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STATS Announces FCS Preseason All-American Team

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CHICAGO – July 31, 2017 – The offensive fireworks in the FCS were impressive last year, but they could be brighter and louder in 2017.

It will be an arduous task to stop the offensive skill-position players on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team that was announced Monday – perhaps even for the defensive players on the three-team, 97-player squad.

All 13 conferences and 55 schools had selections. The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most with 17, followed by CAA Football (14), the Big Sky (11), and the Ohio Valley and Southland (10 each). South Dakota State led with six individual selections, while North Dakota State and Sam Houston State had five apiece and 2016 FCS champion James Madison had four.

Quarterbacks Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State and Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington highlight the list, along with Fordham running back Chase Edmonds and South Dakota State’s dynamic receiving duo of tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Jake Wieneke.

The record-setting ability on offense is particularly impressive. Briscoe, who won the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award as the national offensive player of the year, passed for 57 touchdowns, a single-season record in the division, as well as 4,602 yards. He was so good that Gubrud and his FCS-record 5,160 passing yards were rendered to the second team.

Edmonds led the FCS in rushing yards per game (163.5), finishing with 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns on 257 carries. He has 5,285 career rushing yards entering his senior season, which puts him on pace to surpass former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson’s FCS all-time rushing record of 6,559 yards.

Goedert and Wieneke combined for 170 receptions, 2,609 yards and 27 touchdown catches last season. They caught passes from Taryn Christion, who lands on the third team. He’s joined there by Samford’s record-setter Devlin Hodges, who finished last season behind Gubrud and Briscoe with 4,088 yards and 36 touchdown passes.

The three offensive, defensive and special teams squads included 37 players who earned STATS All-America honors after the 2016 season. For more FCS coverage, head to FCS.football.

2017 STATS FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Jeremiah Briscoe, senior, 6-3, 220, Sam Houston State

RB – Chase Edmonds, senior, 5-9, 210, Fordham

RB – Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, junior, 5-9, 199, Albany

FB – Joe Protheroe, senior, 6-0, 225, Cal Poly

WR – Justin Watson, senior, 6-3, 210, Penn

WR – Jake Wieneke, senior, 6-4, 215, South Dakota State

TE – Dallas Goedert, senior, 6-5, 250, South Dakota State

OL – Justin Lea, senior, 6-4, 290, Jacksonville State

OL – Jacob Ohnesorge, senior, 6-3, 285, South Dakota State

OL – Brandon Parker, senior, 6-7, 299, North Carolina A&T

OL – Timon Parris, senior, 6-5, 310, Stony Brook

OL – Aaron Stinnie, senior, 6-5, 290, James Madison

DEFENSE

DL – Pat Afriyie, senior, 6-2, 235, Colgate

DL – Anthony Ellis, senior, 6-1, 245, Charleston Southern

DL – P.J. Hall, senior, 6-1, 280, Sam Houston State

DL – Darius Jackson, senior, 6-3, 237, Jacksonville State

LB – Nick DeLuca, senior, 6-3, 248, North Dakota State

LB – Darius Leonard, senior, 6-3, 220, South Carolina State

LB – Christian Rozeboom, sophomore, 6-2, 220, South Dakota State

LB – Brett Taylor, senior, 6-2, 230, Western Illinois

DB – Mike Basile, senior, 6-1, 200, Monmouth

DB – Marlon Bridges, sophomore, 6-1, 210, Jacksonville State

DB – Cole Reyes, senior, 6-2, 215, North Dakota

DB – Rob Rolle, senior, 6-0, 190, Villanova

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Lane Clark, senior, 5-11, 170, Tennessee State

P – Ian Berryman, junior, 6-0, 205, Western Carolina

LS – James Fisher, senior, 6-2, 216, North Dakota State

KR – John Santiago, junior, 5-9, 180, North Dakota

PR – Khris Gardin, senior, 5-7, 165, North Carolina A&T

AP – John Lovett, senior, 6-3, 225, Princeton

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Gage Gubrud, junior, 6-2, 195, Eastern Washington

RB – Corey Avery, senior, 5-10, 190, Sam Houston State

RB – Detrez Newsome, senior, 5-10, 210, Western Carolina

FB – Anthony Manzo-Lewis, senior, 6-2, 245, Albany

WR – Emmanuel Butler, senior, 6-3, 210, Northern Arizona

WR – Kamron Lewis, junior, 6-4, 195, Saint Francis

WR – Troy Pelletier, senior, 6-3, 205, Lehigh

TE – Andrew Vollert, senior, 6-5, 245, Weber State

OL – Daniel Cooney, junior, 6-8, 315, San Diego

OL – Ben Huss, senior, 6-2, 307, Duquesne

OL – Jacob Judd, senior, 6-3, 300, Western Illinois

OL – Stockton Mallet, senior, 6-3, 307, Central Arkansas

OL – Skyler Phillips, senior, 6-2, 322, Idaho State

DEFENSE

DL – Andrew Ankrah, senior, 6-4, 234, James Madison

DL – Miles Brown, junior, 6-1, 310, Wofford

DL – Kurt Holuba, senior, 6-4, 270, Princeton

DL – Greg Menard, senior, 6-2, 239, North Dakota State

DL – Ebenezer Ogundeko, senior, 6-3, 255, Tennessee State

LB – Solomon Brown, junior, 6-1, 220, Charleston Southern

LB – Garrett Dolan, senior, 6-2, 240, Houston Baptist

LB – Jared Farley, senior, 5-11, 221, Northern Iowa

LB – Shaheed Salmon, senior, 6-1, 226, Samford

DB – Tre Dempsey, senior, 5-10, 179, North Dakota State

DB – Kahlid Hagens, senior, 6-3, 200, UT Martin

DB – Davontae Harris, senior, 6-0, 200, Illinois State

DB – Tremon Smith, senior, 6-0, 186, Central Arkansas

DB – Kailik Williams, senior, 5-11, 185, The Citadel

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Griffin Trau, junior, 5-8, 180, Richmond

P – Keith Wrzuszczak, senior, 5-11, 202, Eastern Kentucky

LS – Hunter Winstead, senior, 6-0, 240, Liberty

KR – Shane Simpson, sophomore, 5-9, 185, Towson

PR – Londell Lee, senior, 6-2, 210, UT Martin

AP – Harold Cooper, senior, 5-9, 183, Rhode Island

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Taryn Christion, junior, 6-2, 215, South Dakota State

QB – Devlin Hodges, junior, 6-1, 213, Samford

RB – Dom Bragalone, junior, 5-11, 215, Lehig

RB – Anthony Philyaw, senior, 6-1, 205, Howard

RB – Deontez Thompson, sophomore, 6-0, 200, Richmond

FB – Kane Louscher, senior, 6-2, 245, South Dakota State

WR – Yedidiah Louis, senior, 5-8, 187, Sam Houston State

WR – Patrick Smith, senior, 6-0, 190, Tennessee State

TE – Jonathan Kloosterman, senior, 6-3, 245, James Madison

OL – Frank Cirone, senior, 6-3, 280, Charleston Southern

OL – Jamil Demby, senior, 6-5, 310, Maine

OL – Chris Durant, senior, 6-4, 310, William & Mary

OL – Justin Spencer, senior, 6-5, 305, Youngstown State

OL – Tyler Tezeno, senior, 6-4, 317, Sam Houston State

DEFENSE

DL – Abdullah Anderson, senior, 6-4, 295, Bucknell

DL – Keontre Anderson, senior, 6-3, 240, Jackson State

DL – Jonathan Petersen, senior, 6-1, 230, San Diego

DL – Jay-Tee Tiuli, senior, 6-4, 315, Eastern Washington

DL – Juwan Wells, junior, 6-2, 255, Liberty

LB – Mac Bignell, senior, 6-1, 205, Montana State

LB – George Odum, senior, 6-2, 190, Central Arkansas

LB – Chad Meredith, senior, 6-4, 244, Southeast Missouri

LB – Dale Warren, junior, 6-0, 215, Chattanooga

DB – Raven Greene, senior, 6-0, 200, James Madison

DB – Robbie Grimsley, junior, 6-0, 183, North Dakota State

DB – Danny Johnson, senior, 5-10, 195, Southern

DB – Taron Johnson, senior, 6-0, 180, Weber State

DB – Omari Williams, senior, 6-1, 190, Samford

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Alex Probert, sophomore, 5-9, 170, Liberty

P – Jacob DeMaio, senior, 6-5, 205, Weber State

LS – Danny Garza, senior, 6-0, 230, Houston Baptist

KR – Deion Holliman, senior, 5-9, 188, Missouri State

PR – Terry Wallen, senior, 5-11, 182, Drake

AP – Justice Shelton-Mosley, junior, 5-10, 195, Harvard

STATS Takes Over Payton, Buchanan, Robinson, Rice Awards, Announces FCS Banquet Date

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CHICAGO – Nov. 3, 2016 – STATS, the world’s leading sports data and technology company, announced an agreement today that will allow it to hand out a quartet of legacy NCAA Football Championship Series (FCS) awards tied to some of the biggest names in the subdivision’s history.

Just prior to the FCS postseason concluding in January, STATS will present:

  • • The FCS Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS’ offensive player of the year;
  • • The FCS Buck Buchanan Award, given to its defensive player of the year;
  • • The FCS Eddie Robinson Award, given to its coach of the year; and
  • • The FCS Jerry Rice Award, given to its freshman of the year.

Founded by Mickey Charles of The Sports Network, the annual honors date back to 1987, when the Payton Award was presented to running back Kenny Gamble of Colgate. Since then, names of future NFL stars like Steve McNair, Brian Westbrook and Tony Romo have been called up to accept the hardware. Last season, Cooper Kupp – who became the FCS’ all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns this season – was the winner. The Robinson Award also began in 1987.

“I’ve always considered the storylines of the FCS to be just as important as the rest of Division I college football,” said Charles. “And lacking a Heisman of their own, what better choice than in the name of a football legend, Walter Payton? I am pleased to pass on three decades’ worth of history to STATS for custodianship and expansion at this time.”

The same national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers, and other dignitaries who select the STATS FCS Top 25 poll – numbering over 150 voters – will choose the winners. Those awards join the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award, created one year ago to honor the wife of Eddie Robinson and her service to community and academics.

These awards will be presented to the winning athletes during the end-of-season banquet that will take place Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 – the night before the FCS championship game in Frisco, Texas – at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Convention Center. Last January, almost 200 attendees representing a cross-section of FCS roles came together for STATS’ inaugural awards ceremony.

The Buchanan Award goes back to 1995 and includes such notable alums as Dexter Coakley and Jared Allen, while the Rice Award was created in 2011.

“Coming from an FCS school, I’m proud to lend my name to such a distinction, and to help STATS expand its national coverage initiative,” said Rice, a Mississippi Valley State graduate who is almost universally recognized as the greatest wide receiver of all time and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

Prior to last season, STATS expanded an initiative to serve the FCS community with staples such as a pre- and postseason All-America team, weekly Top 25 poll, national players of the week, award watch lists and season-ending awards.

In addition, STATS created a dedicated FCS website – www.fcs.football – featuring breaking news, real-time scores and other unique content that combined the strengths of STATS’ data, editorial and product expertise. Launched prior to the 2015 season,  the site has accumulated close to two million page views over the past 12 months.

“We laid down a strong coverage foundation last season and, in the process, developed incredible relationships with the schools and the conferences,” said Brian Orefice, STATS’ Director of News. “But we want to ride that momentum into even better content and broader exposure. Thanks to Mickey, inheriting these awards and all they represent can only help us achieve those goals as we try to maintain the legacy of the FCS’ rich past while pushing forward toward its promising future.”

The FCS competes at the NCAA’s Division I level, and is home to 125 schools in 13 conferences across the country. Approximately 150 FCS players are on NFL rosters annually, including current stars like Romo (Eastern Illinois), Joe Flacco (Delaware), Carson Wentz (North Dakota State), David Johnson (Northern Iowa), Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina) and Julius Thomas (Portland State).

STATS to hold annual FCS awards banquet Jan. 8 in Frisco, announces Robinson family scholar/athlete honor

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Chicago, IL – November 13, 2015 – STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports technology, data and content company, announced today that it will hold its annual FCS awards banquet in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 8 – one night before the subdivision’s national championship game at nearby Toyota Stadium.

STATS, which purchased The Sports Network (TSN) in February, made a commitment to expand TSN’s trademark FCS coverage prior to the season, and has followed through with a preseason All-America team, regularly updated player Watch Lists and a weekly Top 25 media poll. In addition, fresh text, data and video content on its recently created destination website – www.fcs.football – has attracted nearly 400,000 page views over the past month.

The banquet will take place at the Embassy Suites Frisco Dallas Hotel Convention Center and feature the handing out of five awards: the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year; the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year; the STATS FCS Coach of the Year; the STATS FCS Freshman Player of the Year; and the STATS Doris & Eddie Robinson FCS Scholar/Athlete of the Year.

The ceremony will be emceed by Gary Reasons, an FCS football alumnus (Northwestern State) and member of the College Football Hall of Fame who went on to star at linebacker for the New York Giants during two Super Bowl-winning seasons.

“We couldn’t be happier with the way our decision to cover the FCS has turned out,” said Brian Orefice, STATS’ news director who has overseen the initiative along with longtime FCS beat writer Craig Haley and FCS operations director Phil Sokol – both of whom joined STATS following its TSN acquisition. “The leagues and schools have been incredible partners, and, by sheer luck, we entered the fray during one of the most dramatic years on the field ever. We hope this awards banquet can somehow come close to replicating the excitement of the season.”

With just three weeks until the start of the FCS playoffs, Jacksonville State has maintained the top spot in the STATS FCS Top 25 for the past eight weeks, but there’s been no shortage of parity since the season fittingly began with four-time defending champ North Dakota State being upset at Montana, 38-35. Individually, a trio of big-name quarterbacks – Villanova’s John Robertson, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and James Madison’s Vad Lee – had premature ends to promising regular seasons, leaving the Offensive Player of the Year race wide open.

Voting will take place for the Offensive, Defensive, Freshman and Coaching honors between Nov. 23-27 – before the playoffs begin – by the same panel of 160 members who make up the weekly Top 25 voting. In addition to the freshman and coach recipients, three finalists apiece will be invited to Frisco for the announcement of the Offensive and Defensive awards.

The other honor to be handed out is associated with FCS royalty.

In conjunction with the family of Eddie Robinson, STATS has named its academic achievement award in fitting tribute to the longtime Grambling coach and his wife Doris, a former teacher and the renowned matriarch of Grambling athletics, who died in September at the age of 96. Eddie, of course, won 408 games at the school – the most ever for a football coach at the time of his 1997 retirement – before passing away 10 years later.

“The family of Doris and Coach Eddie Robinson is respectfully honored to have STATS name its academic achievement award in tribute to a couple who together emphasized higher education as an expected parallel with athletics,” said Eddie Robinson III, grandson of Grambling’s first family.

STATS announces FCS preseason Top 25 poll, launches www.fcs.football destination site

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Chicago, IL – August 10, 2015– STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports technology, data and content company, unveiled its preseason FCS Top 25 poll Monday – featuring four-time defending champion North Dakota State as the overwhelming No. 1 – and launched a destination site for FCS players and fans throughout the country.

STATS, which purchased The Sports Network (TSN) in February, announced it would expand TSN’s commitment to FCS coverage when revealing its preseason All-America team last month. For almost three decades, TSN served the FCS community with such staples as a pre- and postseason All-America team, weekly Top 25 poll, national players of the week, award watch lists and season-ending honors.

To no one’s surprise, North Dakota State University (NDSU) will be a significant part of that coverage. The Bison, who received 144 out of 147 first-place votes, begin their quest for an unprecedented fifth straight FCS title when they take on No. 13 Montana in the FCS Kickoff – the first game of the college football season – on Aug. 29. The game will be televised by ESPN.

“What we’ve done has been phenomenal, but we have to stay hungry,” said NDSU coach Chris Klieman. “It’s different in my five years here now that we have most of our guys back on offense and very few on defense. We are going to need some young guys to step up, and we’re going to be challenged right away at Montana.”

Illinois State, Sam Houston State, Villanova, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Washington, Jacksonville State, Chattanooga, New Hampshire and Northern Iowa rounded out the top 10.

STATS’ coverage of the subdivision will be spearheaded by longtime TSN FCS Executive Director Craig Haley and supported by journalists based out of STATS’ Chicagoland headquarters. The company is leveraging its core editorial, data and product expertise to create a destination site – www.fcs.football – featuring breaking news, real-time scores and video analysis that no FCS fan will want to go without.

“By continuing the FCS Top 25 poll and bolstering it with a destination website, STATS is showing its commitment to improving FCS player and fan experiences. It’s such fertile ground for coverage,” Haley said.

The site will continue to evolve throughout the season both in its look and content. A conference-by-conference preview package and regular video installments on timely topics are set to kick off this week, in addition to features and breaking news as the season nears.

“The idea is to make fcs.football a one-stop shop for everyone’s FCS coverage needs,” said Brian Orefice, STATS’ Director of News and Editorial Operations, “whether that fan is looking for the latest score from a Maine Black Bears game or breaking news on the San Diego Toreros.”

The FCS competes at the NCAA’s Division I level, and is home to 125 schools in 13 conferences across the country. Approximately 150 FCS players are on NFL rosters annually, including current stars Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Joe Flacco (Delaware), Vincent Jackson (Northern Colorado), Jared Allen (Idaho State) and Julius Thomas (Portland State).