From Carnegie Mellon University Athletics
Sophomore running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) of the Carnegie Mellon University football team received yet another accolade for the 2015 season. The sophomore headlined the 2015 AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team announced today by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Benger is one of two sophomores that were named to the 25-member squad and one of nine non-seniors.
Benger becomes the fourth Tartan to be named an AFCA All-American with the last coming in 2000 when linebacker Nick Zitelli was honored. The other two Tartans that received the prestigious accolade were linebacker Ken Murawaski in 1981 and offensive lineman Robert Butts in 1985.
Benger, the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) and University Athletic Association (UAA) Offensive Player of the Year and recently named D3football.com All-South Region First Team honoree, rushed for an NCAA Division III-best 2,092 yards this season to go along with 22 rushing touchdowns. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Legacy Bowl after scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 190 yards, which made him the 21st player in Division III history to reach the 2,000-yard plateau. Benger's 22 rushing touchdowns broke the school's single-season mark held by Brad Stanley in 2003 with 21. The sophomore set the school's single-game rushing mark with 303 yards against then nationally ranked Washington & Jefferson College earlier this season. Benger also became the Tartans' all-time single-season rushing leader after surpassing the mark of 1,326 yards held by Travis Sivek during the 2006 season.
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.
The AFCA's Division III All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA's eight districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen.