July 11, 2006
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Four players from reigning Sports Network Cup champion San Diego are among the 28 named to The Sports Network's 2006 I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-America team. Albany, Drake, St. Francis (PA) and Wagner all had three players selected to the team.
The All-America backfield consists of San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson (3256 yards, 36 TD) and running backs Obozua Ehikioya (1020 yards, 17 TD) of Marist, Jeff Horton (1358 yards, 10 TD) of Valparaiso and Scott Phaydavong (1550 yards, 8 TD) of Drake. Toreros joining Johnson include offensive center Jordan Paopao, defensive end Eric Bakhtiari and linebacker Kyson Hawkins. Johnson, PaoPao and Bakhtiari were all on the 2005 post-season All-America team.
The potent St. Francis (PA) duo of Michael Caputo (92 receptions, 1433 yards, 12 TD) and Luke Palko (85 receptions, 812 yards, 7 TD) takes up two of the wide receiving spots, while Wagner's Chris Turner (66 receptions, 952 yards, 12 TD) rounds out the trio of Northeast Conference pass-catchers. Turner's teammate, Joe Kinard (46 receptions, 504 yards), earns the All-America nod at tight end.
The offensive line consists of Albany's Jacob Anderson, St. Francis (PA)'s Bill Holter, San Diego's Jordan Paopao, Drake's Dave Pammer and Jacksonville's Pat Rich.
On the All-America defensive line, San Diego's Erik Bakhtiari (62 TT, 15 TFL, 4 sacks) made the team after also making last year's postseason All-America squad. He is accompanied on the line by Central Connecticut State's Devon Douglass (44 TT, 9 TFL, 3 sacks), Albany's Michael Dungey (39 TT, 9 TFL, 3 sacks) and Duquesne's Lou Levine (26 tackles).
Albany's Colin Disch (112 tackles, 15 TFL, 4.5 sacks) earns a spot on the preseason team after making the 2005 postseason All-America squad at linebacker. He is joined by a trio of Pioneer Football League players: Drake's James Adams (88 TT, 8.5 TFL), Dayton's Jon Hoppe (86 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and San Diego's Kyson Hawkins (64 TT, 12 TFL).
Duquesne's Michael Hill (46 TT, 3 INT), Dayton's Casey Klaus (6 INT, 54 TT), Central Connecticut State's Farod Muhammad (3 INT, 64 TT) and Wagner's Al Phillips (5 INT, 14 PBU) make up the All-America secondary.
The All-America special teams include Marist placekicker Brad Rowe (7-8 FG) and Monmouth punter Sean Dennis (39.6 avg). Morehead State return specialist Nick Feldman (19.0 PR avg., 2 TD/25.2 KR avg) made the squad after earning Mid-Major All-America and third team overall All-America honors last season.
Twelve players were selected to the team from both the Northeast Conference and Pioneer Football League, while four were named from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The 21 programs of the MAAC, Northeast Conference and Pioneer Football League, which play at a non-scholarship or limited scholarship level, make up the I-AA Mid-Major ranks. In addition to the Preseason All-America team, The Sports Network also sponsors the Top 10 ranking for the Mid-Major teams. The No. 1 team at the end of the regular season on Nov. 27 will be honored with The Sports Network Cup as the Mid-Major champion at the TSN I-AA Awards Ceremony in Chattanooga, TN on Dec. 14.