STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State University had 10 football athletes named to the Don Hansen NCAA Division II Football All-America teams Monday morning.
Manning was the only Texan to appear on the Hansen First Team. He has now racked up five All-America awards, two all-region awards, all-conference first team, two Super Region IV Offensive Player of the Year awards, LSC Receiver of the Year honors, and boasted the best finish by a wide receiver in the Harlon Hill voting since 1991. Manning is the first wide receiver in school history to earn first-team All-America honors.
The Long Beach native showcased one of the best individual seasons in program history with the best season by a wide-out in the country as the senior led all of college football at any level in the regular season in yards and touchdowns. Manning finished with 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 68 receptions. Manning set the Tarleton record for single-season yards and touchdowns and tied the LSC record for TDs in a season.
Tarleton’s Daniel McCants and B.J. Jefferson highlighted the All-America Second Team selections.
McCants, who finished his career as the second-leading rusher in program history with 3,216 rushing yards since 2015, earns his second all-region first team honor of the year. The senior from Killeen led the nation in yards per carry this season (8.9) and rushed for 1,457 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 164 carries in 10 games. McCants racks up his fourth All-America honor of the season (D2CCA, Associated Press, D2Football.com, Don Hansen) to go along with LSC Offensive Back of the Year, All-LSC First Team, and two all-region honors. McCants is second running back in school history to receive multiple All-America awards (Derrick Ross).
Jefferson had one of the top seasons by a defender in the country and has now earned four All-America awards (DH, AP, D2CCA, and D2Football.com). Jefferson was the Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a nominee for the Cliff Harris Small College Player of the Year award and the runner up for the Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year award, becoming the first in school history to be a finalist for the award. The first team All-LSC defensive lineman and three-time LSC Defensive Player of the Week winner ranked No. 3 in the nation in tackles for loss with 25.5. Jefferson also posted a team-leading 95 tackles, 8 sacks, 13 QB hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one recovery this season.
Tarleton had three Texans named to the Don Hansen All-America Third Team – Prince Robinson, Jordan Wells, and Cody Hayes – while also racking up four honorable mention All-Americans – Ben Holmes, J.P. Pierre, Noah Perez, and Ronnell Wilson.
Robinson will go down as one of the top defensive backs in school history after being named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Back of the Year and – now – a four-time All-American (DH, D2CCA, AP, D2Football.com). He also has two all-region awards this season. The senior from Houston led the nation in the regular season with three interception returns for scores and had four total interceptions this season. Robinson led the LSC with 17 passes defended and 13 pass breakups and added 57 total tackles for a pass defense that ranked No. 3 nationally in team passing efficiency on defense at 90.2. Robinson joins teammates Devin Hafford and Jai Edwards (2018) as the only Texans in school history to receive multiple All-American honors.
Wells made his presence well known in his debut season with the purple and white on his way to his first All-America recognition. The junior from Navasota was named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year, All-LSC First Team, two all-region teams, and was a nominee for the Cliff Harris Small College Defensive Player of the Year award. Wells ranked in the top 5 in the LSC and top 15 in nation in tackles for loss with 19. The junior was the team leader in QB hurries (17) to go with 50 tackles, 19 TFL, and 6.0 sacks along with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
The Tarleton offensive line trio of Hayes, Pierre and Perez helped the Texans become the No. 2 offense in the nation and the OL ranked eighth in the nation during the regular season with fewest sacks allowed. All three were named first team All-LSC and to two different all-region teams as well, and it was the first time since 2016 that three OL were named first team all-conference in the same season. The Texan lineman helped the offense account for 45 points per game and 531.7 yards per game, including 3,207 total rushing yards. The Texan offense amassed 600 yards of offense three times in a game this season, which was a school record. The three All-American offensive linemen are the most from a single season in Tarleton history and give the Texans five All-America offensive linemen in the last two seasons, joining Deon Sheppard and Jovan Pruitt.
Holmes was the catalyst for the Tarleton offense that went 23-2 over the last two seasons with him at the helm. In his senior season, Holmes was named the LSC Offensive Player of the Year and All-LSC First Team QB and now adds his second All-America award (DH and D2Football.com). He threw for 3,338 yards on a 59-percent completion percentage with a Tarleton single-season record 34 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He boasted a single-season QB rating of 174.9.
Wilson, a first team All-LSC selection, ranked in the top 10 in LSC in tackles with 81 total tackles, 7 TFL, 2 interceptions. This is Wilson’s first All-America award to along with two all-region honors this season. Wilson was a team leader on the Tarleton defense that ranked top five in the nation in team tackles for a loss (No. 2; 10.9/game), team passing efficiency defense (No. 3; 90.22/game), and guided the Tarleton defense that also ranked top 15 in the nation in sacks (No. 9; 3.36/game), scoring defense (No. 13; 15.9/game), and rushing defense (No. 13; 92.0/game).
In 2019, Tarleton set a new program standard by having 10 different players named to 24 All-America teams over five affiliations (AFCA, AP, D2CCA, D2Football.com, and Don Hansen).
ABOUT THE DON HANSEN FOOTBALL AWARDS
The Don Hansen 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. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.