Pennsylvania High School Alums on the FWAA’s All-American Teams

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) has been naming All-American football teams since 1944. I recently stumbled upon this guide featuring every team from that year through the 2019 selections. Naturally, I looked for any Pennsylvania connections and found our state well-represented throughout history. The FWAA selection is a long-standing All-American team, but is certainly not the only organization that chooses one.

  • Depending on whether you consider Eddie George an alumnus of a Pennsylvania high school, either 112 or 113 Keystone State grads have been named to the team from 1944-2019. George (Abington) spent the majority of his high school career at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Not counted is defensive end Patrick Kerney, who was a native of Newtown but attended prep schools in both New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • No Pennsylvanians made the inaugural team in 1944. The first All-American named to the FWAA team was John Mastrangelo of Vandergrift High in 1945. A guard at Notre Dame, Mastrangelo made the second team in 1945 and the third team in 1946. These were some of the few years throughout the FWAA’s history where more than a first team were selected. Vandergrift is now part of Kiski Area.
  • After having seven total selections in the first four years of the team, Pennsylvania had 10 selections in 1948 alone. Other than that year, however, the state has produced a fairly consistent number of selections on an annual basis:All-Americans from Pennsylvania High Schools by Year
  • Two high schools have had four selections: New Castle and Bethlehem Liberty.
    • New Castle: Albert Tate (DT, Illinois – 1950), Bruce Clark (DL, Penn State – 1978 & 1979), and Malik Hooker (DB, Ohio State – 2016).
    • Bethlehem Liberty: Chuck Bednarik (C, Penn – 1947 & 1948), John “Bull” Schweder (G, Penn – 1949), and Mike Hartenstine (DL, Penn State – 1974).
  • In addition, six other schools – four of which are located in the WPIAL – have had three selections apiece.
    • Turtle Creek (now part of Woodland Hills): Leon Hart (E/T, Notre Dame – 1947, 1948 & 1949).
    • Northampton: Bob Novogratz (G, Army – 1958) and Dennis Onkotz (LB, Penn State – 1968 & 1969).
    • McKeesport: Bill Miller (E, Miami – 1960 & 1961) and Brandon Short (LB, Penn State – 1999).
    • Hopewell: Tony Dorsett (RB, Pitt – 1975 & 1976) and Paul Posluszny (LB, Penn State – 2005).
    • Penn Hills: Bill Fralic (OL, Pitt – 1983 & 1984) and Aaron Donald (DL, Pitt – 2013).
    • Wilkes-Barre Meyers (now part of Wilkes-Barre Area): Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (KR, Notre Dame – 1989 & 1990) and Qadry Ismail (KR, Syracuse – 1991).
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Penn State (30 selections) is the most common college for Pennsylvania high school alums named to the FWAA teams. Notre Dame (16) and Pitt (15) round out the top-three. After that, there is a large drop-off to fourth-place Army (5).
    • Penn (3 selections, all of which came from Bethlehem Liberty grads) is the only other Pennsylvania university represented.
    • Schools with just one Pennsylvania native named to the FWAA teams: Dartmouth, North Carolina, Illinois, Purdue, Tennessee, Kansas, Kentucky, Florida, Rutgers, Minnesota, Florida State, California, SMU, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
  • Thirty-five of the selections played on the offensive line. The next most popular position is running back, with 21 selections. There have been 12 linebackers chosen.
  • Thirteen players have been chosen for multiple FWAA All-American teams:
    • Arnold Galiffa (B, Army – 1948 & 1949)
    • Fralic
    • Miller
    • Clark
    • Bednarik
    • Onkotz
    • Mastrangelo
    • Johnny Lujack (B, Notre Dame – 1946 & 1947)
    • Keith Dorney (OL, Penn State – 1977 & 1978)
    • Hart
    • Raghib Ismail
    • Tom Skladany (P, Ohio State – 1974 & 1975)
    • Dorsett
  • For the full list of FWAA All-American selections, click here.

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