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Appalachian Nets FCS-Best Four TSN All-Americans

First-team linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough headlines four Mountaineers on The Sports Network’s 2012 FCS all-America teams. Photo by Tyler Buckwell and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

Dec. 11, 2012. Highlighted by first-team linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough (Decatur, Ga./Cedar Grove), Appalachian State University led all NCAA Division I FCS programs with four representatives on The Sports Network’s 2012 FCS all-America teams, which were announced Monday. Joining Kimbrough on the TSN all-America squads are third-team punter Sam Martin (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill), cornerback Demetrius McCray (Covington, Ga./Newton) and wide receiver Sean Price (Reston, Va./South Lakes).

Appalachian State’s four TSN all-Americans are tops among 122 FCS teams nationally. Alabama State, Central Arkansas, Colgate, Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Sam Houston State, Stony Brook and Tennessee State tied for second with two all-Americans apiece.

Kimbrough is an all-American for the second time, having previously earned first-team recognition from College Sports Journal and second-team accolades from The Sports Network and Phil Steele Publications as a junior in 2011. As a senior, 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. He 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.

Martin garnered all-America recognition for the first time on the strength of a 45.9-yard punting average, which ranks third nationally and second in Appalachian State history. Twenty-five of the senior’s 60 punts were downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, 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. Martin 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). He is the first Mountaineer punter since Nate McKinney in 2003 to earn all-America recognition.

McCray is a two-time all-American after receiving fourth-team plaudits from Phil Steele Publications as a junior in 2011. He 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.

Price is the only freshman among The Sports Network’s 97 all-Americans in 2012. In just 10 games, the 6-5 wideout caught 81 passes for 1,196 yards and eight touchdowns, shattering the FCS records for receptions (71, set by Cal State Northridge’s Drew Amerson in 1999) and receiving yards (1,073, set by Marshall’s Randy Moss in 1996). Price’s 7.1 receptions and 119.6 yards per game both rank sixth nationally this season, regardless of class, and he is one of 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the nation’s top FCS freshman.

With the additions of Martin and Price, Appalachian State now boasts a total of 86 all-Americans in its 83-season football history. Forty-five different Mountaineers have earned all-America recognition since 2000.