Oklahoma ties record with five All-Americans

Monday, December 15th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ When it comes to All-Americans, Oklahoma is this year's undisputed No. 1.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jason White was among a record-tying five Sooners on The Associated Press All-America team announced Monday.

Defensive lineman Tommie Harris, linebacker Teddy Lehman, cornerback Derrick Strait and all-purpose player Antonio Perkins also represented Oklahoma, which equaled the record set by Army in 1945 and matched by the Sooners in 1987.

``It just goes to show what kind of athletes we have at Oklahoma and how good we have it going on there now,'' said Lehman, the winner of the Chuck Bednarik Trophy as best defensive player in the nation.

``If you ask me, we should have had 10 or 11 All-Americans just from the defense. We work really hard, we're well coached, and this shows you how good we played all year.''

The Sooners, who led the nation in total defense, were No. 1 in the polls all season until a loss in the Big 12 title game to Kansas State dropped them to third. Oklahoma still made it to the Bowl Championship Series title game at the Sugar Bowl against No. 2 LSU.

No. 1 Southern California finished third in the BCS standings and will play No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. If the Trojans win, there could be a split national title, with USC winning the AP poll and the Sugar Bowl winner taking the coaches' poll.

USC was second with three All-Americans _ receiver Mike Williams (87 catches, 1,226 yards, 16 TDs), offensive lineman Jacob Rogers and defensive lineman Kenechi Udeze.

LSU was represented by defensive lineman Chad Lavalais.

White led the nation in passing efficiency, completing 64 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards, 40 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He won the Heisman Trophy and the AP Player of the Year award.

``The guy is the reason we scored all those points,'' coach Bob Stoops said. ``We couldn't do that if he didn't see the whole field and have the touch he has throwing the football.''

Heisman finalist Eli Manning of Mississippi was the second-team pick at quarterback, and Ben Roethlisberger of Miami of Ohio was the third-team selection.

The two other Heisman finalists were first-teamers.

Pittsburgh receiver Larry Fitzgerald was picked after catching 87 passes for 1,595 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Michigan's Chris Perry earned his spot for gaining 1,955 yards from scrimmage and scoring 19 touchdowns.

Kansas State's Darren Sproles was the other first-team running back after gaining 1,948 yards on the ground.

There were three repeat selections _ Harris, Lehman and Arkansas tackle Shaun Andrews.

Miami and Iowa were the only other teams with two first-team picks. The Hurricanes had safety Sean Taylor and tight end Kellen Winslow, while Iowa had offensive lineman Robert Gallery and kicker Nate Kaeding.

The other offensive picks were Virginia Tech center Jake Grove and Florida State tackle Alex Barron.

UCLA lineman David Ball headlined the defensive picks after leading the nation with 16 1/2 sacks.

Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, West Virginia linebacker Grant Wiley, Ohio State safety Will Allen and Florida cornerback Keiwan Ratliff were the other defenders.

Tennessee's Dustin Colquitt was the All-American punter.

Oklahoma also had two players apiece on the second and third teams, giving them a total of nine players who were honored. Receiver Mark Clayton and offensive lineman Jamaal Brown were on the second team, and defensive lineman Dan Cody and Dusty Dvoracek were third-teamers.

Cornerback Will Poole and punter Tom Malone made the second team for USC, while defensive lineman Shaun Cody was on the third team.

LSU had four second-teamers: center Ben Wilkerson, guard Stephen Peterman, all-purpose player Skyler Green and cornerback Corey Webster. Receiver Michael Clayton made the third team.

There are 13 seniors, 10 juniors and two sophomores on the first team.

The Big 12 led all conferences with seven first-team All-Americans, followed by the Big East with five, and the Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC with four apiece.

The All-America team was selected by the following sports writers:

Lee Barfknecht, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald; Herb Gould, Chicago Sun-Times; Craig Hill, Tacoma (Wash.) News-Tribune; Lenn Robbins (New York Post); Keith Whitmire (Dallas Morning News); Greg Beacham (AP San Francisco); Stephen Hawkins (AP Dallas); Mark Long (AP Miami); Rusty Miller (AP Columbus, Ohio); Paul Newberry (AP Atlanta); and Josh Dubow (AP national college football writer).

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