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By Craig Haley, FCS Exec. Director - Archive - Email
NFL All-FCS Team
Tony Romo has gone from winning the 2002 Walter Payton
Award at Eastern Illinois to starring for the Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerry Rice annually returns to his FCS roots by handing out the national freshman of the year award that is named for him.

The FCS, of course, isn't considered "prime time" college football by some, but Rice knows what it's like to come from a smaller program and prove other people wrong. The one-time Mississippi Valley State wide receiver went on to become one of the greatest players in NFL history.

So Rice might have an edge on "Prime Time" himself, Deion Sanders, when they match wits this week as the two captains selecting the teams during the first-ever Pro Bowl draft.

Denver Broncos breakout tight end Julius Thomas (Portland State) is a little preoccupied this week to be playing in Honolulu Sunday night, so that leaves Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (Coastal Carolina), Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (Grambling State), Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Justin Bethel (Presbyterian) as FCS candidates for Team Rice and Team Sanders.

With roughly 150 former FCS players in the NFL this season, we're taking it one step further and nominating a few other players as additional candidates for the draft. The Sports Network 2013 All-FCS NFL Team is our second straight of spotlighting the former FCS players starring in the league.

There are 12 repeat selections on the 29-member team, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), wide receivers Marquis Colston (Hofstra) of the New Orleans Saints and Victor Cruz (Massachusetts) of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (Idaho State).

The depth from the FCS is provided in the secondary, which is ridiculously strong. Standouts like cornerbacks Corey Graham (New Hampshire) of the Baltimore Ravens and Buster Skrine (Tennessee at Chattanooga) of the Cleveland Browns and safeties Mike Adams (Delaware) of the Denver Broncos and Yeremiah Bell (Eastern Kentucky) of the Arizona Cardinals didn't make the cut.

And, Jerry and Deion, if you need some assistance, there are seven NFL head coaches who are alums of FCS programs. We'll let the Saints' Sean Payton (Eastern Illinois) coach this team.

The Sports Network 2013 All-FCS NFL Team

Regular-Season Statistics Only

*-2012 NFL All-FCS Selection

OFFENSE

Quarterback - *Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Eastern Illinois): 342-for-535, 3,828 yards, 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 96.7 passer rating

Running Back - Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants (Southern Illinois): 58 carries, 238 yards, 4 touchdowns; 2 receptions, 13 yards

Running Back - *Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders (Liberty): 163 carries, 733 yards, 6 touchdowns; 36 receptions, 292 yards

Fullback - *Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (Coastal Carolina): 101 carries, 361 yards, 5 TDs; 27 receptions, 184 yards, 2 TDs

Wide Receiver - *Marquis Colston, New Orleans Saints (Hofstra): 75 receptions, 943 yards, 5 touchdowns

Wide Receiver - *Victor Cruz, New York Giants (Massachusetts): 73 receptions, 998 yards, 4 touchdowns

Tight End - Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Portland State): 65 receptions, 788 yards, 12 touchdowns

Tackle - *Austin Howard, New York Jets (Northern Iowa)

Tackle - *Michael Roos, Tennessee Titans (Eastern Washington)

Center - Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers (Idaho State)

Guard - *Dan Connolly, New England Patriots (Southeast Missouri State)

Guard - Chad Rinehart, San Diego Chargers (Northern Iowa)

DEFENSE

Defensive End - *Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings (Idaho State): 52 tackles (33 solo), 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 6 passes defended

Defensive End - Kendall Langford, St. Louis Rams (Hampton): 49 tackles (36 solo), 5 sacks, 4 passes defended

Defensive Tackle - *Desmond Bryant, Cleveland Browns (Harvard): 31 tackles (20 solo), 3.5 sacks, 1 pass defended

Defensive Tackle - Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys (Grambling State): 41 tackles (34 solo), 11 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 passes defended

Linebacker - Akeem Jordan, Kansas City Chiefs (James Madison): 68 tackles (54 solo), 2 forced fumbles

Linebacker - *Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts (Alabama A&M): 59 tackles (43 solo), 19.5 sacks, 8 force fumbles, 1 pass defended

Linebacker - Paul Worrilow, Atlanta Falcons (Delaware): 127 tackles (79 solo), 2 sacks, 2 passes defended

Cornerback - Cortez Allen, Pittsburgh Steelers (The Citadel): 51 tackles (44 solo), 2 interceptions, 13 passes defended

Cornerback - Kyle Arrington, New England Patriots (Hofstra): 62 tackles (48 solo), 2 sacks, 1 interception, 12 passes defended

Nickleback - Rashean Mathis, Detroit Lions (Bethune-Cookman): 47 tackles (44 solo), 16 passes defended

Safety - Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis Colts (Howard): 110 tackles (80 solo), 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended

Safety - James Ihedigbo, Baltimore Ravens (Massachusetts): 101 tackles (63 solo), 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions, 11 passes defended

SPECIAL TEAMS

Place-kicker - Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills (Montana): 33-of-36 field goals, 55 long, 32-of-32 extra points, 131 points

Punter - Sam Martin, Detroit Lions (Appalachian State): 72 punts, 47.2-yard average, 72 long, 22 inside 20

Return - Taiwan Jones, Oakland Raiders (Eastern Washington): 26 kickoff returns, 24-yard average, 41 long

Coverage - Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals (Presbyterian): 18 special teams tackles, 2 blocked field goals

Long Snapper - *Zak DeOssie, New York Giants (Brown)


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