JSU Trio Named AP All-Americans


The Associated Press released its 2016 FCS All-America Team on Thursday and it included three Gamecocks.

Jacksonville State junior defensive end Darius Jackson was a first team selection, senior center Casey Dunn was a second team pick and senior cornerback Jaylen Hill earned third team honors. It marks the first All-America honor for both Jackson and Hill, while Dunn was named an All-American for the second-straight season.

The Ohio Valley Conference had five players named to either the first, second or third team, with JSU grabbing three of those honors. Tennessee State had the other two.

Jackson, the 2016 OVC Defensive Player of the Year, was one of the nation's top pass rushers in 2016, leading the OVC and ranking 16th nationally in sacks with 0.83 per game. The Bessemer, Ala., native ended the season with 10 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss, both tops in the league. His sacks accounted for a total loss of 62 yards for opposing offenses, while his tackles for a loss moved the ball a total of 71 yards.

Through just three seasons in a Gamecock uniform, Jackson has already made his mark in the record books. He holds the school's career records for both sacks (20.5) and tackles for a loss (40.0) with one year of eligibility remaining. He was a key piece in one of the nation's top defenses, one that currently ranks first nationally in third-down conversion defense, fourth in total defense, fifth in rushing defense, seventh in sacks and eighth in tackles for a loss.

Dunn is an AP All-American for the first time after garnering All-America honors by the AFCA and STATS in 2015. He was the anchor in the Gamecocks offensive line that paved the way for the top offense and rushing offense in the OVC. Jax State rolled up 434 yards per game, 250.6 per game on the ground.

The Trussville, Ala., native delivered the ball to OVC Offensive Player of the Year Eli Jenkins and protected him in the middle of the Gamecock line, one that featured five All-OVC performers in 2016. Dunn was one of three First Team All-OVC Offensive Linemen for the Gamecocks and graded out at 90 percent on the season without allowing a sack.

Hill grabbed his first All-America mention after leading the OVC with six interceptions. The Marietta, Ga., native had 13 pass break-ups and was fourth national with 19 passes defended, while returning his six picks a total of 181 yards. He also totaled 32 tackles, 23 solo, with one sack and four tackles for a loss.

A First Team All-OVC performer in 2016, Hill led a JSU secondary that sixth in the nation with 18 interceptions. The Gamecocks are currently ranked fourth in total defense, first in third down conversion defense and 17th in turnovers gained. He wraps up his JSU career with 13 interceptions, the most in JSU's Division I history and tied for the second-most in a career in school history.

(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information: www.jsugamecocksports.com)

The 2016 Associated Press FCS All-America team:

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback - Jeremiah Briscoe, junior, 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Sam Houston State.

Running backs - Chase Edmonds, junior, 5-9, 205, Fordham; Tarik Cohen, senior, 5-6, 170, North Carolina A&T State.

Linemen - Julie'n Davenport, senior, 6-7, 315, Bucknell; Jessamen Dunker, senior, 6-5, 290, Tennessee State; Zach Johnson, senior, 6-4, 331, North Dakota State; Landon Lechler, senior, 6-7, 298, North Dakota State; Mitchell Kirsch, 6-6, 300, senior, James Madison.

Tight end - Dallas Goedert, junior, 6-4, 250, South Dakota State.

Wide receivers - Cooper Kupp, senior, 6-2, 215, Eastern Washington; Karel Hamilton, senior, 6-1, 205, Samford.

All-purpose player - Detrez Newsome, junior, 5-10, 210, Western Carolina.

Kicker - Griffin Trau, sophomore, 5-8, 180, Richmond.

DEFENSE

Linemen - P.J. Hall, junior, 6-1, 280, Sam Houston State; Karter Schult, senior, 6-4, 269, Northern Iowa; Tanoh Kpassagnon, senior, 6-7, 290, Villanova; Darius Jackson, junior, 6-3, 237, Jacksonville State

Linebackers - Dylan Cole, senior, 6-1, 240, Missouri State; Alex Scearce, senior, 6-3, 220, Coastal Carolina; Darius Leonard, junior, 6-3, 220, South Carolina State.

Defensive backs - Donald Payne, senior, 6-0, 223, Stetson; Cole Reyes, junior, 6-2, 215, North Dakota; Lorenzo Jerome, senior, 6-0, 195, Saint Francis (Pa.); Dee Delaney, junior, 6-1, 193, The Citadel.

Punter - Miles Bergner, senior, 6-0, 225, South Dakota.

___

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback - Gage Gubrud, sophomore, Eastern Washington.

Running backs - Khalid Abdullah, senior, James Madison; Jonah Hodges, senior, San Diego.

Linemen - Corey Levin, senior, Chattanooga; Erik Austell, senior, Charleston Southern; Brandon Parker, junior, North Carolina A&T State; Casey Dunn, senior, Jacksonville State; Nick Demes, senior, Penn.

Tight end - Eric Saubert, senior, Drake.

Wide receivers - Brian Brown, senior, Richmond; Kamron Lewis, sophomore, St. Francis (Pa.).

All-purpose player - Rashard Davis, senior, James Madison.

Kicker - Lane Clark, sophomore, Tennessee State.

DEFENSE

Linemen - Donovan McCray, senior, Grambling State; Keionta Davis, senior, Chattanooga; Anthony Ellis, junior, Charleston Southern; Derek Rivers, senior, Youngstown State.

Linebackers - Christian Kuntz, senior, Duquesne; Folarin Orimolade , senior, Dartmouth; Brett Taylor, junior, Western Illinois

Defensive backs - Mike Basile, junior, Monmouth; Casey DeAndrade, senior, New Hampshire; Deion Harris, junior, North Dakota; LeRoy Alexander, senior, Youngstown State.

Punter - Jake Ryder, senior, Towson.

___

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback - Devlin Hodges, sophomore, Samford.

Running backs - Lenard Tillery, senior, Southern; Lorenzo Long, senior, Wofford.

Linemen - Taylor Gadbois, senior, Southeastern Louisiana; Anton Wahrby, senior, Wofford; Mark Spelman, senior, Illinois State; Jerry Ugokwe, senior, William & Mary; Max Rich, senior, Harvard.

Tight end - Andrew Vollert, junior, Weber State.

Wide receivers - Jake Wieneke, junior, South Dakota State; Troy Pelletier, junior, Lehigh.

All-purpose player - Jody Webb, senior, Youngstown State.

Kicker - Erik Medina, senior, Texas Southern.

DEFENSE

Linemen - Pat Afriyie, junior, Colgate; Samson Ebukam, senior, Eastern Washington; Greg Menard, junior, North Dakota State; Winston Craig, senior, Richmond.

Linebackers - Garrett Dolan, junior, Houston Baptist; Darien Anderson, senior, Alcorn State; Chad Geter, senior, Gardner-Webb.

Defensive backs - Nick Gesualdi, junior, Cornell; Danny Johnson, junior, Southern; Xavier Coleman, senior, Portland State; Jaylen Hill, senior, Jacksonville State.

Punter - Tate Lewis, senior, Southern Utah.

(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information: www.jsugamecocksports.com)

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