Jacksonville State junior Eli Jenkins was named the FCS Athletic Directors (FCS ADA) Quarterback of the Year for 2015, the organization announced on Thursday.
Only 11 players are honored each year by the FCS ADA in its All-America Award program. Jenkins is the first Gamecock to receive the honor and the second OVC quarterback in the three-year history of the program. Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garropolo won it in 2013.
Jenkins, the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was a First Team All-American by STATS and a Second Team All-American by the Associated Press earlier in the week. He has had a record-breaking season leading a record-breaking offense. With 2,484 passing yards and 1,030 rushing, the Birmingham native is the only FCS quarterback with 2,400 passing and 1,000 rushing yards this season. He and Houston signal caller Greg Ward are the only two quarterbacks in all of Division I to reach those marks.
Jenkins has run for 13 touchdowns and thrown for 19 and has climbed several career lists for JSU this season. Just a junior, his school-record 3,514 yards of total offense is 560 more than any other player in school history, while his 7,922 career yards of total offense also broke the school record last week in a win over Charleston Southern. He has run for 195 yards in each of JSU's two playoff wins over Chattanooga and Charleston Southern and is 26-0 in his career as a starter against FCS foes in the regular season.
He needs just 88 yards of total offense to become the first player in school history and just the ninth in OVC history with 8,000 yards of total offense. He trails former EIU quarterback Tony Romo in ninth place on the OVC's career total offense list by just 137 yards in just his third season of action.
He and senior Troymaine Pope, who has rushed for a school-record 1,576 yards, are the first teammates to run for 1,000 yards in the same season in school history and have led a JSU offense that has already set the school record for total yards (6,770) and rushing yards (4,004) in a season.
The third annual award recognizes the top student-athletes from FCS institutions at 11 different positions. The 2015 class includes student-athletes from 10 different institutions, representing six different conferences. Voting was conducted by a national panel, consisting of media and SIDs.
"On behalf of our association's officers, executive committee and members, I would like to congratulate this year's FCS ADA All-America award winners," stated FCS ADA President Jeff Tingey, director of athletics, Idaho State University. "Each of these student-athletes accomplished great things both on and off the football field this season, and the FCS ADA is proud to recognize their achievements."
From the 11 players listed below, a national Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year will be announced at a later date and recognized at the National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 9, during an on-field presentation.
The following student-athletes will earn 2015 All-America honors from the FCS ADA, as the top players from each of their positions.
Position, Name, Institution
QB, Eli Jenkins, Jacksonville State University
RB, Marshaun Coprich, Illinois State University
WR, Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington University
TE, Eric Saubert, Drake University
OL, Joe Haeg, North Dakota State University
PK, Lance Geesey, Saint Francis University
DL, James Cowser, Southern Utah University
LB, Christian Kuntz, Duquesne University
DB, Deiondre' Hall, University of Northern Iowa
RS, Khris Gardin, North Carolina A&T
P, Ben LeCompte, North Dakota State University
Of the 11 student-athletes, seven participated in the 2015 NCAA Division I Football Championship, including three who will appear in a semifinal game this weekend (Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18/19).
About the FCS ADA: Now in its 22nd year, the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance Football Championship Subdivision football. For more information on the FCS ADA, please visit www.fcsada.com. The FCS ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 51st year. For more information on NACDA and the 15 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.
Courtesy: JSU Sports Information (www.jsugamecocksports.com)