Sophomores Jaylon Smith and Will Fuller have earned more kudos than just their defensive and offensive player of the year Echoes. Both have received mention for year-end All-American awards.
Smith leads the group with a second-team All-American linebacker honor from the Associated Press. His team-leading 103 tackles earned notice, one of just two sophomore linebackers to be on the first or second team.
He joins UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney on the second team, behind Arizona’s Scooby Wright, Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and TCU senior Paul Dawson.
Meanwhile, Fuller’s 14 touchdowns and 1,036-yard regular season earned him mention on Sports Illustrated’s All-American honorable mention.
With first-team All-American honors going to Amari Cooper and Rashard Higgins, and second-team going to ASU’s Jaelen Strong and West Virginia’s Kevin White, Fuller was the first name listed on the nine-man honorable mention list, joined by Nelson Agholor of USC and Rashad Greene of Florida State.
Among the All-Americans, only Higgins is projected to be back next season at wideout, making both Fuller and Smith rising stars and likely preseason awards candidates. If Ronnie Stanley decides to return, he’ll garner some votes as well.
Also earning postseason notice is linebacker Nyles Morgan. He was named to The Sporting News’ Freshman All-American team. Morgan finished the season sixth on the team in tackles with 43, while making three tackles for loss.