Syracuse led the Big East with five selections on the Rivals.com freshman all-league team, highlighted by Shamarko Thomas, our pick as first-year defensive player of the year after starting at linebacker, strong safety and cornerback for a much-improved Orange defense.
Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis, the nation's No. 3 rusher and a Rivals.com second-team All-America selection, was named the league's offensive freshman of the year.
Connecticut had four players make our all-freshman team, followed by Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and USF with three picks apiece. Louisville and West Virginia each had two players make the team.