Wagenmann Named to Prestigious AFCA All-America Team

The University of Montana’s record-setting defensive standout Zack Wagenmann has been named to the prestigious 2014 AFCA’s Football Championship Subdivision Coaches’ All-America Team announced recently by the American Football Coaches Association.

A 6-3 ½, 255-pound senior defensive end from Missoula, Mont., Wagenmann had a stellar senior season, and finished third in the balloting for the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the defensive player of the year in the FCS.

He was among the national leaders in sacks, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles racking up 17.5 sacks, 22.5 stops for loss, and six forced fumbles. He was Montana’s fifth leading tackler with 74 stops.

Montana was 9-5 overall in 2014, earned and received an at-large berth into the NCAA FCS playoffs and advanced to the second round, losing 37-20 on the road to 4th-ranked Eastern Washington. The Griz tied for second in the league with a record of 6-2, and Wagenmann was named the Big Sky Conference’s defensive MVP following the conclusion of the regular season.

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Zack Wagenmann. Photo by ©Mark Mesenko forMakeItMissoula.com

Wagenmann was the only player from the Big Sky named to the AFCA’s defensive team. EWU wide receiver Cooper Kupp was the only conference player chosen on the offensive squad, and it was his second straight year to be so-honored, and he was also the only sophomore named to the team. Portland State senior punter Kyle Loomis was named to the team for the second year in a row.

He is currently (national rankings are finalized following the division title game on Jan. 10, 2015) ranked fourth in the FCS in sacks (1.25 per game), sixth in forced fumbles (0.43 per game), and 13th in tackles for loss (1.6 pg).

A three-time All-Big Sky first team selection, Wagenmann set Montana career records in sacks (37.5), tackles for loss (49), and forced fumbles. His 6 forced fumbles tied the school record (6, Andy Petek, 2000).

Wagenmann was the co-recipient of the Grizzlies’ Steve Carlson Award (MV), sharing it with senior quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Montana has the most AFCA FCS All-America selections of any school with 24 selections by 23 players since 1979. Last season Griz senior offensive tackle Danny Kistler Jr. was named to the team, while in 2011 both senior linebacker Caleb McSurdy and senior cornerback Trumaine Johnson were recognized by the AFCA.

The Grizzlies are followed by Eastern Kentucky (23/21), Appalachian State (23/17), Eastern Washington (21/19), Delaware (20/17), Northern Iowa (20/17), Furman (19/18), Portland State (16/15), Lehigh (15/15), Stephen F. Austin (15/14), Youngstown State (15/14), Eastern Illinois (15/13), New Hampshire (15/13), Grambling State (14/13), Jackson State (13/12), Weber State (13/12), Montana State (12/12) and James Madison (11/11) among current FCS schools.

The Colonial Athletic Association (formerly Atlantic 10) (125 appearances/115 players) is tops among all FCS conferences on the AFCA FCS Coaches All-America Team since 1979. Following the CAA is the Southern (113 appearances/98 players), Missouri Valley Football (formerly Gateway) (97/87), Big Sky (92/88), Ohio Valley (68/63), Southland (63/58), Southwestern Athletic (55/53), Patriot (49/48), Ivy League (33/33), Mid-Eastern Athletic (31/29), Northeast (15/13), Pioneer (13/13) and Big South (10/10). These totals include FCS selections only from current conference members. Several schools had additional players chosen when they played in divisions other than FCS.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.