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Four Cougars Earn Don Hansen All-Region Honors

University of Sioux Falls Cougars football
University of Sioux Falls

PITTSBURG, KS — Even more proof of a successful season for the University of Sioux Falls, four USF football players have been named to the 2012 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-Super Region Three squad as it was announced on Wednesday.

The group of Cougar honorees includes one first team selection, senior safety Robert Virgil (Elk Grove, Calif./Sacramento CC); a pair of second team selections, senior wide receiver Jeremiah Oates (Orangevale, Calif./Sacramento CC) and senior place kicker Braden Wieking (Sioux Falls, S.D./Sioux Falls Christian) and one third team honoree, junior wide receiver Carrington Hanna (Streetsboro, Ohio/California-Penn).

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The laurels marked the fourth postseason honor for Virgil, as he was already named to the Daktronics Region 3 Second Team Defense, BSN All-America second team and was also a first team All-NSIC selection.

Virgil has defined the term “ball hawk” and was a big reason why the Cougars finished second in the NSIC in turnover margin (+14), as he tallied seven interceptions in 11 games to rank second in the NSIC (.64/game) and fifth in the nation.  He was also the league’s top defender in terms of passes defended (7 INTs, 16 pass breakups) and ranked 15th among league DB’s with 66 total tackles.

Virgil also had a knack for playing his best in the biggest games. He intercepted Husky quarterback Phillip Klaphake on the first play of USF’s season opener at No. 16 St. Cloud State, which helped set the stage for the Cougars’ 32-19 upset victory.  He was also credited with 12 tackles, a career-high, in USF’s 32-31 double-overtime victory against Augustana College.

Jeremiah Oates was the 2012 NSIC leader in touchdown catches (12), despite missing the season finale against Wayne State due to a concussion. His dozen touchdown grabs included a career-best 62 yard catch against Upper Iowa. He stood second in the league with an average of 92.1 receiving yards per contest, which also placed him 27th nationally. Oates’ average of 133.1 all-purpose yards per game was the sixth-best mark in the NSIC and placed him 45th in the country.  A second-team All Dakota team honoree in 2011, Oates finished his senior season with 921 receiving yards and 1,331 all-purpose yards, as he also returned 12 kickoffs for 265 yards and 17 punts for 138 yards.

Braden Wieking adds his Super Region Three selection to his large postseason haul, which includes BSN third team accolades and being named one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Award. Wieking was named second-team All-NSIC and also received honorable mention recognition as a punter.

Wieking twice earned NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week honors this season and posted the league’s best overall field goal percentage, at .842 (16-for-19). His .947 PAT conversion rate (36-for-38) was the sixth-best mark in the NSIC. Wieking drilled a 54-yard field goal to break the school record previously held by TC Fraser in a victory against Southwest Minnesota State. He leaves USF as the school’s career field goals leader (52) and finished with 393 career points to rank second on the all-time scoring list behind David Ruter (518). Wieking is ranked eighth in the NSIC in punting, with 57 punts for 2,129 yards (37.4 per punt). He tallied a career-long 54-yard punt against the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears.

Carrington Hanna tallied 898 receiving yards and 919 all-purpose yards in 11 games this season, en route to All-NSIC second team honors. He was also named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America® NCAA Division II Football Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

A pre-medicine major who boasts a 3.42 G.P.A., Hanna was tops in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in both receptions (69, 6.27 per game) and yards per catch (13.0). He stood second on the team with 10 touchdown catches, which included a career-long 61-yard score in USF’s win against MSU-Moorhead. In that same contest, the former high school quarterback also showed off his arm with a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Under third year head coach Jed Stugart, the Cougars finished the year with a 9-2 overall record. USF was ranked ninth in Super Region 3 in the final NCAA D-II regional rankings.

The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.

The first-team and second-team All-Region selections advance to a national ballot from which the 2012 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America team will be named later this month.

Great America Conference champion Henderson State University led the way with eight honorees, while NCAA Division II playoff participants University of Minnesota-Duluth and Northwest Missouri State University had seven honorees apiece. Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champion and national semifinalist Minnesota State University and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association champion Missouri Western State University received six selections apiece.

A total of 103 players earned some form of Don Hansen All-Super Region Three honors. Players from 38 of the 46 football-playing schools in Super Region Three earned All-Region accolades.

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Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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