Edwards leads FCS All-America Team

Updated: December 17, 2008, 6:16 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Armanti Edwards can add All-American to a list of accomplishments that already includes two national championships and one of the greatest upsets in college football history.

The Appalachian State quarterback, along with fellow Walter Payton Award finalist Herb Donaldson of Western Illinois, headline the AP's FCS All-America Team released Wednesday.

Edwards, a junior from Greenwood S.C., had his best passing season yet, throwing for 2,902 yards and 30 touchdowns despite missing a game with a hip injury and playing the final three games with a right knee injury that might need surgery.

"The thing people found out about Armanti is he's very capable of throwing the ball," Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said in a telephone interview.

And Edwards can still run it. He had 941 yards on the ground.

Edwards had run for 2,741 yards in his first two seasons, leading the Mountaineers to two of their three straight national titles and a victory at Michigan to start the 2007 season.

"He's not a really fiery, pep talk guy," Moore said. "He's more of leader in making the plays that he does.

"They see him take hits, they see his toughness. ... They feed off that. And he's done it since he was a freshman."

Donaldson leads the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) with 162 yards rushing per game.

The Payton Award, which goes to the nation's best FCS player, will be handed out Thursday night in Chattanooga, Tenn. The other finalist is James Madison quarterback Rodney Landers, who was a second-team All-America selection.

Montana, which plays Richmond for the national championship in Chattanooga on Friday night, had two first-teamers: offensive lineman Colin Dow and safety Colt Anderson.

Joining Edwards and Donaldson in the All-America backfield is Liberty's Rashad Jennings, who ran for 1,500 yards and scored 19 touchdowns.

The receivers are San Diego's John Matthews and Ramses Barden of Cal Poly. Matthews led the nation with 102 catches for 1,478 yards. Barden had 1,257 yards and was the Great West offensive player of the year.

The tight end was Scott Sicko from New Hampshire.

On the line with Dow was Joel Bell from Furman, Cornelius Lewis from Tennessee State, Scott Lemn from James Madison and Stephen Field from Cal Poly.

Southern Illinois running back Larry Warner was selected as an all-purpose player. He averaged 187 total yards per game.

Andrew Wilcox of Elon was the kicker. He was 22-for-27 on field goal attempts. All-America punter Brett Arnold of Massachusetts averaged 45.2 yards per kick.

Eastern Washington defensive end Greg Peach leads the nation with 18 sacks and is a leading contender for the Buchanan Award, given the best FCS defensive player.

Central Arkansas' Larry Hart, Maine's Jovan Belcher and UC Davis' John Faletoese were all Buchanan finalists and their conference's defensive players of the year.

Hart had 12 sacks and was the Southland Conference defensive player of the year.

"He was certainly an impact player for us," Central Arkansas coach Clint Conque said. "He really changed the complexion of our defensive front."

Zach East, who helped once lowly Prairie View to a 9-1 season, leads the linebackers, along with Jason Williams of Western Illinois and Nathan Williams of Murray State.

Nathan Williams leads the nation in tackles with 179.

Joining Anderson in the secondary are Northern Arizona's K.J. Gerard, Nicholls State's Lardarius Webb and Appalachian State's Mark Legree.

Legree, who leads the country with 10 interceptions, was the only sophomore to make the first team.

After three straight national titles, Appalachian State was knocked out of the FCS playoffs in the second round by Richmond. The Spiders placed two players, offensive linemen Matthew McCracken and Tim Silver, on the second team.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press