Two Earn Individual Awards; Seven Others All-OVC
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Two Earn Individual Awards; Seven Others All-OVC
Tennessee State University's Rico Council garnered Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and quarterback Michael German earned OVC Freshman of the Year with seven others being selected All-Conference as announced by the league office on Tuesday morning.

The Tigers had three first team All-OVC, with four second team and two All-Newcomer selections.

Joining Council on the first team was senior wide receiver Calvin McNairl and defensive back Joseph Wylie.

Second team All-OVC honors went to center Sherman Carter, offensive guard Kadeem Edwards and offensive tackle Rogers Gaines. Defensive end Antonio Harper garnered defensive second team all-conference honors.

Alongside German on the All-OVC Newcomer team was freshman defensive back Stephen Godbolt.  

"This is a great honor for Tennessee State University and our football program," said second year Head Coach Rod Reed. "These young men gave it all for our team this year and all are deserving of this recognition. This continues to validate what we are doing here at TSU and hopefully next year we'll add even more All-OVC selections."

Tabbed the OVC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in July, Council proved the voters correct as he earned the postseason honor as well. He becomes just the second Tennessee State player to earn the award, joining defensive end Lamar Carter (1999).

In 11 games Council netted 87 tackles (50 solo), 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had 12 tackles in a game at Eastern Kentucky, 11 against Jackson State and 10 against each Murray State and UT Martin.

His play helped Tennessee State, who was winless in OVC play last year, to a 4-4 Conference mark this season, which tied the team for fifth place in the OVC (after being picked eighth), and the Sgt. York Championship (contested between the four OVC schools from the state of Tennessee).

Council finished his four-year career with 295 tackles, which was second in TSU history behind only his head coach, Rod Reed (who had 406 stops at TSU from 1985-88).

German, a finalist for the Sports Network's Jerry Rice Award, started the season as the Tennessee State backup, seeing limited action in the first three games before getting his first career start at Air Force on Sept. 24.

After that contest against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe, German returned to FCS competition and had three-straight games of 230-plus passing yards and two touchdowns, earning OVC Newcomer of the Week honors after each game. He finished the season with two games of 250-plus yards, including passing for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over UT Martin; he earned his fourth OVC Newcomer of the Week honor of the year after that contest.

For the season German completed 140-of-250 passes for 1,899 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 71 yards and two additional scores. His play helped Tennessee State to four wins in its last six games, a 4-4 OVC record and the Sgt. York Championship (contested between the four OVC schools from Tennessee).

Overall TSU ranked 24th nationally in total offense (416.0 yards/game) and 32nd in scoring offense (30.45 points/game). German is the second Tennessee State player to earn Freshman of the Year honors since the award was first given out in 2004, joining running back Javarris Williams (2005).

McNairl started his career as a quarterback but finished it by catching 42 passes for 742 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011; his 749 receiving yards during the year ranked 38th nationally. The senior from Paris, Tenn., accumulated over 3,000 all-purpose yards during his four year tenure at TSU.

Wylie, a native Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had 66 tackles, an interception that he returned 59 yards for a touchdown and a forced fumble in 2011.

TSU had three offensive linemen gain second team distinction. Carter and Edwards graded out 85-88 percent and averaged five knockdowns and pancakes a game, respectively. Gaines, a native of Goodlettsville graded out 86-90 percent with six pancakes per game.

Harper earned two OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors, helping the Tigers to victories at Tennessee Tech and Eastern Illinois. The sophomore had 44 tackles and lead the team in tackles- for- loss (9.0) and sacks (6.5) during the season.

Godbolt recorded 37 tackles and seven pass breakups during the 2011 campaign. His two interceptions at Tennessee Tech helped give TSU a 42-40 victory over the No. 19 team in the country.  

The Tigers' nine postseason selections were the most for a TSU team since the 2008 campaign. Council was the only TSU selection that had previously earned accolades in previous seasons. The Chattanooga product was an All-Newcomer honoree in 2008 and a second team selection in 2010.