BATON ROUGE -- It had been 11 years since LSU last had an offensive lineman named as a first-team All-America by the Associated Press. That was until Tuesday when senior offensive guard Herman Johnson was recognized as a first-team All-America by the news organization. .
Johnson, a native of Olla, La., becomes the first Tiger offensive lineman named first-team AP All-America since 1997 when Alan Faneca made the team.
"I didn't expect it. I'm thankful for everyone on the team because I would be an All-American without them," Johnson said. "At the beginning of the season I talked to Coach (Miles) about my biggest goal of the season, and that was being an All-American candidate. I had no idea that I would actually be named to the team."
Also on Tuesday, Faneca was named to his eight-consecutive NFL Pro Bowl (rosters) as a member of the New York Jets. He will start next to former Tiger and current Tennessee Titan's center Kevin Mawae in the 2009 Pro Bowl to be held Feb. 8 in Hawaii. Mawae has played in seven Pro Bowls, but returns to the game for the first time since 2004.
Johnson also becomes the 55th player in LSU history to be recognized as a first-team All-America. Those 55 players have garnered a total of 66 first-team All-America honors. Johnson also keeps alive a streak that has seen at least one LSU player earn first-team All-America honors for eight-straight years.
“This is a well deserved honor for Herman,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Herman is a tremendous football player who plays a huge role on this team, both on and off the field. If they gave an All-America award for a person’s character, values and integrity, Herman would be on that list as well.
“He’s a team leader in every sense of the word and someone who I have enjoyed coaching over the past four years.”
The All-America honor is the start of a big week for Johnson as he will receive his degree from LSU on Thursday as the school’s commencement exercise on campus. Johnson, who at 6-foot-7, 350 pounds is one of the biggest players to ever wear the LSU uniform, will graduate with a degree in general studies.
"Going back to my junior year, all of the attention was on the seniors," said Johnson. "They were a great group of guys with great leadership, and I looked up to them. The coaches told me that this team of seniors thought that I could be an All-American, and they told me to better myself and to keep doing what I was doing."
Johnson started all 12 games for the Tigers this year, helping pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Charles Scott. In addition, the Tigers averaged 30 points per game and rushed for 167 yards per contest, the fourth highest total in the SEC.
Johnson, who earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors for the second straight season in 2008, is one of four offensive linemen from the SEC listed on the AP first team. Johnson is joined on the list by Alabama center Antoine Caldwell, Alabama tackle Andre Smith, Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher, and Oklahoma guard Duke Robinson.
For his career, Johnson has played in 49 games, starting 37 times.
Johnson will play his final game in an LSU uniform on Dec. 31 when the Tigers face 14th-ranked Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
AP All-America Team
Quarterback - Sam Bradford, sophomore, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Oklahoma.
Running backs - Shonn Greene, junior, 5-11, 235, Iowa; Javon Ringer, senior, 5-9, 202, Michigan State.
Wide receiver - Michael Crabtree, sophomore, 6-3, 214, Texas Tech; Dez Bryant, sophomore, 6-2, 210, Oklahoma State.
Tackles - Andre Smith, junior, 6-5, 330, Alabama; Michael Oher, senior, 6-5, 318, Mississippi.
Guards - Duke Robinson, senior, 6-5, 330, Oklahoma; Herman Johnson, senior, 6-5, 350, LSU.
Center - Antoine Caldwell, senior, 6-3, 305, Alabama.
Tight end - Chase Coffman, senior, 6-6, 245, Missouri.
All-purpose player - Jeremy Maclin, sophomore, 6-1, 200, Missouri.
Kicker - Louie Sakoda, senior, 5-9, 178, Utah.
Ends - Aaron Maybin, sophomore, 6-4, 236, Penn State; Brian Orakpo, senior, 6-4, 260, Texas.
Tackles - Terrence Cody, junior, 6-5, 365, Alabama; Peria Jerry, senior, 6-2, 290, Mississippi.
Linebackers - James Laurinaitis, senior, 6-3, 240, Ohio State; Rey Maualuga, senior, 6-2, 260, Southern California; Brandon Spikes, junior, 6-3, 243, Florida.
Cornerbacks - Alphonso Smith, senior, 5-9, 190, Wake Forest; Malcolm Jenkins, senior, 6-1, 201, Ohio State.
Safeties - Taylor Mays, junior, 6-3, 230, Southern California; Eric Berry, sophomore, 5-11, 195, Tennessee.
Punter - Kevin Huber, senior, 6-1, 220, Cincinnati.
Quarterback - Colt McCoy, junior, Texas.
Running backs - Knowshon Moreno, sophomore, Georgia; Donald Brown, junior, Connecticut.
Wide receivers - Austin Collie, junior, BYU; Jarrett Dillard, senior, Rice.
Tackles - Eugene Monroe, senior, Virginia; Andy Levitre, senior, Oregon State.
Guards -Brandon Carter, junior, Texas Tech; Trevor Canfield, senior, Cincinnati.
Center - A.Q. Shipley, senior, Penn State.
Tight end - Jermaine Gresham, junior, Oklahoma.
All-purpose player - Percy Harvin, junior, Florida.
Kicker - Graham Gano, senior, Florida State.
Ends - Everette Brown, junior, Florida State; Jerry Hughes, junior, TCU.
Tackles - Gerald McCoy, sophomore, Oklahoma; Mitch King, senior, Iowa.
Linebackers - Scott McKillop, senior, Pittsburgh; Brian Cushing, senior, Southern California; Aaron Curry, senior, Wake Forest.
Cornerback - Victor ``Macho'' Harris, senior, Virginia Tech; D.J. Moore, junior, Vanderbilt.
Safeties - Rashad Johnson, senior, Alabama; Trimane Goddard, senior, North Carolina.
Punter - T.J. Conley, senior, Idaho.
Quarterback - Tim Tebow, junior, Florida.
Running backs - Kendall Hunter, sophomore, Oklahoma State; Jacquizz Rodgers, freshman, Oregon State.
Wide receivers - Kenny Britt, junior, Rutgers; Jordan Shipley, senior, Texas.
Tackles - Jason Smith, senior, Baylor; Phil Loadholt, senior, Oklahoma.
Guards - Louis Vasquez, senior, Texas Tech; Rich Ohrnberger, senior, Penn State.
Center - Alex Mack, senior, California.
Tight end - Rob Gronkowski, sophomore, Arizona.
All-purpose player - Derrick Williams, senior, Penn State.
Kicker - Kai Forbath, sophomore, UCLA.
Ends - Nick Reed, senior, Oregon; George Selvie, junior, South Florida.
Tackles - Fili Moala, senior, Southern California; B.J. Raji, senior, Boston College.
Linebackers - Mark Herzlich, junior, Boston College; Sean Witherspoon, junior, Missouri; Michael Tauiliili, senior, Duke (tie); Rolando McClain, sophomore, Alabama (tie).
Cornerback - Vontae Davis, junior, Illinois; Mike Mickens, senior, Cincinnati.
Safeties - Myron Rolle, junior, Florida State; Nic Harris, senior, Oklahoma.
Punter - Pat McAfee, senior, West Virginia.