In 2012 the United States Collegiate Athletic Association announced that football would join wrestling as being recognized as emerging sports of the association. During its first year of recognition the USCAA awarded players of the week, National All-Academic honors, and recorded statistical leaders for football. This year the USCAA will expand that recognition to include an All-USCAA Football team to honor the top football players in the association.
With football schedules kicking off next weekend the USCAA takes a brief look at its 11 football playing institutions below.
Not only will this be Alfred State’s first year competing in USCAA football, but it’s the Pioneers first year as a four-year institution. With the benefit of having juniors and seniors on the team, Alfred State will be returning six players on offense and nine players of defense from 2012’s 5-4 campaign.
The Pioneers top returning players on offense are WR Devin Simmons and QB Greg Hampton, both returning after playing previously in 2011. During that season Simmons had 50 catches for 770 yards and 11 TD’s while Hampton amassed 1600 yards and threw for 19 touchdowns. Alfred State’s top returning defensive starters are LB Rory Spain, the team’s leading tackler in 2011, and SS Keegan Phalen, the team’s leading tackler in 2012.
The Apprentice School
The Builders enter the 2013 season looking to build off a 2-8 record from last season. Apprentice will be returning seven starters on offense and seven starters on defense. Jodey McNeil, a junior RB, returns as the leading rusher from the 2012 squad. In six games McNeil tallied 449 yards and three touchdowns on just 95 carries.
Among the seven returning starters on defense is Brock Bullock, the leading tackler last year with 74 (13 for a loss). The Apprentice School plays a USCAA heavy schedule, with head-to-head contests against Alfred State, Ave Maria, and Southern Virginia University (two games) looming during the season.
Ave Maria University
Coming off a 1-6 season, the Gyrenes of Ave Maria University will start their second season of football with a strong schedule of five home games, including four in a row from mid-October to early November. Lazaro Herrera is the leading returning rusher after having a team-best 321 yards in 2012, while Chris Fahey topped the team in receiving yards last year with 287 and a team-high three touchdowns. On defense, senior Zechariah Flick is the leading returning tackler from 2012 with a team-high 77.
They’ll open their season on August 31 at historic Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois against NAIA member Robert Morris University. The Gyrenes have a pair of USCAA contests on the road against Concordia University-Alabama and The Apprentice School.
Concordia College of Alabama
The Concordia College of Alabama Hornets will kick off their 2013 season with seven returning starters on offense and eight returning starters on defense. The Hornets will be led on offense by redshirt freshman QB Cameron Mayfield and his top target, WR David Hampton. On defense the Hornets will turn to redshirt freshman LB DeVontae Beach and fellow LB Jonathan Drake to shut down their opponents on offense.
Iowa Wesleyan College
The Tigers are returning four starters on offense and just one starter on defense from last year’s 3-8 squad. Senior WR Ridge Hobbs, one of the most decorated players in Tigers history, leads the offense. Last season Hobbs caught 48 passes for 880 yards and 11 TD’s. He currently sits at number three all-time at IWC in career receiving yards (2,059) and needs just 137 yards to move into first-place. On defense junior Sam Balbach (DL) is the Tiger’s lone returning starter. Balbach recorded 23 tackles and 3 sacks in 7 games last season.
Lindenwood University – Belleville
The 2012 season marked the first year for football on the Lindenwood University-Belleville campus. In year two sophomore running back Kameron Harris and senior defensive end Philepae Phillips will look to help the Lynx improve on their 4-6 record from last year. Harris led the USCAA in yards (795), yards per rush (5.3), and touchdowns (10) in 2012. Phillips registered 45 tackles and 5 sacks last year for a Lynx defense that was second in the USCAA in turnovers created.
Ohio Midwestern College
New head coach Douglas Davenport leads the Ohio Midwestern College Rams into the 2013 season. This season the Rams will play games against University of the Cumberlands, Ashland University, Tiffin University, Carson Newman College, University of Pikeville, Wilmington College, Kentucky Christian University, and Thomas More College.
Robert Morris University-Peoria (Club)
In the first year of their football program, Robert Morris University-Peoria will be competing at a club level. The Eagles expect QB Mike Davis, RB Emerson Evans and Tyler Ashby, WR’s JaWaun Davis and Walter Burns, TE Brandon Watson, and linemen Ryan Wright, Shay Hill, and George Lewis to lead their offense. On defense RMU-Peoria will rely on DB’s Rasard Booker, Kyle McKenna, and Kyle Dockery, LB’s Taylor Hornung, Aaron Martin, and defensive linemen Justin Jones, Brandon Jackson, Tylander Amos, and Richard Haggard.
Southern Virginia University
The Knights head into their final year as an independent coming off a 5-6 record in 2012. Sophomore Andy Jones was the leading passer in 2012 after throwing for nearly 780 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior Jamal Coates topped the team on the ground running for 402 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior linebacker Robert Robbins led the team in solo tackles in 2012 with 44 to go with a team-best 56 assisted tackles. He had six tackles for loss, one interception and recovered three fumbles to go along with a blocked kick. He was twice named a USCAA Defensive Player of the Week last season. They’ll face four USCAA opponents on the 2013 slate with three games coming from in-state opponents Virginia University of Lynchburg and two against The Apprentice School. USCAA newcomer Alfred State will visit Southern Virginia in November.
Virginia University of Lynchburg
The Dragons are returning nine players on offense and eight players on defense from last year’s 2-8 team. Key players for the Dragons on offense are QB Emmanuel Yeager, TE Devon Stewart, RB Macha Shinhoster, WR’s Ronald Green and Josh Robertson, and linemen Jamar Lewter and Oluwakayode Whesu. On defense Virginia University-Lynchburg will rely on DT Lekendrick Ross, DE Blake Jones, CB’s Derron Hall and Keith Lewis, FS Monte Robinson, OLB’s Andre Barrington and Jamal Atofau, and SS Breon Washington.
The Williamson Trade Mechanics enter the 2013 season looking to rebound from a 0-7 campaign. The Mechanics will return four players on offense and defense. The Williamson attack is managed by QB Nick Rentos and OT Matt Sinnex leads the list of other key performers on the Mechanics’ offense. ILB Logan Fetterhoff (34 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass break-ups, and 2 fumble recoveries in 2012) teams with DT Jeff Brooks (12 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack in 2012) and NT Brian McGilloway (30 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception in 2012) to buffer the Williamson defense.
USA Football News Small College Preseason All-American Team (USCAA honorees)
WR – Rich Hobbs – Iowa Wesleyan College
DL – Brian McGilloway – Williamson Trade
DB – Gage Hayes – Ave Maria University
OL – Jesse Temperolli – Ave Maria University
OL – Jeff Brooks – Williamson Trade
OL – Michael Glover – Lindenwood University-Belleville
DL – Philepae Phillips – Lindenwood University-Belleville
LB – Kurt Joseph – Ave Maria University
LB – Logan Fetterhoff – Williamson Trade
LB – Izhia Roundtree – The Apprentice School
DB – Josh Schneider – Williamson Trade
QB – Kenny Gibson – Lindenwood University-Belleville
RB – Kameron Harris – Lindenwood University – Belleville
TE – Jemarco Clark – Iowa Wesleyan College
WR – Travis Makauskas – Ave Maria University
OL – Wes Hockaday – Lindenwood University-Belleville
OL – Ja’Korey Walker – Iowa Wesleyan College
LB – Adrian Williams – Lindenwood University-Belleville
LB – Zachariah Flick – Ave Maria University
DB – Marlon Lane – The Apprentice School
DB – Brock Bullock – The Apprentice School