NJCAA Announces Football Players of the Year; 2011 Season Wrap-Up

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East Mississppi QB Bo Wallace and Rochester DB Caleb Leichtnam Named 2011 NJCAA Football Players of the Year after breaking seasons.

NJCAA Football

Following their record-breaking seasons, East Mississippi Community College freshman quarterback Bo Wallace and Rochester Community & Technical College (Minn.) freshman defensive back Caleb Leichtnam were named the 2011 NJCAA Football Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year today by the NJCAA Headquarters on behalf of the NJCAA Football Coaches Association.

Wallace was named the Offensive Player of the Year, while Leichtnam garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors. The duo is the first pair of freshman to receive both awards.

The 2011 season marks the 22nd consecutive year that the NJCAA Football Coaches Association has presented a Player of the Year Award. Since 2000, an award has been granted to both an offensive and defensive player.

Bo Wallace
Quarterback (6’ 5”, 210 lbs., Fresh.)
East Mississippi Community College

Statistically, Bo Wallace compiled the best season by a quarterback in the history of the NJCAA. Wallace broke three NJCAA single-season records, while leading the East Mississippi Lions to a perfect 12-0 record and their first ever national championship in any sport.

The freshman set new NJCAA records with 4,604 passing yards (4,001 yds – Marc Dunn – Ricks College, Idaho), 53 passing touchdowns (50 TDs – Tony DeLeon – Vermilion CC, Minn. – 1992) and 4,810 yards of total offense (4,075 yds – Will Hall – Northwest Mississippi CC – 1994). Wallace is only the second player in NJCAA history to surpass the 4,000-yard mark passing and the first freshman to win the offensive award since 2004.

In all 12 games this season, Wallace registered over 300 yards of total offense. Wallace also threw for over 400 yards five times and recorded seven passing touchdowns in four games.

At the El Toro Bowl, Wallace put on his best performance of the season to outgun No. 1 Arizona Western College 55-47 for the national championship. Wallace completed 31-of-44 passes for 486 yards and seven touchdown passes, the most ever thrown in a NJCAA sanctioned national title game.

From Pulaski, Tenn., Wallace transferred to East Mississippi from Arkansas State University. Wallace has yet to decide where he will continue his collegiate career next season. Although he has received an offer from Memphis according to Rivals.com, the recent hiring of Hugh Freeze as head coach at Mississippi could reunite Wallace with the former-Arkansas State coach.

Caleb Leichtnam
Defensive Back (6’ 0”, 177 lbs., Fresh.)
Rochester Community & Technical College, Minn.

Caleb Leichtnam’s ball-hawking skills made him the single biggest defensive threat on the field this season. His defensive efforts anchored Rochester’s Top 10 passing defense and spurred the Yellowjackets on to an 11-0 record in the regular season and their second-consecutive MCAC championship.

Leichtnam intercepted 20 passes in 2011, shattering the previous NJCAA single-season record of 14 (Vonkeith Spencer – Middle Georgia College – 1996/Landrain Gordon – Central Lakes College-Brainerd, Minn. – 2007). The freshman had multiple interceptions in seven games this season, including three contests where he picked off three or more passes. Totaling 422 return yards off his interceptions, Leichtnam returned two picks for touchdowns this season. He also tallied 39 total tackles, including three for a loss.

The best effort Leichtnam displayed this season was his four-interception performance in a 12-2 key conference win over Central Lakes College-Brainerd (Minn.). That showing earned Leichtnam one of his two Offensive Player of the Week awards in 2011.

Leichtnam is the second player from Rochester to receive Player of the Year honors and the first freshman to win the defensive award since 2007.

Previous NJCAA Football Players of the Year

Year    Player            Pos.        College, State
1990    John Kaleo         QB        Montgomery College, Md.
1991    Kalin Hall         RB        Dixie State College of Utah
1992    Russell Evans         QB        Northwest Mississippi Community College
1993    Roger Cook         QB        Dixie State College of Utah
1994    Chris Windsor         QB        Garden City Community College, Kan.
1995    Fred Taylor         QB        Hinds Community College, Miss.
1996    Rodrick Johnson          RB        Dixie State College of Utah
1997    Frank Murphy         RB        Garden City Community College, Kan.
1998    Terrance Williams     RB        Hinds Community College, Miss.
1999    Rudi Johnson         RB        Butler Community College, Kan.
2000    Marc Dunn         QB        Ricks College, Idaho
    Dustin Looman         DL        Rochester Community & Technical College    
2001    Rashad Armstrong     RB        Mesa Community College, Ariz.
    Randy Jackson         DE        Georgia Military College    
2002    Kelvin Hayden         WR        Joliet Junior College, Ill.
    Jamaal Jackson         DB        Northwest Mississippi Community College    
2003    Emmanuel Marc          RB        Hudson Valley Community College, N.Y.
    Larry Kendrick         DB        Pearl River Community College, Miss.    
2004     Jimmy Oliver         QB        Pearl River Community College, Miss.
    Mickey Pimental          LB        Pima Community College, Miss.    
2005     Jimmy Oliver         QB        Pearl River Community College, Miss.
    Jonathon Batson          DB        Cisco College, Texas    
2006    Cade Cooper         QB        Snow College, Utah
    Austin Panter         LB        Butler Community College, Kan.    
2007    Jocques Crawford     RB        Cisco College, Texas
    Markus White         DE        Butler Community College, Kan.
2008    Terrance Cain         QB        Blinn College, Texas
    Eugene Kinlaw         DL        Hutchinson Community College, Kan.    
2009    Jasmin Hopkins         RB        Fort Scott Community College, Kan.
    Brad Graham         LB        Navarro College, Texas    
2010    Reggie Bullock         RB        Arizona Western College
    Cornellius Carradine     DE        Butler Community College, Kan.    

2011 NJCAA Football All-Americans

1st Team Offense
QB    Bo Wallace – East Mississippi CC (Fresh.)
RB    Damien Williams – Arizona Western College (Soph.)
RB    Rasheed Williams – Louisburg College, N.C. (Soph.)
WR    Cordarrelle Patterson – Hutchinson CC, Kan. (Soph.)
WR    Marquez Clark – Navarro College, Texas (Soph.)
TE    Blake Jackson – Scottsdale CC, Ariz. (Soph.)
OL    Ellwood Clement – Eastern Arizona College (Soph.)
OL    Donald Hawkins – Northwest Mississippi CC (Soph.)
OL    Armondo Alverez – Blinn College, Texas (Soph.)
OL    Carlin Landingham – Grand Rapids CC, Mich. (Soph.)
C    David Kekuewa – Arizona Western College (Soph.)
K    Cody Dickson – Iowa Western CC (Soph.)
RS    Kali Rashaad – Cisco College, Texas (Soph.)

1st Team Defense
DL    Chaz Nelson – Garden City CC, Kan. (Soph.)
DL    Marcus Cribbs – Grand Rapids CC, Mich. (Soph.)
DL    Bernardo Nunez – Lackawanna College, Pa. (Soph.)
DL    Denico Autry – East Mississippi CC (Soph.)
LB    Martrell Spaight – Coffeyville CC, Kan. (Fresh.)
LB    Jermaine Longino – Trinity Valley CC, Texas (Soph.)
LB    Chris Young – Arizona Western College (Soph.)
DB    Zach Miller – Butler CC, Kan. (Soph.)
DB    Alonzo Lawrence – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Soph.)
DB    Caleb Leichtnam – Rochester CTC, Minn. (Fresh.)
DB    Travell Dixon – Eastern Arizona College (Soph.)
P    Zach Kerndt – Iowa Central CC (Soph.)

2nd Team Offense
QB    Cody Sokol – Scottsdale CC, Ariz. (Soph.)
RB    Vintavious Cooper – Southwest Mississippi CC (Soph.)
RB    Marion Grice – Blinn College, Texas (Soph.)
WR    Javon Bell – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Soph.)
WR    Kendall Wrenn – Butler CC, Kan. (Soph.)
TE    Keyon Cole – Grand Rapids CC, Mich. (Soph.)
OL    Dylon Holley – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Soph.)
OL    Mark Glowinski – Lackawanna College, Pa. (Soph.)
OL    John McClure – Butler CC, Kan. (Soph.)
OL    Travon Carter – Trinity Valley CC, Texas (Soph.)
C    Nate Richards – Trinity Valley CC, Texas (Soph.)
K    Kurt Walker – Blinn College, Texas (Fresh.)
RS    Wes Smith – Iowa Western CC (Soph.)

2nd Team Defense
DL    Demarcus Lawrence – Butler CC, Kan. (Soph.)
DL    Calvin Barnett – Navarro College, Texas (Soph.)
DL    Dontrill Hyman – Hinds CC, Miss. (Fresh.)
DL    Tenny Palepoi – Snow College, Utah (Fresh.)
LB    Terrell Porter – Grand Rapids CC, Mich. (Fresh.)
LB    Nick Gilbo – Hudson Valley CC, N.Y. (Fresh.)
LB    Chris Ficklin – East Central CC, Miss. (Soph.)
DB    Evan Ray – Grand Rapids CC, Mich. (Soph.)
DB    Kewitt Koonce – Louisburg College, N.C. (Soph.)
DB    Deion Belue – Northeast Mississippi CC (Soph.)
DB    Dehendret Collins – Copiah-Lincoln CC, Miss. (Soph.)
P    Will Scott – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Soph.)

Click here for the honorable mention teams and more information on the 2011 All-Americans.

Read the entire 2011 NJCAA Football Season Wrap-Up here.

About the NJCAA:
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the governing body of two-year college athletics, offering athletic and academic opportunities to college students. It is the second largest national intercollegiate athletic organization in the United States with over 500 member schools in 43 states. Each year over 60,000 student-athletes compete in one of 28 different sports and the organization sponsors 48 national championship events and nine football bowl games. For more, visit http://www.njcaa.org.

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