RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (GAC) - Postseason honors continued coming in for some of the Great American Conference's top football student-athletes. Eight earned All-American honors from the Beyond Sports Network led by Henderson State's Kevin Rodgers and Harding's Romo Westbrook who both made the First Team.
Rodgers, a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, finished his sophomore season with 4,002 yards and 41 touchdowns. The Rockwall, Texas native claimed six Great American Conference Offensive Player of the Week awards and unanimously claimed the Offensive Player of the Year honors. Henderson State led the country in scoring offense and ranked third in the nation in passing offense and total offense.
Westbrook, the BSN's First-Team All-American fullback, started all 11 games at fullback and rushed for 655 yards on 110 carries with five touchdowns. A 1st Team All-Great American Conference honoree, Westbrook averaged 6.0 yards per rush and 59.5 rushing yards per game.
Southern Arkansas fullback Carlos Brown and Henderson State kick returner Israel Valentin garnered Second-Team All-American honors. Brown, a Second-Team All-GAC selection, averaged 5.9 yards per carry and scored five rushing touchdowns. He added 24 receptions and four more touchdowns as a receiver. Valentin averaged 33.9 yards per return. He returned only 10 kicks, but twice he opened GAC games with kickoffs returned for scores. He had touchdown returns of 97 yards against East Central and 92 yards against Arkansas Tech.
GAC Defensive Player of the Year Maxie Graham, from Henderson State, and Harding's First-Team All-GAC kicker John Gay earned Third-Team All-America recognition. Graham led the conference in total tackles with 115 stops and his average of 10.45 tackles per game ranked 19th nationally. Gay made 14-of-18 field goals with a long of 44 yards and set a school record by making all 43 extra-point attempts. He tied for the conference lead in field goals made, was the only kicker in the conference to make every extra point and hit the game-winning field goal against Southern Arkansas on the final play of regulation.
East Central linebacker Jason Catchings and Southwestern Oklahoma State kicker Colton Rainey received Honorable Mention All-American status. Catchings registered 56 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.0 sacks. His 13.5 tackles-for-loss ranked fifth in the GAC. Rainey converted 13-of-16 field goals and ranked seventh in the GAC in scoring.
(Source: Great American Conference)