The Sports Network released their 2013 FCS All-American team’s this year and the Ohio Valley Conference was well represented as five programs saw 12 players make one of the three All-American teams.
Walter Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo headlined the first team and was joined by wide receiver Erik Lora and offensive lineman Collin Seibert. Garoppolo passed for over 5,000 yards, had 53 touchdowns to only nine interceptions and completed 66 percent of his passes this year. Lora was Garoppolo’s favorite target in the Panthers offense hauling in 123 receptions for over 1,500 yards and caught 19 touchdowns. Seibert was one of six players there were not a senior on the All-American team. Seibert and the offensive line at EIU allowed only 20 sacks this season.
Joining the group of Panthers on the first-team was Tennessee Tech punter Chad Zinchini. While the Golden Eagles finished the year just 5-7, Zinchini was blasting punts during the season for the Golden Eagles. On 75 punts this season, Zinchini averaged over 45 yard per punt and pinned opposing teams inside the 20-yard line 20 times this season.
The second-team saw a pair of Jacksonville State players in running back DaMarcus James and kicker Griffin Thomas joined by UT Martin wide receiver Jeremy Butler and Tennessee State defensive back Daniel Fitzpatrick. James led the Gamecocks offense to a new high on the ground this year and set an OVC record scoring 29 touchdowns this season to go along with over 1,400 yards on the ground. Thomas was the OVC’s best kicker, setting OVC records for made field goals (24) field goal attempts (32) and points scored by kicking (134), and he also finished 62-of-63 on extra points.
Butler was the Skyhawks best offensive threat this season hauling 90 receptions for just over 1,200 yards and 10 of the Skyhawks 18 receiving touchdowns. Fitzpatrick had a fantastic year for the Tigers secondary, leading the nation with eight interceptions this season and returning three for touchdowns.
The All-American third team saw both Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State pick up a pair of honorees. Panthers’ wide receivers Adam Drake and Jeff LePak made the third team with Drake finishing second on the team with 83 receptions for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns while LePak in his first year with the Panthers hauling in 51 catches for over 14 yards per catch and eight touchdowns.
OVC Defensive Player of the Year, Anthony Bass was put on the third team and was joined by offensive lineman Kadeem Edwards. Bass led the OVC with 10 sacks this season with 34 tackles and two fumbles. Edwards while missing time due to injuries this season, was a part of a Tigers offensive line that rushed for nearly 2,300 yards and allowed just 29 sacks.