FCS Preseason All-Americans catching on at WR

(STATS) - Last season was the year for the FCS wide receiver. This season might be the year of the FCS wide receiver.

Eastern Washington senior Cooper Kupp led the way on the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team, announced Monday. He's been named a first-team All-American for three consecutive seasons, and last year he became only the second wide receiver to earn the national offensive player of the year award.

South Dakota State junior Jake Wieneke rejoined Kupp as the other the preseason wide receiver after also being selected to the STATS All-America first team last season.

The preseason squad is 99 players deep spread across three teams. All 13 conferences and 63 schools had selections, and they included seven wide receivers who earned a form of All-America honors last year. It's such a big season of top wide receivers that 11 of the 14 who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards last year, as well as the next three on the final national receiving chart, are back to damage defenses again.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kupp caught 114 passes for 1,642 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior - leading the nation in each category. On pace to hold all the major receiving records in FCS history, he already owns 18 school, eight Big Sky Conference and seven NCAA records.

"I'd be shocked if you could show me a better receiver at any level in the country," Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said.

The 6-4, 210-pound Wieneke was second nationally in receiving yards (1,472), a total he grabbed off 72 receptions with 11 touchdowns. His 20.4 yards per catch ranked fourth in the nation.

Kupp and Wieneke were two of 13 returning first-team All-Americans named to the preseason squad. Every conference had at least one first-team selection, and overall 46 players who gained STATS All-America honors in December return this season.

Also returning to the first-team offense were Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins, running backs Chase Edmonds from Fordham and Kade Harrington of Lamar, The Citadel fullback Tyler Renew and Chattanooga offensive linemen Corey Levin.

Harrington led the FCS in rushing yards (2,092) and Edmonds paced in touchdowns (25), while Jenkins fueled Jacksonville State to the national championship game. They finished second, fourth and sixth, respectively, behind Kupp in voting for STATS offensive player of the year.

Duquesne linebacker Christian Kuntz and The Citadel cornerback Dee Delaney returned to the first-team defense - they were 11th and 16th in voting for the STATS defensive player of the year.

William & Mary place-kicker Nick Dorka, Indiana State long snapper Joshua Appel, Southern kick returner Willie Quinn and North Carolina A&T punt returner Khris Gardin were named to the first-team special teams again.

The rest of the preseason first-team offense consisted of Drake tight end Eric Saubert and offensive linemen Erik Austell of Charleston Southern, Julie'n Davenport of Bucknell, Casey Dunn of Jacksonville State and Zach Johnson of North Dakota State.

Also on the first-team defense were defensive linemen Keionta Davis of Chattanooga, P.J. Hall of Sam Houston State, Derek Rivers of Youngstown State and Karter Schult of Northern Iowa; linebackers Andrew Ankrah of James Madison, Dylan Cole of Missouri State and Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State; and defensive backs Casey DeAndrade of New Hampshire, David Jones of Richmond and Donald Payne of Stetson.

Completing the first-team special teams were Cornell punter Chris Fraser and all-purpose back John Santiago of North Dakota.North Dakota State, which has won the last five FCS national championships, was one of four teams to boast four preseason All-Americans. The others were Charleston Southern, Chattanooga and Jacksonville State.

Among FCS conferences, the Missouri Valley had the most All-America selections with 16. CAA Football (13) and the Southern Conference (11) also reached double figures.

They were followed by the Big Sky with nine, Ohio Valley with eight, Southland with seven, Big South and Patriot League with six each, Mid-Eastern Athletic with five, Ivy League, Northeast and Southwestern Athletic with four each, and Pioneer League with three. Coastal Carolina, which is transitioning to the FBS as an FCS independent, also had three All-Americans.

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STATS FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM=

FIRST TEAM=

OFFENSE=

QB - Eli Jenkins, senior, 6-2, 205, Jacksonville State

RB - Chase Edmonds, junior, 5-9, 196, Fordham

RB - Kade Harrington, senior, 5-9, 190, Lamar

FB - Tyler Renew, senior, 5-11, 217, The Citadel

WR - Cooper Kupp, senior, 6-2, 210, Eastern Washington

WR - Jake Wieneke, junior, 6-4, 210, South Dakota State

TE - Eric Saubert, senior, 6-4, 242, Drake

OL - Erik Austell, junior, 6-3, 285, Charleston Southern

OL - Julie'n Davenport, senior, 6-7, 315, Bucknell

OL - Casey Dunn, senior, 6-3, 285, Jacksonville State

OL - Zack Johnson, senior, 6-4, 329, North Dakota State

OL - Corey Levin, senior, 6-5, 305, Chattanooga

DEFENSE=

DL - Keionta Davis, senior, 6-4, 260, Chattanooga

DL - P.J. Hall, junior, 6-1, 280, Sam Houston State

DL - Derek Rivers, senior, 6-5, 255, Youngstown State

DL - Karter Schult, senior, 6-2, 265, Northern Iowa

LB - Andrew Ankrah, junior, 6-4, 234, James Madison

LB - Dylan Cole, senior, 6-1, 236, Missouri State

LB - Nick DeLuca, senior, 6-3, 245, North Dakota State

LB - Christian Kuntz, senior, 6-1, 220, Duquesne

DB - Casey DeAndrade, senior, 5-11, 212, New Hampshire

DB - Dee Delaney, junior, 6-1, 191, The Citadel

DB - David Jones, senior, 6-1, 187, Richmond

DB - Donald Payne, senior, 6-1, 217, Stetson

SPECIAL TEAMS=

PK - Nick Dorka, junior, 6-0, 180, William & Mary

P - Chris Fraser, senior, 6-2, 211, Cornell

LS - Joshua Appel, senior, 6-2, 250, Indiana State

KR - Willie Quinn, graduate, 5-5, 145, Southern

PR - Khris Gardin, junior, 5-7, 158, North Carolina A&T

AP - John Santiago, sophomore, 5-9, 170, North Dakota

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SECOND TEAM=

OFFENSE=

QB - Case Cookus, sophomore, 6-4, 200, Northern Arizona

RB - Kendell Anderson, senior, 5-9, 200, William & Mary

RB - Tarik Cohen, senior, 5-6, 173, North Carolina A&T

RB - De'Angelo Henderson, senior, 5-8, 205, Coastal Carolina

FB - Joe Protheroe, junior, 6-0, 225, Cal Poly

WR - Josh Barge, senior, 6-1, 178, Jacksonville State

WR - Emmanuel Butler, junior, 6-3, 210, Northern Arizona

WR - Justin Watson, junior, 6-3, 210, Penn

TE - Dallas Goedert, junior, 6-5, 245, South Dakota State

OL - Mitch Kirsch, senior, 6-6, 300, James Madison

OL - Javarius Leamon, senior, 6-7, 310, South Carolina State

OL - Brandon Parker, junior, 6-7, 279, North Carolina A&T

OL - Mark Spelman, senior, 6-3, 280, Illinois State

OL - Anton Wahrby, senior, 6-5, 300, Wofford

DEFENSE=

DL - Pat Afriyie, junior, 6-2, 235, Colgate

DL - Anthony Ellis, junior, 6-1, 245, Charleston Southern

DL - Caleb Kidder, senior, 6-5, 275, Montana

DL - Tanoh Kpassagnon, senior, 6-7, 275, Villanova

DL - Greg Menard, junior, 6-2, 240, North Dakota State

LB - Kourtney Berry, senior, 6-0, 215, Alabama State

LB - Omar Howard, senior, 6-0, 231, Richmond

LB - Mike Needham, junior, 6-4, 210, Southern Utah

LB - Folarin Orimolade, senior, 5-11, 240, Dartmouth

LB - James Rentz, senior, 6-2, 245, Sacred Heart

DB - LeRoy Alexander, senior, 6-0, 195, Youngstown State

DB - Mike Basile, junior, 6-1, 200, Monmouth

DB - Trey Robinson, senior, 6-1, 212, Furman

DB - Tremon Smith, junior, 6-0, 185, Central Arkansas

SPECIAL TEAMS=

PK - Lance Geesey, senior, 5-10, 180, Saint Francis

P - Keith Wrzuszczak, junior, 5-11, 194, Eastern Kentucky

LS - Joseph Smith, senior, 6-3, 200, Charleston Southern

KR - Lorenzo Jerome, senior, 6-0, 195, Saint Francis

PR - Ellis Onic II, junior, 5-6, 163, Northern Colorado

AP - Darius Hammond, senior, 5-10, 192, Charleston Southern

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THIRD TEAM=

OFFENSE=

QB - KD Humphries, senior, 6-3, 225, Murray State

RB - Corey Avery, junior, 5-10, 190, Sam Houston State

RB - Derrick Craine, senior, 5-10, 205, Chattanooga

RB - Darius Victor, senior, 5-8, 227, Towson

FB - Lorenzo Long, senior, 5-9, 210, Wofford

WR - Brian Brown, senior, 6-1, 198, Richmond

WR - Brendan Flaherty, senior, 6-2, 200, Holy Cross

WR - Anthony Warrum, senior, 6-2, 190, Illinois State

TE - Phazahn Odom, graduate, 6-8, 245, Fordham

OL - Kyle Avaloy, senior, 6-5, 330, Illinois State

OL - Armando Bonheur, senior, 6-3, 300, Samford

OL - Sam Ekwonike, senior, 6-2, 350, Coastal Carolina

OL - Justin Lea, junior, 6-4, 295, Jacksonville State

OL - Timon Parris, junior, 6-5, 310, Stony Brook

OL - Bret Treadway, senior, 6-3, 280, Lamar

DEFENSE

DL - Isaiah Golden, junior, 6-2, 335, McNeese State

DL - Javancy Jones, senior, 6-2, 230, Jackson State

DL - Ebenezer Ogundeko, junior, 6-3, 255, Tennessee State

DL - Patrick Ricard, senior, 6-3, 285, Maine

LB - Sam Denmark, junior, 6-1, 230, Abilene Christian

LB - Chad Geter, graduate, 6-2, 253, Gardner-Webb

LB - Darius Leonard, junior, 6-3, 200, South Carolina State

LB - Nakevion Neslie, senior, 5-11, 220, Chattanooga

LB - Brett Taylor, junior, 6-2, 230, Western Illinois

DB - Jamerson Blount, senior, 6-0, 180, Samford

DB - Xavier Coleman, senior, 5-11, 190, Portland State

DB - Jihaad Pretlow, senior, 5-11, 195, Fordham

DB - Taylor Reynolds, senior, 6-0, 190, James Madison

SPECIAL TEAMS=

PK - Zak Kennedy, sophomore, 6-0, 160, Youngstown State

P - Alex Knight, senior, 6-1, 199, Southeast Missouri

LS - James Fisher, junior, 6-2, 212, North Dakota State

KR - Devin Brown, senior, 5-8, 170, Coastal Carolina

PR - Christian Searles, junior, 5-9, 178, Dayton

AP - Martez Carter, junior, 5-8, 175, Grambling State

AP - Justice Shelton-Mosley, sophomore, 5-10, 170, Harvard

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