Dec 7, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT
CAA Football’s two Defensive Players of the Year in Massachusetts’ linebacker Tyler Holmes and Richmond’s linebacker Eric McBride lead a list of six league athletes to earn All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
|UMass’ Tyler Holmes|
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.
Holmes and McBride are two of the league’s four Buck Buchanan Defensive Player of the Year finalists. Holmes, a Blacksburg, Va., native finished his junior campaign with 110 tackles and five sacks in 11 contests. The linebacker hauled in five interceptions over 11 games, including two returned for touchdowns in the same contest. McBride, who ended his Richmond career with 54-straight starts at linebacker, ranks second in the league with 119 tackles in 11 games. The three-time First Team All-CAA Football honoree also leads the league in recovered fumbles with three.
Richmond’s Martin Parker was one of the team’s four defensive lineman. The senior finished his Richmond career by logging a league-best 96 tackles from his defensive tackle position and ranked second in the conference with 5.5 sacks in 11 games. New Hampshire’s Dino Vasso, a First Team All-CAA Football cornerback, was selected alongside three other defensive backs. Vasso, a senior for the Wildcats who will travel to Delaware Friday to face the Blue Hens in the NCAA Quarterfinals, has picked off a league-high six interceptions in 12 games. The Crum Lynne, Pa., native recently moved into a tie for eighth place on the CAA Football career interceptions list with 18 in four seasons.
Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana was the league’s lone representative on the offensive All-America squad. The three-time First Team All-CAA Football honoree, was the only FCS player to be part of the preseason Outland Trophy Watch List and anchors a Villanova offensive front which ranks as the league leader in both rushing (192.3 yards/game) and scoring (29.8 points/game). William and Mary punter David Miller rounds out the CAA Football contingent on the AFCA All-America squad. The senior ended his career with a season average of 42.6 yards per punt in 2010. The Centreville, Va., native sent a league-best 13 of his 50 punts further than 50 yards and landed 12 inside the 20-yardline.
AFCA All-America Notes…according to the AFCA Records:
Team Background: The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.
The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad in 1945. From 1945 until 1967, only one team was chosen. From 1967 through 1971, two teams, University Division and College Division, were selected. In 1972, the College Division was split into College I and College II. In 1979, the University Division was split into two teams — Division I-A and Division I-AA. In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III, respectively. In 2006, the Division I-A and Division I-AA teams were renamed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), respectively. In 2006, the AFCA started selecting an NAIA-only team.
From 1965-81, a 22-player (11 offensive, 11 defensive) team was chosen. In 1982, a punter and placekicker were added to the team. In 1997, a return specialist was added, giving us the current 25-player team. The return specialist position was replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006.
Top Conference: The Colonial Athletic Association (formerly Atlantic 10) (114 appearances/105 players) is tops among all FCS conferences on the AFCA FCS Coaches All-America Team since 1979. Following the CAA is the Southern (100 appearances/87 players), Missouri Valley Football (formerly Gateway) (75/69), Big Sky (70/69), Ohio Valley (61/57), Southland (58/54), Southwestern Athletic (50/48), Patriot (44/43), Mid-Eastern Athletic (30/28), Ivy League (28/28), Northeast (15/13), Pioneer (13/13), Great West (10/9), Big South (6/6) and Metro Atlantic Athletic (5/4). These totals reflect FCS selections only from current conference members. Several schools had additional players chosen when they played in divisions other than FCS.
2010 Conference-by-Conference Breakdown: Big Sky – 6; Colonial Athletic – 6; Great West – 2; Pioneer 2; Southern – 2; Southland – 2; Mid-Eastern Athletic – 1; Missouri Valley Football – 1; Northeast – 1; Patriot – 1; SWAC – 1.
Double-Five: For the first time since the AFCA has been selecting an FCS All-America team, five schools have two representatives each on this year’s squad. Appalachian State’s Jabari Fletcher (DL) and Mark LeGree (DB), Eastern Washington’s J.C. Sherritt (LB) and Taiwan Jones (RB), Montana State’s Mike Person (OL) and Jason Cunningham (PK), Richmond’s Martin Parker (DL) and Eric McBride (LB) and Stephen F Austin’s Jeremy Moses (QB) and Kenneth Charles (DL) were all named to the 2010 FCS All-America Team.
Last year, three schools had two representatives each on the squad. Richmond’s Matt McCracken (OL) and Justin Rogers (DB), Eastern Washington’s Matt Nichols (QB) and J.C. Sherritt (LB) and Appalachian State’s Jacque Roman (LB) and Mark LeGree (DB) were all named to the 2009 FCS All-America Team.
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