Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State, Outland Trophy winner Tracy Rocker of Auburn and Butkus Award recipient Derrick Thomas of Alabama were named today to a record-breaking Associated Press All-America college football team for 1988.
Sanders, Oklahoma State's junior tailback, is joined in the backfield by quarterback Steve Walsh of Miami, Fla., and Texas A&M running back Darren Lewis, both of whom shattered records this season.The wide receivers are two more record-breakers - Jason Phillips of Houston and Hart Lee Dykes, Sanders' Oklahoma State teammate.
Top-ranked Notre Dame placed three players on the All-America team - offensive tackle Andy Heck, defensive end Frank Stams and linebacker Mike Stonebreaker.
Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Arkansas were the only other schools to be represented by more than one player. Nebraska placed center Jake Young and defensive end Broderick Thomas on the squad while Arkansas had placekicker Kendall Trainor and defensive lineman Wayne Martin.
The rest of the offensive unit consists of tight end Wesley Walls of Mississippi, tackle Tony Mandarich of Michigan State and guards Anthony Phillips of Oklahoma and Mike Utley of Washington State.
Rounding out the defense are down linemen Rocker - selected as the nation's best interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America - and Mark Messner of Michigan, linebackers Derrick Thomas - winner of the Butkus as the nation's best linebacker - and Keith DeLong of Tennessee, defensive backs Louis Oliver of Florida, Markus Paul of Syracuse and Deion Sanders of Florida State and punter Keith English of Colorado. Sanders is the only repeater from the 1987 team.
The return specialist is Texas Tech's 5-foot-3, 130-pound Tyrone Thurman.
Lewis is the only sophomore on the team while Barry Sanders, Walsh, Stonebreaker and Young are juniors.
The All-America team was selected by AP's sports editor, college football editor and regional sports editors. A player must make his all-conference or all-sectional team to be considered for the All-America first team.
The AP All-America team will be featured on Bob Hope's annual Christmas special entitled "Bob Hope's Jolly Christmas Show With the All-American Champs" (Monday, Dec. 19, NBC, 8-9 p.m. EST).