Valdosta Daily Times

January 17, 2013

Five Blazers named D2football All-Americans

Dean named Coach of the Year

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Some final accolades for the Division II national champion Valdosta State football team were announced Thursday, when released its All-America team.

Five Blazers were named All-Americans, including offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder, who was the only Blazer to be named to the First Team. Head coach David Dean was named the Coach of the Year, following his honor of being named the American Football Coaches' Association Coach of the Year.

Schraeder was named to the First Team after he helped anchor the offensive line that paved the way for a school-record 40 rushing touchdowns and 218.9 yards rushing per game. Schraeder was also named an AFCA All-American.

Fellow lineman Edmund Kugbila, who will participate in the NFL Combine next month in Indianapolis, Ind., was named to the Second Team. A four-year starter for the Blazers, Kugbila's draft stock has been on the rise following the Blazers' 35-7 win over Winston-Salem State in the national championship game.

Receiver Gerald Ford, who hauled in a team-high 69 passes for 1,026 yards with 13 touchdowns, was named an Honorable Mention, along with linebacker Chris Pope, who finished with a team-high 127 tackles in 2012.

Senior cornerback Matt Pierce, who returned the opening kickoff for the championship game 96 yards for a touchdown, joined Ford and Pope on the Honorable Mention list after intercepting a team-high four passes in 2012.

— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.