University of Oregon’s Kenjon Barner has reaped more rewards for returning to school for his senior season as he has been named a first-team running back on the 2012 AFCA FBS Coaches’ All-America Team as announced Wednesday by the American Football Coaches Association.
In addition, it was revealed later in the day that the Riverside, Calif., senior is one of five players selected as a finalist for the 2012 Walter Camp Football Foundation Player-of-the-Year award.
The POY recipient, as well as the entire Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America Team, will be announced Thursday, Dec. 6, on the 3 p.m. (PST) edition of ESPN SportsCenter.
The remaining four player-of-the-year finalists are Collin Klein (Kansas State QB), Marqise Lee (USC WR/KR), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M QB) and Manti Te'o (Notre Dame LB).
The AFCA All-America Team has been selected every year since 1945 and is chosen by the nation’s collegiate coaches.
It marks the third year in a row an Oregon running back has received the honor as Barner’s former teammate, LaMichael James, was chosen to the team as a running back his sophomore season in 2010 before duplicating the feat as an all-purpose back a year ago.
He is joined in the backfield by Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and quarterback Tajh Boyd of Clemson.
Barner was named to the Pac-12 Conference all-league first team earlier this week and is one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.
He has run for 1,624 yards and scored 22 touchdowns this season to rank fourth in the country in rushing (135.3 avg.) and sixth in scoring (11.0 ppg). He also rates second nationally in TDs scored while ascending to second on the Ducks’ all-time single-season scoring list (132 points) and fourth on the one-year rushing ledger. Barner eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau in seven of 12 appearances this season and ran for 195 yards or more four times, including a career-high 321 yards (and five touchdowns) at USC.
Only the SEC placed more players (8) on the All-America team than the Pac-12’s six representatives.