Eastern Illinois Panthers WR Eric Lora once again headlines a list of All-Americans, as 11 players from the Ohio Valley Conference were named to the 2012 Phil Steele FCS All-American Teams. It’s the fifth such first-team honor this postseason.
Lora was joined on the first team by Tenenssee State offensive lineman Rogers Gaines, Skyhawks defensive lineman Montori Hughes and SEMO safety Brandon Gabbard.
The full list of OVC All-Americans is as follows:
- WR – Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois (1st Team)
- OL – Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State (1st)
- DL – Montori Hughes, UT Martin (1st)
- LS – Brandon Gabbard, Southeast Missouri (1st)
- TE – A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State (2nd)
- DB – Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State (2nd)
- WR – Tyrone Goard, Eastern Kentucky (3rd)
- K – Cameron Berra, Eastern Illinois (3rd)
- OL – Sherman Carter, Tennessee State (4th)
- DB – Brooklyn Fox, Eastern Kentucky (4th)
- PR – Walter Powell, Murray State (4th)
If you need to know more about any of the selections, the following blurbs comes from the Ohio Valley Conference:
This marks the fifth first-team All-American selection of the year for Lora, who has also been named to the Associated Press, AFCA, Sports Network and Walter Camp teams. Lora finished fourth in the Walter Payton Award balloting this year and earned OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors following his record setting season. Lora finished the year with 136 receptions which broke the previous FCS record of 123. He finished with 1,664 yards which is the fourth-highest single season total in FCS history. Along the way Lora set the school record for receptions and receiving yards in a game along with the OVC record for receptions in a game (21). Lora had seven games with double-figure receptions and two more with nine catches as he averaged 11.3 catches per game, the fourth-best single season average in FCS history. Lora opened the year with seven straight 100-yard receiving games, the most by an FCS receiver since 2000. He finished with nine 100-yard receiving games.
Gaines, a left offensive tackle who has also earned first-team All-American honors by the AP and second-team honors from the Sports Network, was a part of a TSU offensive line that led the OVC in rushing at 175.7 yards/game. The senior did not give up a sack all season and graded out at 93.6 percent.
Hughes, who had previously been named a second-team All-American by the Sports Network, finished the season with 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries in 11 games. Hughes, who played his final two years with the team after transferring from Tennessee, helped the Skyhawks to an 8-3 record in 2012.
Gabbard started every game and made three tackles on special teams this season. He snapped to punter Joe Vucic, who ranked third in the Ohio Valley Conference with 41.9 yards per punt. Gabbard started all 45 games of his four-year career as Southeast’s long snapper.
Leonard earned his fourth All-American honor of the season as he was previously a first-team selection by the Sports Network and Walter Camp and a second-team pick by the Associated Press. Leonard, in his first season with Tennessee State after transferring from Florida, caught 51 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. The 733 yards were the most by a tight end at the FCS level this year and was the fourth most throughout all four divisions of college football (FBS, FCS, D-II and D-III).
Godbolt earned his third All-American honor of the year after being a second-team Sports Network All-American and third-team AP All-American earlier this off-season. He picked off six passes in 10 games to finish first nationally in interceptions per game (0.60). He had two separate streaks during the 2012 season of three consecutive games with an interception.
Goard earned his first All-American honors of the season after catching 41 passes for 900 yards (22.0 yards/catch) and eight touchdowns for the 8-3 Colonels.
Berra led the OVC champion Panthers in scoring this season, tallying 84 points. He was 12-of-13 (92.3%) in field goal attempts including a perfect 5-of-5 in kicks longer than 40 yards. Berra also connected 48-of-52 point after attempts.
Carter, an offensive center, was a key part of a TSU offensive line that led the OVC in rushing at 175.7 yards/game.
Fox picked off six passes in 11 games for EKU in 2012 and averaged 23.0 yards/return. Fox added 57 tackles (40 solo), 3.0 tackles-for-loss, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and blocked a kick for the 8-3 Colonels.
Powell, who picked up his third All-American honors of the year, finished the season by ranking second in the FCS in all-purpose yards, averaging 193.0 yards/game. As a punt returner, Powell averaged 15.8 yards per return (fifth nationally), including touchdown returns of 70 and 100 yards (the 100-yard return set an FCS record). He also averaged 26.3 yards on 23 kickoff returns, which ranked 19th nationally. As a receiver, Powell set new school records for receptions and yards as he hauled in 94 catches (second-most in OVC history) for 1,213 yards (fourth-most in OVC history) and 10 touchdowns. He set a school record with six 100-yard receiving performances, and caught at least one touchdown in six of the final seven games. Powell had at least 200 all-purpose yards in six games, including amassing 302 all-purpose yards in the season finale against Southeast Missouri.