WACO, Texas - Newberry College senior linebacker Will Newell (Irmo, S.C.) has been named to the 2008 American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches' All-American Team, it was announced today.
Newell is only the third player in Newberry College history to earn AFCA All-American honors, and the first in 11 years. Offensive lineman Stan Stanton was Newberry's first AFCA All-American in 1981, followed by offensive lineman Anthony Heatley in 1997.
In 2008, Newell led Newberry in tackles for the third consecutive season, en route to South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as Daktronics All-Super Region 2 second team.
He finished his collegiate career with 338 total tackles, which is the fifth most in Newberry College history. He finished the 2008 season with 91 total tackles for an average of 9.1 stops per game. He recorded six tackles for loss and two sacks and forced two fumbles. He also registered five quarterback hurries, broke up three passes and snagged his first career interception on Homecoming night against Catawba. He was a defensive captain this season as the scarlet and gray claimed their second SAC Championship in the last three seasons.
Newell is only the second Newberry player to earn SAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and the first since Charlie Coles in 1978, which was the league's fourth season of existence.
Newell is one of two South Atlantic Conference players on this year's AFCA All-American team, as he is joined by Catawba offensive lineman Terence Crosby.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945. 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 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.
The AFCA's Division II All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA's nine 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.
Abilene Christian running back Bernard Scott and Morehouse defensive back Jeffrey Cargile headline the 2008 AFCA Division II Coaches' All-America Team announced today by the American Football Coaches Association.
There are two signal-callers on the Division II Coaches' All-America Team for the first time. Billy Cundiff of Ashland set school, single-season records for pass attempts (414), pass completions (279), completion percentage (67.4 percent), passing yards (3,776), touchdown passes (37) and total offense (4,048 yards). Ted Schlafke of Minnesota-Duluth is ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency and has led his team to the national championship game with a 14-0 mark. He has completed 199 of 306 pass attempts for 2,890 yards and 33 touchdowns.
The receiving corps features Mike Washington of West Chester and Johnny Spevak of Central Washington. Washington had 58 receptions for 1,097 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2008, earning PSAC East Offensive Player of the Year honors. He also set a Division II record by catching a pass in 49 consecutive games. Spevak ranked No. 2 in the nation with 91 catches and 1,442 yards, and ranked third with 120.17 yards per game.
Glenville State's Jerry Seymour and ACU's Bernard Scott are the runningbacks on this year's team. Seymour led the nation in rushing with 2,282 yards on 295 carries, while scoring 19 touchdowns. He also led the nation in yards per game with 207.45. Scott finished second in the country with 2,156 rushing yards, but led the nation in scoring with 34 total touchdowns, 28 of those rushing, which also led the nation. He is one of the top three finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy.
The offensive line features Jeremy Davis of Northwest Missouri State, Bill Eisenhardt of Grand Valley State, Roger Allen of Missouri Western State, Nick Urban of Winona State and Terence Crosby of Catawba. Davis paces the nation's sixth-highest scoring offense at 41.9 points per game, and leads an offense averaging 454.2 yards per game. Eisenhardt helped Grand Valley State rank 15th in the country in rushing at 228.42 yards per game. Allen was the anchor of a Griffon offense that averaged 354 yards of total offense a game and scored 27.4 points per game. Urban earned First Team All-Conference by grading 92 percent at his position with 22 cut blocks and one sack allowed. Crosby, now a two-time first team All-SAC pick, anchored an offensive line at left tackle that helped Catawba rush for 184 yards per game.
The defense is led by Morehouse defensive back Jeffrey Cargile. In 2008, Cargile was named SIAC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation in sacks per game (1.25) and tackles for loss per game (2.30). He finished the year with 99 tackles (48 solo), 12.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one interception and one blocked kick.
Joining Cargile at defensive back are Terrence Johnson of California (Pa.) and Andrew Jackson of Merrimack. Johnson recorded 46 tackles (34 solo), 2.5 tackles for a loss, five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Jackson recorded 58 total tackles, five interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 2008. He is the first player in school history to score a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams in a career, and holds the school record with 17 interceptions.
This year's defensive linemen include Ryan Kees of St. Cloud State, Jake Visser of Ferris State, Troy Pribnow of Wayne State (Neb.) and Marcus Kennedy of St. Augustine's. Kees, a Draddy Trophy finalist, recorded 34 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and six quarterback hurries. The only returning AFCA All-American on this year's team, Visser finished the season ranked third in the GLIAC in tackles for loss (1.45 pg) and sacks (0.68 pg). He led Ferris State with 105 total tackles and had four blocked kicks. Pribnow led the NSIC this season in sacks (14), tackles for loss (22), forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (4). Kennedy led his team with 61 total tackles and finished fourth in the nation with 1.9 tackles for a loss per game, totaling 19 on the year.
The linebacker corps includes Will Newell of Newberry, Jared Brock of West Texas A&M, Terrence Jackson of Indiana (Pa.) and Mark Meng of Fort Lewis. Newell earned SAC Defensive Player of the Year honors by leading his team with 91 tackles, while also recording six tackles for a loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Brock earned LSC South Linebacker of the Year honors by leading his team with 83 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss and 10 quarterback hurries. Jackson, the PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year, led IUP in tackles for the third consecutive season with 69. He added 11 tackles for loss, including two sacks. Meng led the nation with 138 total tackles and ranked second at 12.55 tackles per game, earning him RMAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Chad Schroeder of Delta State is the all-purpose player on the Division II Coaches' All-America Team. Schroeder ranked fourth in the nation in punt returns at 16.2 yards per return. He also rushed for 247 yards, caught 61 passes for 654 yards and scored nine total touchdowns. The placekicker is Travis Atter of Chadron State. Atter has made 17 of 23 field goals, with a long of 42, and booted 49 PATs. He owns the school record with 162 successful PATs in his career. North Alabama punter Will Batson averaged 44.5 yards per punt, setting the school single season average mark. He downed 13 punts inside the opponents' 20, and had a long of 61 yards.
Click here to view the entire 2008 AFCA Division II Coaches' All-American Team