All-American first team has SoCon feeling
Philadelphia, PA – The Southern Conference placed a high of team selection on the 2011 The Sports Network/Fathead.com America team, released on Monday.
Six of the nine SoCon teams placed at least one player on one of the three teams, including Georgia Southern, which tied with Sam Houston State and Indiana State with four selections each.
Breitenstein, a redshirt junior and the focal point of Wofford's triple option, rushed for 1,363 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season. He was joined on the first team by senior guard Nate Page.
Page is joined on the first-team offensive line by Georgia Southern tackle Brett Moore, Delaware senior guard Gino Gradkowski and a pair of Sam Houston State linemen, senior tackle Chris Crockett and senior center Travis Watson.
Indiana State sophomore and Walter Payton Award finalist Shakir Bell, the FCS leader in rushing yards with 1,670, shared first-team running back honors with Towson's Terrance West, the lone freshman to make the All-America team.
A trio of juniors comprise the receiving corp as Elon's Aaron Mellette, Lehigh's Ryan Spadola and Eastern Washington's Nicholas Edwards all received first-team honors after stellar seasons. Furman's Colin Anderson, another junior, was named the first-team tight end after leading all players at his position in catches (40), yards (696) and touchdowns (7).
Either Spadola or Edwards will be joined on the first team by their quarterback. The voting at quarterback reflected the order of the Walter Payton Award, as Lehigh senior Chris Lum and Eastern Washington senior Bo Levi Mitchell have been invited to the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas, along with Bell. The order of the first- and second-team All-America quarterbacks will be released after the unveiling of the Payton Award.
The first-team defense was dominated by upperclassmen as six seniors and four juniors earned top honors.
The defensive line consisted of four defensive player of the year recipients: Old Dominion senior defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron (CAA Football); Georgia Southern junior defensive tackle Brent Russell (SoCon); Prairie View A&M senior defensive end Adrian Hamilton (Southwestern Athletic Conference); and Georgetown senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke (Patriot League).
Northern Iowa senior L.J. Fort (151) and New Hampshire junior Matt Evans (154), the nation's leading tacklers, highlighted the linebacking corp, and are joined on the first team by Chattanooga sophomore Wes Dothard and Montana senior Caleb McSurdy.
North Dakota State sophomore cornerback Marcus Williams and Sam Houston State junior safety Darnell Taylor give the first-team secondary a championship game feeling. The two will go head-to-head in the FCS title game on Jan. 7.
Bucknell senior cornerback Bryce Robertson and Alabama State junior safety Kejuan Riley round out the first-team defense.
Three seniors and a junior made up the first-team specialists: Portland State senior kicker Zach Brown; Liberty junior kick returner Kevin Fogg; Idaho State senior punter David Harrington; and UT Martin senior punt returner C.J. Estelle.
Thirteen FCS conferences plus an independent program, Texas State, had players represented on the three teams. The Big Sky Conference and Southern Conference led with 14 selections each, while the Missouri Valley Football Conference had 10.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selected the All-America based only on the regular season.
FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Sr., or Chris Lum, Lehigh, Sr.; RB - Shakir Bell, Indiana State, So.; Terrance West, Towson, Fr.; FB - Eric Breitenstein, Wofford, Jr.; WR - Aaron Mellette, Elon, Jr.; Nicholas Edwards, Eastern Washington, Jr.; Ryan Spadola, Lehigh, Jr.; TE - Colin Anderson, Furman, Jr.; OT - Chris Crockett, Sam Houston State, Sr.; Brett Moore, Georgia Southern, Sr.; OG - Gino Gradkowski, Delaware, Sr.; Nate Page, Wofford, Sr.; C - Travis Watson, Sam Houston State, Sr.; PK - Zach Brown, Portland State, Sr.; KR - Kevin Fogg, Liberty, Jr.
FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M, Sr.; Andrew Schaetzke, Georgetown, Sr.; DT - Ronnie Cameron, Old Dominion, Sr.; Brent Russell, Georgia Southern, Jr.; LB - Wes Dothard, Chattanooga, So.; Matt Evans, New Hampshire, Jr.; L.J. Fort, Northern Iowa, Sr.; Caleb McSurdy, Montana, Sr.; CB - Bryce Robertson, Bucknell, Sr.; Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, So.; S - Kejuan Riley, Alabama State, Jr.; Darnell Taylor, Sam Houston State, Jr.; P - David Harrington, Idaho State, Sr.; C.J. Estelle, UT Martin, Sr.
SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Sr., or Chris Lum, Lehigh, Sr.; RB - Tim Flanders, Sam Houston State, So.; Jonathan Grimes, William & Mary, Sr.; FB - Jake Romanelli, Cal Poly, Sr.; WR - Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech, Sr.; Brian Quick, Appalachian State, Sr.; Rodrick Rumble, Idaho State, Jr.; TE - Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard, Jr.; OT - Paul Cornick, North Dakota State, Sr.; Blake Matthews, Norfolk State, Jr.; OG - D.J. Hall, Texas State, Sr.; J.C. Oram, Weber State, Sr.; C - Bryan Boemer, Southern Illinois, Sr.; PK - Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa, So.; KR - Laron Scott, Georgia Southern, Sr.
SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman, Sr.; Willie Jefferson, Stephen F. Austin, So.; DT - Ben Boothby, Northern Iowa, Sr.; Zach Minter, Montana State, Jr.; LB - Seth Allison, Central Arkansas, Jr.; Jeremy Kimbrough, Appalachian State, Jr.; Blake Pfeifer, SE Missouri State, So.; Keith Pough, Howard, Jr.; CB - Trumaine Johnson, Montana, Sr.; Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina, Sr.; S - Justin Bethel, Presbyterian, Sr.; Alex Sewall, Indiana State, Sr.; P - Jonathan Plisco, Old Dominion, Jr.; PR - Darius Carey, McNeese State, Jr.
THIRD-TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Casey Brockman, Murray State, Jr.; RB - Jordan Brown, Bryant, Jr.; Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook, Jr.; FB - Brock Lough, Indiana State, Sr.; WR - Tre Gray, Richmond, Sr.; Chris Summers, Liberty, Sr.; Patrick Walker, Northern Colorado, Sr.; TE - Renty Rollins, Jackson State, Sr.; OT - Conrad Burbank, Montana State, Sr.; Tom Compton, South Dakota, Sr.; Orry Frye, Appalachian State, Sr.; OG - Joe Faiella, Stony Brook, Sr.; Scott Schweitzer, Tennessee Tech, Sr.; C - Jim Liebler, Lehigh, Sr.; PK - Adrian Mora, Georgia Southern, Sr.; KR - Austin Minefee, Southern Utah, Sr.
THIRD-TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Corey Hart, Alabama A&M, Sr.; Ben Obaseki, Indiana State, Jr.; DT - Emory Attig, Eastern Kentucky, Jr.; Josue Ortiz, Harvard, Sr.; LB - Rico Council, Tennessee State, Sr.; Jody Owens, Montana State, Jr.; Alvin Scioneaux, Wofford, Jr.; A.J. Storms, Idaho State, Sr.; CB - Asa Jackson, Cal Poly, Sr.; Ryan Steed, Furman, Sr.; S - Jose Gumbs, Monmouth, Sr.; Serge Kona, Duquesne, Jr.; P - Patrick Murray, Fordham, Jr.; PR - Jabin Sambrano, Montana, Sr.
Note: The order of the first- and second-team All-America quarterbacks will be released after the unveiling of the 2011 Walter Payton Award on Jan. 6.