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Fordham Leads FCS in Preseason All-Americans

by Mike Watts
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Fordham Athletics

Five earn distinction in The Sports Network's All-American list

It has been documented just how successful Fordham football was last year en route to a school record 12 win season. The Sports Network's first look at 2014 is equally exciting. The Sports Network announced five Rams earned preseason All-American status. The five picks is most of any FCS team.

Earning first team recognition is reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Stephen Hodge and dynamic wide receiver Sam Ajala. The Patriot League's Offensive Player of the Year Michael Nebrich and Mason Halter shared second team accolades while Dan Light was selected to the third team.

Stephen Hodge finished with a team high 124 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and 5 sacks. He also intercepted a pass, forced five fumbles, and recovered another three. He returns at outside linebackers as reigning defensive player of the year in the Patriot League. Only Colgate's Tem Lukabu (2002, 2003) and Lafayette's Andy Romans (2007, 2008) have won the award in consecutive seasons. He also gained an Academic All-Patriot league team nod last season.

Wide receiver Sam Ajala caught 93 passes for 1,646 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013 after combining for just 26 catches in his first two seasons. His breakout was among the biggest surprises for Fordham in the 2013 season, particularly in an offense that spreads the ball like Fordham does. His leaping touchdown catch with four seconds left sealed a shocking come from behind win over Temple in week three.

Dual-threat quarterback Michael Nebrich led the second team All-American offense after directing Fordham to the most prolific offensive season in its history. Recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 2012, the Connecuticut transfer took the starting job and racked up 375 yards per game in total offense while leading the FCS in completion percentage. Nebrich was at the helm of the first FCS offense to produce three 1,000 yard receivers and a 1,000 yard rusher.

Nebrich's chief blindside protection, left tackle Mason Halter, also gained second team noteriety. Becoming a full time starter as a sophomore, the Saint Ignatius High School (OH) product stood out for his outstanding performance in 13 starts last season.

Tight end Dan Light rounds out Fordham's haul, picking up third team honors. Light amassed 66 catches for 588 yards as a sure handed option. His blocking is also highly regarded by the coaching staff. Light was named to the conference All-Academic team as well.

The other six teams in the Patriot League accumulated three preseason All-Americans. Lehigh OL Ned Daryoush, Lafayette WR Ross Scheuerman, and Bucknell LB Evan Byers earned recognition.

Fordham football opens its third season under Patriot League Coach of the Year Joe Moorhead on August 30 against Saint Francis University at Jack Coffey Field. WFUV will broadcast every game live on 90.7FM and WFUVSports.org for the 2014 season.  Continue to follow us on twitter @WFUVSports for continuing coverage.