Minnesota Golden Gophers safety Antoine Winfield, Jr was named a First Team All-American Thursday afternoon by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Winfield adds that honor to previously being named First Team All-American by the Sporting News, the AP, The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Walter Camp Foundation. By being honored as a First Team All-American by those five organizations, Winfield is officially a Unanimous All-American. He becomes only the seventh unanimous All-American in program history and the first since Greg Eslinger was honored in 2005.
Besides Eslinger, Winfield joins a very small group that includes tackle Ed Widseth (1936), center Clayton Tonnemaker (1949), back Paul Giel (1953), guard Tom Brown (1960), and tackle Bobby Bell (1962). He becomes the second unanimous All-American in the family as he father Antoine Sr. was so honored at Ohio State in 1998.
Winfield will need a new trophy case for Christmas as along with these five honors we also was named First Team All-American by Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, USA Today, The Athletic, Pro Football Focus, and Bleacher Report. Winfield was also the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and one of five finalists for the Naguski Award given to the nation’s best defensive player.
Minnesota sophomore wide receiver Rashod Bateman also picked up some postseason All-American hardware. Bateman was named a second team All-American by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and a third team All-American by the AP.
Both Winfield and Bateman will hope to lead the Gophers to an Outback Bowl win over Auburn on New Year’s Day.