North Carolina A&T running back Mike Mayhew and Winston-Salem State running back Nicholas Copper highlight the Boxtorow National HBCU Football All-American Team.
Mayhew, the MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, led the league in rushing with 1,120 while also rushing for nine touchdowns. The Charlotte native averaged 4.8 yards per carry and rushed for 100 yards or more in five games. Cooper, a junior from Clinton, led all HBCU running backs in rushing yards with 1,808 yards, while averaging 6.8 yards per carry. He has rushed for 22 touchdowns and had 10 games of rushing for 100 or more yards.
In a close race at quarterback Jackson State senior Casey Therriault prevailed and was also named the Boxtorow Offensive Player of the Year. Therriault, who was also named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and is a Walter Payton Award finalist, is one of the most prolific passers in the country. He is second in FCS and led all HBCU quarterbacks in passing, averaging 346.2 yards passing per game. He completed 272-of-453 passes for 3,808 yards with 27 touchdowns. Five times this year he threw for more than 300 yards in a game.
Grambling offensive lineman Sanford Banks highlights this year’s offensive line unit. Banks, a 2010 Boxtorow All-American, was instrumental in Tigers running back Dawrence Roberts rushing for over 1,000 yards. Joining Banks is a pair of teammates in Norfolk State right tackle Blake Matthews and left tackle Kendall Noble. Matthews was named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year. Florida A&M left guard Steve Robinson, Bethune-Cookman right tackle Alex Monroe, and Elizabeth City State left guard Baron Coffin round out the unit.
The receiving corps is led by senior Nick Andrews of Alabama State. Andrews leads the SWAC in receptions (78), and receiving yards (1,095), while averaging 14.0 yards per receptions. His 10 receiving touchdowns were second best in the league. Norfolk State junior wide receiver Xavier Boyce was instrumental in the Spartans run to the MEAC Championship. Boyce recorded 68 receptions for 750 yards and four touchdowns. Grambling State senior wide receiver Mario Louis rounds out the corps and is a big reason why the Tigers won the SWAC’s Western Division. Louis leads the SWAC in yards per receptions (21.3) and touchdowns (17) and has recorded 49 receptions for 1,043 yards.
This year’s tight end is Renty Rollins of Jackson State. Rollins led all HBCU tight ends in receptions (39), yards (591) and touchdowns (5), while averaging 15.2 yards per reception.
Defensively, the line is stout as the four members of the unit totaled 62 sacks. Prairie View A&M senior defensive end Adrian Hamilton was named the Boxtorow Willie Davis Defensive Player of the Year. Also the SWAC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, he leads the country in sacks (20.5) and is second with 26.5 tackles for losses totaling 126 yards. He is also fourth in the SWAC in tackles (81) and registered at least one sack in nine games. The award is named after Davis, the former Grambling State star, who was one of the NFL’s greatest players of all-time, playing his entire career with the Green Bay Packers.
Bethune-Cookman senior defensive end Ryan Davis, a 2010 Boxtorow All-American, was named the MEAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and put up some gaudy numbers. Davis led the MEAC with 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, while registering 65 tackles (40 solo). As great as those numbers are,. Alabama A&M senior defensive end Cory Hart joins Davis and Hamilton as does Jackson State junior Joseph LeBeau. Hart leads the nation in tackles for loss (27.0) and registered 14 sacks. LeBeau registered 15.5 sacks which was second in the SWAC, 24.5 tackles for loss, and 75 tackles (44 solo).
The All-American linebacking corps features two senior defensive players of the year in Grambling’s Cliff Exama and Rico Council of Tennessee State. Exama was also a Boxtorow All-American last year and leads the SWAC in tackles (129). The SWAC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year also had 17.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and four passes defended. Council, the OVC’s Defensive Player of the Year recorded 87 tackles (50 solo), eight tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and six passes defended (5 breakups).
Howard’s Keith Pough and Norfolk State’s Corwin Hammond were also part of the unit. Pough tied for lead in the MEAC in tackles (120) and stopped opponents behind the line of scrimmage 21 times. Hammond also had 120 tackles with 13 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
The Boxtorow secondary is led by Alabama State junior safety Kejuan Riley. Riley led all HBCU players in interceptions (9), while registering 75 tackles (46 solo). Joining Riley in the secondary is his teammate Saeed Lee, who led the SWAC in passes defended (16). Joining Riley and Lee is Winston-Salem State safety Alton Keaton the CIAA’s Defensive Player of the Year, and South Carolina State’s Dominique Ellis.
Norfolk State kicker Ryan Estep leads the specialty team. Estep led the MEAC in scoring (94 points) and connected on 20-of-23 field goals. Fort Valley State punter Marquette King led the SIAC in yards per punt (43.0). He had 60 punts for 2,582 yards and recorded 16 punts of 50 yards or more yards and had 21 punts downed inside the 20 yard line.
Two return specialists round out the Boxtorow All-American team. Winston-Salem State punt returner Dominique Fitzgerald averages 18.3 yards per punt return which leads the CIAA. He totaled 17 returns for 311 yards and one touchdown. Kentucky’s State’s Keith Massey is the SIAC’s premiere kickoff returner. The senior returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 25.8 yards per kick return.
The Boxtorow Offensive, Willie Davis Defensive, Coach and Rookie of the Year (quarterback Greg McGhee of Howard) awards as well as Boxtorow Media and Coaches HBCU Football National Champions were announced and presented at the Boxtorow HBCU All-Star Gala Banquet on Friday, December 16 at the Westin Peachtree Hotel in downtown Atlanta. The banquet featureed NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green and was emceed by Steve Wyche of nfl.com and NFL Network.
FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW (Boxtorow) is the nationally syndicated sports talk radio show which places major emphasis on HBCU Sports. The All-American team is in its fifth year and the voters are comprised of some of the top media members in the country who cover HBCU football.
Boxtorow 2011 HBCU Football All-American Team
(Name, School, Height., Weight., Year., Hometown)
QB: Casey Therriault Jackson State 6-3, 205, Sr., Wyoming Park, Mich.
RB: Nicholas Cooper Winston-Salem St. 6-0, 240, Sr., Clinton, N.C.
RB: Mike Mayhew North Carolina A&T 5-10, 205, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.
OL: Sanford Banks Grambling State 6-4, 319, r-soph., Columbus, Ga.*
OL: Baron Coffin Elizabeth City St. 6-3, 310, Sr., Pago Pago, American Samoa
OL: Blake Matthews Norfolk State 6-4, 315, r-Jr., Manassas, Va.
OL: Alex Monroe Bethune-Cookman 6-5, 305, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.
OL: Kendall Noble Norfolk State 6-4, 290, r-Sr., Rocky Mount, N.C.
OL: Steven Robinson Florida A&M 6-3, 300, r-Sr., Tallahassee, Fla.
TE: Renty Rollins Jackson State 6-4, 255, Sr., Detroit, Mich.
WR: Nick Andrews Alabama State 5-9, 170, Sr. Maplesville, Ala.
WR: Xavier Boyce Norfolk State 6-4, 220, r-Jr. Virginia Beach, Va.
WR: Mario Louis Grambling State 6-0, 190, Sr., New Orleans, La.
DL: Ryan Davis Bethune-Cookman 6-4, 240, Sr., Tampa. Fla.*
DL: Adrian Hamilton Prairie View A&M 6-3, 255, Sr., Dallas, Texas
DL: Cory Hart Alabama A&M 6-3, 230, Sr., Loachapoka, Ala.
DL: Joseph LeBeau Jackson State 6-1, 245, Jr., New Orleans, La.
LB: Rico Council Tennessee State 6-1, 255, Sr., Chattanooga, Tenn.
LB: Cliff Exama Grambling State 6-0, 230, Sr., North Miami Beach, Fla.*
LB: Corwin Hammond Norfolk State 6-1, 220, r-Sr., Louisville, Ky.
LB: Keith Pough Howard 6-3, 225, r-Jr., Orangeburg, S.C.
DB: Dominique Ellis South Carolina St. 5-11, 195, r-Sr., Wendell, S.C.
DB: Alton Keaton Winston-Salem St. 5-10, 190, Sr., Fayetteville, N.C.
DB: Saeed Lee Alabama State 5-11, 160, Jr., Miami, Fla.
DB: Kejuan Riley Alabama State 6-0, 182, Jr., Wetumpka, Ala.
PK: Ryan Estep Norfolk State 5-10, 165, r-Sr., Chesapeake, Va.
P: Marquette King Fort Valley State 6-1, 191, Sr., Macon, Ga.
RS: Dominique Fitzgerald Winston-Salem St. 5-11, 195, Sr., Danville, Va.
RS: Keith Massey Kentucky State 6-1, 218, Sr., Columbus, Ohio
QB: Kameron Smith, Winston-Salem St.; Chris Walley, Norfolk State
RB: David Carter, Morehouse; Kaderius Lacey, Alabama A&M; Daronte McNeill, Elizabeth City State
OL: James Dekle, Prairie View A&M; Marlon Jones, Morehouse; Terren Jones, Alabama State; Markus Lawrence, Winston-Salem State; Larry McDonald, Fayetteville State
TE: Lamont Bryant, Morgan State
WR: Raphael Amey, Kentucky State; Willie Carter, Howard; Wallace Miles, North Carolina A&T
DL: Tim Green, Lincoln (Pa.); Marquis Jackson, Texas Southern; Sackie Kerkulah, Howard; Donovan Robinson, Jackson State; Josh Turner, Norfolk State; Pat Washington, South Carolina St.
LB: Jamarkus Gaskins, Albany State; Donovan Richard, South Carolina State
DB: Justin Ferrell, North Carolina A&T; Tyren Futch, Lane; Rashad McRae, Albany State; Micah Pellerin, Hampton; Josh Scales, Fayetteville State; Joseph Wylie, Tennessee State
P: Tyler Rabb, Johnson C. Smith
RS: Terry Anderson, Livingstone; Demario Barber, Fort Valley State
* 2010 Boxtorow All-America
Known as the Voice of Black College Sports, Donal Ware has covered historically black college and university sports and pro sports across the U.S. for years. He is the host of the nationally syndicated FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW which airs on SiriusXM Channel 141 Fridays from 1-2 p.m. and on radio stations around the country as well as Saturdays from 1-2 p.m. ET at www.boxtorow.com. You can follow him on twitter @dware1 or @boxtorow