Jan. 26, 2010
Grand Island, Neb. - Shorter College senior fullback A.J. Cooley and senior linebacker Logan Lollis have been named to the College Fanz Sports Network 2009 NAIA Football All-American first team, as voted on by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics football coaches and the College Fanz Football Game of the Week broadcast team.
The honor comes in addition to several others already bestowed upon Cooley and Lollis, who depart the Hawks' program as the best to ever play their respective positions.
Cooley, who repeated as Mid-South Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Year and was named Shorter's first-ever American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-American, finished his career as Shorter's all-time leading rusher and holder of every major rushing record.
The 6-1, 230-pounder gained 4,111 yards and scored 50 rushing touchdowns in his career, carrying 743 times and posting a career 5.5 yards per carry average.
Cooley was named a 2009 Sporting News Preseason NAIA All-American and promptly delivered, rolling up 1,429 yards and 17 TDs while picking up 6.3 yards per rush and averaging 129.9 yards per outing. He also caught a touchdown pass and returned two kickoffs for scores.
Cooley ranked second in the NAIA in total rushing for the second straight year, finished third in the country in scoring and fourth in rushing yards per game. He eclipsed the 200-yard mark three times in 2009, including a school record 255-yard, four-touchdown effort in a win over Belhaven College that earned him NAIA National Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career.
A.J. will represent Shorter in the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, Feb. 6.
In an event that features the nation's top NCAA Division I-A seniors, Cooley was the only NAIA player selected to participate in the game, and will showcase his talents in front of 40,000 fans and hundreds of National Football League scouts.
Like Cooley, the 6-3, 235-pound Lollis repeated as Mid-South Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
The Lyons, Ga., native stands alone as Shorter's all-time leading tackler with 328 stops after posting 104 in 2009, his second straight season of triple digit tackles. He made a Shorter single-season record 113 stops in 2008.
Lollis is also the Hawks' all-time leader in sacks - he had six this season - and demonstrated his dominance with a Hawks' single-game record, 3.5 sacks against Belhaven on Nov. 7.
Lollis' 9.5 tackles per game average ranked fourth in the Mid-South.
University of Sioux Falls quarterback Lorenzo Brown was named Offensive Player of the Year.
The Cougars, who captured a second straight national championship with a 25-22 victory over Lindenwood University (Mo.) on Dec. 19 at Barron Stadium in Rome, swept the Player of the Year awards as USF defensive back Trevor Holleman garnered Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
McPherson College (Kan.) head coach Brain Ward earned Coach of the Year honors.
This was the ninth annual edition of the NAIA Football All-American team, which began in 2002 with Jason Dannelly and the Victory Sports Network (now part of College Fanz). College Fanz is the world's largest online college sports community launched by ESPN founder, Bill Rasmussen.