Senior tight end Zach Ertz and junior offensive tackle/guard David Yankey have been named today to the 2012 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America Team. This is the first All-America honor for both.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945, currently selected in all five of its divisions. These teams are unique in that they are chosen by the coaches. The AFCA's squad announced today is the first of the five football All-America teams officially recognized by the NCAA.
Ertz leads the FBS with 818 receiving yards and is tied for first with 63 receptions, both school records among tight ends. The 6-foot-6 senior leads Stanford in receiving and has paced the offense in seven of 12 games.
His impact in the Cardinal's biggest games this year has been profound, catching the game-winning touchdowns against No. 2 USC and No. 13 Oregon State, while leading the game-tying drive and hauling in the score to push Stanford into overtime at No. 1 Oregon. Ertz is a Mackey Award finalist for the nation's top collegiate tight end.
Not only talented and productive, Yankey has been the nation's most versatile lineman this season, playing four out of the five offensive line positions plus tight end. The 6-foot-5 junior has started all 12 games at left tackle for a Stanford offensive line that leads the Pac-12 in fewest sacks allowed, despite coming into the season with 37 combined career starts. Yankey has graded at 86 percent this season and allowed one sack.
This is the third straight year for Stanford to land two players on the AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team. Offensive guard David DeCastro and quarterback Andrew Luck were selected in 2011, while center Chase Beeler and FB/ILB Owen Marecic were tabbed in 2010.
Ertz, Yankey and their teammates will take the field one final time at Stanford Stadium on Friday as No. 8 Stanford plays host to No. 17 UCLA in the 2012 Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Kickoff is 5 p.m., with a national broadcast on FOX.
Tickets are available for sale now at GoStanford.com, at the Stanford Stadium Ticket Office or at 800-STANFORD.
In related news, Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason has been named one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, which annually honors the top assistant college football coach in America.
Mason has guided a 2012 Stanford defense that is not only one of the best in the nation, but also one of the best in school history. The Cardinal at the conclusion of the regular season ranks No. 1 in rushing defense (71.33), sacks (4.42) and tackles for loss (9.25). Stanford last week at UCLA broke the school single-season sacks record, now at 53 and counting.
Stanford has held eight of 12 opponents under 100 yards rushing this season. In a string of three consecutive games, Stanford recorded three of its top 10 single-game rushing defense performances in school history: No. 3 at Colorado (minus-21 yards), No. 4 vs. Washington State (minus-18) and t-No.9 at California (3). The Cardinal at Colorado also set a school record by allowing a total of 76 offensive yards.
Stanford owns the top scoring defense in the Pac-12 at 16.92 points per game, which ranks No. 11 in the nation. In 10 of its 12 games this season, the Cardinal has held its opponent to 20 or fewer points. That included a 14-point effort in the overtime win at top-ranked Oregon, who led the FBS with a 54.8 scoring average.
Four of Mason's defenders are ranked in the top 20 of the Pac-12 in tackles for loss, and Stanford players occupied three of 11 spots on the All-Pac-12 First Team Defense (OLB Trent Murphy, FS Ed Reynolds, OLB Chase Thomas). Reynolds has recorded five interceptions and run a school-record three back for touchdowns, and the Cardinal defense has scored in five different games.