EWU QB Vernon Adams headlines 2014 FCS Preseason All-America Team
PHILADELPHIA -- Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams may seem like an easy choice for The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America first team, but consider this: The FCS level is so deep in dual-threat signal callers that the 10th-place finisher for last year's national player of the year award failed to make any of the three teams on this year's preseason squad.
Adams, a junior who was the Walter Payton Award runner-up, was one of 33 2013 All-Americans to be selected to the preseason team and one of five from Eastern Washington, which tied for the most selections by a school with Fordham, whose senior quarterback, Michael Nebrich, was the preseason second-team choice at the position.
Southeastern Louisiana senior Bryan Bennett and Villanova junior John Robertson shared third-team honors at quarterback.
|2014 FCS KICKOFF|
|Eastern Washington will play host to Sam Houston State at 3:30 p.m. ET Aug. 23 to kickoff the college football season.
2014 FCS Schedule
All four quarterbacks finished in the Top 10 of the Payton Award voting for the top individual FCS honor. Princeton's 10th-place finisher, Quinn Epplerly, the 2013 Ivy League offensive player of the year who led the FCS in points responsible for per game, fell just short of being named a Preseason All-American.
Indeed, it was talent galore as the three preseason teams went 101 players deep, spread out among 59 schools and all 13 FCS conferences.
Dual-threat quarterbacks are certainly in fashion in today's game. Adams finished second in the FCS in total yards per game (373.3) just behind the national leader Nebrich (376.4). Robertson (306.5) and Bennett (300.8) finished ninth and 11th, respectively, in total yards per game. All four QBs rushed for at least 500 yards, with Robertson leading the position nationally with 1,405 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Adams electrified all season as the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year and the second-team All-America quarterback behind Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. Adams passed for 4,994 yards and 55 touchdowns, which both rank third all-time in an FCS season, and rushed for 605 yards and four touchdowns for the Eagles, who upset nationally ranked FBS member Oregon State, won their second consecutive conference title and reached the national semifinals for the third time in four years.
Joining Adams on the preseason first team was his favorite target, Eastern Washington sophomore wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who hauled in 21 touchdowns as well as the 2013 Jerry Rice Award as the national freshman of the year. In addition, Eagles senior linebacker Ronnie Hamlin made the second team, and senior running back Quincy Forte and junior offensive lineman Clay DeBord landed on the third team.
Fordham's five Preseason All-America players were Nebrich, first-team choices Sam Ajala, a wide receiver, and Stephen Hodge, a linebacker, second-team selection Mason Halter, an offensive lineman, and third-team pick Dan Light, a tight end. Each a senior, they return to a Rams squad that set a school record with 12 wins in 2013.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference, home to three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State, had the most first-team selections with eight, while its 13 overall selections tied with the Big Sky Conference for the second-highest total behind CAA Football's 15.
Eastern Illinois and Southeastern Louisiana had four selections each, and eight other schools, including North Dakota State, collected three each.
|FIRST TEAM OFFENSE|
|Vernon Adams||Eastern Washington||QB||Jr.||6-0||190|
|David Johnson||Northern Iowa||RB||Sr.||6-3||225|
|Zach Zenner||South Dakota State||RB||Sr.||6-0||220|
|R.J. Harris||New Hampshire||WR||Sr.||6-0||200|
|Cooper Kupp||Eastern Washington||WR||So.||6-2||195|
|MyCole Pruitt||Southern Illinois||TE||Sr.||6-3||250|
|Robert Booker||Missouri State||OL||Jr.||6-3||315|
|Antoine Everett||McNeese State||OL||Sr.||6-3||304|
|Max Holcombe||Jacksonville State||OL||Sr.||6-3||290|
|Jack Rummells||Northern Iowa||OL||Sr.||6-5||301|
|Collin Seibert||Eastern Illinois||OL||Sr.||6-4||277|
|Rob Hollomon||Central Connecticut||AP||Sr.||5-8||170|
|Thomas Kinney||Southern Illinois||PK||Sr.||5-8||174|
|Xavier Roberson||SE Louisiana||KR||Jr.||5-9||170|
|FIRST TEAM DEFENSE|
|Troy Moore||Sacred Heart||DT||Sr.||6-3||285|
|Quinn Backus||Coastal Carolina||LB||Sr.||5-10||215|
|Lynden Trail||Norfolk State||LB||Sr.||6-7||260|
|Harlan Miller||SE Louisiana||CB||Jr.||6-0||170|
|Daniel Fitzpatrick||Tennessee State||S||Sr.||6-2||210|
|Caleb Schaffitzel||Missouri State||S||Sr.||6-0||214|
|Kyle Loomis||Portland State||P||Sr.||6-2||210|
|Chris Highland||Illinois State||LS||Sr.||6-2||215|
|Adrian Wilkins||North Carolina Central||PR||Jr.||5-8||170|
|SSECOND TEAM OFFENSE|
|DaMarcus James||Jacksonville State||RB||Sr.||5-10||230|
|Keshaudas Spence||Sacred Heart||RB||Sr.||5-10||230|
|Nick Butier||Northern Arizona||FB||Jr.||6-1||240|
|Adam Drake||Eastern Illinois||WR||Sr.||6-2||199|
|Tre McBride||William & Mary||WR||Sr.||6-1||200|
|Jeff LePak||Eastern Illinois||TE||Sr.||6-6||222|
|Mike Coccia||New Hampshire||OL||Sr.||6-3||282|
|Chad Hamilton||Coastal Carolina||OL||Sr.||6-3||305|
|Shawn Johnson||Montana State||KR||Sr.||5-9||175|
|SECOND TEAM DEFENSE|
|James Cowser||Southern Utah||DE||Jr.||6-4||244|
|Mike Reilly||William & Mary||DE||Sr.||6-4||265|
|Rodney Gunter||Delaware State||DT||Sr.||6-5||305|
|Xavier Williams||Northern Iowa||DT||Sr.||6-4||311|
|Isiah Corbett||SE Louisiana||LB||Sr.||6-2||245|
|Ronnie Hamlin||Eastern Washington||LB||Sr.||6-2||235|
|Luke Rhodes||William & Mary||LB||Jr.||6-2||242|
|Darrin Marrow||Norfolk State||CB||Sr.||6-1||180|
|Colten Heagle||North Dakota State||S||Sr.||5-11||202|
|Antwan Eddie||Robert Morris||PR||Sr.||5-10||180|
|THIRD TEAM OFFENSE|
|Bryan Bennett||SE Louisiana||QB||Sr.||6-3||200|
|Quincy Forte||Eastern Washington||RB||Sr.||5-11||185|
|Shepard Little||Eastern Illinois||RB||Jr.||5-10||198|
|Dalton Turay||UC Davis||FB||Sr.||5-10||220|
|DeAndre Carter||Sacramento State||WR||Sr.||5-9||185|
|Clay DeBord||Eastern Washington||OL||Jr.||6-6||290|
|Donald Jackson III||Sam Houston State||OL||Jr.||6-2||270|
|Jonathan Smith||Jackson State||OL||Sr.||6-3||280|
|Domanic Wilson||South Carolina State||OL||Jr.||6-5||300|
|Jatavious Wilson||Central Arkansas||KR||So.||5-9||171|
|THIRD TEAM DEFENSE|
|Anthony Bass||Tennessee State||DE||Sr.||6-2||230|
|LaMichael Fanning||Jacksonville State||DE||Jr.||6-7||270|
|Jonathan Woodard||Central Arkansas||DE||Jr.||6-6||271|
|Carlton Littlejohn||North Dakota State||LB||Sr.||6-1||216|
|Avery Boykin||Mississippi Valley State||CB||Sr.||6-0||190|
|Martinez Davis||Western Illinos||CB||Sr.||5-10||180|
|Dean Marlowe||James Madison||S||Sr.||6-2||205|
|Cory Carter||Texas Southern||P||Jr.||5-10||185|
|Christian Dudzik||North Dakota State||PR||Sr.||5-10||188|