2007 AFCA DIII Coaches' All-America Team Announced

Wisconsin-Whitewater's Justin Beaver and Mary Hardin-Baylor's Jerrell Freeman headline

Dec. 11, 2007

WACO, Texas -- Wisconsin-Whitewater running back Justin Beaver and Mary Hardin-Baylor linebacker Jerrell Freeman headline the 2007 AFCA Division III 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.

 

THE OFFENSE
Justin Beaver capped a stellar college career when he was announced as the winner of the 2007 Gagliardi Award, given annually to the Division III Player of the Year. He was a three-time all-conference selection and is the career rushing leader in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.

 


 

 

Joining Beaver in the backfield are running back Tom Sturges of Gettysburg and quarterback Bobby Swallow of Washington & Jefferson.

 

Sturges rushed for 140 yards per game and 14 touchdowns for the Bullets this season. Swallow directed the Presidents to a perfect regular season and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Hampden-Sydney's Drew Smith, Mississippi College's Jake Allen and Carthage's Bryan Bergman make up the receiving corps of this year's AFCA Division III All-America Team.

 

Smith finished the season as the No. 2 receiver in the nation with an average of 145.6 yards per game for Hampden-Sydney and caught eight touchdown passes. Allen finished No. 5 in the nation with a 125.4 average and 12 touchdowns. He was recently named the American Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Bergman, the tight end on this year's squad, caught 37 passes for 421 yards, averaging more than 11 yards per reception this season.

 

The offensive linemen on this year's AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team are St. John Fisher's Brennan Fortune, Western Connecticut's Tom McDonald, Brockport State's Cuyler Groth, Willamette's Brandon Bennett and Mount Union's Derek Blanchard.

 

Fortune anchored an offensive line that helped the Cardinals rush for more than 2,200 yards this season. McDonald was the top offensive lineman for a Colonials offense that averaged 335 yards per game in total offense. Groth helped pave the way for Brockport's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2002. Bennett is one of three returning AFCA All-Americans on this year's team. Blanchard is the lead blocker for a Mount Union offense that has averaged 547 yards a game entering this weekend's Stagg Bowl.

 

THE DEFENSE
The defense is led by Mary Hardin-Baylor linebacker Jerrell Freeman. A returnee from the 2006 AFCA Coaches' All-America Team, Freeman led a Crusaders defense that held opponents to 272 yards per game.

Joining Freeman at linebacker are Wabash's Adrian Pynenberg and Wilkes' Kyle Follweiler.

 

Pynenberg recorded a school record 168 tackles this season and was named North Coast Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row. Follweiler finished the season with 131 tackles to earn his third Middle Atlantic Defensive Player of the Year award.

 

Wesley's Bryan Robinson, Alfred's Don Miller, Concordia's (Wis.) Wilbur Allen and Waynesburg's Mike Czerwien man the defensive front on this year's All-America Team.

 

Robinson was a two-time Atlantic Central Defensive Player of the Year selection. This season he made 26 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. Miller is the third returnee to the AFCA Coaches' All-America Team this year. A two-time All-Empire 8 selection, Miller made 68 tackles this season. Allen was the Defensive Lineman of the year in the Illini-Badger Conference this season. Czerwien led the nation in sacks per game and finished with a total of 23 on the year. He is the NCAA's all-time sack leader with 52.5.

 

Wheaton's Peter Ittersagen, Rensselaer's Tim Acker, Wartburg's Nick Weber and Capital's James Starks are the defensive backs on this year's AFCA All-America Team.

 

Ittersagen was the Defensive Player of the Year in the CCIW this season. Acker posted 62 tackles, a team-high four sacks and six interceptions for the Engineers. Weber was an All-Iowa Conference selection for the Knights. Starks was Defensive Back of the Year in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

 

THE SPECIALISTS
Occidental's Alex Groh averaged a Division III-best 45.9 yards per punt for the Tigers. California Lutheran's Connor Pearce led the Kingsmen in scoring in 2007 with 71 points. Luther's Tyler Sherden averaged 220.5 all-purpose yards per game this season to lead Division III.

 

2007 AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team

 

Offense
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
WR Drew Smith 6-3 215 Sr. Hampden-Sydney Marty Favret Richmond, Va. (Mills Godwin)
WR Jake Allen 6-4 183 Sr. Mississippi College Norman Joseph Altair, Miss. (Wayne County)
TE Bryan Bergman 6-4 244 Sr. Carthage Tim Rucks Elk Grove, Ill. (Elk Grove)
OL Brennan Fortune 6-3 315 Sr. St. John Fisher Paul Vosburgh Avon, N.Y. (Central)
OL  Tom McDonald 6-4 285 Sr. Western Conn. John Burrell Fairfield, Conn. (Fairfield)
OL  Cuyler Groth 6-7 310 Jr. Brockport St. Rocco Salomone Lafayette, N.Y. (Lafayette)
OL  Brandon Bennett* 6-2 300 Sr. Willamette Mark Speckman San Marcos, Calif. (La Costa Canyon)
OL  Derek Blanchard 6-2 298 Sr. Mount Union Larry Kehres Lake Zurich, Ill. (Lake Zurich)
QB  Bobby Swallow 6-2 210 Jr. Wash. & Jeff. Mike Sirianni Salem, Ohio (West Branch)
RB  Justin Beaver 5-9 195 Sr. Wis.-Whitewater Lance Leopold Palmyra, Wis. (Palmyra-Eagle)
RB  Tom Sturges 5-8 170 Sr. Gettysburg Barry Streeter Ridgefield, Conn. (Ridgefield)

 

Defense
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL  Bryan Robinson 6-3 292 Sr. Wesley Mike Drass Dover. Del. (Caesar Rodney)
DL Don Miller* 6-2 310 Sr. Alfred Dave Murray LeRoy, N.Y. (LeRoy)
DL  Wilbur Allen 6-1 298 Sr. Concordia (Wis.) Jeff Gabrielsen Milwaukee, Wis. (Bay View)
DL  Mike Czerwien 5-8 225 Sr. Waynesburg Rick Shepas Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Hills)
LB  Jerrell Freeman* 6-2 205 Sr. UMHB Pete Fredenburg Waco, Texas (University)
LB  Adrian Pynenberg 5-11 210 Sr. Wabash Chris Creighton Montgomery, Ill. (Oswego)
LB  Kyle Follweiler 6-1 218 Sr. Wilkes Frank Sheptock Slatington, Pa. (Northern Lehigh)
DB  Peter Ittersagen 5-10 190 Jr. Wheaton Mike Swider Wheaton, Ill. (North)
DB  Tim Acker 5-10 180 So. RPI Joe King Arlington, Wash. (Arlington)
DB  Nick Weber 5-11 185 Sr. Wartburg Eric Koehler Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Xavier)
DB James Starks 5-11 190 Sr. Capital Jim Collins Toledo, Ohio (St. Francis de Sales)

 

Specialists
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P  Alex Groh 6-3 220 So. Occidental Dale Widolff Fountain Hills, Ariz. (Fountain Hills)
PK  Connor Pearce 6-2 180 Sr. Calif. Lutheran Ben McEnroe Modesto, Calif. (Modesto Christian)
AP  Tyler Sherden 6-0 205 Sr. Luther Paul Hefty Rochester, Minn. (John Marshall)
*-2006 AFCA All-American

Top Teams: The leaders are Mount Union, Wittenberg and Augustana (Ill.), which have both been represented a total of 17 times by 16 players chosen since 1972. The Purple Raiders, Tigers and Vikings are followed by Wisconsin-La Crosse (15/15), Central (Iowa) (14/13), Washington & Jefferson (14/13), Mississippi College (13/12), Widener (13/10), Emory & Henry (12/12), Ithaca (12/12), Springfield (Mass.) (12/11), Montclair State (12/10), Frostburg State (11/10), Linfield (11/10), St. John's (Minn.) (10/10), Westminster (Pa.) (10/10) and Millsaps (10/7).

 

Consecutive Years: Mount Union has had a player chosen every year since 2000 to equal Emory & Henry's record of eight straight seasons from 1985-1992. Mount Union had one player chosen for six consecutive seasons from 1993-1998. Augustana (Ill.) had a player selected for six consecutive seasons from 2000-2005.

 

Repeat After Me: Five players have earned AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team honors three times. They are: DB Tom Deery, Widener, 1979-80-81, RB Scott Reppert, Lawrence 1980-81-82; RB Joe Dudek, Plymouth State 1983-84-85; DL Sean Brewer, Millsaps 1990-91-92 and P Jeff Shea, California Lutheran 1995-96-97.

 

Class Distinction: This year's AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team is made up of 20 seniors, 3 juniors and 2 sophomores.

 

First Time Schools: Western Connecticut, Luther, Waynesburg and Carthage are represented on the AFCA Coaches' All-America Team for the first time this year.

 

Back-to-Back: Brandon Bennett, Don Miller and Jerrell Freeman earned AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America honors for the second consecutive season in 2006.

 

Team Background
The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945.

The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad in 1945. 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.

 

The AFCA is selecting an NAIA-only team for the second time this year.

 

From 1965-81, a 22-player (11 offensive, 11 defensive) team was chosen.

 

In 1982, a punter and placekicker were added to the team. In 1997 a return specialist was added, giving us the current 25-player team.

 

The return specialist position was been replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006.

 

The Award Members of the AFCA Coaches' All-America Team receive a plaque commemorating their selection to the team.

 

For more information on the AFCA and its programs log on to the AFCA's website at www.afca.com.

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