Dodge one of four SOU All-American picks
Senior quarterback Austin Dodge was nationally recognized for the first time Tuesday when he led four Southern Oregon seniors on the 2014 American Football Coaches Association's NAIA All-American team.
Dodge represented the Raiders with a first-team selection, while defensive end Daniel Breaux, offensive lineman Drew Gibson and wide receiver Dylan Young were voted onto the second team.
SOU, which meets Marian (Ind.) on Friday in the NAIA title game, went without an All-American selection in 2013, and Dodge wasn't honored after his record-setting 2012 season either. He's the Frontier Conference's nominee for the Rawlings-NAIA Football Player of the Year award, which will be announced Thursday night in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Dodge leads the NAIA in passing yardage for the third straight season at 369.9 yards per game, and his 49 touchdown passes are 14 more than anyone else has thrown. He's set NAIA records this season in career TD passes (151), career passing yards (16,821), completions (1,232), attempts (1,916), total yards gained (17,150) and total TDs responsible for (158).
Young has averaged 116.5 receiving yards per game, ranking fifth in the NAIA, and leads the country with 21 receiving TDs — finding the end zone in 13 of 14 outings. The North Salem product broke the SOU single-season record for TD catches — previously held by Cole McKenzie, SOU's most recent All-American for his 2012 campaign — and is 30 yards away from tying McKenzie's single season reception-yardage mark of 1,661.
Gibson, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound North Medford alum, has been the leader on SOU's offensive line while garnering first-team All-Frontier Conference accolades in three straight seasons. This year he's helped the Raiders average 5.1 yards per rush (a mark that has steadily increased since sitting at 2.8 in 2010) and has helped keep Dodge from being sacked more than twice in all but two games.
Breaux, a fourth-year Raider who came from Greenfield, Calif., leads the team with 5.5 sacks to go with 72 total tackles and 11 for losses. His 18 career sacks tie him for fifth in Raider history. The last time a Raider defensive player was named an All-American was 2003, when defensive end Garret Gelker made the second team.
Morningside (Iowa)'s Brandon Wegher led the offensive voting after posting 200.8 rushing yards per game and 43 TDs. Concordia (Mich.) linebacker Takari Johnson, the NAIA's leader in sacks (15.5), led the defensive voting.
The other Frontier players on the squads were Rocky Mountain receiver Andre McCullouch (first team), Carroll linebacker Sean Blomquist (first team), Carroll running back Dustin Rinker (second team), Montana Tech defensive lineman David Meis (second team), Carroll defensive back James Dowgin (second team), Eastern Oregon linebacker Ryan Watson (second team) and Carroll punter Rhys Felton (second team).