.
Antoine Winfield, Ohio State, 5-9, 180, senior, Akron, Ohio.
Punter – Joe Kristosik, UNLV, 6-3, 220, junior, Las Vegas.
1998 all American football team – SECOND TEAM
Quarterback – Tim Couch, Kentucky
Running backs – Autry Denson, Notre Dame
Devin West, Missouri
Wide receivers – David Boston, Ohio State
Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech
Tight end – Sheldon Jackson, Nebraska
Center – Grey Ruegamer, Arizona State
Guards-Tackles – Brandon Burlsworth, Arkansas
Anthony Cesario, Colorado State
Jay Humphrey, Texas
Mike Rosenthal, Notre Dame
Place-kicker – Martin Gramatica, Kansas State
All-purpose – J.R. Redmond, Arizona State
Linemen – Ed Chester, Florida
Jason DeVries, Iowa
Pat Kerney, Virginia
Corey Moore, Virginia Tech
Linebackers – LaVar Arrington, Penn State
Jevon Kearse, Florida
Mike Peterson, Florida
Mark Simoneau, Kansas State
Backs – Larry Atkins, UCLA
Dre’ Bly, North Carolina
Tyrone Carter, Minnesota
Damon Moore, Ohio State
Punter – Josh Bidwell, Oregon
Quarterback – Michael Bishop, Kansas State
Running backs – Trung Canidate, Arizona
Ricky Williams, Texas Tech
Wide receivers – Darnell McDonald, Kansas State
Travis McGriff, Florida
Tight end – Ibn Green, Louisville
Center – Eric de Groh, West Virginia
Guards-Tackles – Ben Adams, Texas
Jon Jansen, Michigan
Yusuf Scott, Arizona
Jason Whitaker, Florida State
Place-kicker – Nathan Villegas, Oregon
All-purpose – Kevin Faulk, LSU
Linemen – Inoke Breckterfield, Oregon State
Rosevelt Colvin, Purdue
Kelly Gregg, Oklahoma
Adalius Thomas, Southern Mississippi
Linebackers – JoJuan Armour, Miami (Ohio)
Andy Katzenmoyer, Ohio State
Raynoch Thompson, Tennessee
Nate Webster, Miami
Backs – Ralph Brown, Nebraska
Antwan Edwards, Clemson
Lloyd Harrison, North Carolina State
Daylon McCutcheon, Southern California
Punter – Shane Lechler, Texas A&M