CENTERVILLE, Mass. – Six Salisbury University football players have been named 2011 ECAC Division III North Football All-Stars.
Seniors Alex Smith and Matt Leon earned first team honors, while junior Christian Emezie and sophomore Andre Carter did the same to round out the Sea Gulls' first-team selections. Senior Jamey McClendon and junior Dan Griffin each picked up second team defense and offense nods, respectively.
Smith and Emezie led the offensive line that helped SU rush for a program-record 4,596 yards and 353.3 yards per game, which ranked second in the nation. The pair also had a hand in limiting opposing defenses to just 13 sacks while Salisbury quarterbacks threw for 1,263 yards.
Smith also earned first-team All-Empire 8 Conference, D3football.com All-East Region first-team and American Football Coaches Association All-American honors this season. Emezie was previously named a first-team All-Empire 8 and D3football.com All-East Region first-team selection.
Leon led the team with 19 tackles for loss of 67 yards and was tied for second with five sacks. He also finished fifth on the team with 62 tackles. A Hillsborough, N.J., native, Leon also had four quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble and forced two others.
Leon also earned first-team All-Empire 8 honors this season.
Carter made 36 tackles and broke up six passes last season. He also made seven interceptions, ranking second in the country.
Carter, a Huntington, Md., product, was also a first-team All-Empire 8 honoree as well as a D3football.com All-East Region third team member.
Griffin ran for 907 yards and 20 touchdowns on 177 carries from under center. He also posted the most passing yards for a Salisbury quarterback since 1998 with 1,208. He also threw for 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
Griffin earned Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year and first-team honors in the All-Empire 8 and D3football.com All-East Region second team this season.
McClendon led the team with 6.5 sacks, was second in tackles with 93, had four pass breakups, five quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
McClendon was also first team All-Empire 8 and D3football.com All-East Region third team selection as well as being a Capital One Academic All-District Team member.
SU (11-2) made its deepest run into the NCAA tournament in 25 years, falling to eventual-champion the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the quarterfinals.
Click here to view the full 2011 ECAC Division III North Football All-Star team.