KU All-America selections
KU players who have earned first-team All-America honors by the Associated Press:
1947 - Ray Evans
1947 - Otto Schnellbacher
1951 - George Mrkonic
1952 - Gil Reich
1952 - Oliver Spencer
1960 - John Hadl
1961 - John Hadl
1963 - Gale Sayers
1964 - Gale Sayers
1968 - Bobby Douglass
1968 - John Zook
1973 - David Jaynes
1983 - Bruce Kallmeyer
2007 - Anthony Collins
2007 - Aqib Talib
It had been 24 years - long even for Kansas University - since a Jayhawk was honored on the football All-America first team by the Associated Press.
Just to make sure Kansas crashed the party hard, there's two on the list this year - and one more knocking on the door.
KU junior cornerback Aqib Talib and junior left tackle Anthony Collins both were named first-team All-America by the AP on Tuesday. The 12-member media panel also put senior defensive tackle James McClinton on the second team.
It's the Jayhawks' best representation ever on the AP team. Kansas twice had two players on the first team - in 1947 and 1968 - but never two on the first team and another on the second.
Collins and Talib broke a trend of KU players unable to find the national spotlight for more than two decades. Not since kicker Bruce Kallmeyer made first team in 1983 had a KU player been recognized so highly.
"It's a great honor, and it is definitely a team award," Collins said. "We earned a lot of respect with the season we had."
For Talib, Tuesday's news sent his legacy to another level - he will now be recognized as a consensus All-American by the NCAA. Talib was named first-team All-America by all five of the teams that the NCAA recognizes - AP, The Sporting News, the Football Writers Association. of America, the American Football Coaches Association and the Walter Camp Foundation.
Talib posted 61 tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass breakups this season for the 11-1 Jayhawks, leading the defense back to respectability after a troublesome 2006 campaign.
"I am happy to win this award," said Talib, a promising NFL prospect. "It is another example of the great season we have had at Kansas. I want to thank my teammates, (defensive coordinator) Bill Young and the whole coaching staff, because none of this would be possible without them."
Collins, meanwhile, was a wall at left tackle, protecting quarterback Todd Reesing's blindside in the 11 games he played in. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Collins also was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top interior lineman.
"I love the award, I am happy and I appreciate it," Collins said. "The more you win, the more players from your team can make All-American. I hope we all continue to get more awards."
Tuesday's news could help any of the three secure a spot someday in the Memorial Stadium Ring of Honor, which currently has the names of 15 greats around the north bowl of the stadium. Being an AP All-American is not a requirement nor an automatic ticket. But it certainly gives each of them a great case.
Of course, any announcement or ceremony likely would be years down the road.
Collins, Talib and McClinton boosted the number of Mark Mangino-bred players to be recognized by the AP to five. Cornerback Charles Gordon was a third-team All-American in 2004, and linebacker Nick Reid made the third team in 2005.