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Record-breaking running back is 2-time AP Little American

Friday, December 14, 2007

By RALPH D. RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK -- Danny Woodhead ran for more yards than any player in the history of college football and was selected to The Associated Press Little All-America teams each season he played at Chadron State.

The 5-foot-9 running back was a first-team Little All-American for the second consecutive season, joining Northwest Missouri State running back Xavier Omon and Harding quarterback David Knighton on the team released Thursday.

The AP Little All-America team honors players from Division II, III and the NAIA.

Woodhead ran for 7,962 yards for Division II Chadron State in Nebraska, topping the all-division record of 7,353 set by R.J. Bowers from 1997-2000 at Division III Grove City (Pa.) College.

Woodhead also ranks second in career all-purpose yardage with 9,479. His 109 career touchdowns ties the NCAA record and his 654 career points ranks second.

This season Woodhead rushed for 1,876 yards and scored 27 touchdowns. He is a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the best player in Division II.

Omon outplayed Woodhead when their teams met in the Division II playoffs three weeks ago. Northwest Missouri State beat Chadron State 28-21 behind 158 yards rushing by Omon. Woodhead was held to a career-low 16 yards and caught a touchdown pass.

Omon followed that up with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns in 33-3 victory over Bloomsburg 33-3, then went for 292 yards and four touchdowns as the Bearcats snapped Grand Valley State's 40-game winning streak last week.

Thanks to his outstanding postseason, Omon leads Division II in rushing with 2,274 yards.

Northwest Missouri State (12-1) plays Valdosta State (12-1) on Saturday in Florence, Ala., for the Division II national title.

Grand Valley State placed two players on the Little All-America team: linebacker Anthony Adams and offensive lineman Brandon Barnes,

Knighton passed for 3,197 yards and 32 touchdowns this season and became the first player in the school history to be a semifinalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy.

"I'm just pleased beyond words for him to get this recognition," Harding coach Ronnie Huckeba said Thursday. "I think he's very deserving."

Knighton excelled in Harding's spread offense, which allows him to change plays at the line of scrimmage.

"We felt very comfortable with him doing that," Huckeba said. "He's a playmaker, he's extremely tough. He's real hard to tackle. He's got a very, very strong arm."

North Dakota wide receiver Weston Dressler was a Little All-American for the second consecutive season. West Liberty State's Almonzo Banks, with 88 catches for 1,331 yards and 18 touchdowns, was the other receiver and Kolo Kapanui from West Texas A&M was the tight end.

Joining Dressler and Woodhead as two-time Little All-Americans were offensive linemen Ben Hochstein of Nebraska-Omaha and Heath Benedict of Newberry.

Mackenzy Bernadeau of Bentley and Tim McCutcheon of California, Pa., were the other first-team offensive linemen.

Ashton Gronewold of Missouri-Rolla made it as the all-purpose player, Jared Guberman of West Georgia was the kicker and Arkansas Tech's Michael Podobnik was the punter after leading the nation with a 45-yard average.

Joining Adams on the defense was linebacker Jerrell Freeman of Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor and Delta State linebacker Michael Eubanks, who is the second defensive player to be a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy. The other was linebacker Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama in 1995.

Abilene Christian running back Bernard Scott is the third Harlon Hill finalist and was a second-team Little All-America selection. The trophy will be awarded Friday night.

The defensive backs were Randy Kush of Nebraska-Omaha, Cary Williams of Washburn, Kendall Ricketts of Central Missouri and Matt Kostelnik of Mount Union.

The Purple Raiders, who will play for their third straight Division III championship Saturday against Wisconsin-Whitewater, also placed offensive lineman Derek Blanchard on the second team and quarterback Greg Micheli, running back Nate Kmic and defensive lineman Pat McCullough on the third team.


AP Sports Writer Noah Trister in Little Rock, Ark., contributed.

FIRST TEAM

Offense

Quarterback -- David Knighton, junior, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Harding.

Running backs -- Xavier Omon, senior, 5-11, 220, Northwest Missouri State; Danny Woodhead, senior, 5-9, 200, Chadron State.

Wide receivers -- Weston Dressler, senior, 5-8, 164, North Dakota; Almonzo Banks, senior, 6-2, 220, West Liberty State.

Tight end -- Kolo Kapanui, senior, 6-5, 255, West Texas A&M

Linemen -- Ben Hochstein, senior, 6-4, 298, Nebraska-Omaha; Heath Benedict, junior, 6-6, 320, Newberry; Brandon Barnes, senior, 6-2, 322, Grand Valley State; Mackenzy Bernadeau, senior, 6-4, 303, Bentley; Tim McCutcheon, senior, 6-4, 305, California, Pa.

All-purpose player -- Ashton Gronewold, senior, 5-10, 190, Missouri-Rolla.

Kicker -- Jared Guberman, junior, 5-10, 190, West Georgia.

Defense

Linemen -- Brandon Swain, junior, 6-4, 255, West Texas A&M; Curtis Johnson, senior, 6-3, 245, Clark Atlanta; Kurt Kissner, senior, 6-3, 245, Mesa State; Bryan Robinson, senior, 6-3, 292, Wesley.

Linebackers -- Michael Eubanks, senior, 6-2, 225, Delta State; Jerrell Freeman, senior, 6-2, 205, Mary Hardin-Baylor; Anthony Adams, senior, 6-2, 240, Grand Valley State.

Defensive backs -- Randy Kush, junior, 5-10, 189, Nebraska-Omaha; Cary Williams, senior, 6-2, 190, Washburn; Kendall Ricketts, senior, 5-10, 190, Central Missouri; Matt Kostelnik, senior, 6-1, 198, Mount Union.

Punter -- Michael Podobnik, junior, 6-0, 230, Arkansas Tech.

SECOND TEAM

Offense

Quarterback -- Mark Nicolet, senior, Hillsdale.

Running backs -- Bernard Scott, junior, Abilene Christian; Justin Beaver, senior, Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Wide receivers -- Scott Peters, senior, Winona State; Cedric Jones, sophomore, Valdosta State.

Linemen -- Brandon Bennett, senior, Williamette; Derek Blanchard, senior, Mount Union; Tony Burson, senior, Midwestern State; Vince Cashdollar, senior, Ashland; Christian Morton, senior, South Dakota.

Tight end -- Mike Peterson, senior, Northwest Missouri State.

All-purpose player -- De'Audra Dix, senior, Johnson C. Smith.

Kicker -- Tyler Lorenz, sophomore, California, Pa.

Defense

Linemen -- Louis Ellis, junior, Shaw; Mike Czerwien, senior, Waynesburg; Jake Visser, junior, Ferris State; Dan Skutta, junior, Grand Valley State

Linebackers -- Jared Brock, junior, West Texas A&M; Lateef Ferguson, senior, West Chester; Adrian Pynenberg, senior, Wabash.

Defensive backs -- Ranardrick Phillips, senior, Tarleton State; Brandon Carr, senior, Grand Valley State; Brandon Carr, senior, Bethel; Sherard Reynolds, junior, Valdosta State.

Punter -- Alex Groh, sophomore, Occidental.

THIRD TEAM

Offense

Quarterback -- Greg Micheli, junior, Mount Union.

Running backs -- Nate Kmic, junior, Mount Union; Dervon Wallace, senior, Shepherd.

Wide receivers -- Elfren Quiles, senior, Kutztown; Jake Allen, senior, Mississippi College.

Tight end -- Bryan Bergman, senior, Carthage.

Linemen -- Caleb Woodall, senior, Mary Hardin-Baylor; Reid Kirby, junior, Northwest Missouri State; Patrick Gildea, senior, Southern Connecticut; J.D. Whited, senior, North Alabama; Brennan Fortune, senior, St. John Fisher.

All-purpose player -- Tyler Sherden, senior, Luther.

Kicker -- Jeff Schebler, sophomore, Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Defense

Linemen -- Don Miller, senior, Alfred; Ron Ellington, senior, Catawba; Kirby Griffin, junior, California, Pa.; Pat McCullough, senior, Mount Union.

Linebackers -- Will Clewis, senior, Central Oklahoma; Kyle Follweiler, senior, Wilkes; Jared Erspamer, senior, Northwest Missouri State.

Defensive backs -- Nick Weber, senior, Wartburg; Clay Hamblen, senior, Georgetown, Ky.; Broderick Mondy, senior, Northeastern State; Chris Hemphill, senior, Central Washington.

Punter -- Brandon Larkin, senior, Clark Atlanta.



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