Albany State University quarterback A.J. McKenna has been named the SIAC’s most valuable player and offensive player of the year. McKenna is one of four Golden Rams named to the 2009 All-SIAC football team.
Also named to the first team are running back Demetrice Johnson, offensive lineman Joseph Ephrem and defensive back Mario Fuller. Albany State, Fort Valley State University and Tuskegee University led the all-conference team, which is selected by the SIAC Football Coaches Association, with eight players each. Named to the SIAC’s Second Team were wide receiver Ronnie Childs, defensive lineman Joshua Ingram, defensive back Jonathan Armstrong and kicker Juan Bongarra.
McKenna, a senior from Scranton, Pa., led the Golden Rams to an 8-3 overall record and an NCAA Division II playoff berth. McKenna led the ASU “Gold Rush” offense with 2,355 yards of total offense. In 11 games, he has passed for 2,027 yards, completing 154 of 288 passes for 19 touchdowns and rushed for 328 yards on 92 carries for a touchdown.
Johnson, who was a candidate for the 2009 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year, recorded 859 rushing yards on 171 carries for 15 touchdowns and caught 30 receptions for 446 yards and five touchdowns during his senior campaign. The senior from Thomson, Ga. also had 332 yards on 19 kick returns for the Rams. Johnson was also named to the 2009 Daktronics All-Super Region Two Second Team.
Fuller, a junior from Jesup, Ga., led the ASU “Dirty Blue” defense with 67 tackles (50 solo) with 11.5 for a loss. He had 10 pass breakups and four interceptions for 67 yards, and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Fuller was also named to the 2009 Daktronics All-Super Region Two Second Team.
A junior from Troy, IL, Ephrem was a key anchor of the ASU offensive line, which helped the ASU offense to 3,817 total offensive yards, including 2,136 passing and 1,681 rushing yards. The Rams averaged 347 offensive yards per game.
Childs, a junior from Manchester, Ga., caught 36 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns; and Ingram, a junior from Milledgeville, Ga., recorded 32 tackles (14 solo) four sacks, two quarterback hurries, an interception and a forced fumble. Armstrong, a senior from Savannah, recorded 48 tackles (28 solo), three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and an interception and a forced fumble. Bongarra, a senior from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was 10 for 18 in field goals and recorded 3,870 yards on 61 kicks for the Golden Rams.
By Edythe Bradley