Eight Ohio Valley Conference football players have been named to the 2012 Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-American Team as announced on Wednesday.
That is up from five selections from the OVC a season ago. All eight student-athletes, who represent five different OVC schools, were also selected to the Sports Network All-American Team which was released on Monday.
The selections included three first-team selections, three second-team selections and two third-team selections. The first-team selections were Eastern Illinois redshirt junior wide receiver Erik Lora, Murray State junior wide receiver/return specialist Walter Powell (who was selected as an all-purpose player) and Tennessee State senior offensive lineman Rogers Gaines. The second team selections were Murray State senior quarterback Casey Brockman, Tennessee State sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard and Southeast Missouri senior linebacker Blake Peiffer. The third-team selections were Eastern Kentucky senior offensive lineman Aaron Adams and Tennessee State sophomore defensive back Steven Godbolt III.
Brockman and Peiffer were both repeated Associated Press All-American selections.
Lora, who has been named a first-team All-American by three outlets this season, 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.
Powell, who picked up his second first-team 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.
Gaines, a left offensive tackle who earned second-team All-American honors from the Sports Network on Monday, 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.
Brockman, who is appearing on the AP All-American Team for the second-straight season, closed out his career by re-writing the school and OVC record books. He finished the year by going 359-for-517 for 3,729 yards and 28 touchdowns. He set new school records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns, while setting new OVC records for attempts and completions. He tossed for at least 300 yards in seven games, including going over 400 yards four times. He threw at least two touchdown passes in eight of the 11 games. Against UT Martin, Brockman went 45-for-67 for 537 yards and eight touchdowns. He tied the school and conference record for completions, while establishing a new mark for touchdown passes. Brockman now owns the OVC single-game records for completions, yards and touchdowns.
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). He was named a first-team All-American by the Sports Network earlier this week.
Peiffer, who is repeating as an AP second-team All-American, was the OVC Defensive Player of the Year this season after finishing the his senior season ranked 17th nationally in tackles per game (10.64). He recorded a total of 117 (60 solo) to go along with eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup. Peiffer turned in double-digit tackles six times, including a season-high 18 against regional-rival Southern Illinois (Sept. 15). He added another 15 tackles in the Redhawks overtime victory over defending OVC Champion Tennessee Tech and had 14 stops against nationally-ranked Tennessee State. Peiffer wrapped up his career with more than 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons. His 359 career tackles presently rank third all-time at Southeast.
Adams, who was named a second-team Sports Network All-American earlier this week, was a first-team All-OVC performer in both 2011 and 2012. He helped the Colonels rank second in the OVC and 20th nationally in rushing yards per game this season (205.8 yards/game). Adams started every game on the EKU offensive line spanning the last two seasons. As a junior, he played the entire year at right tackle. Adams switched from right to left tackle in the middle of the 2012 campaign due to an injury to Patrick Ford.
Godbolt, who earned second-team Sports Network All-American honors earlier this week, was one of three sophomores on the first and second team defensive units. 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.
2012 Associated Press All-American Selections From the OVC
WR – Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois (1st Team)
AP – Walter Powell, Murray State (1st)
OL – Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State (1st)
QB – Casey Brockman, Murray State (2nd)
TE – A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State (2nd)
LB – Blake Peiffer, Southeast Missouri (2nd)
OL – Aaron Adams, Eastern Kentucky (3rd)
DB – Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State (3rd)