Mizzou Football senior defensive end Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas) has been honored by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) as a First Team All-American, completing a run of five First Team All-America honors to become just the second unanimous All-America selection in school history. According to NCAA record books, Sam joins Mizzou all-time great Danny LaRose, who starred for the Tigers from 1958-60 and earned unanimous All-America recognition in 1960.
Fellow senior cornerback E.J. Gaines (Independence, Mo.) earned Second Team All-America from the FWAA after a standout final season in the Black & Gold. Gaines leads the Tigers with his four interceptions and ranks third on the team with 68 tackles. A First Team All-SEC selection, Gaines’ four pickoffs ranks tied for fourth in the league.
Along with the FWAA honor, Sam picked up major All-America selections from the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Thursday, Dec. 12, Sporting News on Friday, Dec. 13, Associated Press on Dec. 17, and America Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on Wednesday, Dec. 18. This comes after Sam earned the AP’s Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award and was a finalist for both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.
The 33rd First Team All-American in Mizzou Football history and seventh under head coach Gary Pinkel, Sam heads into the Tigers’ final game of the 2013 season, the 78th Annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, leading the SEC in both quarterback sacks (10.5) and tackles-for-loss (18.0). He ranks in the Top 10 nationally in both of those categories.
No. 8 Mizzou kicks off the Cotton Bowl against No. 13 Oklahoma State on Friday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m., televised nationally by FOX.