NCF Nation: Zane Beadles
TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes, who has made the first team of every All-America team that’s been published this season, and Central Michigan punt returner Antonio Brown were the two players on the first team. This is Brown’s first All-America first-team selection.
Here’s a look at the players who were honored:
Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
Antonio Brown, PR, Central Michigan
Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho
Daryl Washington, LB, TCU
Matt Dodge, K, East Carolina
LaVon Brazill, PR, Ohio
Freddie Barnes, WR, Bowling Green
Dennis Pitta, TE, BYU
Zane Beadles, OL, Utah
Rafael Priest, CB, TCU
Must admit that Brown and Brazill are a bit of a surprise, but deserving since they were two of the best punt returners in the country. It's also surprising to see Barnes and Pitta fall to the third team. Both were more deserving than the current selections.
This past weekend, Hughes was named the 2009 recipient of the Lott Trophy, which is given to the nation’s defensive IMPACT player of the year, and he was also named to the 2009 FWAA All-American team.
The Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. TCU will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund for the award.
Hughes was named the 2009 Hendricks Award winner earlier in the week. That award is given to the nation’s top defensive lineman.
The FWAA All-American honor is the third major All-American team Hughes has been named to so far this season. He was also a Walter Camp All-American and an American Football Coaches Association first team All-American.
Joining Hughes on the FWAA All-American list are three other nonautomatic qualifying players. Bowling Green receiver Freddie Barnes, Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles and Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati also were named first-team performers.
The Walter Camp All-American Team, which is in its 120th season, is the oldest All-American team in the country.
TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes was selected on the first team for the second consecutive season after finishing with 11.5 sacks for the undefeated Horned Frogs.
BYU tight end Dennis Pitta also made first team after leading the Cougars with 57 catches for 784 yards and seven touchdowns.
Idaho offensive guard and Outland Trophy finalist Mike Iuapati was a first team lineman after helping the Vandals rank 10th in the country in total offense.
Bowling Green receiver Freddie Barnes, Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles, Houston quarterback Case Keenum and Boise State defensive back Kyle Wilson were all named to the second team.
Several players from nonautomatic qualifying teams have been named finalists for a couple awards this week.
TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes was named one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top college football lineman. Hughes has 10.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and 41 tackles. Hughes is also a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy.
Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour, Rice safety Andrew Sendejo, Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller, Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles and Temple safety Dominique Harris have been named finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy.
The award is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship. It honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
The Outland Trophy honored seven players from the nonautomatic qualifying schools on its watch list this week.
The Outland Trophy is award by the Football Writers Association of America annually to the nation's best interior linemen -- tackles, guards and centers -- on either side of the ball.
Since the award began in 1946, five players from the current nonautomatic qualifying schools have won -- Army's Joe Steffy (1947), Utah State's Merlin Olsen (1961), BYU's Jason Buck (1986), Air Force's Chad Hennings (1987) and BYU's Mohammed Elewonibi (1989).
The last non-AQ to appear as a finalist was Utah's Jordan Gross in 2002.
The Outland Trophy also will consider adding players to the watch list in early October.
The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10.
2009 OUTLAND TROPHY WATCH LIST
Zane Beadles, Utah, OL
Nick Charles, Air Force, G
Chris Fisher, Louisiana-Lafayette, C
D'Anthony Smith, Louisiana Tech, DT
Mike Iupati, Idaho, OL
Torrell Troup, UCF, DT
Andre Neblett, Temple, NT
LAS VEGAS -- As many teams across the country try to figure out how to craft an undefeated season, Utah has learned that the secret might lie about 80 feet in the air.
That's where a couple of Utah players have been seen dangling this summer during their leadership retreat in an effort to build relationships and generate teamwork.
The idea was developed by safeties coach Morgan Scalley three summers ago as an effort to create a safe environment where players could get anything off their chests and in turn become better teammates.
The retreat is held on two weekends with groups of 12 and nothing is out of bounds.
"You lay everything on the line and there's no holding back," offensive lineman Zane Beadles said. "It really gets things out there and it's just a great experience for everyone. It brings those guys closer together and kind of makes everyone accountable to each other because you lay everything on the line and really put yourself out there."
The players stay overnight in the football facility, and during the evening have several meetings, including one where they each have to say something -- good, bad or indifferent -- about each of the other players in the room. During the day, the players got to the university's R.O.P.E.S course for team building and trust exercises.
The players do three events on the R.O.P.E.S (Recreation, Observation, Problem solving, Experimental education, Self esteem) course. The first is a teamwork exercise where players of different shapes and sizes have to lock hands and try to keep their balance on a rope triangle that is about 3 feet off the ground.
There's another event where players are 80 feet in the air, trying to walk across a rope and getting support from their teammates.
In the final event, players have to climb a 30-foot pole to a wooden disk that rotates and wobbles. Players have to get to the disk and then jump off to a waiting trapeze.
"It's intense," Beadles said. "It's a really good experience and it brings everyone really close together. It's a big-time leadership thing and something that we kind of use throughout the season. We use little hints like, 'Hey R.O.P.E.S course.' And we just bring that back into everyone's mind. We try and take what we learn and incorporate it and bring everyone else who didn't have the opportunity to do the retreat kind of into the same thing and same mindset."
The unique thing about the retreat is that it's not just for starters or even seniors. The 24 players are chosen on the basis of current or potential leadership of the Utes. That includes players who have never stepped on the field.
"It doesn't even have to be football, it could be school or whatever," linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said. "It's just something that can help you. It's the criticism thing. You can always learn stuff from it that will make you a better person. I feel like that makes everybody better. Criticism is great. Whether it's positive or negative, how you take it is whether it's going to be beneficial or not.
"It worked a lot last year. We came together, had great team chemistry last year and I think it's going to do that this year."