PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Junior safety Jordan Dangerfield, senior fullback Tyler Wharton and freshman running back Terrance West of the Colonial Athletic Association champion Tiger football team have been selected as members of the 63-man College Sports Journal Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America team, it has been announced by CSJ officials.
In addition, Towson Coach Rob Ambrose was honored as the FCS Coach of the Year while West was named as the FCS Freshman of the Year.
Junior defensive end Frank Beltre was chosen as an honorable mention pick.
Georgia Southern and national champion North Dakota State topped all teams with four picks each, while Sam Houston State and Towson received three selections.
A first team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, Dangerfield was also named as an All-ECAC honoree. Despite missing two games with an injury, he led the Tigers with 93 tackles in ten games. Averaging 9.3 tackles per game, he ranked seventh in the CAA. He also ranked second among CAA defensive backs with 93 tackles.
A two-year starter for the Tigers, he also intercepted two passes and tied for the CAA lead with two fumble recoveries. In addition, he also forced a pair of fumbles.
One of the Tiger co-captains, Dangerfield was one of the leaders of the Tigers' dramatic turnaround in 2011. He led the Tigers in tackles for the second straight year. In 2010, he made 96 tackles in 11 games. As a freshman, he played at Hofstra University. When Hofstra discontinued its football program, he transferred to Towson.
An outstanding blocker, Wharton earned All-CAA honors for the second year in a row. A third team All-CAA selection this season, he was a key to the Tigers’ terrific running game which led the CAA by averaging 229 yards per game. Wharton was also a very good receiver out of the backfield. He caught 14 passes for 203 yards and scored five touchdowns. A converted linebacker, Wharton was a second team All-CAA selection as a junior.
The winner of the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in FCS football, West is a consensus All-American who averaged 117.6 yards per game, second in the CAA and 12th in the nation. He was also named as ECAC Offensive Rookie of the Year and the CAA Offensive Freshman of the Year. A four-time choice as CAA Rookie of the Week, he was also named as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week twice.
While averaging 6.7 yards per carry, he led FCS with 29 touchdowns scored. His 29 touchdowns shattered the school record and represent the fourth-highest single season total in the history of FCS football. In 11 games, he ran for 1,294 yards on 194 carries. He rushed for at least 100 yards in six consecutive games and scored at least two touchdowns in each of his final eight contests. A first team All-CAA pick, West also scored four touchdowns in a game three times.
The winner of the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award, Ambrose directed one of the most dramatic turnarounds at the Division I level in recent memory. After taking over the Tiger program in 2009 and winning just three games in his first two years, the 1993 Towson graduate guided the Tigers to a 9-3 record in 2011.
The Tigers, who entered the season with 26 losses in their last 28 CAA games, won seven of eight CAA contests to claim their first CAA championship. The Tigers had been picked to finish last in the CAA pre-season poll.
The "Turnaround Tigers," as they were nicknamed, won the Colonial Athletic Association outright and they made the FCS playoffs for the first time. By making their first appearance in the FCS playoffs, Towson became the first school in NCAA history to earn playoff appearances at the Division III, Division II and FCS levels.
The Tigers finished the season as the ninth-ranked team in the nation.
A two-year starter at defensive end, Beltre joined Dangerfield and West as first team All-CAA selections. A starter in 11 of 12 games, he was fourth on the team with 68 tackles. Beltre also led the Tigers with 12 tackles for lost yardage and recorded a team high four quarterback sacks. Beltre was seventh in the CAA in tackles for lost yardage. In his career, he has made 196 tackles, including 30.5 tackles for lost yardage.
West was also the headline performer on the 40-man All-Freshman Team.
All 14 FCS conferences are represented on the All-America team. The Southern Conference led all leagues with 11 selections, followed by the Colonial Athletic Association with nine, the Missouri Valley Football Conference with eight and the Big Sky Conference with seven.
The All-America and All-Freshman teams were selected by a blue ribbon panel of FCS experts assembled by College Sports Journal executive editor David Coulson and CSJ publisher and managing editor Chuck Burton.
Coulson has 35 years of experience covering college football, including 20 seasons of following FCS and has served as the executive editor and managing partner of College Sporting News and the executive director for The Sports Network, running its national awards program from 2007-2009.
He has had a hand in selecting honors teams at the FCS level since 2002 and is in the process of writing and compiling the first FCS encyclopedia.
Burton has been acclaimed for his Lehigh Football Nation blog and as a national columnist for College Sporting News in the past decade.
2011 College Sports Journal Major Award Winners
Offensive Player of the Year: Chris Lum, Senior, Quarterback, Lehigh
Defensive Player of the Year: Adrian Hamilton, Senior, Defensive End, Prairie View
Coach of the Year: Rob Ambrose, Towson
Lineman of the Year: Tom Compton, Senior, Tackle, South Dakota
Special Teams Player of the Year: Laron Scott, Senior, Georgia Southern
Freshman of the Year: Terrance West, Freshman, Running Back, Towson
FCS Playoff Most Valuable Player: Preston Evans, Senior, Linebacker, North Dakota State