Senior WR Jeff Samardzija.

Five Irish Players Earn All-America Honors From Sports Illustrated

Dec. 8, 2006

NEW YORK – Notre Dame senior quarterback Brady Quinn was named second team All-America by Sports Illustrated, the publication announced recently. Senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, senior wide receiver Rhema McKnight, senior tight end John Carlson and senior punter Geoffrey Price were honorable mention selections.

Quinn, the 2006 Maxwell Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist, led Notre Dame to a 10-2 regular season and a second consecutive BCS bowl appearance. He threw for a school record 35 touchdown passes and 3,278 yards. Quinn eclipsed 3,000 yards passing for the second straight season (only Notre Dame player to ever accomplish the feat once, let alone twice). He tossed just five interceptions all season and actually went 223 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).

The wide receiving tandem of McKnight and Samardzjia each have registered record setting seasons. McKnight has hauled in 64 catches for 885 yards and a school-record tying 15 touchdowns. He ranks second in the NCAA in 2006 in touchdown receptions. McKnight is second in career catches (167), tied for second in career receiving touchdowns (22) and fifth in career receiving yards (2,255).

Samardzjia, a Walter Camp second team All-American and Biletnikoff finalist, leads Notre Dame with 70 catches and 958 yards. He owns the school record for career receptions (171), career receiving touchdowns (26) and career receiving yards (2,534).

Carlson, a Mackey Award finalist and ESPN The Magazine First-Team Academic All-American, exploded onto the scene in 2006. He caught 46 passes for 621 yards and four touchdowns before being sidlined for the rest of the regular season after injuring his knee in the third offensive series at Air Force. Carlson recorded the second-most receiving yards ever by a Notre Dame tight end and ranks third for most receptions. He is second in the NCAA in receptions per game among tight ends and ranks third for most receiving yards per game among tight ends this year.

Price ranks sixth in the NCAA in punting with a per kick average of 45.2. That average would break Notre Dame’s previous school record for average yards per punt (44.9) set by Craig Hentrich in 1990. Price has not only dropped 12 punts inside the 20-yard line, including two against North Carolina, but has 10 punts of 50 or more yards. He has averaged 50+ yards in punts in two separate games, including a school-record 51.9 yards per kick (7-for-363) against Michigan.

The Irish take on fourth-ranked LSU (10-2) in the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 3.