From Carnegie Mellon University Athletics
Junior running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) of the Carnegie Mellon University football team repeated as an AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America as announced today by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Benger found a spot on the first team, as this marks the first season that the AFCA is selecting a first and second team. He is one of four repeat honorees and also one of four non-seniors named to the 25-member first-team squad.
Benger recently was named to the D3football.com All-South Region First Team and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Offensive Player of the Year. The running back also repeated as the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Offensive Player of the Year and garnered University Athletic Association (UAA) First Team accolades. He ended his junior campaign rushing for 1,671 yards and 26 touchdowns. Benger ranked second nationally in rushing touchdowns and scoring with 170 points (28 touchdowns and a two-point conversion), both are school records. His 1,671 rushing yards ranked third best in Division III with his 151.9 yards rushing per game ranking fifth. Benger became Carnegie Mellon's career rushing leader in the Tartans' last regular season contest and currently has rushed for 4,333 yards in his career.
Last season, Benger became 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 Murawski in 1981 and offensive lineman Robert Butts in 1985.
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.