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AFCA | May 14, 2021

2021 AFCA FCS All-America teams announced for the spring

Watch South Dakota State's trick play TD catch and run by QB

WACO, TEX. — Sacred Heart running back Julius Chestnut and South Carolina State defensive back Decobie Durant headline the 2021 Spring AFCA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches’ All-America Team announced today by the American Football Coaches Association.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

A finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Chestnut led the FCS in yards rushing per game (171.0) and all-purpose yards per game (205.2). He rushed for a total of 855 yards in five games and was third in the nation in scoring at 14.8 points per game. Durant tied for the FCS lead in interceptions per game (1.0) and passes defended per game (2.2). In four games played, he totaled five pass break ups, four interceptions, seven solo tackles, two quarterback hurries and one tackle for loss. 

First team offense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
QB Eric Barriere 6-0 200 R-Sr. Eastern Washington Aaron Best Inglewood, Calif. (La Habra)
RB Julius Chestnut 6-1 215 Jr. Sacred Heart Mark Nofri Bowie, Md. (Archbishop Spaulding)
RB Pierre Strong, Jr. 5-11 210 Jr. South Dakota St. John Stiegelmeier Little Rock, Ark. (McClellan)
WR Avante Cox 5-10 170 Jr. Southern Illinois Nick Hill Rochester, Ill. (Rochester)
WR DeAngelo Wilson 5-9 173 Sr. Austin Peay Scotty Walden Bowling Green, Ky. (Bowling Green)
WR Jakob Herres 6-4 211 Jr. VMI Scott Wachenheim Easton, Pa. (Easton Area)
OL *Drew Himmelman 6-10 325 Sr. Illinois St. Brock Spack Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo)
OL Tristen Taylor 6-6 325 Sr. Eastern Washington Aaron Best Stockton, Calif. (Stagg)
OL J.D. DiRenzo 6-6 315 Sr. Sacred Heart Mark Nofri Hammonton, N.J. (St. Joseph)
OL Garret Greenfield 6-6 295 So. South Dakota St. Joh Stiegelmeier Rock Valley, Iowa (Rock Valley)
OL Ty Whitworth 6-4 300 Sr. Weber St. Jay Hill Temecula, Calif. (Linfield Christian)

First team defense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL Jahari Kay 6-2 255 Sr. Sam Houston K.C. Keeler Berkeley, Calif. (San Leandro)
DL Isaiah Chambers 6-5 250 Gr. McNeese Frank Wilson Houston, Tex. (Aldine MacArthur)
DL Jordan Lewis 6-3 195 Jr. Southern Dawson Odums Ocala, Fla. (Trinity Catholic)
DL Jared Brinkman 6-2 290 Sr. Northern Iowa Mark Farley Iowa City, Iowa (Regina)
LB ^Bryson Armstrong 5-11 205 Sr. Kennesaw St. Brian Bohannon Marietta, Ga. (Kell)
LB Colby Campbell 6-0 230 Sr. Presbyterian Tommy Spangler Montmorenci, S.C. (South Aiken)
LB Jared Folks 6-1 230 R-Sr. East Tennessee St. Randy Sanders Harrisburg, Pa. (Susquehanna Township)
DB James Ceasar 5-10 185 Sr. Southern Illinois Nick Hill Detroit, Mich. (East English Village)
DB *Kordell Jackson 5-9 188 Sr. Austin Peay Scotty Walden Birmingham, Ala. (Ramsay)
DB Nicario Harper 6-1 205 R-So. Jacksonville St. John Grass Atlanta, Ga. (Carver)
DB Decobie Durant 5-11 175 R-Jr. South Carolina St. Buddy Pough Lamar, S.C. (Lamar)

First team specialists

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P Daniel Whelan 6-6 215 Sr. UC Davis Dan Hawkins Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Rancho Mirage)
PK Ethan Ratke 5-10 178 R-Sr. James Madison Curt Cignetti Mechanicsville, Va. (Atlee)
AP Jequez Ezzard 5-9 190 Gr. Sam Houston K.C. Keeler College Park, Ga. (Hapeville Charter)

*-2019 AFCA All-American       ^-2017 & 2019 AFCA All-American

Second team offense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
QB Eric Schmid 6-1 180 R-Jr. Sam Houston K.C. Keeler The Woodlands, Tex. (The Woodlands)
RB Kevin Brown 5-9 204 Sr. UIW Eric Morris Mount Pleasant, S.C. (Wando)
RB Juwon Farri 5-10 195 R-So. Monmouth (N.J.) Kevin Callahan Germantown, Md. (Northwest)
WR Talolo Limu-Jones 6-5 220 R-Sr. Eastern Washington Aaron Best Vallejo, Calif. (Grace Davis)
WR Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim 6-1 190 So. Alabama A&M Connell Maynor Miramar, Fla. (Miramar)
WR Keith Pearson 5-9 175 Sr. Presbyterian Tommy Spangler Enoree, S.C. (Woodruff)
OL Bucky Williams 6-3 290 R-So. Austin Peay Scotty Walden Ringgold, Ga. (Ringgold)
OL Jake Dixon 6-6 290 Sr. Duquesne Jerry Schmitt Pittsburgh, Pa. (Bethel Park)
OL Brian Foley 6-4 314 Sr. Holy Cross Bob Chesney Clarendon Hills, Ill. (Hinsdale Central)
OL Kyle Nunez 6-2 340 R-Jr. Stony Brook Chuck Priore East Islip, N.Y. (East Islip)
OL Tylan Grable 6-7 290 R-So. Jacksonville St. John Grass Gordon, Ga. (Wilkinson County)


Second team defense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL Spencer Waege 6-5 274 Jr. North Dakota St. Matt Entz South Shore, S.D. (Watertown)
DL Kobie Turner 6-3 285 R-Jr. Richmond Russ Huesman Clifton, Va. (Centreville)
DL Kevin Glajchen 6-2 270 R-Sr. San Diego Dale Lindsey Saratoga, Calif. (Saint Francis)
DL Devonnsha Maxwell 6-2 295 Jr. Chattanooga Rusty Wright Valdosta, Ga. (Valdosta)
LB James Kaczor 6-0 211 Jr. North Dakota St. Matt Entz St. Cloud, Minn. (St. Cloud Tech)
LB Tre Walker 6-1 235 Jr. Idaho Paul Petrino Dos Palos, Calif. (Fresno Central)
LB Jomard Valsin 6-1 240 Jr. Northwestern St. Brad Laird Port Arthur, Tex. (Memorial)
DB Zyon McCollum 6-4 195 Sr. Sam Houston K.C. Keeler Galveston, Tex. (Ball)
DB Preston Smith 5-11 185 Sr. Weber St. Jay Hill Gilbert, Ariz. (Mesquite)
DB Irshaad Davis 5-9 182 So. Alabama St. Donald Hill-Eley Opa Locka, Fla. (Carol City)
DB Brandon Barbee 5-11 192 Jr. Morehead St. Rob Tenyer Orlando, Fla. (East River)

Second team specialists

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P Noah Gettman 6-5 205 Jr. Sacred Heart Mark Nofri Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mainland)
PK Luis Aguilar 6-3 200 R-Sr. Northern Arizona Chris Ball Nogales, Ariz. (Nogales)
AP Devron Harper 5-10 165 So. Gardner-Webb Tre Lamb Conyers, Ga. (Heritage)

Team Background: The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad. From 1945 until 1967, only one team was chosen. From 1967 through 1971, two teams, University Division and College Division, were selected. In 1972, the College Division was split into College I and College II. In 1979, the University Division was split into two teams — Division I-A and Division I-AA. In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III, respectively. In 2006, the Division I-A and Division I-AA teams were renamed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), respectively. In 2006, the AFCA started selecting an NAIA-only team.

From 1965-81, a 22-player (11 offensive, 11 defensive) team was chosen. In 1982, a punter and placekicker were added to the team. A return specialist was added in 1997, giving us the current 25-player team. The return specialist position was replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006. The AFCA added a second team in 2016.

Top Teams: North Dakota State has the most AFCA All-America selections of any current FCS school with 35 selections by 32 players. The Bison are followed by Delaware (32/29), Montana (30/28), Eastern Washington (31/27), Eastern Kentucky (28/26), James Madison (24/24), Weber State (24/23), Northern Iowa (24/21), South Carolina State (22/20), Furman (21/20), Grambling State (21/20), Lehigh (20/20), New Hampshire (20/17), South Dakota State (21/16), North Dakota (19/17), Portland State (18/17), Eastern Illinois (18/16), Youngstown State (18/16), Western Illinois (17/16), McNeese (17/15), UC Davis (17/15), Illinois State (17/14), Northern Colorado (17/14), Montana State (16/16), Towson (16/16), Tennessee State (16/15), Cal Poly (16/14), Sam Houston (16/13), Abilene Christian (15/14), Florida A&M (15/14) and Stephen F. Austin (15/14).

Class Distinction: This year’s AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America Team is made up of 24 seniors, 16 juniors, 8 sophomores and 2 graduate students.

Consecutive Years: Eastern Kentucky leads all schools, having had at least one player named to the AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America Team in each of the first 15 years an FCS team was chosen (1979-93). South Dakota State has the longest current streak at seven years from 2014 to present.

Back-to-Back: Illinois State offensive lineman Drew Himmelman and Austin Peay defensive back Kordell Jackson earned AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America honors for a second consecutive season in spring 2021.

First Time School: Sacred Heart earned AFCA All-America honors for the first time in spring 2021 when Julius Chestnut (RB), J.D. DiRenzo (OL) and Noah Gettman (P) were named to the team.

Double Duo: Tennessee-Chattanooga teammates Keionta Davis (DL) and Corey Levin (OL) earned back-to-back honors for the first time in FCS Coaches’ All-America Team history when they were both named to the 2015 and 2016 teams. They join seven duos in FBS: USC’s Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush (2004 and 2005); Army’s Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard (1945 and 1946); Notre Dame’s George Connor and Johnny Lujack (1946 and 1947); Michigan State’s Bubba Smith and George Webster (1966 and 1967); Ohio State’s Jack Tatum and Jim Stillwagon (1969 and 1970); Notre Dame’s Ken MacAfee and Ross Browner (1976 and 1977) and Colorado’s Joe Garten and Alfred Will­iams (1989 and 1990).

Long Time Coming: Defensive back Brandon Barbee made the AFCA FCS All-America Team for Morehead State, marking the first time the Eagles have had a representative since 1982, when punter John Christopher made the team.

Repeat After Me: Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp (2013-16) joins Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Johnny Bailey as the only players to earn AFCA Coaches’ All-America honors in four consecutive years at any level. Bailey was a four-year pick at running back in Division II from 1986-89.

Third Time’s A Charm: Kennesaw State linebacker Bryson Armstrong (2017, 2019, spring 2021) joins San Diego offensive lineman Daniel Cooney (2016-18), South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner (2012-14), Chattanooga defensive lineman Davis Tull (2012-14), and linebackers Gary Reasons of Northwestern State (1981-83) and Dexter Coakley of Appalachian State (1994-96), as the only three-time AFCA All-Americans in Football Championship Subdivision history.

Yearly Leaders: Sam Houston joins James Madison, North Dakota State and Jacksonville State as the only schools to land four players on the AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America Team in one year. Sam Houston’s came in spring 2021 (Jahari Kay, 1st team DL; Jequez Ezzard, 1st team AP; Eric Schmid, 2nd team QB; Zyon McCollum, 2nd team DB) while JMU’s came in 2019 (Liam Fornadel, 1st team OL; Ben DiNucci, 1st team QB; Ron’Dell Carter, 1st team DL; D’Angelo Amos, 1st team AP) and JSU’s came in 2017 (Darius Jackson, 1st team DL; Siran Neal, 1st team DB; Justin Lea, 2nd team OL; Roc Thomas, 2nd team RB). North Dakota State has done it twice with their 2018 and 2019 selections (2019: Dillon Radunz, 1st team OL; Ben Ellefson, 2nd team TE; Trey Lance, 2nd team QB; Derrek Tuszka, 2nd team DL; 2018: Tanner Volson, 1st team OL; Greg Menard, 1st team DL; Easton Stick, 2nd team QB; Jabril Cox, 2nd team LB). Eighteen schools have placed three student-athletes on the AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America Team in one year, with two of those coming in spring 2021 (Austin Peay and Sacred Heart).

Three Players, Two Schools: Placekicker Cole Tracy joins punter Mark Bounds and placekicker Greg Zuerlein as the only players to earn AFCA Coaches’ All-America honors at two different schools. Tracy earned second team AFCA All-America honors in Division II at Assumption College in 2017, then transferred to LSU in 2018 and earned second team FBS All-America honors. Bounds was named to the AFCA College Division I team in 1990 while playing for West Texas A&M. He transferred to Texas Tech after West Texas dropped football and earned I-A All-America honors as a Red Raider in 1991. Zuerlein was named to the Division II Coaches’ All-America Team in 2009 while playing for Nebraska-Omaha. He transferred to Missouri Western State after Nebraska-Omaha dropped its football program and earned AFCA Division II honors in 2011 as a Griffon.

One Player, Two Positions: Bethel’s (Tenn.) Stoney Burns and Baker’s Clarence Clark are the only players in AFCA All-America Team history at all levels to repeat as AFCA All-Americans at two different positions. Burns was named to the 2013 squad as a defensive back, then earned 2014 honors at all-purpose. Clark was named to the 2015 squad as a receiver, then earned 2016 honors as a place-kicker.

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