The awards keep on piling up at 49ers headquarters.
Punter Andy Lee and Pro Bowlers Mike Iupati and Aldon Smith were recently recognized by USA Football and named to the 2012 All-Fundamentals Teams, which honors 26 NFL players – 11 offense, 11 defense and four special teams – who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.
The fourth annual USA Football All-Fundamentals Team recognizes NFL players who employ proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, which fosters better on-field performance and inherent safety benefits.
Iupati’s rare combination of size, speed and strength was also complemented by his strong mental development in his third season since being picked in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The mauling guard especially excelled as a pulling lead blocker for the fourth-ranked 49ers rushing attack, while providing solid pass protection all year long.
Not only does Lee possess one of the NFL’s most powerful legs, but he also possesses some of the softest hands on a punter. Lee, who is also the team’s holder on place kicks, followed up his 2011 All-Pro season with another impressive campaign that featured a 43.2-yard net punting average, which was tops in the league.
Smith flourished in his first season as an every-down player, racking up 19.5 sacks en route to being named to his first Pro Bowl. Smith showed a deft ability to use his hand and legs to slither and power past opponents while threatening Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5.
Each player chosen for the All-Fundamentals Team will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice. USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, is the official youth football development partner of the 49ers, the NFL and each of the league’s other 31 teams.
A fan vote will determine All-Fundamentals Team captains at www.facebook.com/usafootball. Fans may vote for one captain on offense, defense and special teams. USA Football will award each of the three captains a $3,000 equipment grant to donate and an All-Fundamentals Team helmet trophy. Voting is open through Jan. 21.
Employing core football fundamentals advances a youth player’s performance and safety, particularly in the areas of blocking and tackling. USA Football has educated more than 100,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics. Approximately 3 million American children age 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.
The USA Football All-Fundamentals Team was assembled with guidance from a five-person selection committee:
- TOM CARTER, NFLPA player advocate and former NFL defensive back
- CHARLES DAVIS, USA Football spokesperson, football analyst for NFL Network and FOX Sports
- HERM EDWARDS, ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL head coach
- MERRIL HOGE, USA Football board member, ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL running back
- CARL PETERSON, USA Football chairman, former NFL team executive and assistant coach
2012 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Offense:
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Arian Foster, Texans
Henry Hynoski, Giants
Wide Receiver (2)
Davone Bess, Dolphins
Reggie Wayne, Colts
Tony Gonzalez Falcons
Ryan Clady, Broncos
Nate Solder, Patriots
Mike Iupati, 49ers
Carl Nicks, Buccaneers
Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
2012 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Defense:
Chris Long, Rams
J.J. Watt, Texans
Haloti Ngata, Ravens
Vince Wilfork, Patriots
Aldon Smith, 49ers
London Fletcher, Redskins
Chad Greenway, Vikings
Champ Bailey, Broncos
Charles Tillman, Bears
Thomas DeCoud, Falcons
Earl Thomas, Seahawks
2012 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Special Teams:
Leodis McKelvin, Bills
Phil Dawson, Browns
Andy Lee, 49ers
Greg Warren, Steelers
Tags: Aldon Smith, Andy Lee, Mike Iupati
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