Day, Smith and Fuller earn USA Today All-American honors

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Notre Dame’s trio of top stars earned All-American honors on Tuesday with Sheldon Day and Jaylon Smith named to USA Today’s first team and Will Fuller named to the second team. The Irish trailed only Alabama (four) with three players awarded.

That Day and Smith landed first-team honors shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both had excellent seasons by any measurement. Statistically, Day led the Irish with 14.5 tackles-for-loss among his 41 tackles. Smith led Notre Dame with 113 total tackles including nine TFLs. CollegeFootballFocus also graded the duo among the nation’s most dominant players. Day currently ranks No. 2 at defensive tackle among top overall performers, Smith No. 3 among all 4-3 outside linebackers.

Fuller’s inclusion on the second-team All-American team comes after another dominant season for Notre Dame’s big-play receiver. Fuller leads Notre Dame with 13 touchdowns and 1,145 receiving yards on 56 catches. That he was able to top his yardage totals from 2014 with 20 less catches—and much more attention from the opposition—points to his dominance, a startling ability to beat a team deep even when they know it’s coming.

Stanford, Baylor, Oklahoma and Florida also had three representatives on the All-American teams.