USA Football has selected New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson as a member of the 2013 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 NFL players — 11 offense, 11 defense and four special teams — who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.
The fifth 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.
Wilkerson keeps his eyes below a blocker's facemask to maintain leverage and power. By controlling blockers with his hands, he is able to work inside or outside in order to maintain gap responsibility.
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 Jets, the NFL, and each of the league's other 31 teams.
A fan vote will determine All-Fundamentals Team captains at 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. 29.
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 110,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, DC, through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics. About 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-member selection committee:
■ 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
■ Bill Polian, ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL general manager
Here is the full 2013 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team:
QB — Peyton Manning, Broncos
RB — Frank Gore, 49ers
FB — John Kuhn, Packers
WR — Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, A.J. Green, Bengals
TE — Jason Witten, Cowboys
T — Jermon Bushrod, Bears, Tyron Smith, Cowboys
G — Jahri Evans, Saints, Andy Levitre, Titans
C — Nick Hardwick, Chargers
DE — Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets, Chris Long, Rams
DT — B.J. Raji, Packers, Kyle Williams, Bills
LB — D'Qwell Jackson, Browns, Luke Kuechly, Panthers, Robert Mathis, Colts
CB — Brent Grimes, Dolphins, Richard Sherman, Seahawks
S — Eric Berry, Chiefs, Earl Thomas, Seahawks
KR — Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
K — Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
P — Dustin Colquitt, Chiefs
LS — Jon Dorenbos, Eagles
About USA Football
Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport's national governing body, leading the game's development for youth, high school and other amateur football players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NCAA's Atlantic Coast Conference. USA Football (usafootball.com), endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002, is the sport's leader in coaching education and player skill advancement for a better, safer game.
More on past USA Football All-Fundamentals Team players' techniques is available at usafootball.com/all-fundamentals-team.