Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner was named as a first-team All American, per AP voters.
Gardner, who was selected to the AP’s second-team in his sophomore season, has yet to allow a touchdown as a starting cornerback. In his tenure at UC, he’s defended for 94 total tackles, nine interceptions, and 3.5 sacks (includes his takedown of Clayton Tune in the AAC Championship Game).
His esteemed partner and Jim Thorpe Award Winner — Coby Bryant — was selected onto the second team. Gardner and Bryant represent the leaders of the No. 1 pass-efficiency defense in the country, sporting impressive tallies of a 53.5% CMP allowed (fourth in FBS), 18 interceptions (third) and ten total passing TD’s allowed (fifth). The tandem joins the likes of special teams stars P Kevin Huber (2007 and 2008) and K Jonathan Ruffin (2000) as some of the program’s notable selections.
Cincinnati’s next opponent — the Alabama Crimson Tide — also earned some love from voters with first-team selections of QB Bryce Young, LB Will Anderson Jr. and WR Jameson Williams.
Young finished first in Heisman voting, establishing himself as the first quarterback out of Tuscaloosa to win the award and the program’s fourth overall recipient (RB Mark Ingram II, RB Derrick Henry and WR DeVonta Smith). His teammate — Anderson Jr. — did not finish as a finalist but took home the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top defensive player every year.
Cincinnati (13-0, No. 4) is set to face the mighty Crimson Tide (12-1, No. 1) on December 31 at 2:30 P.M. CT. Gardner and Bryant will have the tough job of splitting takes on covering speedster Jameson Williams as Bryce Young takes deep shots down the field.
Williams has scored multiple touchdowns in three of ‘Bama’s last four games including 15 total on the season. But with the looming threat of Gardner’s perfect career on the line, something will have to give.
All College Football Playoff All-American Selections
QB Bryce Young: Alabama
WR Jameson Williams: Alabama
DE Aidan Hutchinson: Michigan
DT Jordan Davis: Georgia
LB Will Anderson Jr.: Alabama
LB Nakobe Dean: Georgia
CB Ahmad Gardner: Cincinnati
OT Evan Neal: Alabama
TE Brock Bowers: Georgia
DT Devonte Wyatt: Georgia
LB David Ojabo: Michigan
CB Coby Bryant: Cincinnati
RB Hassan Haskins: Michigan
S Jordan Battle: Alabama
S Lewis Cine: Georgia