PITTSBURG — Eight members of the Pittsburg State University football team received recognition of the 2011 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America Team today (Jan. 19), while head coach Tim Beck was named Division II National Coach of the Year by the Don HansenFootball Committee.
Sophomore linebacker Nate Dreiling, who helped lead the Gorillas to the school's first national championship in 20 years, was named Don Hansen National Defensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore wide receiver John Brown earned second-team All-America honors at a return specialist as well as honorable mention All-America honors at wide receiver.
Senior cornerback Elijah Olabode and junior defensive end Gus Toca garnered third-team All-America accolades, while senior quarterback Zac Dickey, senior place kicker Chase McCoy, senior offensive guard Kell Smalley and senior defensive end Spencer Worthington earned honorable mention All-America recognition.
Dreiling, a Hutchinson, Kan., native, made 139 tackles, including 17.0 TFLs, with seven interceptions, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles while helping Pitt State capture the NCAA-II National Championship. He made 46 tackles (11.5 pg) with 7.0 TFLs and three interceptions in the post-season.
A 23-year veteran assistant for the Gorillas prior to becoming the Pitt State head coach in December 2009, Beck helped the Gorillas improve seven games in the wins column in year two after a 6-6 debut season in 2010. He earned MIAA Coach of the Year honors in November and also garnered the 2011 Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year Award earlier this month.
Brown, a Homestead, Fla., native, compiled 2,293 all-purpose yards, ranking among the national leaders in all-purpose (163.8 ypg), kickoff returns (25.7 ypr) and punt returns (13.7 ypr) with three special teams scores. He also caught 61 passes for 1,213 yards (19.9 ypc) and 12 touchdowns.
A native of Cedar Hill, Texas, Olabode recorded five interceptions and 11 pass breakups on the season, including a pair of interceptions in Pitt State's national championship game victory over Wayne (Mich.) State.
Toca, from Blue Springs, Mo., made 57 tackles with a team-leading 19.0 tackles-for-loss and 11.0 quarterback sacks, while Worthington, a Carlisle, Iowa, native, posed 50 tackles with 14.0 TFLs and 9.0 QB sacks.
Dickey, a Pittsburg native, rushed for a team-leading 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns, while completing 149 of 248 passes for 2,290 yards and 17 touchdowns. He compiled 3,455 yards of total offense – the 10th best total in MIAA history.
McCoy, also from Blue Springs, Mo., converted 18 of 21 field goals and 65 of 68 PAT tries, scoring a team-leading 119 points. He set a school record with his 18 field goal conversions.
Smalley, from Tulsa, Okla., anchored an offensive line that allowed just 10 quarterback sacks on the year – the third-lowest total in Division II. The PSU offense averaged 40.2 points and 448.5 total yards (258.0 ypg rushing | 190.5 ypg passing) on the season.
Harlon Hill Trophy winning running back Jonas Randolph of Mars Hill received Don Hansen Offensive Player of the Year accolades, while Missouri Western place kicker Gerg Zuerlein was selected the Don Hansen National Special Teams Player of the Year.
Darrell Leopold from Delta State received the ninth annual NCAA Division II Rimington Award as the division's top offensive center.
Lenoir-Rhyne fullback Isaiah Whitaker and Catawba defensive tackle CJ Barksdale shared Don Hansen National Freshman of the Year honors.
The Don Hansen Division II All-America 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.
The Don Hansen Football Committee selected All-Super Region teams in December and early January, with the first-team and second-team All-Super Region players advancing to the national ballot.
A total of 183 players earned some form of Don Hansen All-America honors. Players from 84 of the 152 football-playing schools in Division II earned Don Hansen All-America accolades
National Champion Pitt State led the way by placing eight players on the All-America squad, while national runner-up Wayne (Mich.) State, national semifinalist Delta State and national quarterfinalist New Haven (Conn.) garnered seven individuals apiece.