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Vernon Adams top QB on All-America list

Teammates Cooper Kupp, Jake Rodgers also make first team

Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams is a first-team FCS All-America team selection. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams is a first-team FCS All-America team selection. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Associated Press
Vernon Adams only needed to play 10 games for Eastern Washington to become an All-American. Adams was chosen the first-team quarterback for The Associated Press FCS All-America team released Wednesday after a remarkable — yet abbreviated — season. The junior broke his foot against Idaho State on Oct. 4 and missed four games. Because he missed so much time, Adams doesn’t qualify to rank among the NCAA leaders in per game averages. If he did, he’d be leading FCS in total offense (376.8), yards passing (348.3) and points responsible for (24.8). He is second in touchdown passes with 35 and would be second in passer efficiency rating (169.2). Adams was rolling toward the Walter Payton Award as the nation’s best FCS player when he got hurt. He ended up finishing as the runner-up for the second straight season. Villanova quarterback John Robertson was the Payton award and is a second-team All-American. Adams and Eastern Washington were eliminated 59-46 in the FCS quarterfinals by Illinois State last week. Adams threw for 425 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Here are a few more things to know about the FCS All-America team:

Three of a kind

Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State and Eastern Washington each had three players on the first team, the most of any school. The Bison are represented by defensive end Kyle Emanuel, the Buck Buchanan Award winner as the top defensive player in FCS, along with offensive lineman Joe Haeg and defensive back Colten Heagle. Adams is joined on the first team by his favorite receiver, Cooper Kupp, and offensive lineman Jake Rodgers.

Standing out

Stetson defensive back Donald Payne is the first player from his school to be selected All-American. He has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Hatters (5-7). The sophomore has 174 tackles this season, most of any player at any level in the NCAA. He also tied an NCAA all-division record with 30 tackles in Stetson’s 28-22 victory against Campbell.

Big against big boys

South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner is an All-American for the second straight season. The senior has 2,019 yards and 22 touchdowns and he hasn’t just piled up yards against the easy spots on the Jackrabbits schedule. Zenner started the season with 107 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 carries against SEC East champion Missouri and finished his season with 133 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff loss to North Dakota State. In 2013, Zenner had 202 yards against Nebraska. In 2012, he went for 183, including a 99-yard touchdown, against Kansas. Zenner also became the first FCS back to have three 2,000 yard seasons. He was a second-team All-American as a sophomore.


Four other players joined Zenner as two-time All-Americans: Southern Illinois tight end MyCole Pruitt; Chattanooga defensive lineman Davis Tull; Missouri State defensive back Caleb Schaffitzel; and Portland State punter Kyle Loomis.
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