By David Coulson
College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Have you ever wondered what a Football Championship Subdivision team would look like if you took the best 63 players and put them together on one squad?
That’s what College Sports Journal has done again this year as it honored the top performers from the 2013 season on its FCS All-America team, a unit that is headed up by offensive player of the year Terrance West, the record-smashing, junior running back from Towson.
Joining West with special honors on this outstanding team are senior defensive tackle Caraun Reid of Princeton as the defensive player of the year, senior offensive tackle Billy Turner of North Dakota State as the lineman of the year and sophomore returnman Xavier Roberson of Southeastern Louisiana as the special teams player of the year.
The winningest quarterback in FCS history, senior Brock Jensen of North Dakota State was selected as the playoff most valuable player after leading the Bison to a record-tying third-consecutive national championship.
And if you need a coach to direct this talented group, you couldn’t do better than Joe Moorhead, who has turned around the fortunes of the Fordham Rams in just two years. Moorhead was picked as the coach of the year.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was announced last week as the freshman of the year after a record-setting first season at Eastern Washington.
West had the greatest single season of any rusher in FCS history, piling up 2,519 yards to smash the 2003 mark set by Colgate’s Jamaal Branch and his 41 touchdowns on the ground cracked the 2007 record established by Delaware’s Omar Cuff.
West’s 42 total TDs and 252 points were both records, breaking two other marks held by Cuff as he helped vault Towson into the FCS championship game.
When West scampered for 354 yards on 29 carries in a 49-39 quarterfinal win over Eastern Illinois in a snow storm, it shattered the standard for single-game playoff rushing yards previously held by Adrian Peterson of Georgia Southern (333 rushing yards, set in 1999 against Massachusetts).
While statistics are not something that show the value of a great defensive tackle, Reid made a huge impact on the Princeton defense, earning so much attention from opposing offensive lines that it freed his teammates to make plays as the Tigers went 8-2 and shared the Ivy League title for the first time since 2006.
Reid had just 26 total tackles, including 16 solo stops, but he was dominating with 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss for a total of 62 yards in losses as Princeton finished 22nd in rushing defense (126.5 yards allowed per game) and 26th in team defense (345.7).
Roberson finished with 1,590 all-purpose yards and led the nation with 915 kickoff-return yards on 26 runbacks for an FCS-leading 35.2 average. The multi-skilled performer rushed for 538 yards and six TDs and he caught 11 passes for 137 yards and one more score.
His three touchdowns off kickoff returns matched Adrian Wilkins for the top spot in the subdivision this season as SLU won the Southland Conference title and advanced to the FCS playoffs for the first time, reaching the quarterfinals.
Turner was a stalwart up front for the Bison as they finished seventh in rushing offense (257.3), 10th in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and 14th in total offense (457.5). NDSU was also second in time of possession, controlling the ball for 34 minutes per game.
Jensen was a model of leadership and consistency throughout the season as he sparked NDSU to a perfect 15-0 record, making the Bison the first team to win the NCAA Division I Football Championship with a perfect record since Marshall — a team many consider to be the greatest in FCS history — won 15 straight games in 1996.
North Dakota State finished the campaign with 24 consecutive victories over two years, tying the FCS standard owned by Penn (1992-95) and Montana (2001-02).
Moorhead took over a Fordham program that had gone 1-10 in 2011 and built the Rams to a surprising 6-5 record in his first season of 2012.
But no one was anticipating that the Rams would finish the 2013 campaign ranked in the top-10 and as playoff quarterfinalists with a record-setting 12-2 record that included wins over ranked teams from Villanova and Lehigh, the school’s first victory over a Bowl Championship Subdivision opponent with a last-seconds, 30-29 win over Temple and the Rams’ first-ever playoff triumph, a 37-27 decision against Sacred Heart.
Already honored as the Jerry Rice Award winner — an honor that is voted on after the regular season concludes — Kupp picked up the CSJ recognition as the top freshman after continuing his tirade in the postseason with 16 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington came within seconds of returning to the NCAA Division I Football Championship game and finished the season as Big Sky champions and 12-3 overall.
For the season, Kupp had 93 catches for FCS-bests of 1,691 yards (18.2 average per reception) and 21 touchdowns. His 113 yards per game ranked him fifth in the nation. He set six FCS records, four school marks and one Big Sky standard (Ed Bell of Idaho State’s 45-year-old mark of 20 TD receptions) during his first year.
Kupp established a record previously held by Marshall’s Randy Moss with a TD catch in 14 straight games, cracking the Moss standard of 11 in 1996.
Dale Lindsay, the first-year head coach at San Diego was named as the coach of the year on the CSJ FCS All-Freshman team, after taking the Toreros to an 8-3 record and a conference-best 7-1 mark in the Pioneer Football League, even though USD was ineligible for the playoffs this season.
Not surprisingly, North Dakota State led all teams with six players on the All-America team and one additional athlete on the honorable mention team for a total of seven.
National runner-up Towson was second with five players on the 63-man squad and one more honorable mention pick for six total.
The Big Sky Conference led all leagues with 11 players on the All-America team, closely followed by the Colonial Athletic Association and the Missouri Valley Conference with 10 apiece.
The 63 players on the CSJ All-America squad represent 63 scholarships at the FCS level and the team is put together in such a way as to be a fully-functioning squad, with all positions on offense, defense and special teams.
There was also a group of 42 honorable mention selections, bring the total number of players on the team to 105, which matches the number of athletes that FCS teams can have on their rosters.
The College Sports Journal team is also unique in the fact that it is one of only two major teams that is announced after all games are played in FCS, the College Sporting News squad being the only other one that waits until the season is concluded.
The CSJ All-America team was selected by a blue ribbon panel of FCS experts put together by College Sports Journal executive editor David Coulson and CSJ publisher and managing editor Chuck Burton.
Coulson has 36 years of experience covering college football, including 21 seasons of following FCS and has served as the executive editor and managing partner of College Sporting News and the executive director for The Sports Network, running its national awards program from 2007-2009.
He has had a hand in selecting honors teams at the FCS level since 2002 and is in the process of writing and compiling the first FCS encyclopedia.
Burton has been acclaimed for his Lehigh Football Nation blog and as a national columnist for College Sporting News in the past decade.
2013 College Sports Journal All-America Team
Offensive Player of the Year: Terrance West, Junior, Running Back, Towson
Defensive Player of the Year: Caraun Reid, Senior, Defensive Tackle, Princeton
Coach of the Year: Joe Moorhead, Fordham
Lineman of the Year: Billy Turner, Senior, Tackle, North Dakota State
Special Teams Player of the Year: Xavier Roberson, Sophomore Southeastern Louisiana
FCS Playoff Most Valuable Player: Brock Jensen, Senior, Quarterback, North Dakota State
Freshman of the Year: Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington
Quarterback Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington, Sophomore
Quarterback Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana, Junior
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, Senior
Quarterback Brock Jensen, North Dakota State, Senior
Quarterback Jeff Mathews, Cornell, Senior
Quarterback Michael Nebrich, Fordham, Junior
Quarterback/All-Purpose Back Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern, Senior*
Quarterback/All-Purpose Back John Robertson, Villanova, Sophomore*
Quarterback/All-Purpose Back Quinn Epperly, Princeton, Junior
Running Back Zach Bauman, Northern Arizona, Senior
Running Back Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina, Senior
Running Back Terrance West, Towson, Junior*
Running Back Zach Zenner, South Dakota State, Junior*
Fullback Andrew Grothmann, North Dakota State, Senior
Fullback Emmanuel Holder, Towson, Sophomore
Wide Receiver Sam Ajala, Fordham, Junior
Wide Receiver Greg Hardin, North Dakota, Senior
Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, Freshman
Wide Receiver Lee Kurfis, Lehigh, Senior
Wide Receiver Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois, Senior
Wide Receiver Walter Powell, Murray State, Senior
Tight End MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois, Senior
Tight End Andrew Robustelli, Jacksonville, Junior
Tight End Dan Light, Fordham
Tackle Dakota Dozier, Furman, Senior
Tackle Danny Kistler, Montana, Junior
Tackle Eric Pike, Towson, Senior
Tackle Billy Turner, North Dakota State, Senior*
Guard Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State, Senior
Guard Arinze Agada, McNeese State, Senior
Guard Collin Seibert, Eastern Illinois, Junior
Center Ashton Miller, Eastern Washington, Senior
Center Jared Singleton, Wofford, Senior
Defensive End Brad Daly, Montana State, Senior
Defensive End Terrence Fede, Marist, Senior
Defensive End Zach Hodges, Harvard, Junior
Defensive End Shaquille Riddick, Gardner-Webb, Junior
Defensive End Davis Tull, Chattanooga, Junior*
Defensive Tackle Ryan Drevlow, North Dakota State, Senior
Defensive Tackle Sullivan Grosz, Cal Poly, Senior
Defensive Tackle Zachariah Kerr, Delaware, Senior
Defensive Tackle Caraun Reid, Princeton, Senior*
Defensive Tackle Robert Simpson, Mississippi Valley State, Senior
Inside Linebacker Stephon Robertson, James Madison, Senior*
Inside Linebacker Justin Shade, Samford, Senior
Inside Linebacker Joe Thomas, South Carolina State, Senior
Outside Linebacker Tyler Starr, South Dakota, Senior
Outside Linebacker Lynden Trail, Norfolk State, Junior
Outside Linebacker Jordan Tripp, Montana, Senior*
Cornerback Kendall James, Maine, Senior
Cornerback T.J. Lee, Eastern Washington, Senior
Cornerback Jordan Love, Towson, Senior
Cornerback Tye Smith, Towson, Junior
Cornerback Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, Senior*
Strong Safety Colten Heagle, North Dakota State, Junior
Free Safety Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State, Junior
Free Safety Jerome Couplin, William & Mary, Senior
Kickoff Returner Xavier Roberson, Southeastern Louisiana, Sophomore
Punt Returner Torrance Williams, Sam Houston State, Senior
Return Specialist Fabian Truss, Samford, Senior
Kicker Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State, Senior
Punter Kyle Loomis, Portland State, Junior
Long Snapper Richard Wright, Liberty, Senior
*Denotes players selected to the 2012 CSJ FCS All-America team
Big Sky (11): Quarterback Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington, Sophomore; Zach Bauman, Northern Arizona, Senior; Brad Daly, Montana State, Senior; Sullivan Grosz, Cal Poly, Senior; Greg Hardin, North Dakota, Senior; Danny Kistler, Montana, Junior; Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, Freshman; T.J. Lee, Eastern Washington, Senior; Kyle Loomis, Portland State, Junior; Ashton Miller, Eastern Washington, Senior; Jordan Tripp, Montana, Senior.
Big South (3): Shaquille Riddick, Gardner-Webb, Junior; Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina, Senior; Richard Wright, Liberty, Senior.
Colonial Athletic Association (10): Jerome Couplin, William & Mary, Senior; Emmanuel Holder, Towson, Sophomore; Kendall James, Maine, Senior; Zachariah Kerr, Delaware, Senior; Jordan Love, Towson, Senior; Eric Pike, Towson, Senior; John Robertson, Villanova, Sophomore; Stephon Robertson, James Madison, Senior; Tye Smith, Towson, Junior; Terrance West, Towson, Junior.
Ivy League (4): Quinn Epperly, Princeton, Junior; Zach Hodges, Harvard, Junior; Jeff Mathews, Cornell, Senior; Caraun Reid, Princeton, Senior.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (2): Joe Thomas, South Carolina State, Senior; Lynden Trail, Norfolk State, Junior.
Missouri Valley Football Conference (10): Ryan Drevlow, North Dakota State, Senior; Andrew Grothmann, North Dakota State, Senior; Colten Heagle, North Dakota State, Junior; Brock Jensen, Senior, Quarterback, North Dakota State; MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois, Senior; Outside Linebacker; Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State, Junior; Tyler Starr, South Dakota, Senior; Billy Turner, North Dakota State, Senior; Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, Senior; Zach Zenner, South Dakota State, Junior.
Northeast Conference (0): None.
Ohio Valley Conference (6): Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State, Senior; Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, Senior; Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois, Senior; Walter Powell, Murray State, Senior; Collin Seibert, Eastern Illinois, Junior; Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State, Senior.
Patriot League (4): Sam Ajala, Fordham, Junior; Lee Kurfis, Lehigh, Senior; Dan Light, Fordham; Michael Nebrich, Fordham, Junior.
Pioneer Football League (2): Terrence Fede, Marist, Senior; Andrew Robustelli, Jacksonville, Junior.
Southern Conference (6): Dakota Dozier, Furman, Senior; Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern, Senior; Justin Shade, Samford, Senior; Jared Singleton, Wofford, Senior; Fabian Truss, Samford, Senior; Davis Tull, Chattanooga, Junior.
Southland Conference (4): Arinze Agada, McNeese State, Senior; Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana, Junior; Xavier Roberson, Southeastern Louisiana, Sophomore; Torrance Williams, Sam Houston State, Senior.
Southwestern Athletic Conference (1): Robert Simpson, Mississippi Valley State, Senior.
Honorable Mention By Position
Mason Mills, San Diego, Senior
Marcus Wasilewski, Maine, Senior
Kyle Harbridge, Saint Francis, Senior
Tim Flanders, Sam Houston State, Senior
David Johnson, Northern Iowa, Junior
Carlton Koonce, Fordham, Senior
Keshaudas Spence, Sacred Heart, Junior
Darien Robinson, The Citadel, Junior
Rob Holloman, Central Connecticut State, Junior
Jeremy Butler, Tennessee-Martin
Jordan Harris, Bryant, Senior
R.J. Harris, New Hampshire, Senior
Roman Wilson, Princeton, Senior
Jeff Lepak, Eastern Illinois, Junior
Justin Perillo, Maine, Senior
Bryan Witzmann, South Dakota State, Senior
Robert Booker, Missouri State, Sophomore
Matt Crisafi, William & Mary, Senior
Max Holcombe, Jacksonville State, Junior
Rakim Cox, Villanova, Senior
Colton Underwood, Illinois State, Senior
Zack Wagenmann, Montana, Junior
Antoine Lewis, Villanova, Senior
Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina, Junior
Telvion Clark, Towson, Senior
Jarkevis Fields, Bethune-Cookman, Senior
Cqulin Hubert, Southeastern Louisiana, Senior
Stephen Hodge, Fordham, Junior
Grant Olson, North Dakota State, Senior
Walt Aikens, Liberty, Senior
Lavelle Westbrooks, Georgia Southern, Senior
Jestin Love, Senior, Central Arkansas
Nick Addison, Bethune-Cookman, Junior
Daniel Fitzpatrick, Tennessee State Junior
Dean Marlowe, James Madison, Junior
Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, Junior
Colton Cook, Senior, Southern Utah
Seth Sebastian, Southeastern Louisiana, Senior
Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa, Senior
Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech, Senior
Tony Washington, Senior, Appalachian State
Tavoris Doss, Alcorn State, Senior
Chris Maikranz, Lamar, Senior
Hudson Smith, Gardner-Webb, Senior