More national kudos came in for a select group of Division I HBCU football players as STATS — formerly known as The Sports Network — released its annual Football Championship Subdivision All-America Team Tuesday.
Eight FCS HBCU athletes — five from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and three from the Southwestern Athletic Conference — earned spots on the team. Five of those selections earned first-team honors.
Prairie View running back Jonthà Hebert is the lone offensive first-team selection in the all-purpose back position. The versatile Hebert finished the season second in FCS in all-purpose yards per game (201.2).
Two players earned spots on the first-team defense: South Carolina State defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and Norfolk State linebacker Deon King. Hargrave earned his second MEAC defensive player of the year trophy after registering 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, both numbers fifth best nationally. Meanwhile, King led FCS with 163 total tackles, including 77 solo tackles.
Southern kick returner Willie Quinn and North Carolina A&T punt returner Khris Gardin earned first-team spots as specialists. Quinn’s four kickoff returns for touchdowns led FCS while his 28.8 yards per return average was sixth best in the nation. Gardin led the nation in punt return average (22.2 yards/return) and he finished the season tied for the most punt returns for scores (2).
Alabama State linebacker Kourtney Berry landed on the second-team defense. The two-time SWAC defensive player of the year led the conference in tackles (130), which was fifth best nationally.
A pair of NCAT Aggies — running back Tarik Cohen and offensive lineman Brandon Parker — earned third-team spots. Cohen, the two-time MEAC offensive player of the year, finished the season with 1,248 rushing yards (13th in FCS). A&T’s all-time leading rusher’s 113.8 yards per game average was eighth highest in FCS.
At left tackle, Parker helped anchor an Aggie offensive line that opened holes for Cohen and powered NCAT to average 30 points per game.
Of the eight selections, five were STATS preseason All-America selections: Hebert, Hargrave, Berry, King and Cohen.