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 the Week 12 through Saturday college football games.
In addition, Gardner-Webb was named FCS National Team of the Week.
The five award winners plus honorable mention:
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 for 317 yards and scored four touchdowns in Southeast Missouri’s 52-22 win over Murray State. He averaged 12.2 yards on 26 carries and hit from 73, 43, 31 and 21 yards as the Redhawks clinched part of the conference title. He also caught a pass for 10 yards.
Award: Spencer Brasch, QB, Cal Poly; Marcus Cooper, RB, UIW; Theo Day, QB, North 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, State of Norfolk; Dylan Laube, RB, New Hampshire; Fred Payton, QB, Mercer; Aidan Sayin, QB, Penn; Nasir Smith, RB, Central State of Connecticut
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 in college football’s most-played series since 2010, helping Lafayette beat Lehigh 14-11 in the Patriot League. Shaeffer hit a 50-yard pick-six in the first quarter, later recovered a muted punt and had eight tackles and two quarterback rushes as the Leopards extended their all-time lead to 81-72-5 over 158 matches.
Award: Finn Claypool, DL, Drake; Anthony Dunn Jr., LB, Fla. A&M; Fred Flavors, DB, Samford; Todd Hill, LB, Duquesne; Matthew Jackson, LB, Eastern Kentucky; Tyler Long, LB, State of Norfolk; 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; Stein 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, KR/CB, R-Sun., 6-1, 175, Salt Lake City, Utah
Williams hit a 100-yard kickoff return for the fourth time this season in Weber State’s 33-31 win in northern Arizona. The Big Sky’s new single-season record for kickoff return touchdowns in a season doubles that of all other NCAA players (all divisions) this year. Williams finished with 198 yards on five returns, an average of 39.6 yards. For the season, he’s averaging 45.4 yards on 16 returns, a pace more than six yards over the FCS season record.
Award: Ryan Bloch, PK, Dartmouth; Anthony Egbo Jr., DB/ST, Abilene Christian; Darius Harper, DB, State of Tennessee; 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-Fri., Staten Island, New York
O’Neill proved to be a nightmare for Sacred Heart’s offense. He accumulated 14 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, which were high in one game, and forced a fumble in LIU’s 37-34 win — the Sharks’ fourth straight win to win the Northeast Conference end season. Tackles behind the line of scrimmage totaled 20 yards. The fumble happened on a sack that ended Sacred Heart’s final drive near midfield with just under two minutes to go.
Award: 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 championship game in the Big South, the Runnin’ Bulldogs clinched their first conference title since 2003 and made their first-ever bid for the FCS playoffs. Coach Tre Lamb’s side reversed a 14-10 deficit with 17 straight points in a span of 9 minutes and 15 seconds in the second and third quarters. Narii Gaither and Jayden Brown combined for 200 yards and four touchdowns while linebacker William McRainey and cornerback Raequan Ousley excelled on defense.
Award: Davidson (24-23 win over Dayton); Mississippi Valley State (27-7 win over Prairie View A&M); Montana State (54-21 victory over Montana); UIW (66-7 win at Northwestern State); William & Mary (37-26 win at Richmond)