Penn State Football: 'Still' Not Enough For All-America Honors
Devon Still was omitted from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America team announced Monday, which speaks to the talent on the defensive line across the country.
Still was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the year, its defensive lineman of the year and is a finalist for two national awards, the Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and Outland Trophy (best interior lineman), as well as the Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), presented by the Football Writers Association of America and Charlotte Touchdown Club.
"Every now and then there’s still guys that don’t get on the team,” AFCA spokesman Vince Thompson said in a telephone interview. "For whatever reason, the coaches felt there are other guys are more deserving."
It’d be tough to argue against any who did make it. Two Big Ten players comprised half defensive line, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram and Texas defensive end Alex Okafor rounded out the defensive linemen.
Still finished fifth in the Big Ten with 17 tackles for loss. He also recorded 55 total tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and recovered fumble.
By comparison, Mercilus led the Big Ten with 19.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles. Worthy recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 25 total tackles.
Ingram recorded 13.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two interceptions, and Okafor recorded 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 53 total tackles.
According to Thompson, all 120 football bowl subdivision (FBS) coaches submit nominations during the season. Thompson said Joe Paterno submitted Penn State’s nominations before being fired Nov. 9.
Those names are then placed on a ballot for all coaches from the nine districts across the country to vote on the top players at each position, Thompson said. The top-four vote getters for each position in each district are then discussed on a conference call by nine coaches representing each district, who then vote and determine the All-America team. Baylor coach Art Briles served as general chair.
The district coaching representatives are: Doug Marrone (Syracause), Mike London (Virginia), George O’Leary (Central Florida), Mark Richt (Georgia), Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Dave Clawson (Bowling Green), DeWayne Walker (New Mexico State) and Steve Sarkisian (Washington).