Three Ohio Valley Conference players have been named first team FCS All-American by The Sports Network: Murray State’s Walter Powell, (All Purpose) Tennessee State’s A.C. Leonard, (TE) and Eastern Illinois’ Erik Lora. (WR)
In all, the OVC has 10 selections to TSN’s All-American teams, 5th most of any FCS conference:
- Aaron Adams, Eastern Kentucky (OL) 2nd team
- Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State (OL) 2nd team
- Montri Hughes, UT Martin (DT) 2nd team
- Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State (DB) 2nd team
- Casey Brockman, Murray State (QB) 3rd team
- Quentin Sims, UT Martin (WR) 3rd team
- Blake Peiffer, Southeast Missouri (LB) 3rd team
After missing the 2011 season due to injury, Lora helped lead the Panthers to its sixth OVC Championship and first since 2009. During the year he set the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) record for receptions in a season (124), eclipsing the old mark of 123 set during the 2009 season. During the regular season Lora led the nation in receptions/game (11.27), receiving yards/game (139.18) and total receiving yards (1,531). The redshirt junior’s 12 receiving touchdowns this season ranked eighth in OVC history. Lora began the season with seven-straight 100-plus yard receiving games, breaking the OVC record of five-straight; the seven-straight games are tied for the most in the NCAA in the past 12 years. Lora finished the regular season with eight 100-yard receiving games in 11 total contests. In the team’s 50-49 overtime victory over Murray State on Sept. 22, Lora hauled in an OVC single-game record 21 catches (breaking a 43-year old record); the 21 catches were the fourth-most in FCS single-game history and tied for the most in Division I football (FBS or FCS) this season. He finished that game with 21 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns and also threw the winning two-point conversion pass in overtime to lift his team to the victory; that performance earned him National Player of the Week honors. In seven OVC games this season Lora averaged 12.6 receptions and 157.3 yards/game.
Murray State junior Walter Powell, a second-team OVC selection as a wide receiver, (go figure) finished the year as one of the top return specialists in the nation. Powell ranked fifth nationally in punt returns, averaging 15.8 yards/return including returning two for touchdowns; in the season finale against Southeast Missouri, Powell became the first player since the FCS was formed in 1978 to return a punt 100 yards for a touchdown. Powell also averaged 26.3 yards per kickoff return (19th nationally), including a long return of 83 yards during the final game of the season. Overall Powell was second nationally in all-purpose yards (193.0/game).
A.C. Leonard, in his first season with TSU after transferring from Florida, was an OVC first-team tight end selection after catching 51 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns; the 733 yards were the most by a tight end at the FCS level this year.