AP names its FCS All-Americans
NEW YORK -- Payton Award finalists Taylor Heinicke, the record-setting quarterback from Old Dominion, and running backs Eric Breitenstein from Wofford and Miguel Maysonet from Stony Brook were selected to The Associated Press FCS All-America team released Wednesday.
Heinicke had the most prolific passing season in the history of what used to be called Division I-AA football. The sophomore from Georgia passed for 5,076 yards and had 5,546 yards of total offense, breaking records set by the late Steve McNair when he was at Alcorn State in 1994.
"What Taylor did this year from an individual standpoint is nothing short of incredible," ODU coach Bobby Wilder said Wednesday.
"We build our system around our quarterback and what we feel like are his strengths. To run an offense that suits their needs. As (Heinicke) has gotten comfortable in our system, we've become more of a throwing team because of his comfort level."
The Walter Payton Award goes to the top player in FCS and will be handed out Dec. 17.
Directing the Monarchs' fast-paced spread, Heinicke also set FCS records for completions (398) and total plays (705). And Heinicke ran for 470 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"He understands our philosophy is to find a way to move the chains," Wilder said. "If you need to run the ball, you run it to get a critical first down and those first downs lead to touchdowns. Protect the ball and find a way to move the chains."
Heinicke did just that in September against New Hampshire when he passed for a Division I record 730 yards in a 64-61 victory. He threw 79 passes in that game without an interception.
Old Dominion finished 11-2 record, losing last week to Georgia Southern, 49-35, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Breitenstein made his second straight appearance as a first-team All-American. The 230-pound senior fullback ran for 2,035 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
Maysonet ran for 1,964 and 21 touchdowns for the Seawolves.
A couple of guys who will be playing in this weekend's FCS semifinals highlight the offensive line.
Montana State placed two players on the defense. End Caleb Schreibeis leads FCS with eight forced fumbles and linebacker Cody Owens was the Big Sky defensive player of the year.
New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, who was a second-team All-American last year, made the first team this year.
Defensive back Marcus Williams of North Dakota State joined Breitenstein as a two-time All-American and became the only defensive player to repeat this season.
North Dakota State and Montana State were the only teams to place two players on the first team.
Walter Powell of Murray State was the all-purpose player. He had 1,213 yards receiving and more than 900 yards returning kicks and punts.