2015 NCAA Division II AFCA All-America Team

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WACO, TEXAS — Ferris State (Mich.) quarterback Jason Vander Laan and Sioux Falls (S.D.) defensive back Solomon St. Pierre head-line the 2015 AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team announced recently 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.

Vander Laan finished his prolific career at Ferris State by garnering his second straight AFCA All-America selection. He became the greatest rushing quarterback in NCAA college football history at any level by rushing for a total of 5,953 yards. Vander Laan also became the first player in NCAA history to register both 1,000 yards passing and rushing for four consecutive seasons. St. Pierre also earned his second straight AFCA All-American honor by finishing fifth in the nation with nine interceptions. He finished his career with 22 picks, which sets a school record, and ranks No. 1 nationally among active players in the NCAA at all levels. 

2015 AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team

Offense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)

QB  *Jason Vander Laan 6-4 244 Sr. Ferris St. (Mich.) Tony Annese Frankfort, Ill. (Chicago Christian)

RB Damian Baker 5-8 195 Sr. Carson-Newman (Tenn.) Ken Sparks Columbus, Miss. (Columbus)

RB Ja’Quan Gardner 5-7 190 So. Humboldt State (Calif.) Rob Smith Ceres, Calif. (Central Valley)

WR Jon Schnaars 6-3 210 R-Sr. East Stroudsburg (Pa.) Denny Douds Harrisburg, Pa. (Central Dauphin)

WR Reece Horn 6-3 215 R-Sr. Indianapolis (Ind.) Bob Bartolomeo Carmel, Ind. (Cathedral)

TE Adam Shaheen 6-6 240 R-So. Ashland (Ohio) Lee Owens Galena, Ohio (Big Walnut)

OL Shane Thompson 6-3 245 Sr. Texas A&M-Commerce Colby Carthel Keller, Texas (Fossil Ridge)

OL Cory Tucker 6-4 305 R-Sr. Slippery Rock (Pa.) George Mihalik South Park, Pa. (South Park)

OL Joe Ray 6-1 270 Sr. Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) Ian Shields Atlanta, Ga. (Druid Hills)

OL Chris Reaper 6-3 281 Sr. Findlay (Ohio) Rob Keys Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer)

OL Jordan Morgan 6-4 300 R-Jr. Kutztown (Pa.) Jim Clements Philadelphia, Pa. (Parkway Northwest)

Defense

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)

DL *Josh Gordon 6-2 255 Sr. Minnesota St. Todd Hoffner Milwaukee, Wis. (Wisconsin Lutheran)

DL Justin Woods-West 6-2 265 Sr. Central St. (Ohio) Cedric Pearl Detroit, Mich. (Kettering)

DL Morgan Fox 6-4 259 Sr. Colorado St.-Pueblo John Wristen Fountain, Colo. (Fountain-Fort Carson)

DL Clayton Callicutt 6-4 275 Sr. Angelo St. (Texas) Will Wagner Crosby, Texas (Crosby)

LB Kyle Kitchens 6-2 205 So. Catawba (N.C.) Curtis Walker Decatur, Georgia (Decatur)

LB Jewell Ratliff 6-1 238 Sr. Tuskegee (Ala.) Willie Slater New Orleans, La. (McDonogh 35)

LB Alex Wahl 6-2 235 R-Sr. Upper Iowa Tom Shea Elgin, Ill. (Larkin)

DB *Michael Jordan 6-0 200 R-Sr. Missouri Western St. Jerry Patridge Hazelwood, Mo. (Hazelwood Central)

DB Marqui Christian 6-1 205 Sr. Midwestern St. (Texas) Bill Maskill Spring, Texas (Spring)

DB *Solomon St. Pierre 5-11 178 Sr. Sioux Falls (S.D.) Jed Stugart Wagner, S.D. (Wagner)

DB *Jordan Shaw 6-2 215 Sr. Shorter (Ga.) Phil Jones Jasper, Ga. (Pickens County)

Specialists

Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)

PK *Brent Wahle 6-2 175 Sr. Ohio Dominican Bill Conley Pataskala, Ohio (Bishop Hartley)

P Brett Benes 6-0 180 Jr. Charleston (W.Va.) Pat Kirkland Boca Raton, Fla. (Cardinal Newman)

AP Tyreek Hill 5-10 185 Sr. West Alabama Brett Gilliland Douglas, Ga. (Coffee)

*-2014 AFCA All-American

Team Background: 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 — FBS and FCS. In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III, 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. In 1997, a return specialist was added, giving us the current 25-player team. The return specialist position was replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006.

Selection Process: The AFCA’s Division II All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA’s seven districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen.

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

Top Teams: Texas A&M-Kingsville has been represented a total of 34 times by 30 players on the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team, to lead all schools. Trailing Texas A&M-Kingsville is Pittsburg State (20/16), Northwest Missouri State (19/14), Indiana (Pa.) (18/16), North Alabama (17/16), Texas A&M-Commerce (17/15), Carson-Newman (16/15), Grand Valley State (16/15), Ferris State (16/13), American International (14/13), New Haven (13/13), Valdosta State (13/11), Ashland (12/12), Indianapolis (11/11), Saginaw Valley State (11/11), Angelo State (11/10), Catawba (11/10), West Texas A&M (10/10), St. Cloud State (10/9) and Central State (10/8). 

Consecutive Years: Texas A&M-Kingsville had at least one player named to the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team for 18 straight seasons, from 1986 to 2003, the longest streak by any team in Division II. Northwest Missouri State is second, having had 16 straight selections from 1996-2011. Pittsburg State has the third longest streak at nine straight selections from 1988-96. Three teams have had three consecutive selections from 2013 to today: Colorado State-Pueblo, Ohio Dominican and Texas A&M-Commerce. Six teams have had two consecutive selections from last year to today: Ferris State, Humboldt State, Lenoir-Rhyne, Minnesota State, Missouri Western State and Sioux Falls.

Repeat After Me:  Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Johnny Bailey is the only player to earn Coaches’ All-America honors in four consecutive years at any level. Bailey was a four-year pick at running back in 1986-87-88-89.

Back-to-Back: Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan, Minnesota State defensive lineman Josh Gordon, Missouri Western State defensive back Michael Jordan, Sioux Falls defensive back Solomon St. Pierre, Shorter defensive back Jordan Shaw and Ohio Dominican placekicker Brent Wahle are the six players who earned AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America honors for the second consecutive season in 2015.

Two Players, Two Schools:  Punter Mark Bounds and placekicker Greg Zuerlein are the only players to earn Coaches’ All-America honors at two different schools. 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 Division II honors in 2011 as a Griffon. 

Class Distinction: This year’s Division II Coaches’ All-America Team is made up of 20 seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.

It’s Been A While: Wide receiver Jon Schnaars of East Stroudsburg, defensive lineman Justin Woods-West of Central State (Ohio), defensive lineman Clayton Callicutt of Angelo State (Texas) and offensive lineman Jordan Morgan from Kutztown have earned AFCA Coaches’ All-America Team honors for their schools for the first time since 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1997, respectively.

First Time’s A Charm: Charleston (W.Va.) punter Brett Benes and Upper Iowa linebacker Alex Wahl earned honors for their schools for the first time in AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team history.

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