January 18, 2007

Where have the All-Americans gone?

Over the past four decades, Texas A&M has been home to some of the best college football players in the country. Names such as Ed Simonini, Ray Childress and Sam Adams are etched not only in A&M lore, but are also part of the national college football history books as impact players of their time.

These men were All-Americans. These men were the difference-makers that led A&M to prominence in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

As time closed on Aggie football in the 20th century, it appeared A&M's consistent production of All-American football players was still cruising in high gear. In 1998 and 1999, three more players, Shane Lechler, Dat Nguyen and Jason Webster were added to the long list of A&M footballers who received accolades as first-team All-Americans by at least one major media service.

However, in the seven seasons since 1999, A&M has failed to produce a single first-team All-American. Former players like Ty Warren, Sammy Davis and Terrence Kiel had excellent college careers in the early portion of this decade and are experiencing respectable pro careers, but they did not reach the first team All-American plateau of many revered Aggie All-Americans in previous decades.

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, A&M produced 27 first-team All-Americans. Not surprisingly, the 1990s led the way with 15 players given national honors. While many would expect Jackie Sherrill's 1980s teams to be at the top in terms of national impact players, the 1970s followed with eight All-Americans and the 80s produced four.

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