Daugherty, teammates earn All-America honors

BIG RAPIDS —A trio of Ferris State University football student-athletes have been named to the 2017 Associated Press Division II All-America Team with the Bulldogs matching three other programs for the most honorees in the country.

Ferris State senior defensive back Tavierre Thomas (Detroit) was chosen to the Associated Press D2 All-America First Team with junior defensive end Zach Sieler (Pinckney) and senior center Jake Daugherty (Big Rapids) both garnering second team All-America recognition.

The Associated Press Division II All-America Team replaced the former AP Little All-America Team this year and recognizes the nation’s top performers in Division II football. The team was selected by a panel of sports information directors from around the country.

Thomas earned first-team accolades for the first time this year after previously garnering second-team All-America recognition from the American Football Coaches Association and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association. Meanwhile, Sieler has also been a consensus All-America choice this year while Daugherty earned his first All-America honor in his senior campaign.

All three have now been chosen as All-Americans by at least one source for the second consecutive year.

Ferris State along with Shepherd (W.Va.), West Alabama and Central Washington were the only schools in the entire country to have three individuals recognized. The Bulldogs also had the most honorees from the GLIAC with the trio accounting for three of the league’s five selections in addition to Ashland’s Dominic Giunta and Travis Tarnowski.

This fall, Thomas ranked among the league and national leaders with 18 total pass breakups and four interceptions while garnering the GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year honor. The two-time first team All-GLIAC selection finished right behind Sieler on the squad with 60 total stops and added two tackles for loss while starting all 13 games in his final season as a Bulldog. He was chosen this week as a nominee for the Cliff Harris National Small College Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Sieler was tabbed as the GLIAC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year for the second-straight year and also recently chosen as the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Bulldogs with 21 tackles for loss (-74 yards) and seven quarterback sacks (-46 yards) while ranking third in total tackles (79) in addition to forcing two fumbles, recovering two fumbles, breaking up two passes and blocking a quick. He was also named a Cliff Harris National Small College Defensive Player of the Year candidate after being a finalist for the honor a year ago.

Finally, Daugherty, a Big Rapids native, caps off his career as a three-time All-American for the Bulldogs and was the runner-up this year for the Gene Upshaw Award presented to the nation’s most outstanding offensive or defensive linemen. The three-year starter was also tabbed to the 2017 AFCA Good Works Team for his efforts both on and off the field and paved the way for one of the nation’s most explosive offenses as the starting center in his collegiate career. He’s also a three-time All-Super Region honoree.

Ferris State finished the 2017 season with an 11-2 overall record. FSU’s 11 wins this season marks the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have achieved the feat, which represents the first time in school history in which FSU has done so over four-straight years.

This fall, the Bulldogs also made their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs and reached the national quarterfinal round for the second-straight year after making a D2 National Semifinal appearance last season.



Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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