FB: Maroney and Eslinger Named to Rivals.com Preseason All-America Team

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
namUniversity of Minnesota junior running back Laurence Maroney and senior center Greg Eslinger have been named to the Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-America First Team. Maroney joined Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson as one of only two running backs named to the team, while Eslinger and Michigan’s Matt Lentz were the only two Big Ten Conference offensive linemen selected.

Maroney, a first-team All-Big Ten honoree by the coaches and the media last season, currently ranks seventh on the school’s career rushing chart with 2,469 yards and in career rushing touchdowns (22). He is also tied for fourth in school history in career 100- yard rushing games with 13 and set the school record for consecutive 100-yard games last season with seven. Maroney is averaging 6.5 yards per carry in his career, a total that would shatter Wayne “Red” Williams school record of 6.25, which was set from 1942-45. The St. Louis, Mo., native joined teammate Marion Barber III from 2003-04 as the only players in NCAA history to each rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Last year, Maroney became only the third player in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and led the team in rushing with 1,348 yards on 217 attempts. His 1,348 yards rank fifth all-time for single-season rush yards and his 12 touchdowns rank fourth for rushing touchdowns in a season. Maroney’s 112-yard per game average ranked third in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation.

Eslinger, a 2004 Rimington Trophy finalist, was named to the 2004 FWAA All-America Team and was selected to the 2004 SI.com All-America Team. A two-time first-team All- Big Ten selection by the coaches and the media, Eslinger is only the third Gopher since 1963 to be named first-team all-league by both the coaches and the media in consecutive seasons.

Last season, Eslinger started all 12 games and helped the Gophers average 438.3 yards of total offense, which ranked third-best in the Big Ten, 15th in the nation and is the second-highest average in school history. He also aided Minnesota in averaging 256.8 rushing yards per game, which led the Big Ten, ranked fifth nationally and represents the second-highest average in school history. Eslinger is the unquestioned leader of an offensive line that allowed just nine sacks in 2004, which represents the second-best mark in the Big Ten and the fewest at Minnesota since 1970. He also helped Minnesota average 6.3 yards per play, the second-highest average in school history, and 5.4 yards per rush, the school’s second-best average all-time. Eslinger was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and a second-team selection on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team.

The Gophers open their season, Thursday, Sept. 1 at Tulsa. Game time is 9:15 p.m. CST and will be shown on ESPN2. Minnesota returns home for a Sept. 10 game against Colorado State at 1 p.m.

Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-America Team First-Team Offense Matt Leinart, QB, Southern California Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia Max Jean-Gilles, OG, Georgia Matt Lentz, OG, Michigan Greg Eslinger, C, Minnesota First-Team Defense Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State Jesse Mahelona, DT, Tennessee Rodrique Wright, DT, Texas A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech Charles Gordon, CB, Kansas Michael Huff, S, Texas Darnell Bing, S, Southern California First-Team Specialists Brandon Fields, P, Michigan State Ted Ginn, Jr. PR, Ohio State Reggie Bush, Utility, Southern California Mason Crosby, K, Colorado Ashlan Davis, KR, Tulsa