OGDEN, Utah — Fourteen Sacramento State football players earned all-Big Sky Conference honors, it was announced today. The teams are created following a vote by the league's 13 head coaches.
The Hornets had three defensive players named to the first team comprised of defensive ends Ben Sorensen and George Obinna and safety Mister Harriel. Sorensen earned all-Big Sky for the second consecutive year after he led the Big Sky and tied for fifth in the FCS with 10.0 sacks (1.00 per game) The senior spearheaded a Hornet defense which set the school Div. I-era record with 43 sacks and finished the season tied for second in the FCS sacks and ranked third in third-down defense. Along with his sacks, Sorensen concluded the season with 38 tackles, including 12.5 for loss. He also had seven pass breakups, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
The Clovis, Calif., native concluded his career ranked eighth in school history with 17.5 sacks and is sixth with 32.5 tackles-for-loss. All but three of his sacks came in the final two years of his career.
Obinna played opposite of Sorensen on the defensive line and also provided relentless pressure. The junior recorded 8.5 sacks and 12.5 TFLs during the season while appearing in all 11 games. Obinna has already moved into a tie for fourth place in the Hornet record book for career sacks and heads into next season needing just a half tackle-for-loss to crack the top 10.
Harriel led the team in tackles with a career high 87 stops. The hard-hitting safety had 5.0 TFLs, including a pair of sacks. He also did his part in pass coverage, recording three interceptions and a pair of pass breakups. The Antelope HS graduate had at least three tackles in every game and finished with 10 or more in three contests, including 11 in the Causeway Classic victory over UC Davis.
Guard Pailake Aiono, wide receiver Andre Lindsey and kicker Devon Medeiros were each named to the second team offense. Aiono earned all-Big Sky accolades for the second consecutive season. The senior moved from guard to center following last season and extended his consecutive starts streak to 33 games during 2017. With Aiono in the middle of the line, Sacramento State had its best rushing season (225.8 yards per game) since 1999 and allowed just 16 sacks in 11 games.
Lindsey enjoyed his breakout season in 2017, tying for second on the team with 25 receptions and finishing the year with a team-high 756 receiving yards. He led the FCS with 30.24 yards per reception and ranked eighth in the Big Sky with 68.7 yards per game. Lindsey broke one of the longest standing records in Sacramento State history with his yards per reception. The previous record was set by Kevin Fontes in 1982 with an average of 23.21. The junior led the team in receiving touchdowns with eight and had four games with at least 100 receiving yards. Lindsey was a big-play threat throughout the season with 13 receptions and two rushes for at least 25 yards.
The team's leading scorer, Medeiros finished 2017 with 94 points — the second most by a kicker in school history. The junior made 14-of-17 field goals during the season and was 52-of-53 on extra points. His field goal total tied the school record and he moved into second place for made PATs. Medeiros opened the season with a 52-yard field goal at Idaho which is tied for the second best in school history. He made his last five attempts on the year and was successful on eight of his last nine. The junior was also a weapon on kickoffs where he averaged 64.2 yards and had 43 of his 75 attempts go for touchbacks.
Sacramento State had four players named to the third team with one on offense and three on defense. Senior Jonathan Bade earned the honor at tackle. A three-year starter, Bade earned all-conference honors for the first time as a Hornet. The senior started the final 33 games at tackle for Sacramento State and was a two-time captain. The American Canyon, Calif., native played a large role in the teams improved play up front as the Hornets rushed for 225.8 yards per game and allowed just 16 sacks in 11 games. The rushing average was the most by a Sacramento State team since 1999 when it ran for 234.9 yards per game.
On defense, Marcus Bruce (outside linebacker), Manoah Pearson (inside linebacker) and Dre Terrell (cornerback) were all voted to the third team. Bruce tallied a career high 57 tackles with two for loss. The Bakersfield, Calif., native also led the team with four fumble recoveries, returning two for touchdowns during the season.
Pearson contributed 52 total tackles from his middle linebacker position. The junior had 7.5 TFLs, including a pair of sacks. He had at last five tackles in seven games this year. The Carson, Calif., native will enter his senior season with 198 tackles which already ranks 18th in school history.
Terrell was the Big Sky leader in interceptions with five during the season. The Elk Grove native played a large role in Sacramento State owning the best turnover margin in the conference. Terrell earned national player of the week honors after tying the school record with three interceptions against Incarnate Word. Along with the picks, he also forced a pair of fumbles, had nine pass breakups and added 61 tackles (3.0 for loss). The junior started all 11 games at cornerback and had the most interceptions by a Hornet since Brent Webber picked off six in 2006.
The remaining all-conference selections garnered honorable mention. Wide receiver Isiah Hennie and guard Wyatt Ming earned the honor on offense. On defense, tackle Dariyn Choates and outside linebacker Immanuel Anderson were recognized.
Hennie concluded his collegiate career with a team-high 40 receptions. The senior had 430 receiving yards and four touchdowns during the year. He caught one or passes in all 11 games to extend his streak to 20 consecutive games and 31 of the last 32 games with a reception.
Ming played his first season on the offensive line after beginning his career at guard. The junior started the final 10 games of the year and helped solidify the team's front.
Choates was credited with 23 tackles in 2017. The sophomore made his impact felt in the backfield as he had a career high 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.0 sacks. Choates also had four quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.
Anderson made a seamless move from rover to outside linebacker in 2017. The junior ranked fourth on the team with 59 total tackles and was third with 10.0 tackles-for-loss. Anderson had a sack among that total and also picked off a pass and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown at Cal Poly. In just three seasons, Anderson ranks eighth in career history at Sacramento State with 238 stops.
The 14 all-Big Sky selections — only three of which were seniors — were the most for Sacramento State since 18 players earned the honor in 2002. The defense also claimed three first team selections for the first time since 2007. This year, Sacramento State led the Big Sky in both sacks and third-down defense.
The Big Sky also announced the UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss was named the Offensive Player of the Year, Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson was the Defensive Player of the Year, Montana State's Troy Anderson was the Freshman of the Year and UC Davis quarterback Jake Maier of the Newcomer of the Year.
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