Hess, Shaeffer, Gardner-Webb Headline FCS Weekly Awards
Southeast Missouri’s Geno Hess, Lafayette’s Billy Shaeffer, Weber State’s Abraham Williams and LIU’s Eric O’Neill were selected Monday as the FedEx Ground FCS National Players of the Week for Week 12 college football games through Saturday.
In addition, Gardner-Webb earned FCS National Team of the Week.
The five honorees plus honorable mention selections:
FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week
Geno Hess, Southeast Missouri, RB, Sr., 5-8, 222, Peoria, Illinois
Hess set the Ohio Valley Conference single-game rushing record with 317 yards and scored four touchdowns in Southeast Missouri’s 52-22 win over Murray State. He averaged 12.2 yards on 26 carries, scoring from 73, 43, 31 and 21 yards out, as the Redhawks clinched a share of the conference title. He also caught one pass for 10 yards.
Honorable Mention: Spencer Brasch, QB, Cal Poly; Marcus Cooper, RB, UIW; Theo Day, QB, Northern Iowa; Tim DeMorat, QB, Fordham; Cole Doyle, QB, Saint Francis; Xavier Gipson, WR, Stephen F. Austin; Michael Hiers, QB, Samford; Ty James, WR, Mercer; Derrel Kelley III, RB, Tarleton; Otto Kuhns, QB, Norfolk State; Dylan Laube, RB, New Hampshire; Fred Payton, QB, Mercer; Aidan Sayin, QB, Penn; Nasir Smith, RB, Central Connecticut State
FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the Week
Billy Shaeffer, Lafayette, LB, Sr., 6-3, 231, Warrington, Pennsylvania
Shaeffer became the first defensive MVP since 2010 in college football’s most-played series, helping Lafayette beat Lehigh 14-11 in the Patriot League. Shaeffer scored on a 50-yard pick-six in the first quarter, later recovered a muffed punt and had eight tackles and two quarterback hurries as the Leopards extended their all-time series lead to 81-72-5 over 158 meetings.
Honorable Mention: Finn Claypool, DL, Drake; Anthony Dunn Jr., LB, Florida A&M; Fred Flavors, DB, Samford; Todd Hill, LB, Duquesne; Matthew Jackson, LB, Eastern Kentucky; Tyler Long, LB, Norfolk State; William McRainey, LB, Gardner-Webb; Hamilton Moore, LB, Yale; John Pius, LB, William & Mary; Justin Ragin, DE, Jackson State; Fermon Reid, DL, Stetson; Ryan Saddler, LB, Bryant; Stone Snyder, LB, VMI; Ken Standley, LB, Mercer; Dre Terry, LB, Alabama A&M
FedEx Ground FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week
Abraham Williams, Weber State, KR/CB, R-So., 6-1, 175, Salt Lake City, Utah
Williams scored on a kickoff return of 100 yards for the fourth time this season as part of Weber State’s 33-31 win at Northern Arizona. The Big Sky’s new single-season record for kickoff return touchdowns in a season doubles the most by any other NCAA player (all divisions) this year. Williams finished with 198 yards on five returns, a 39.6-yard average. For the season, he is averaging 45.4 yards on 16 returns, a pace of more than six yards above the FCS single-season record.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Bloch, PK, Dartmouth; Anthony Egbo Jr., DB/ST, Abilene Christian; Darius Harper, DB, Tennessee State; Will Lynch, P, LIU; Adrian Olivo, PK, North Carolina Central; Kyle Thompson, PK, Weber State; Tyreece White, DL, Davidson
FedEx Ground FCS National Freshman Player of the Week
Eric O’Neill, LIU, DE, 6-3, 240, R-Fr., Staten Island, New York
O’Neill proved to be a nightmare for Sacred Heart’s offense, collecting a game-high 14 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks while also forcing a fumble in LIU’s 37-34 victory – the Sharks’ fourth straight to end the Northeast Conference season. The tackles behind the line of scrimmage totaled 20 yards. The fumble occurred on a sack that ended Sacred Heart’s final drive near midfield with just under two minutes remaining.
Honorable Mention: Major Bowden, RS, Lamar; Jayden Brown, RB, Gardner-Webb; Micah Davey, LB, McNeese; Jake Gerardi, P, Southern Utah; Travis Hunter, WR/DB, Jackson State; Ruben Lopez, S, San Diego; Hayward McQueen III, LB, Western Carolina
FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week
Gardner-Webb (38-17 win over North Carolina Central)
In a de facto Big South championship game, the Runnin’ Bulldogs secured their first conference title since 2003 and first-ever bid to the FCS playoffs. Coach Tre Lamb’s squad reversed a 14-10 deficit with 17 straight points over a 9-minute, 15-second span of the second and third quarters. Narii Gaither and Jayden Brown combined to rush for 200 yards and four touchdowns, while linebacker William McRainey and cornerback Raequan Ousley were defensive standouts.
Honorable Mention: Davidson (24-23 win over Dayton); Mississippi Valley State (27-7 win over Prairie View A&M); Montana State (54-21 win over Montana); UIW (66-7 win at Northwestern State); William & Mary (37-26 win at Richmond)