Dec. 13, 2012. Sam Martin (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill) became only the second punter in Appalachian State University history to be named an Associated Press first-team All-America on Wednesday, highlighting three Mountaineers on the AP’s 2012 NCAA Division I FCS all-America teams. In addition to Martin, linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough (Decatur, Ga./Cedar Grove) and cornerback Demetrius McCray (Covington, Ga./Newton) collected second-team recognition.
Appalachian State’s three AP All-Americans are tied for the most among all 122 FCS teams nationally. Alabama State, Eastern Washington, Sam Houston State, Stony Brook and Tennessee State are the only other programs with three representatives on the AP squads.
Martin joined Harold Alexander (1991 and ‘92) as the only punters in school history to earn first-team All-America recognition from the AP. Martin ranked third nationally with a 45.9-yard punting average this season, which was good for second in Appalachian State history behind only Alexander’s 47.3-yard average in 1991. Twenty-five of Martin’s 60 punts were downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line this season, which set a school record for punts downed inside the 20 and helped the Mountaineers rank second nationally with a 40.8-yard net punting average. The senior also excelled as Appalachian’s kickoff specialist (averaging 63.1 yards with 45 touchbacks in 71 kickoffs) and place-kicker (making 7-of-10 field goals, including the final five of the season).
Kimbrough racked up 143 tackles, good for the third-highest total in the nation and seventh in Appalachian State single-season history. He also ranks third in the Southern Conference and among the top 100 nationally with 12.5 tackles for loss (1.04 per game) and 11th in the SoCon with 4.5 sacks. The senior was named the SoCon’s co-Defensive Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the nation’s top FCS defensive player.
McCray tied for the Southern Conference lead with four interceptions in 2012, becoming the first Mountaineer cornerback to ever lead the league in interceptions twice (he paced the SoCon with five INTs in 2011). The senior also led the team with eight passes defended, ranked sixth on the squad with 55 tackles from his cornerback position and forced a fumble. Like Kimbrough, he is one of 20 finalists for the Buchanan Award.