Dec. 14, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson freshman Sammy Watkins and junior Dwayne Allen were both named first-team All-American by the Associated Press on Wednesday. Tiger defensive end Andre Branch was a third-team selection, giving Clemson three AP All-Americans for the first time since 1991.
Watkins, who was named as the all-purpose player, is the first true freshman in ACC history to be named a first-team AP All-American and the first at any school since Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson was honored in 2004. Allen was named as the tight end, the first Clemson tight end to make first-team AP All-American since Bennie Cunningham in 1974.
This marks the first time Clemson has had two first-team AP All-Americans in the same year. Not even Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team had two first-team selections by the AP.
This is the first time Clemson has had three players chosen first, second or third team by AP since 1991 when Jeb Flesch was a first -team choice at offensive guard, Rob Bodine was a second-team selection at middle guard and Ed McDaniel was a third team selection at linebacker.
This is the third straight year Clemson has had a first-team AP All-American, the first three-year stretch in school history.
Watkins, who was also named the National Freshman of the Year by Sporting News on Wednesday, had 77 receptions for 1153 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. He led all freshmen nationally in those categories. He ranked fourth in the nation in all-purpose running yards per game with 2077, second in Clemson history behind C.J. Spiller’s 2680 yards in 2009. Spiller was named first-team AP All-American as the all-purpose player that year.
Allen has 48 receptions for 577 yards and eight scores this year, Clemson records for receptions, yards and touchdown catches by a Clemson tight end for a season. He won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end this year.
Branch led the ACC in sacks with year with 10.5 and has 16 tackles for loss. He has 78 tackles to rank second on the team and is trying to become the first defensive lineman to lead Clemson in tackles since William Perry in 1984.
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