WACO, TEX. - Football Championship Subdivision's (FCS) leading rusher and the nation's leading sack artist headline the American Football Coaches Association 2008 Football Championship Subdivision Coaches' All-America Team announced today. University of Northern Iowa junior defensive end James Ruffin was named to the squad.
The runningbacks on the 2008 FCS Coaches' All-America Team are Herb Donaldson of Western Illinois and Javarris Williams of Tennessee State. Donaldson, the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) Offensive Player of the Year, ranks first nationally in rushing (162.18 ypg) and scoring (12 ppg). He is the all-time leading rusher in both Western Illinois and MVFC history. Williams was named the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year after he led the league in rushing (103.7 ypg, 1,037 total yards) and touchdowns (15).
The signal caller on this year's squad is Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State. Edwards, a Walter Payton Award finalist, is second nationally in passing efficiency (170.2) and ranks seventh in total offense (295.6 ypg) this season. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns and passed for 30 more.
Colgate's Nick Hennessey, Albany's Raphael Nguti, Southern Illinois' Aaron Lockwood, Gardner-Webb's Demario Deese and Youngstown State's Brad Samsa make up the offensive line for 2008. Hennessey was an anchor on an offensive unit that finished fifth nationally in rushing offense with 267.67 yards per game, and 12th in total offense with 416.5 yards per game. Nguti led the way for an Albany offense ranked 16th nationally in rushing (200.58 ypg) and first in the NEC in total offense (363.17 ypg). Lockwood was a fixture of SIU's offense which ranks among the top-five in the league in both passing (2nd, 186.8 ypg) and scoring (4th, 29.6 ppg). Deese is the first person in Big South Conference history to earn first-team All-Big South Conference honors all four seasons he played. He helped the Bulldogs rank 16th nationally in passing yards at 258 yards per game. Samsa graded at 83 percent or better in four of the final five games this season, and started at center, guard and tackle during his career.
The wide receivers on this year's team are Andre Roberts of The Citadel and Ramses Barden of Cal Poly. Roberts ended the 2008 campaign with 95 catches for 1,334 yards, both single-season school records and good enough for No. 1 in the conference and No. 2 in the nation. One of two returning AFCA All-Americans on this year's team, Barden caught 67 passes for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns, which tied his own school record. The tight end is John Nalbone of Monmouth (N.J.). Nalbone paced the Hawks in receptions (42), receiving yardage (491) and touchdowns caught (five) in 2008.
The defensive line is headlined by Eastern Washington's Greg Peach. Peach, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, was the FCS leader in quarterback sacks (1.64 per game) and tackles for loss (2.00). He recorded 72 tackles, including 18 sacks and 23.5 total tackles for loss. Northern Iowa's James Ruffin, the MVFC Defensive Player of the Year, racked up a team-high 18 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback sacks to go along with his 69 total tackles. Villanova's Greg Miller had 41 total tackles (30 solo), 13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Jovan Belcher of Maine was named Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in tackles for loss (17.5). He also added 7.5 sacks. Western Illinois' Jason Williams, Jackson State's Marcellus Speaks and Yale's Bobby Abare make up the linebackers on the Coaches' All-America Team. Williams recorded 67 total tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles in 2008. He set the all-time FCS record of 14 career forced fumbles. Speaks, the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, led the league with 122 tackles, while also recording five sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. Abare was the Ivy leader with 55 solo tackles. He also had a team-high 86 total tackles with four interceptions and four sacks.
Lardarius Webb of Nicholls State leads a group of four talented defensive backs on the All-America team. He was second on his team this season with 55 tackles, while ranking first in interceptions with two. William Middleton of Furman racked up 95 tackles and a team leading four interceptions and nine pass deflections. Tennessee-Martin's Dontrell Miller had 78 total tackles, four interceptions, four fumble recoveries and five defensive touchdowns. Colt Anderson of Montana was a unanimous All-Big Sky pick for the third straight season. The Buchanan Award candidate is the team leader with 121 total tackles, while also recording 5.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. THE SPECIALISTS
James Madison's Scotty McGee is this year's all-purpose player. McGee ranked third nationally in kickoff return average at 30.05 yards per return. He scored four touchdowns on returns and had 15 passes defended as a defensive back. In 2008, punter Doug Spada of Southeast Missouri State ranked third nationally in punting, averaging 44.74 yards per punt. He had a long of 65 yards and downed 12 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Placekicker Robbie Dehaze of Northern Arizona ranked fourth nationally in field goals per game with 1.45 per game. He was 16 of 20 on field goal attempts and 34 of 36 on PATs this season.