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Four Saxons named D3football.com All-Americans
1/03/11

ALFRED, NY — Four members of the Alfred University football team have been named D3football.com All-Americans.

D3football.com, a leading website covering Division III college football, announced its All-American teams following the conclusion of the Division III national championship tournament last month. Players nationwide named as First Team all-region selections were eligible for consideration as national All-Americans; all four AU players named First Team East Region were named All-American.

Junior linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) and senior left tackle Zach Morgan (Homer, NY/Homer) were named Third Team All-Americans — Clark as an all-purpose player and Morgan as an offensive lineman. Senior wide receiver Ryan Thon (Victor, NY/Victor) and sophomore tackle Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee) earned honorable mention.

Clark was the 2010 Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time conference all-star. He led the Saxons in tackles with 112 and had 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks to go with three interceptions, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. In Alfred’s three NCAA playoff games, Clark had 32 tackles (five for loss, two sacks) and an interception. The Saxons’ short-yardage back, he ran for 121 yards on 37 carries and led the team in rushing touchdowns with 12.

Morgan finished his AU career as a three-time Empire 8 all-star, earning First Team honors as a junior and again this year, his senior season. In 2010, he played on a line that produced 380 yards of offense (162 rushing, 281 passing). Morgan was responsible for allowing only one quarterback sack all season.

Thon, a First Team Empire 8 Conference all-star, finished the season with a school single-season record 73 catches for 949 yards (second most in a season at AU) and 15 touchdowns (tied for the school single-year record). In a game against Hartwick Oct. 9, he caught four TD passes to set a new school record, then duplicated the mark in the first half of AU’s first-round NCAA playoff win over Maritime on Nov. 20.

Raplee, an honorable mention all-Empire 8 pick as a freshman in 2009, was a First Team selection this season. He was second on the team with 87 tackles. His 18 tackles for loss led the Saxons and his six sacks ranked second.

Alfred went 10-3 this year, winning the program’s first two NCAA playoff games before falling to second-ranked Mount Union on Dec. 4 in the quarterfinals (final eight) of the NCAA Division III championship tournament. The Saxons finished 13th in the final D3football.com poll and 19th in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) national poll.

AU went 5-0 in conference games and repeated as Empire 8 Conference champions, winning the conference title outright for the first time in team history. The Saxons’ 10 wins tied the 1981 team for the most in a season in school history.