So, this news actually came out yesterday, but rather than simply passing along the info, I want to address why I have a problem with this decision. At the tight end position, only two players were placed above ASJ. First, Zach Ertz of the Stanford Cardinal, and second, Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame. Just before the regular season began, I wrote a piece declaring that I believed ASJ would be the best tight end in the country. Turns out, I was wrong. While Ertz’s numbers are altered slightly by his 3 catches for 19 yards in the conference championship game, through the 12 games of the regular seasons his stats were eerily similar to ASJ’s. Both of them caught 63 passes and both of them had 6 receiving touchdowns. However, Ertz had 818 receiving yards compared to 791 for Seferian-Jenkins. So, judging purely off of traditional statistics, Ertz beat out ASJ and there isn’t much of a reason why he shouldn’t be 1st team All-American. I’m left believing that I was simply wrong.
However, I take serious issue with the selection of Tyler Eifert for the 2nd team. I don’t care that he had the most star power heading into the year or that he is playing for Notre Dame, the team that will battle Alabama for the national title. He had 44 catches for 624 yards and 4 touchdowns. As compared to ASJ, that’s 19 fewer catches, 167 fewer receiving yards, and 2 fewer scores. There is no reasonable argument that I can see for placing Eifert above ASJ, and I think it’s a ridiculous decision by CBS Sports. You can’t even argue that he is more important to his team, as ASJ is seriously one half of the productive receiving core for the Huskies. You can’t argue that Eifert is a superior athlete. Both players stand 6’6″ tall, and weight above 250 pounds (251 for Eifert, 266 for ASJ). Each is a freakish athlete with an NFL future.
Even if you take into consideration the idea that catching passes isn’t the only duty of a tight end, I don’t think either of them stands out as a superior blocker to the other. And, let’s be honest, in today’s game, a star tight end is valuable because he is a big receiver. The best blocking tight end in the country wouldn’t even be considered for an All-American team, and neither Eifert or ASJ are stars because of how they block. So, I’m left to conclude that the decision was made based on team success or personal star power, which, either way, is ludicrous. Hopefully other All-American teams make the correct call and put ASJ as a 2nd team selection.