PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Sam Houston State safety Darnell Taylor leads a group of seven players from the Southland Conference on the 2012 Sports Network FCS All-America Teams, the organization announced Monday.
Taylor was the only player to earn first-team honors and was one of three Bearkats to be named to the three teams. Central Arkansas also placed three players on the team, while Southeastern Louisiana had one player recognized.
Taylor was joined by running back Tim Flanders, the Southland Conference Player of the Year, and offensive lineman Kaleb Hopson, who each earned third-team honors. UCA offensive lineman Corey Howard, the conference’s offensive lineman of the year, earned
second-team honors. His teammates linebacker Seth Allison and punt returner Jesse Grandy, were named to the third team. Southeastern cornerback Robert Alford earned second-team mention.
Taylor, a safety from Mesquite, earned first-team honors for the second consecutive year. The 6-foot, 195-pound senior has 94 tackles, including 64 solos, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in Sam
Houston's 13 games. The Bearkats have reached the national semifinals for the second consecutive season and will visit Eastern Washington Saturday at 3 p.m., Central, on ESPNU with a berth in the national championship game on the line.
Howard, a senior from Wichita Falls, Texas, helped the Bears average 400 yards of total offense per game this season en route to a 9-3 record and a second-round playoff appearance. Howard was a three-year starter for the Bears and played in 46 career games
Alford recorded 39 tackles on the season while tying for the conference lead with four interceptions. He added five tackles for loss on the season and led the Lions with 12 passes defended. He totaled a season-high seven tackles with two pass breakups and
a fourth-quarter interception in a 25-24 victory over nationally ranked McNeese State. Alford added interceptions against Lamar, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin and averaged 14.1 yards as a punt returner during the season, highlighted by a 75-yard
return for a touchdown at Lamar – the fourth-longest return in school history.
Flanders was the Southland Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He has been the Southland's leading rusher the past two years. The junior from Midwest City, Okla., stands as Sam Houston's all-time rushing leader with 705 carries
for 3,950 yards and 52 touchdowns. He has produced 24 100-yard rushing performances in his career, a total that includes a school record nine 100-yard games this year.
Hopson is a first team All-Southland Conference selection who has been a key force in a Sam Houston offensive line that has blocked for the nation's No. 7 rushing attack. The Bearkats led the Southland Conference with 273.9 rushing yards per game this year
and ranked No. 2 national in scoring offense.
Allison, a two-time all-conference selection from Stuttgart, Ark., finished his career with 252 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight interceptions. He was UCA’s third-leading tackler with 84 stops this season, and also had a team-high three forced
fumbles and two recovered fumbles.
Grandy, a senior from Pine Bluff and a transfer from Ole Miss, led the Southland in punt returns and ranked seventh in the nation with a 12.5-yard average. He was also UCA’s top receiver with 61 receptions for 797 yards and seven touchdowns. Grandy was first
in the league in all-purpose yards at 132.1 per game.
UCA won nine games for the second straight season and advanced to the NCAA Division I Playoffs for the second consecutive year after tying Sam Houston for the Southland Conference championship. Southeastern finished 5-6 overall and finished third in the
conference with a 5-2 record.