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Montana Grizzlies land 5 on STATS preseason All-America list

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Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 02, 2021

(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA -- The Montana Grizzlies landed five players on one of three Stats Perform Preseason all-America teams, the FCS news organization announced Monday. Weber State and Montana, who went one and two, respectively, in the preseason Big Sky polls, were tied with five selections each - the most of any team in the league.

Receiver Samuel Akem and linebacker Jace Lewis were each named to the second team, while safety Robby Hauck, long snapper Matthew O'Donoghue, and kick returner Malik Flowers each landed on the third team.

Akem, Lewis, Hauck, and O'Donoghue were also named to the preseason all-Big Sky team last week at the conference's annual kickoff event in Spokane. Flowers, a preseason all-league pick in 2020, earns his first preseason nod ahead of the 2021 season.

All 15 FCS conferences and 60 schools were represented among the 120 preseason All-Americans, split into three 40-player Stats Perform teams. Over 80 percent of the players earned a spot on a previous preseason or postseason All-America squad.

Sam Houston and North Dakota State, the two most recent FCS national champions, had a team-high six players each named to the list.

Akem, a preseason All-Big Sky pick, is set to enter his senior season as one of the top-20 receivers in Montana history with 2,022 career yards to date. He also enters the season among UM's top-20 in career receptions (142) and will serve as an anchor on one of the premiere receiving corps in FCS football. The senior from Oklahoma was a 2020 preseason all-league pick as well as a HERO Sports Preseason All-American in 2019 when he finished the season with second-team all-conference honors.

Lewis, the 2020 Big Sky Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, was also a repeat preseason all-league pick in 2021. The senior from Townsend enters the 2021 season as one of the top-40 all-time tacklers in Montana history with 219 stops to his name. As a junior in 2019, he was one of the top five tacklers in the Big Sky and a top-25 tackler in FCS football with 131 stops that year. He was recently announced as the next Grizzly to carry on the No. 37 jersey tradition as well.

Hauck has started every game of his career at Montana. His 236 career tackles currently place him at No. 31 on UM's all-time leading tackler list. Ahead of the 2020-21 season, Hauck earned preseason All-Big Sky honors from the conference and preseason All-America and all-league selections from HERO Sports and Phil Steele Magazine. With 12 stops, he was UM's top overall tackler during the two-game 2021 season.

O'Donoghue was a consensus All-American after his junior season in 2019 and is expected to handle UM's snapping duties for a fourth-straight year, with preseason all-conference honors going his way in 2021. As a junior he earned All-America honors from Stats Perform, Athlon Sports, and Phil Steele Magazine after putting in 144 attempts on the punt team, field goal team, and PAT team without a bad snap. He also caught a pass for a two-point conversion at Sac State.

Flowers continues his junior season after two years as one of the most dominant kick returners in FCS football. With two electric returns for 70 yards in the spring season, he enters the fall of 2021 with 1,556 career kick return yards and three touchdowns, needing just over 500 more yards to break the school record. He earned multiple All-America honors as a junior in 2019 and was a preseason All-Big Sky pick in 2020. He was also named a 2020 preseason All-American by Phil Steele magazine, Athlon Sports and HERO Sports, while being named to the College Football America FCS Starting Lineup.

Montana enters the 2021 fall season coming off a 2-0 spring campaign that saw the Grizzlies dismantle Central Washington and Portland State by a combined score of 107-10.

UM opens the season on Sept. 4 against the University of Washington in Seattle, with the home opener against Western Illinois set for Sept. 11 in Missoula.

2021 STATS PERFORM FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Eric Barriere, senior, 6-0, 200, Eastern Washington

QB – Cole Kelley, senior, 6-7, 260, Southeastern Louisiana

RB – Julius Chestnut, senior, 6-1, 215, Sacred Heart

RB – Jah-Maine Martin, senior, 5-10, 214, North Carolina A&T

RB – Otis Weah, junior, 5-9, 195, North Dakota

FB – Hunter Luepke, junior, 6-1, 245, North Dakota State

WR – Avante Cox, senior, 5-10, 170, Southern Illinois

WR – Jakob Herres, senior, 6-4, 211, VMI

WR – Tyler Hudson, sophomore, 6-2, 185, Central Arkansas

TE – Ryan Miller, senior, 6-2, 221, Furman

OL – P.J. Burkhalter, senior, 6-3, 330, Nicholls

OL – Liam Fornadel, senior, 6-4, 310, James Madison

OL – Garret Greenfield, junior, 6-6, 295, South Dakota State

OL – David Kroll, senior, 6-7, 315, Delaware

OL – Cordell Volson, senior, 6-7, 310, North Dakota State

OL – Ty Whitworth, senior, 6-4, 300, Weber State

DEFENSE

DL – Jared Brinkman, senior, 6-2, 290, Northern Iowa

DL – Isaiah Chambers, grad, 6-5, 250, McNeese

DL – Mike Greene, senior, 6-3, 285, James Madison

DL – Jahari Kay, senior, 6-2, 255, Sam Houston

DL – Jordan Lewis, junior, 6-3, 205, Southern

LB – Troy Andersen, senior, 6-4, 235, Montana State

LB – Logan Backhaus, senior, 6-4, 205, South Dakota State

LB – Willie Eubanks III, senior, 6-2, 230, The Citadel

LB – La'akea Kaho'ohanohano-Davis, senior, 6-1, 215, Southern Utah

LB – Stone Snyder, junior, 6-3, 225, VMI

LB – Tre Walker, senior, 6-1, 235, Idaho

DB – Markquese Bell, redshirt senior 6-3, 205, Florida A&M

DB – Nicario Harper, junior, 6-1, 205, Jacksonville State

DB – Kordell Jackson, senior, 5-9, 188, Austin Peay

DB – Ferlando Jordan, junior, 6-0, 180, Southeastern Louisiana

DB – Zyon McCollum, senior, 6-3, 195, Sam Houston

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK – Ethan Ratke, senior, 5-10, 185, James Madison

P – Daniel Whelan, senior, 6-6, 215, UC Davis

LS – Kyle Davis, senior, 5-11, 210, James Madison

KR – Christian Watson, senior, 6-4, 200, North Dakota State

PR – Jequez Ezzard, grad, 5-9, 190, Sam Houston

AP – Elijah Dotson, senior, 6-0, 185, Sacramento State

AP – Quay Holmes, senior, 6-1, 216, ETSU

AP – Javon Williams Jr., junior, 6-2, 245, Southern Illinois

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – Zerrick Cooper, senior, 6-3, 225, Jacksonville State

QB – Eric Schmid, senior, 6-1, 180, Sam Houston

RB – Percy Agyei-Obese, senior, 6-0, 204, James Madison

RB – Karl Mofor, senior, 5-9, 229, Albany

RB – Pierre Strong Jr., senior, 5-11, 210, South Dakota State

FB – Nathan Walker, senior, 6-0, 225, Wofford

WR – Samuel Akem, senior, 6-4, 212, Montana

WR – Dai'Jean Dixon, senior, 6-4, 200, Nicholls

WR – Xavier Gipson, junior, 5-9, 170, Stephen F. Austin

TE – Noah Gindorff, junior, 6-6, 266, North Dakota State

TE – Rodney Williams II, senior, 6-4, 235, UT Martin

OL – AJ Farris, senior, 6-2, 300, Monmouth

OL – Tylan Grable, junior, 6-7, 260, Jacksonville State

OL – Braxton Jones, senior, 6-7, 310, Southern Utah

OL – Trevor Penning, senior, 6-7, 321, Northern Iowa

OL – Tre'mond Shorts, senior, 6-4, 326, ETSU

OL – Tristen Taylor, senior, 6-6, 325, Eastern Washington

DEFENSE

DL – DJ Coleman, senior, 6-6, 265, Jacksonville State

DL – Malik Hamm, senior, 6-3, 260, Lafayette

DL – Kobie Turner, senior, 6-3, 285, Richmond

DL – Spencer Waege, senior, 6-5, 274, North Dakota State

DL – Joseph Wallace, senior, 6-1, 300, Sam Houston

LB – Ryan Greenhagen, senior, 6-1, 235, Fordham

LB – James Kaczor, senior, 6-0, 211, North Dakota State

LB – Jace Lewis, senior, 6-1, 238, Montana

LB – Conner Mortensen, senior, 6-0, 215, Weber State

LB – Tristan Wheeler, junior, 6-2, 228, Richmond

DB – Anthony Adams, junior, 6-0, 185, Portland State

DB – Anthony Budd, senior, 5-11, 200, Monmouth

DB – Qua Brown, senior, 5-11, 206, Southern Illinois

DB – Decobie Durant, senior, 5-11, 175, South Carolina State

DB – Chris Edmonds, junior, 6-2, 205, Samford

DB – Kedrick Whitehead, senior, 5-11, 195, Delaware

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK – Antonio Zita, senior, 5-9, 170, Tennessee State

P – D.J. Arnson, grad, 6-0, 185, Northern Arizona

LS – Robert Soderholm, junior, 6-1, 216, VMI

KR – Rashid Shaheed, senior, 6-0, 180, Weber State

PR – Tyrin Ralph, senior, 5-8, 170, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

AP – Kevin Brown, senior, 5-9, 204, UIW

AP – Dejoun Lee, senior, 5-7, 185, Delaware

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – E.J. Perry, senior, 6-2, 210, Brown

QB – Cameron Ward, sophomore, 6-3, 225, UIW

QB – Liam Welch, grad, 6-2, 194, Samford

RB – Josh Davis, junior, 5-9, 195, Weber State

RB – Juwon Farri, junior, 5-10, 195, Monmouth

RB – Geno Hess, senior, 5-8, 209, Southeast Missouri

RB – Devin Wynn, senior, 6-0, 211, Furman

FB – Logan Kendall, senior, 6-4, 264, Idaho

WR – Xavier Smith, redshirt senior, 5-10, 175, Florida A&M

WR – C.J. Turner, junior, 6-2, 180, Southeastern Louisiana

WR – Lujuan Winningham, junior, 6-3, 195, Central Arkansas

TE – Marshel Martin, sophomore, 6-2, 210, Sacramento State

OL – J'Von Brown, senior, 6-3, 320, Central Connecticut State

OL – ZeVeyon Furcron, senior, 6-2, 327, Southern Illinois

OL – Kyle Nunez, senior, 6-2, 340, Stony Brook

OL – J.D. DiRenzo, senior, 6-6, 315, Sacred Heart

OL – Colby Thomas, senior, 6-2, 295, Sam Houston

OL – Matt Waletzko, senior, 6-7, 295, North Dakota

DEFENSE

DL – Malik Fisher, senior, 6-4, 295, Villanova

DL – Devonnsha Maxwell, senior, 6-2, 295, Chattanooga

DL – Shaundre Mims, senior, 6-0, 276, Charleston Southern

DL – Jared Schiess, senior, 6-3, 300, Weber State

LB – Keonte Hampton, senior, 6-2, 220, Jackson State

LB – Matthew Jackson, senior, 6-2, 205, Eastern Kentucky

LB – Forrest Rhyne, senior, 6-1, 225, Villanova

LB – Jeremiah Tyler, senior, 6-2, 225, Princeton

DB – James Caesar, senior, 5-10, 185, Southern Illinois

DB – Brandon Easterling, senior, 6-0, 203, Dayton

DB – Marcis Floyd, junior, 6-0, 188, Murray State

DB – Robby Hauck, junior, 5-10, 185, Montana

DB – Evan Horn, senior, 6-0, 220, New Hampshire

DB – Tyree Robinson, senior, 5-11, 184, ETSU

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK – Luis Aguilar, grad, 6-3, 200, Northern Arizona

P – Noah Gettman, senior, 6-5, 205, Sacred Heart

P – Brady Schult, senior, 6-1, 215, South Dakota

LS – Matthew O'Donoghue, senior, 6-1, 260, Montana

KR – Malik Flowers, junior, 6-2, 195, Montana

PR – Mike Roussos, senior, 6-0, 195, Columbia

AP – Jake Chisholm, senior, 5-9, 182, Dayton

AP – Isaiah Davis, sophomore, 6-1, 220, South Dakota State