By Craig Haley, FCS Exec. Director - Archive - Email
FCS All-America team shines on star power
Walter Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo is flanked by
headshots of six FCS first-team All-Americans of multiple seasons.
Philadelphia, PA ( - Change is sure good, but some of the players named to The Sports Network FCS All-America Team on Wednesday surely do not agree.

This year's Walter Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, Jerry Rice Award winner Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington and Buck Buchanan Award winner Brad Daly of Montana State helped lead the way on the first team Wednesday with their first selections to the All-America Team.

But five other players weren't so receptive to giving up their positions as they repeated as first-team selections from a year ago. A sixth player - Towson running back Terrance West - was a first-team All-American in 2011. In all, there were 21 selections with previous All-American postseason status from The Sports Network, which also presents the major awards in the FCS.

South Dakota State junior running back Zach Zenner and senior offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann, Eastern Illinois senior wide receiver Erik Lora, and North Dakota State senior offensive tackle Billy Turner and cornerback Marcus Williams were the repeat first-team selections. Williams, from the two- time reigning FCS champion Bison, made his third straight appearance on the first team.

Garoppolo, a 6-foot-3, 222-pound senior, captured the Payton Award as the outstanding player in the FCS. The NFL prospect enjoyed one of the best seasons ever by an FCS quarterback, completing 375-of-568 pass attempts (66 percent) for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.

He wasn't short of top receivers this season, but Garoppolo probably would have loved to throw passes to Kupp, the Rice Award recipient as national freshman of the year. The 6-2, 195-pound Kupp is the first freshman wide receiver on the first team since Marshall's Randy Moss in 1996. Kupp has obliterated FCS freshman receiving records with 85 receptions, 1,567 receiving yards and 21 TD catches. He's also caught a touchdown in all 14 Eastern Washington games, a national consecutive games record.

Daly, a 6-1, 240-pound senior, became the second straight Buchanan Award winner from Montana State. During the regular season, he led the FCS with 14 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss, and created havoc for opposing offenses.

Witzmann helped pave the way for Zenner's second straight 2,000-yard season, while Turner has been the wrecking ball for a North Dakota State offense that is on pace to have two 1,000-yard rushers for the third straight season. Lora had an FCS-high 123 receptions for 1,544 yards and 19 touchdowns as Garoppolo's No. 1 option at Eastern Illinois. Williams has three interceptions for the two-defending national champion Bison, giving him 21 for his career.

West, the national rushing leader, returned to the first team after missing last year following an injury-plagued campaign. The junior is coming off an FCS playoff-record 354 rushing yards against Eastern Illinois last weekend, pushing his season total to 2,295 yards. He has scored 39 total touchdowns to tie the FCS single-season record.

Other first-team selections on offense were North Dakota State senior fullback Andrew Grothmann; Lehigh senior wide receiver Lee Kurfis, whose 122.8 receiving yards per game leads the FCS; Southern Illinois junior tight end MyCole Pruitt; Samford senior all-purpose player Fabian Truss, who averaged 183.8 yards on rushes, receptions and returns; and offensive linemen Dakota Dozier of Furman, Eric Pike of Towson and Collin Seibert of Eastern Illinois.

Dozier and Pike are seniors, while Seibert is a junior.

The defense featured Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid, who could be the top FCS selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Reid continually faced double and triple teams, but remained quite productive, and he opened up room for teammates to help the Tigers earn a share of their first Ivy League title since 2006.

The 6-2, 305-pound Reid shared room on the All-American defensive front with Cal Poly defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz, who was the Big Sky Conference's co-defensive player of the year award with Daly, the Buchanan Award recipient. The other defensive end besides Daly on the first team was Pioneer Football League defensive player of the year Terrence Fede of Marist.

Linebacker is always a deep position across the FCS, and this season was no different with three conference defensive players of the year in James Madison's Stephon Robertson, Samford's Justin Shade and South Carolina State's Joe Thomas - all seniors. The other linebacker, junior Lynden Trail of Norfolk State, was worthy of such an award in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but that was taken by Thomas.

The only other non-senior on the All-America first-team defense was Missouri State's Caleb Schaffitzel, who shared honors at safety with Jerome Couplin III from William & Mary's dominant defense. At cornerback, Maine's Kendall James checked in alongside Williams.

FCS conference breakdown of All-Americans:

Big Sky Conference - 14; Missouri Valley Football Conference - 14; Ohio Valley Conference - 12; CAA Football - 11; Southland Conference - 9; Northeast Conference - 8; Southern Conference - 8; Big South Conference - 6; Patriot League - 6; Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference - 5; Southwestern Athletic Conference - 4; Ivy League - 3; Pioneer Football League - 3

The schools with the most All-Americans:

Eastern Illinois - 5; Towson - 5; Fordham - 4; North Dakota State - 4; Coastal Carolina - 3; Eastern Washington - 3; McNeese State - 3; Portland State - 3; Samford - 3; South Dakota State - 3; Tennessee State - 3

The special teams featured Northern Iowa senior place-kicker Tyler Sievertsen, whose 1.8 field goals per game (21-for-27 overall) leads the FCS; Southeastern Louisiana sophomore kickoff returner Xavier Roberson, whose 35.2-yard average on 26 returns leads the FCS by over three yards per return; Tennessee Tech senior punter Chad Zinchini, who is second nationally with a 45.7-yard average on 75 punts; Sam Houston State senior punt returner Torrance Williams, whose 16-yard average ranks second nationally; and highly decorated senior long snapper Richard Wright of Liberty.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most first-team selections (eight) and tied with the Big Sky Conference for the most overall selections (14). The Ohio Valley Conference followed with 12 overall selections, then it was CAA Football with 11, the Southland Conference with nine, the Northeast and Southern conferences with eight each, the Big South Conference and Patriot League with six each, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with five, the Southwestern Athletic Conference with four, and the Ivy and Pioneer leagues with three each.

2013 The Sports Network FCS All-America Team

First Team - Offense
Jimmy Garoppolo Eastern Illinois QB Sr. 6-3 222
Terrance West Towson RB Jr. 5-11 223
Zach Zenner South Dakota State RB Jr. 6-0 220
Andrew Grothmann North Dakota State FB Sr. 6-1 232
Cooper Kupp Eastern Washington WR Fr. 6-2 195
Lee Kurfis Lehigh WR Sr. 6-2 190
Erik Lora Eastern Illinois WR Sr. 5-11 190
MyCole Pruitt Southern Illinois TE Jr. 6-3 250
Dakota Dozier Furman OL Sr. 6-4 291
Eric Pike Towson OL Sr. 6-5 298
Collin Seibert Eastern Illinois OL Jr. 6-4 277
Billy Turner North Dakota State OL Sr. 6-6 314
Bryan Witzmann South Dakota State OL Sr. 6-7 305
Fabian Truss Samford AP Sr. 5-9 185
Tyler Sievertsen Northern Iowa PK Sr. 6-2 185
Xavier Roberson SE Louisiana KR So. 5-9 170

First Team - Defense
Brad Daly Montana State DE Sr. 6-1 240
Terrence Fede Marist DE Sr. 6-5 270
Sullivan Grosz Cal Poly DT Sr. 6-4 295
Caraun Reid Princeton DT Sr. 6-2 305
Stephon Robertson James Madison LB Sr. 5-11 230
Justin Shade Samford LB Sr. 5-10 229
Joe Thomas South Carolina State LB Sr. 6-0 230
Lynden Trail Norfolk State LB Jr. 6-7 260
Kendall James Maine CB Sr. 6-0 175
Marcus Williams North Dakota State CB Sr. 5-11 194
Jerome Couplin III William & Mary S Sr. 6-2 215
Caleb Schaffitzel Missouri State S Jr. 6-0 214
Chad Zinchini Tennessee Tech P Sr. 6-3 220
Richard Wright Liberty LS Sr. 6-1 260
Torrance Williams Sam Houston State PR Sr. 5-8 170

Second-Team Offense
Vernon Adams Eastern Washington QB So. 6-0 190
Kyle Harbridge Saint Francis (Pa.) RB Sr. 5-10 195
DaMarcus James Jacksonville State RB Jr. 5-10 220
Lorenzo Taliaferro Coastal Carolina RB Sr. 6-2 230
Emmanuel Holder Towson FB So. 5-11 255
Darien Robinson The Citadel FB Sr. 6-0 220
Sam Ajala Fordham WR Jr. 6-0 194
Jeremy Butler UT Martin WR Sr. 6-3 205
Lee Doss Southern WR Sr. 6-2 180
Justin Perillo Maine TE Sr. 6-4 240
Arinze Agada McNeese State OL Sr. 6-1 286
Tristan Bellamy South Carolina State OL Sr. 6-3 290
Matt Crisafi William & Mary OL Sr. 6-4 302
A.J. Dalton Robert Morris OL Sr. 6-4 280
Mason Halter Fordham OL Jr. 6-6 282
Rob Hollomon Central Connecticut AP Jr. 5-8 170
Griffin Thomas Jacksonville State PK Sr. 6-0 198
Adrian Wilkins North Carolina Ctl KR So. 5-8 170

Second-Team Defense
Zach Hodges Harvard DE Jr. 6-3 235
Shaquille Riddick Gardner-Webb DE Jr. 6-7 240
Davis Tull UT-Chattanooga DE Jr. 6-3 240
Zach Kerr Delaware DT Sr. 6-2 310
Troy Moore Sacred Heart DT Jr. 6-3 285
Quinn Backus Coastal Carolina LB Jr. 5-10 215
Todd Davis Sacramento State LB Sr. 6-1 250
Tyler Starr South Dakota LB Sr. 6-4 235
Jordan Tripp Montana LB Sr. 6-4 237
T.J. Lee III Eastern Washington CB Sr. 5-9 190
Jordan Love Towson CB Sr. 6-1 180
Daniel Fitzpatrick Tennessee State S Jr. 6-2 210
Jaquiski Tartt Samford S Jr. 6-1 218
Kyle Loomis Portland State P Jr. 6-2 210
Chris Highland Illinois State LS Jr. 6-2 215
Tavoris Doss Alcorn State PR Sr. 5-8 165

Third-Team Offense
Michael Nebrich Fordham QB Jr. 6-1 205
D.J. Adams Portland State RB Sr. 5-10 210
Keshaudas Spence Sacred Heart RB Jr. 5-10 230
Marcus Wiltz McNeese State RB Sr. 5-9 192
Kurt Odom Campbell FB Sr. 6-1 215
Kenny Cook Gardner-Webb WR Jr. 6-4 210
Adam Drake Eastern Illinois WR Jr. 6-2 199
Roman Wilson Princeton WR Sr. 5-11 190
Jeff LePak Eastern Illinois TE Jr. 6-6 222
Dorian Byrd Georgia Southern OL Sr. 6-1 265
Phede Celestin Marist OL Sr. 6-4 318
Jamey Cheatwood Coastal Carolina OL Sr. 6-5 330
Kadeem Edwards Tennessee State OL Sr. 6-4 290
Chris Elkins Youngstown State OL Sr. 6-4 290
Danny Kistler Montana OL Sr. 6-8 315
Mitchell Van Dyk Portland State OL Sr. 6-9 290
Greg Hardin North Dakota AP Sr. 5-11 177
Colton Cook Southern Utah PK Sr. 5-8 185
Shawn Johnson Montana State KR Jr. 5-9 175

Third-Team Defense
Anthony Bass Tennessee State DE Jr. 6-2 230
Jesse Dickson Lamar DE Sr. 6-3 265
Colton Underwood Illinois State DE Sr. 6-4 255
Robert Simpson Miss. Valley State DT Sr. 6-3 267
Tracey Smith Bucknell DT Sr. 6-1 265
Telvion Clark Towson LB Sr. 6-1 230
Jarkevis Fields Bethune-Cookman LB Sr. 6-0 230
Stephen Hodge Fordham LB Jr. 6-0 202
Cqulin Hubert SE Louisiana LB Sr. 6-1 250
Christian Kuntz Duquesne LB So. 6-2 210
Guy Morgan McNeese State CB Sr. 6-0 188
Winston Wright South Dakota State CB Sr. 5-10 190
Colten Heagle North Dakota State S Jr. 5-11 202
Bookie Sneed Sam Houston State S Sr. 6-0 180
Bentlee Critcher Appalachian State P Fr. 6-1 175
Bobby Wenzig Alabama State P Sr. 6-2 180
Phil Faccone Wagner LS Jr. 5-9 195
Chris Maikranz Lamar LS Sr. 6-6 255
Antwan Eddie Robert Morris PR Jr. 5-10 180


Walter Payton Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 John Robertson Votes 2014 History
2013 Jimmy Garoppolo Votes 2013 Past
2012 Taylor Heinicke Votes 2012 Winners
Buck Buchanan Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Kyle Emanuel Votes 2014 History
2013 Brad Daly Votes 2013 Past
2012 Caleb Schreibeis Votes 2012 Winners
Eddie Robinson Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Sean McDonnell Votes 2014 History
2013 Craig Bohl Votes 2013 Past
2012 Craig Bohl Votes 2012 Winners
Jerry Rice Award
Year Winner Votes Finalists Misc
2014 Chase Edmonds Votes 2014 History
2013 Cooper Kupp Votes 2013 Past
2012 John Robertson Votes 2012 Winners
Mickey Charles Award
Year Winner Misc
2014 Zach Zenner History
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