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Monday, January 7, 2013
Four from B1G on FWAA all-freshman team

By Brian Bennett

The Football Writers Association of America released its freshman All-America team today, and four Big Ten players (plus one coach) made the squad.

The honorees are:

Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
Jack Allen, OL, Michigan State
Austin Blythe, OL, Iowa
Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State

In addition, Urban Meyer was named coach of the team for going 12-0 in his first year at Ohio State. That's kind of silly, since Meyer is nothing like a freshman with all his past coaching success, but he deserves all the recognition he can get for the Buckeyes' season.

The football writers did a good job with Barnes, a total no-brainer, and the two offensive linemen. But they missed the boat in naming Funchess and not Penn State's Kyle Carter, who had a much better season as a freshman tight end. Check the stats:

Carter: 36 catches 453 yards,  two touchdowns
Funchess: 15 catches, 234 yards, five touchdowns

Funchess was a better threat in the red zone, but Carter was better overall and didn't even play the final two games because of an injury. I'm fine with Funchess being a freshman All-American, because he's a great talent. But Carter has to be on there, too.

Illinois linebacker Mason Monheim also deserved serious consideration after recording 86 tackles and two sacks as a true freshman. Same goes for Northwestern cornerback Nick VanHoose, who had three interceptions but was hampered by injuries.