Eight members of the national runner-up Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team earned 2013 NCAA Division II Don Hansen All-Super Region II honors. In addition, third-year mentor Mike Houston was named the super region coach of the year.
Of the eight, six L-R players garnered first-team all-region accolades including four on defense: junior fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.), senior placekicker Zach Neumann (Mechanicsville, Md.), junior defensive lineman Blake Baker (Bethlehem, N.C.), senior defensive lineman Jimmy Long (Gainesville, Va.), junior linebacker Tanner Botts (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and senior defensive back Michael Green (Kingsland, Ga.).
Whitaker, an All-American last year, finished third on the team in rushing yards this year with 912 to go along with 10 touchdowns while Neumann set a school single-season record for points by a kicker with 101.
Baker was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw award this year, given annually to the top offensive or defensive lineman in NCAA Division II, and set a school record for quarterback sacks (14.5) while tallying 56 tackles (22 for a loss).
Long added 59 tackles and 6.5 sacks while Botts led the team in takedowns for the second straight year with 134. Green, meanwhile, was the 2013 South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player Of The Year while leading the league in interceptions with eight in addition to 88 tackles and three touchdowns on returns.
L-R sophomore offensive lineman Joe Ray (Atlanta, Ga.) and junior halfback Jarrod Spears (Bunnlevel, N.C.) were named to the Don Hansen All-Super Region II Third Team.
Ray won the 2013 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given annually to the top offensive lineman in the SAC, and anchored a line which finished first in D-II in rushing yards (370.9 ypg) and set an all-time NCAA record with 5,563 total yards on the ground.
Spears earned all-region accolades as an all-purpose back. Spears led the team in rushing yards (984) and kickoff return yards (718) this fall to go along with 10 total touchdowns.
All eight players were all-conference honorees while Ray, Baker and Green earned All-America accolades by Daktronics last month.
Lenoir-Rhyne finished the year with a 13-2 record and advanced to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game before falling to Northwest Missouri State, 43-28, on Saturday, December 21, in Florence, Ala. The Bears also set a school record for wins in a season and won their third straight South Atlantic Conference Championship this fall.
The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988.
Don Hansen's Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003. The first-team and second-team All-Region selections advance to a national ballot from which the 2013 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America team will be named in January
2013 NCAA Division II
Don Hansen All-Super Region II Teams
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB - Bo Cordell, 6-1, 205, Sr., Tusculum, Cincinnati, Ohio
FB - Isaiah Whitaker, 5-10, 225, Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Salisbury, N.C.
RB - Shakiel Davis, 5-10, 170, Jr., Mars Hill, East Flat Rock, N.C.
RB - Java Swindle, 5-4, 160, So., West Alabama, Thorsby, Ala.
WR - Dimitri Holmes, 5-10, 165, Jr., Mars Hill, Athens, Ga.
WR - Freddie Martino, 6-0, 195, Sr., North Greenville, North, S.C.
TE - Wesley Powell, 6-10, 265, Jr., Tusculum, Titus, Ala.
AP - Dondre Purnell, 5-10, 185, Jr., Stillman, Powder Springs, Ga.
C - Skeeter Sellers, 6-1, 280, Sr., West Alabama, Enterprise, Ala.
OG - Marquell Rozier, 6-7, 360, Sr., UNC Pembroke, St. Pauls, N.C.
OG - William Wright, 6-3, 310, Sr., West Georgia, Pompano Beach, Fla.
OT - Wes Carter, 6-5, 280, Sr., UNC Pembroke, Albemarle, N.C.
OT - Alex Taylor, 6-3, 285, Sr., Carson-Newman, Bristol, Tenn.
PK - Zach Neumann, 5-7, 180, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Mechanicsville, Md.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DE - Troy Harris, 6-4, 260, Sr., Mars Hill, Orlando, Fla.
DE - Blake Baker, 6-1, 215, Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Bethlehem, N.C.
DG/DT - Jimmy Long, 6-0, 240, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Gainesville, Va.
DG/DT - Lawrence Virgil, 6-5, 290, Sr., Valdosta State, Quitman, Ga.
LB - Leron Furr, 6-3, 245, Sr., Fort Valley State, Columbus, Ga.
LB - Tavarius Wilson, 5-11, 235, Sr., North Alabama, Jackson, Miss.
LB - Gabe Poe, 5-10, 210, Sr., North Alabama, Pheba, Miss.
LB - Jaycob Coleman, 6-1, 205, Sr., Carson-Newman, Norton, Va.
LB - Tanner Botts, 6-2, 230, Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Lawrenceville, Ga.
S - Caleb Massey, 6-0, 225, Sr., North Alabama, Sulligent, Ala.
S - Michael Green, 6-0, 195, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Kingsland, Ga.
CB - Eien Jacob, 6-1, 185, So., Carson-Newman, Jeanerette, La.
CB - Thomas Wolfe III, 6-0, 190, Sr., Fort Valley State, Marietta, Ga.
P - James Dugan, 6-5, 180, So., West Georgia, Carrollton, Ga.
RS - Jason Livingston, 5-10, 175, Sr., Newberry, Conway, S.C.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB - Kyle Caldwell, 5-7, 165, Jr., West Alabama, Dadeville, Ala.
QB - Luke Charles, 6-1, 215, Sr., UNC Pembroke, Murphy, N.C.
FB - Jordan Ollis, 5-10, 230, Jr., Brevard, Columbus, N.C.
RB - Jacquise Lockett, 6-2, 230, Jr., Kentucky State, Fulton, Ky.
RB - Brandon Baker, 5-11, 210, Sr., Carson-Newman, Miami, Fla.
WR - Justin Houston, 5-8, 180, So., Tusculum, Cleveland, Tenn.
WR - Corey Washington, 6-4, 200, Sr., Newberry, North Charleston, S.C.
TE - Gabe Hughes, 6-4, 235, So., Florida Tech, Lighthouse Point, Fla.
AP - Trey Walker, 5-9, 165, So., North Greenville, Graniteville, S.C.
C - Tyler Sizemore, 6-2, 305, Sr., North Alabama, Apalachicola, Fla.
OG - Garrison Ushery, 6-1, 335, Jr., West Georgia, Austell, Ga.
OG - Jamal Ellis, 6-4, 315, Sr., Newberry, Pelzer, S.C.
OT - Taylor Burnett, 6-3, 270, Sr., West Alabama, Spanish Fort, Ala.
OT - Brandon White, 6-5, 305, Sr., West Georgia, Cincinnati, Ohio
PK - Curt Duncan, 5-11, 185, Sr., Carson-Newman, Morristown, Tenn.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DE - Javaris Neal, 6-2, 245, So., Carson-Newman, Columbia, Tenn.
DE - Matt Turner, 6-0, 225, Jr., UNC Pembroke, Winston-Salem, N.C.
DE - Reginald Woods, 6-1, 225, Sr., Tuskegee, Compton, Calif.
DG/DT - Taylor Carney, 6-2, 275, Jr., North Alabama, Killen, Ala.
DG/DT - Aaron Bennett, 6-2, 300, Sr., Tuskegee, Hinesville, Ga.
LB - Sammy Siasia, 5-10, 190, Sr., Mars Hill, Marietta, Ga.
LB - Brian Alexander, 6-2, 245, Sr., Tusculum, Union Point, Ga.
LB - Brion James, 6-1, 210, Sr., North Alabama, Hahnville, La.
LB - Michael Gruber, 6-3, 240, Jr., Brevard, Walterboro, S.C.
LB - Fred Williams, 6-3, 230, Sr., UNC Pembroke, Fayerreville, N.C.
S - Demetruce McNeal, 6-2, 185, Sr., West Alabama, College Park, Ga.
S - Michael Robinson, 6-0, 205, Jr., Tuskegee, Ensley, Ala.
CB - Malcolm Butler, 5-11, 180, Sr., West Alabama, Vicksburg, Miss.
CB - L.J. Stroman, 5-10, 185, Jr., UNC Pembroke, Hamlet, N.C.
P - Dominic DeMasi, 6-3, 190, So., Valdosta State, Savannah, Ga.
RS - Michael Davison, 5-10, 160, Fr., Delta State, Avondale, Ariz.
THIRD TEAM OFFENSE
QB - Chris Rini, 6-3, 185, Sr., Lane, Key Largo, Fla.
FB - Wesley Brown, 5-10, 190, Sr., Newberry, John's Island, S.C.
RB - Hoderick Lowe, 5-9, 170, Fr., Tuskegee, Atlanta, Ga.
RB - Cedric O'Neal, 5-11, 205, So., Valdosta State, Dublin, Ga.
WR - Gregory Moore, 6-4, 200, Sr., Lane, Memphis, Tenn.
WR - Xavier Milton, 6-0, 190, Jr., Florida Tech, Alameda, Calif.
TE - Ty Morgan, 6-3, 240, So., West Alabama, Sweet Water, Ala.
AP - Jarrod Spears, 5-9, 180, Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Bunnlevel, N.C.
C - Jake Morris, 6-2, 270, Sr., North Greenville, Spartanburg, S.C.
OG - Terrence Owens, 6-1, 290, So., Miles, Greenville, Ala.
OG - Victor Moli, 6-4, 360, Jr., Albany State, Augusta, Ga.
OT - Joe Ray, 6-0, 245, So., Lenoir-Rhyne, Atlanta, Ga.
OT - Denzell Goode, 6-7, 320, So., Mars Hill, Gaffney, S.C.
PK - Mark Grant, 5-7, 160, Fr., West Alabama, Panama City, Fla.
THIRD TEAM DEFENSE
DE - Nick Napolitano, 6-3, 245, Jr., Wingate, Shallotte, N.C.
DE - Mario Gainer, 6-0, 245, Sr., West Alabama, Gautier, Miss.
DG/DT - Jonathan Jean, 6-3, 280, So., Catawba, Orange Park, Fla.
DG/DT - Antonio Barron, 6-0, 250, So., North Greenville, Landrum, S.C.
LB - Justin Arcune, 6-2, 230, Jr., Florida Tech, Los Altos, Calif.
LB - Tyrell Adams, 6-2, 215, Jr., West Georgia, Atlanta, Ga.
LB - Jason Taylor, 6-3, 220, Jr., Catawba, Bahama, N.C.
LB - Bre'nard Williams, 5-11, 230, Jr., Clark Atlanta, Omega, Ga.
LB - Chris Stapleton, 5-11, 215, Fr., Florida Tech, Navarre, Fla.
S - Joe Beckham, 5-11, 180, So., Miles, Daleville, Ala.
S - Cameron Stallings, 5-11, 175, Jr., Stillman, Hephziosh, Ga.
CB - Jacob McCleery, 5-10, 170, So., Brevard, Columbia, S.C.
CB - Trenton Warren, 5-10, 185, Sr., Delta State, Baytown, Texas
P - Austin Casillas, 5-11, 205, Jr., Clark Atlanta, Gilbert, Ariz.
RS - Derrick Seward, 5-10, 195, Jr., West Georgia, Wheatland, Calif.
Super Region Offensive Player Of The Year - Bo Cordell, Tusculum
Super Region Defensive Player Of The Year - Tavarius Wilson, North Alabama
Super Region Coach Of The Year - Mike Houston, Lenoir-Rhyne
Photo Courtesy: Mike Houston, L-R Athletics