Five SWAC Players Earn FCS All-America Honors
Five student-athletes from the SWAC, three from Alabama State, were named to the Sports Network FCS All-America team on Monday.
Alabama State punter Bobby Wenzig, free safety Kejuan Riley, and tackle Terren Jones joined Arkansas-Pine Bluff defensive end Brandon Thurmond and Mississippi Valley State defensive tackle Robert Simpson on the Sports Network FCS All-America team announced on Monday.
Thurmond and Wenzig earned second-team honors, while Jones, Simpson and Riley all landed spots on the third team. All four players were also named AFCA All-America a week ago.
Thurmond (6'2, 260, Sr., Augusta, Ga.) led the nation in sacks with 17.5. His sack total ties him for the UAPB record. Thurmond finished the season with 70 tackles (40 solo). He led the Golden Lions in tackles-for-loss with 28, ranking him second in the SWAC and FCS. He also forced a fumble and recovered three. In addition to being voted first team All-SWAC, Thurmond was selected conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Wenzig (6-2, 185, JR, San Diego, Ca.) led the SWAC and ranked third in the nation in punting in earned Sports Network FCS All-America accolades for the first time. He averaged a career high in punting average (45.6 yards), punts of at least 50 yards (20), and punts downed inside the 20 (24). Wenzig was a six-time SWAC Special Teams Player of the Week winner and a one-time National Special Teams Player of the Week honoree, had a game average of at least 46.0 yards per punt six times, and also had one rush for 14 yards leading to game-winning touchdown at Grambling State. Wenzig is a two-time All-SWAC recipient, and earned first-team honors this season.
Riley (6-2, 208, SR, Wetumkpa, Ala.) becomes a three-time Sports Network FCS All-America at free safety (2nd Team 2010; 1st team 2011). Riley is Alabama State’s career leader in interceptions (21) and interception return yards (348. This season, Riley was ranked second in the SWAC with four interceptions, while ranking fourth on the team with 55 tackles (39 solo), 3.0 tackles for loss, four passes defensed, and one forced fumble. Riley made interceptions in back-to-back games twice this season (vs. Mississippi Valley State / at Grambling; at Prairie View/at Southern). Riley also earned first-team All-SWAC honors for the third time.
Jones (6-7, 320, SR, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) is named to the Sports Network FCS All-America team for the first time. Jones anchored the offensive line, starting every game at left tackle. He helped the Hornets gain more than 400 yards four times and score at least 30 points in six consecutive games. Alabama State rushed for more than 2,000 yards this season with a conference-best 31 rushing touchdowns. Jones earned All-SWAC honors for the third straight season, his second straight first team selection, in 2012.
Simpson (6-4, 255 Jr., Gulf Port, Miss.) led the FCS in tackles for loss with 29 and ranked third in the SWAC in sacks with seven. He also recovered two fumbles and had 59 tackles.