Redbird Trio Named to CSJ All-America Team
Jan. 26, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Illinois State football trio of wide receiver Tyrone Walker, defensive end Colton Underwood and safety Ben Ericksen picked up more postseason honors Friday, when they were selected for the 2012 College Sports Journal Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America Team.
The three Redbirds were among nine players from the Missouri Valley Football Conference selected for the team and included in the total of 63 players selected, which represents the 63 scholarships at the FCS level. The team was put together in such a way as to be a fully-functioning squad, with all positions on offense, defense and special teams and was selected by a blue ribbon panel of FCS experts put together by College Sports Journal executive editor David Coulson and CSJ publisher and managing editor Chuck Burton.
The All-America honor is the first for Walker this offseason. The Indianapolis, Ind., native led the Redbirds and the MVFC in receptions (90), receiving yards (1,319), receiving yards per game (101.5) and touchdown catches (9) in 2012 on way to being named a First-Team All-MVFC selection. The senior wideout also recorded seven games with over 100 yards receiving, including a season-best 176 yards and two touchdowns in the second-round playoff victory at Appalachian State.
Walker finished his four-year career at Illinois State with school records in receptions (250), receiving yards (3,565), and receiving touchdowns (32) and ranks second all-time in total touchdowns scored. In 2012, he passed current Jacksonville Jaguar wide receiver and former Redbird All-American Laurént Robinson for the career lead in those categories.
The honor for Underwood is added to a litany of postseason awards for the junior defensive lineman. Most recently, the Washington, Ill., native was named to the College Sporting News 2012 Fabulous Fifty FCS All-America Team and was also selected as a First-Team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Associated Press and The Sports Network. He finished sixth overall in the voting for the 2012 Buck Buchanan Award, which is awarded to the best defensive player in the FCS by The Sports Network and was given the 2012 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS Defensive End Award for his stellar 2012 campaign.
Underwood led the Missouri Valley Football Conference in sacks (10.5) and tackles-for-loss (19.5) and ranked second on the team with 95 tackles. The 2012 All-MVFC First-Team selection and MVFC All-Academic Second-Team pick recorded at least one sack in eight games and tallied five multiple tackle-for-loss performances. He finished the season tied for No. 12 in the FCS in tackles-for-loss per game and was No. 13 in the country in sacks per game.
Ericksen was previously named a Third-Team All-America selection by The Associated Press and The Sports Network as well. In his final season with the Redbirds, Ericksen started all 13 games at free safety, and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the country in interceptions per game. An All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection, he ranked sixth on the team with 67 tackles, one sack and 3.5 tackles-for-loss to go along with his team and league-leading seven interceptions. The Greendale, Wis., was named the national and MVFC Defensive Player of the Week, after intercepting two passes and finishing with four tackles in a win at FBS Eastern Michigan on Sept. 8.
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