To commemorate its 15th annual postseason game, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl has announced its 2017 All-Anniversary Team. The team was voted on by a selection committee and recognizes the top bowl performances in the game's history.
Fifteen players on both offense and defense as well as five special teams players were named. The 15 offensive and defensive players honor the 15th anniversary, while the five special teams players give the All-Anniversary Team 35 total players, a nod to Lockheed Martin's famous F-35 aircraft.
The All-Anniversary Team includes players from 17 different schools that have competed in the game since its inception. In addition, players from each of the previous 14 games were represented.
Air Force leads the way with six honorees. Houston has four players on the team, while California, Kansas and Louisiana Tech each placed three. In all, eight service academy players were voted onto the squad.
ALL-ANNIVERSARY OFFENSE (15 Players)
Zach Abey, Navy, Quarterback
- Posted the most rushing yards by a quarterback in the bowl's history (114) and totaled three touchdowns (two rushing) in 2016.
Bryce Beall, Houston, Running Back
- Rushed 22 times for 135 yards and a touchdown and added four receptions for 92 yards to grab MVP honors in the 2008 game.
Asher Clark, Air Force, Running Back
- Was one of two Falcons to top 100 yards in the 2009 game with 129 yards on 17 rushes (7.6 per carry) and two scores.
Justin Forsett, California, Running Back
- Totaled 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries (6.1 yards per carry) in the 2007 contest.
Jared Goff, California, Quarterback
- Earned MVP honors in 2015 after setting bowl passing records for completions (25), yards (467) and touchdowns (6), one shy of the all-time record for any bowl game.
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech, Wide Receiver
- In 2016, became one of just two players in Armed Forces Bowl history to secure double-digit catches (10), and totaled 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech, Quarterback
- Completed 29-of-40 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns, and also rushed for a score, in a 48-45 victory over No. 25 Navy in 2016.
Cody Hoffman, BYU, Wide Receiver
- Set an Armed Forces Bowl record in 2011 with a trio of touchdown catches, including the game-winning score with 11 seconds left, and had a total of 122 yards on eight receptions.
Darrius Johnson, SMU, Wide Receiver
- Is one of four players in LMAFB history with at least 150 receiving yards (152), and had nine receptions and a touchdown, in the 2010 contest.
Kevin Riley, California, Quarterback
- Threw as many touchdown passes (3) as incompletions (16-of-19, 269 yards) to post the bowl's highest quarterback rating ever (255.2) in the 2007 contest.
Jason Swanson, Kansas, Quarterback
- Connected on 19-of-29 passing attempts for 307 yards and three scores with no interceptions in a 2005 win.
Jordan Taylor, Rice, Wide Receiver
- Tied the Armed Forces Bowl record by catching three touchdown passes, and had nine total grabs for 153 yards en route to Rice's MVP honors in 2012.
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech, Wide Receiver
- Smashed Armed Forces Bowl records for receptions (12) and receiving yards (233) while catching two touchdown passes in the 2016 game to earn MVP accolades.
Jared Tew, Air Force, Running Back
- Owns the top two rushing games in the bowl's history with 173 yards in 2009, one year after rushing for 149, and totaled four touchdowns (two each game).
Greg Ward Jr., Houston, Quarterback
- Directed Houston to the largest fourth-quarter comeback in any bowl game ever, and finished the 2014 game with 274 passing yards (237 in the fourth quarter) and three touchdowns as well as 92 yards rushing.
ALL-ANNIVERSARY DEFENSE (15 Players)
Stephen Anderson, Army, Linebacker
- Named the Most Valuable Player for the 2010 game after contributing 14 tackles, an interception and a sack in a 16-14 win over SMU.
Andy Avalos, Boise State, Linebacker
- Recorded 13 tackles (eight solo), two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in Boise State's victory over TCU in the inaugural game in 2003.
Theo Baines, Kansas, Cornerback
- Had a pair of interceptions that led to 14 points, and also had four total tackles, a tackle for loss and two passes defensed in 2005.
T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee, Linebacker
- Was named the team's Most Valuable Player after having a bowl-record two fumble recoveries, forcing a fumble and posting seven tackles in 2013.
C.J. Cavness, Houston, Linebacker
- Is the owner of two of the bowl's top-five marks in total tackles, picking up 17 (six solo) in 2009 and 15 (10 solo) in 2008.
Josh Goolsby, TCU, Linebacker
- Collected a team-high 13 tackles and also recorded an interception in a matchup of top-25 teams in the first game (2003).
Tyjuan Hagler, Cincinnati, Linebacker
- Had a team-leading seven tackles, blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown and also forced a fumble in a 2004 victory.
Dexter McCoil, Tulsa, Safety
- Totaled 10 tackles, two interceptions (37 return yards) and one pass breakup, en route to being named the Tulsa MVP in the 2011 game against BYU.
Marcus McGraw, Houston, Linebacker
- Tallied a bowl record 23 tackles (10 solo) in the 2009 game, one year after having 15 tackles, including a bowl-best 13 solo stops, and a forced fumble.
Austin Niklas, Air Force, Linebacker
- Was the Falcons' Starr MVP in the 2012 game after recording a game-high 14 tackles (11 unassisted), including two for losses totaling nine yards.
Wes Nurse, Boise State, Safety
- Registered a game-high 14 tackles (12 solo), including one for loss, in a 34-31 victory over TCU in 2003.
Taylor Reed, SMU, Linebacker
- Had a team-best 12 tackles (11 solo) and forced a fumble in the 2010 defensive battle against Army.
Chris Thomas, Air Force, Safety
- Intercepted a pair of passes and had a game-high 16 tackles (12 solo) in the 2008 contest versus Houston.
Kyle Van Noy, BYU, Linebacker
- Established Armed Forces Bowl records in sacks (2.0), tackles for loss (5.0) and yards lost (23), and also contributed 10 tackles (nine solo) in 2011.
Anthony Wright, Air Force, Cornerback
- Set a school record with three interceptions in 2009, the most in Armed Forces Bowl history, and also had a fumble recovery, three tackles and defended three passes.
ALL-ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL TEAMS (5 Players)
Chris Blewitt, Pittsburgh, Placekicker
- Connected on both of his field goal tries, including an Armed Forces Bowl record 52-yarder, and all four extra points in the game following the 2014 season.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Tulsa, Punter
- Owns bowl records for total punts (eight) and yardage (354), good for a 44.3 average, and also kicked three extra points in a 24-21 loss to BYU in 2011.
Brian Murph, Kansas, Punt Returner
- Put Kansas on the board first in a 42-13 win with the longest punt return in the game's history, an 85-yard touchdown effort in the first quarter of 2005.
Louie Sakoda, Utah, Placekicker
- Was named Utah's MVP in the 2006 game after making all four of his field goal attempts and scoring 13 points in a 25-13 win over Tulsa.
Jonathan Warzeka, Air Force, Kick Returner
- Had the longest kickoff return for a touchdown in bowl history (100 yards) and owns the bowl record with 175 total kickoff return yards in a 47-29 win in 2009.
Since its founding in 2003, the bowl has hosted schools from the American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, Pac-12 Conference and Western Athletic Conference as well as FBS Independents.
The annual game, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams. Air Force has appeared in the game five times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015), while Navy has played twice (2013, 2016). Army, which made its debut in 2010, will be making its second appearance this December.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl has featured the "armed forces" theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.