Dec. 13, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior quarterback Brady Quinn and senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija were named second team All-Americans, while senior safety Tom Zbikowski earned third team as announced by the Associated Press.
Quinn, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, has already taken home the Maxwell Award (top college player) and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (top senior quarterback) in 2006. He tossed a school record 35 touchdown passes and 3,278 yards. His 35 touchdowns this season ranked third in the NCAA. Quinn eclipsed 3,000 yards passing for the second straight season (only Irish player to ever accomplish the feat once, let alone twice). He also recorded just five interceptions all season and actually went 226 consecutive passes without a pick over one stretch. Quinn not only holds 36 school records, but also ranks among the top 10 in NCAA Division I-A history in both passing yards (11,614) and passing touchdowns (93).
Samardzija, already named first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, was the first Irish player to earn first team All-America status in consecutive seasons since Bobby Taylor in 1993 and 1994. Samardzija has completely re-written the Irish receiving record book. A Walter Camp second team All-American and Biletnikoff finalist in 2006, he leads Notre Dame with 70 catches and 958 yards. Samardzija has also grabbed 11 touchdown passes. He owns the school record for career receptions (171), career receiving touchdowns (26) and career receiving yards (2,534).
Zbikowski ranks third on the Notre Dame defense with 69 tackles despite missing one game due to an injury. He added one tackle for loss, one pass break-up, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and a 25-yard fumble return for touchdown. Zbikowski also excelled as a punt returner, returning one 52 yards for a touchdown against North Carolina. The touchdown was his third career punt return for a score and seventh overall return for touchdown.
Samardzija was a second team selection by the AP in 2005, while Quinn and Zbikowski were third team honorees.
11th-ranked Notre Dame (10-2) takes on fourth-ranked LSU (10-2) in the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 3.
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