Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-
America Team could play one mean intrasquad game.
Such a game would look a lot like last season.
The preseason first team released on Monday returns 14 players who were named
to the 2011 All-America first team by a national panel of sports information
and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries
this past December.
Overall, 35 players return to the three preseason teams.
Returning to the first-team offense are running backs Shakir Bell of Indiana
State and 2011 Jerry Rice Award recipient Terrance West of Towson; fullback
Eric Breitenstein of Wofford; wide receivers Nicholas Edwards of Eastern
Washington, Aaron Mellette of Elon and Ryan Spadola of Lehigh; and tight end
Colin Anderson of Furman.
On defense, returning to the first team are defensive tackle Brent Russell of
Georgia Southern; 2011 Buck Buchanan Award-winning linebacker Matt Evans of
New Hampshire; cornerback Marcus Williams of North Dakota State; and safeties
Kejuan Riley of Alabama State and Darnell Taylor of Sam Houston State.
Portland State place-kicker Zach Brown and Liberty kick returner Kevin Fogg
also return to the preseason first team.
Among the backs, Bell was the FCS rushing leader (1,670 yards, 151.8 yards per
game) last season, while West scored the most touchdowns (29). Breitenstein is
the FCS' active career leader in rushing yards (3,695) and touchdowns (46).
Evans' 13.75 tackles per game last season is the highest among all returning
players in the FCS. No returning player had more than Riley's nine
Williams had an electrifying season, grabbing seven interceptions, for North
Dakota State's national championship squad.
Brown's 24 field goals led the FCS last season and he tied for the national
high among kickers with 9.2 points per game. Fogg's 33.5-yard average and three
touchdowns on kickoffs topped all returners.
Chattanooga linebacker Wes Dothard also made the All-America first team as a
sophomore last season, but there's so much returning talent that 2011 second-
team selections Jeremy Kimbrough of Appalachian State, Blake Pfeifer of
Southeast Missouri State and Keith Pough of Howard have knocked him to the
preseason second team.
Southland Conference champion Sam Houston State, the national runner-up last
season, clearly has the talent to get back to the NCAA Division I Football
Championship Game, placing a national-high five players on the Preseason All-
Taylor, running back Timothy Flanders, who rushed for 1,644 yards and scored
24 touchdowns, and all-purpose selection Richard Sincere are on the first team.
Defensive tackle J.T. Cleveland is part of the second team and cornerback
Daxton Swanson is on the third team.
"This is a great honor for not only these players, but for our program as well
as our university," Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz said. "All of those
guys bring something special to this team, and I am happy to see them get some
national recognition for their hard work and dedication to this program."
Southern Utah, which is moving to the Big Sky Conference, follows Sam Houston
State with four selections, including quarterback Brad Sorensen and center
Gavin Farr on the first team. Sorensen has thrown for over 3,100 yards in each
of his two seasons at Southern Utah.
The Thunderbirds' other preseason All-Americas are defensive tackle Cody
Larsen on the second team and offensive guard Zach Brackus on the third team.
"I am very pleased that The Sports Network is recognizing the hard work of so
many of our players. All four of these players are excellent representatives
of their teammates and of Southern Utah University," Southern Utah coach Ed
Like Southern Utah, Appalachian State (Kimbrough and cornerback Demetrius
McCray), Indiana State (Bell and defensive end Ben Obaseki) and Liberty (Fogg
and offensive guard Malcolm Boyd) have two first-team selections.
Other members of the preseason first team are offensive tackles Aaron Adams of
Eastern Kentucky and Blake Matthews of Norfolk State and offensive guard Earl
Watford of James Madison.
On defense, joining the preseason first team are San Diego defensive end Blake
Olijaro and Montana State defensive tackle Zach Minter.
Old Dominion punter Jonathan Plisco and McNeese State punt returner Darius
Carey have top honors on special teams.
The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America Team consists of 93 players over
three teams. The Big Sky and CAA Football lead all conferences with 15
selections each from nine member schools.
The Southland Conference has 14 selections and the Southern Conference follows
with 13. All 13 FCS conference have at least two selections and 11 conferences
have at least one player on the first team.
The full team can be found at http://tinyurl.com/6wftuhx.
The 2012 Sports Network All-America Team will be announced after the regular
season on Dec. 19.
The Sports Network also presents the four major awards in the division - the
Walter Payton (FCS outstanding player), the Buck Buchanan (FCS outstanding
defensive player), the Jerry Rice (FCS outstanding freshman player) and the
Eddie Robinson (FCS coach of the year) - after the season. In addition, TSN
presents the FCS's most widely recognized weekly Top 25 poll and weekly awards
honoring the nation's top offensive player, defensive player, special teams
player and freshman.
The Sports Network