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Monday, December 13, 2004
Peterson first frosh since Bly in '96

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Southern California is No. 1 in All-Americans, too.

Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and three of his Southern California teammates made The Associated Press All-America team announced Monday.

 Matt Leinart
Leinart

Tailback Reggie Bush, defensive lineman Shaun Cody and linebacker Matt Grootegoed joined their quarterback on the first team. Bush, a Heisman finalist, was picked as the all-purpose player.

"It's really a tribute to the kind of season we've had," said Leinart, in New York on Monday for the Heisman banquet."It just speaks volumes for our program."

The junior left-hander has passed for 2,990 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, leading the top-ranked Trojans (12-0) to a perfect regular season and becoming USC's sixth Heisman trophy winner.

 Adrian Peterson
Peterson

Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson, the Heisman runner-up who has run for 1,843 yards and 15 TDs, is the first freshman AP All-American since North Carolina cornerback Dre' Bly in 1996. Peterson was joined on the first team by Sooners tackle Jammal Brown.

They'll line up against Leinart and USC in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, a first-team All-American and the Heisman Trophy winner last season, was a third-team selection Monday. Utah quarterback Alex Smith was the second-team QB.

USC was tied with Michigan for the most first-teamers and had six players total on the three AP All-America teams, the most of any school.

USC defensive tackle Mike Patterson and linebacker Lofa Tatupu made the third team.

"The defense tends to get overlooked a little bit with our high-tech offense," Leinart said."Our defense is why we're undefeated."

The second-ranked Sooners (12-0) put wide receiver Mark Clayton and defensive end Dan Cody on the second team for a total of five players on the three teams.

Big Ten co-champ Michigan (9-2) had four AP All-Americans, the most in school history: wide receiver Braylon Edwards, center David Baas and defensive backs Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor.

"Whenever you have the best defensive back in the country on your team and you get to go against him everyday, it only gets you better," Edwards said.

Jackson and Edwards were among 20 seniors on the first team, and two of those who decided to delay an NFL career and return to college for their final seasons.

"It was exceptionally fun," said Edwards, who caught 87 passes for 1,221 yards."I believe this whole season has definitely paid off for me."

Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson and Florida State tackle Alex Barron both returned to school after being All-Americans last season and ended up repeating.

"I think I've gotten better -- a lot better, actually," said Johnson, who won the Butkus Award for best linebacker and Nagurski Trophy for best defensive player."I've become a student of the game more."

Georgia defensive end David Pollack, LSU defensive end Marcus Spears, Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle and Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers all considered bypassing their final years of eligibility and went on to become All-Americans.

California running back J.J. Arrington, second in the nation in rushing at 167.7 yards per game, and Purdue wide receiver Taylor Stubblefield, who caught 82 passes 1,014 yards and 15 touchdowns, made the AP first team.

Virginia and Ohio State joined Oklahoma as teams with two first-team All-Americans. Guard Elton Brown and tight end Heath Miller made it from the Cavaliers, and linebacker A.J. Hawk and kicker Mike Nugent were picked from the Buckeyes.

Tennessee's Michael Munoz made the first team, outdoing his dad. Anthony Munoz was never an AP All-American when he was a star offensive lineman for USC from 1976-79.

Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James and Michigan State punter Brandon Fields completed the first team.

The Big Ten had the most first-teamers with nine. The Pac-10 had five, followed by the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference with four each. The Big 12 had three.

Cedric Benson of Texas and Auburn's Carnell Williams were the running backs on the second team. Ball State's Dante Ridgeway, who leads the country in receptions and yards receiving, also made the second team.

North Texas freshman Jamario Thomas, who leads the country with 189.9 yards per game, was picked to the third team. Ohio State freshman Ted Ginn Jr. also made the third team as an all-purpose player after returning four punts for TDs.

The All-America team was selected by the following sports writers:

Joe Bendel, Pittsburgh Tribune Review; Ken Goe, The Oregonian; John Henderson, The Denver Post; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Pete Iacobelli (AP Columbia, S.C.); Larry Lage (AP Detroit); John Marshall (AP Denver); John Nadel (AP Los Angeles); Keith Parsons (AP Raleigh, N.C.); Ralph D. Russo (AP New York).