Clemson freshman receiver Sammy Watkins, teammate and junior tight end Dwayne Allen and South Carolina senior defensive end Melvin Ingram were named first-team All-Americans by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Watkins earned first-team honors as an all-purpose player and is the first Clemson freshman to be named a first-team All-American. The Florida native has earned a number of All-America honors, including a spot on ESPN's first team as a kick returner. Watkins was also named as the National Freshman of the Year by the Sporting News on Wednesday.
Watkins, the ACC offensive freshman of the year, set conference receiving records for a freshman with 77 receptions, 1,153 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
Allen won the John Mackey Award last week, presented to the nation's top tight end. Allen set single-season program records for a tight end with 48 catches, 577 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Ingram led the Gamecocks in tackles for loss and sacks this season. Senior spur linebacker Antonio Allen was a second-team AP selection, and was listed as a safety. He led the team in tackles. Ingram was previously a first-team selection by the American Football Coaches Association, the Walter Camp Foundation and SportsIllustrated.com. It was the first All-America honor for Allen.
Meanwhile, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne became the first cornerback teammates to lock down spots on the AP All-America team.
Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and Claiborne were joined on the All-America team by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor and finalists Montee Ball of Wisconsin and Trent Richardson of Alabama.
Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck from Stanford was the second-team quarterback.
The team was selected by a panel of 16 AP poll voters.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide had the most first-teamers with four. Richardson was joined by tackle Barrett Jones, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Mark Barron. Tide linebackers Courtney Upshaw and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick also made the second team, giving Alabama the most players selected overall.
The LSU duo was joined on the first team by Tigers punter Brad Wing. LSU guard Will Blackwell was a second-team selection and defensive end Sam Montgomery made the third team.
Since the AP began selecting both an offensive and defensive team in 1964, no team had put a pair of cornerbacks on the first team.
No. 3 Oklahoma State had six selections on the three teams, including wide receiver Justin Blackmon, one of two players to be selected to the first team for the second straight season. Blackmon caught 113 passes for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the nation's leading tackler at 15.9 per game, is the other two-time All-American on this year's team.
Griffin, who is second in the nation in total offense at 396 yards per game, won the Heisman on Saturday.
Richardson was third in the Heisman voting and Ball, who is one touchdown away from tying Barry Sanders' single-season record of 39, was fourth.
Mathieu finished fifth in the Heisman voting and USC quarterback Matt Barkley, a third-team All-America, was sixth.
Barkley's favorite target, sophomore receiver Robert Woods, was a first-team AP All-America selection, along with USC tackle Matt Kalil also made the first team.
Watkins and Wing were the only freshman picked to any of the three teams.
The rest of the first-team line had Stanford's David DeCastro and Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler at guard and Michigan's David Molk at center.
Groza Award winner Randy Bullock of Texas A&M was the All-American kicker.
On defense, three Big Ten defensive linemen made the All-America team: 300-pound tackles Devon Still from Penn State and Jerel Worthy from Michigan State, along with Illinois end Mercilus Whitney, who leads the nation with 14 1-2 sacks.
Georgia had two defensive All-Americans in safety Baccari Rambo and linebacker Jarvis Jones.
Seven of the 11 All-America defensive players were from the Southeastern Conference, befitting its reputation as the best league in the nation.
The Post and Courier staff writers Darryl Slater and Travis Sawchik contributed to this story.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback -- Robert Griffin III, junior, Baylor.
Running backs -- Montee Ball, junior, Wisconsin; Trent Richardson, junior, Alabama.
Tackles -- Barrett Jones, senior, Alabama; Matt Kalil, junior, Southern California.
Guards -- David DeCastro, senior, Stanford; Kevin Zeitler, senior, Wisconsin.
Center -- David Molk, senior, Michigan.
Wide receivers -- Justin Blackmon, junior, Oklahoma State; Robert Woods, sophomore, Southern California.
Tight end -- Dwayne Allen, junior, Clemson.
All-purpose player -- Sammy Watkins, freshman, Clemson.
Kicker -- Randy Bullock, senior, Texas A&M.
Ends -- Melvin Ingram, senior, South Carolina; Whitney Mercilus, junior, Illinois. Tackles -- Devon Still, senior, Penn State; Jerel Worthy, junior, Michigan State.
Linebackers -- Luke Kuechly, junior, Boston College; Jarvis Jones, sophomore, Georgia; Dont'a Hightower, junior, Alabama.
Cornerbacks -- Morris Claiborne, junior, LSU; Tyrann Mathieu, sophomore, LSU.
Safeties -- Mark Barron, senior, Alabama; Bacarri Rambo, junior, Georgia.
Punter -- Brad Wing, freshman, LSU.
Quarterback -- Andrew Luck, junior, Stanford.
Running backs -- LaMichael James, junior, Oregon; David Wilson, junior, Virginia Tech.
Tackles -- Jonathan Martin, senior, Stanford; Nate Potter, senior, Boise State.
Guards --Will Blackwell, senior, LSU; Austin Pazstor, senior, Virginia.
Center -- Peter Konz, junior, Wisconsin.
Wide receivers -- Ryan Broyles, senior, Oklahoma; Kendall Wright, senior, Baylor.
Tight end -- Tyler Eifert, junior, Notre Dame.
All-purpose player -- Joe Adams, senior, Arkansas.
Kicker -- Caleb Sturgis, junior, Florida.
Ends -- Frank Alexander, senior, Oklahoma; Vinny Curry, senior, Marshall.
Tackles -- Joe Vellano, junior, Maryland; Derek Wolfe, senior, Cincinnati.
Linebackers -- Courtney Upshaw, senior, Alabama; Lavonte David, senior, Nebraska; Manti Teo, junior, Notre Dame.
Cornerbacks -- David Amerson, sophomore, North Carolina State; Dre Kirkpatrick, junior, Alabama.
Safeties -- Markelle Martin, senior, Oklahoma State; Antonio Allen, senior, South Carolina.
Punter -- Ryan Allen, junior, Louisiana Tech