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Napier voted first team All-America by Associated Press

SEWARD, Neb. – A day after being named an honorable mention All-American by the NAIA, sophomore linebacker Lane Napier earned loftier distinction on Friday (Dec. 14). The Associated Press announced Napier as a first team All-America selection. The award is befitting of a player who topped all NAIA defenders in tackles during the 2018 season.

A two-time first team All-GPAC selection, Napier led the nation with 142 tackles (average of 14.2 per game). That figure is a program GPAC era (2000-present) record. The David City, Neb., native also paced the team in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (four). Napier added a forced fumble and a blocked extra point. Napier notched double figures in tackles eight times this season with a high of 22 at Morningside. After making 21 tackles in the win at Jamestown, Napier picked up the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week award. He has already recorded 239 tackles through his first 20 career collegiate games.

Said head coach Patrick Daberkow, “I think Lane Napier is the best linebacker in the country. You can make a statistical case and then you put the film on and it’s case closed. I really believe he’s that type of player. We’ve had GPAC Defensive Players of the Year before here. I think that recognition will come eventually for him. What was great about that position group was the depth. We have probably six guys who could have started for us.”

The Bulldog football program has had a representative on the defensive side of the ball earn some form of All-America recognition in four-straight seasons and in five out of the last six. Recent All-Americans include Tarence Roby (2017), Trey Barnes (2015, 2016) and Darnell Woods (2013).

The 2018 AP NAIA All-America Team



Quarterback — Trent Solsma, senior, Morningside (Iowa) College

Running backs — Demarco Prewitt, junior, Kansas Wesleyan; Joe Connor, junior, Concordia (Mich.)

Linemen — Garrett Bader, senior, Benedictine (Kan.); Anthony Vereen, senior, Jamestown University; Trey Coney, junior, Reinhardt (Ga.); Eli Smith, junior, Kansas Wesleyan; Trevor Wietzema, senior, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)

Tight end — Charlie Simmons, sophomore, Kansas Wesleyan

Wide Receivers — Connor Niles, senior, Morning (Iowa) College; Darrion Dillard, senior, Ottawa (Kan.)

All-purpose player — J’Kobi Reddick, sophomore, Bethel (Tenn.)

Kicker — Ignacio Gomez, sophomore, Lyon (Ark.)


Linemen — Shaq Bradford, junior, Kansas Wesleyan; JT Graydon, sophomore, Reinhardt (Ga.); Andreas Moeller, junior, Evangel (Mo.); Curt Boeke, senior, Dakota State (S.D.)

Linebackers — Jason Ferris, junior, Montana Western; Caleb Coe, senior, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Lane Napier, sophomore, Concordia (Neb.)

Backs — Bryce Van Beek, senior, Northwestern (Iowa); Nicholas Holmes, sophomore, St. Mary (Kan.); Jay Liggins, senior, Dickinson State (N.D.); Wilmer Cole, senior, Saint Francis (Ind.)

Punter — Matt Larson, senior, Rocky Mountain College



Quarterback — Jaylen Lowe, senior, Langston (Okla.)

Running backs — Milton Shelton, junior, Cumberlands (Ky.); Marquis Stewart, senior, Benedictine (Kan.)

Linemen — Mick Wilson, senior, Eastern Oregon; D.J. Loving, senior, Grand View (Iowa); Dustin Rivera, junior, Southwestern (Kan.); Jordan Heldreth, senior, Southeastern (Fla.); Jarin Bush, senior, Marian (Ind.)

Tight end — Devante Jimenez, senior, Bethel (Tenn.)

Wide Receivers — Shane Solberg, sophomore, Northwestern (Iowa); Brendan Kelly, senior, Eastern Oregon

All-purpose player — Nate McLaurin, senior, Baker (Kan.)

Kicker — Marcus Montano, senior, Southern Oregon


Linemen — Ryder Rice, senior, Rocky Mountain College; Mike Mitchell, senior, Southeastern (Fla.); Kenneth Steele Jr., senior, Ottawa (Ariz.); Dmitri Joe, senior, St. Xavier (Ill.)

Linebackers — Ben Slavens, junior, Grand View (Iowa); Eric Dunten, junior, Grand View (Iowa); Trent Mueller, senior, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

Backs — Xavier Spann, senior, Morningside College; Cain Boschee, senior, Dickinson State; Isaiah McFarland, sophomore, Point (Ga.); Sage Chen-Young, freshman, Keiser (Fla.)

Punter — Spencer Wyatt, senior, Morningside (Iowa) College

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