NEW YORK, N.Y.—Six members of the Lake Erie College football team were named to the USA College Football Preseason All-American Team.
Tanner Wells (Carrollton, Texas/Parish Episcopal) and Kyle Herth (Harrison, Ohio/LaSalle) led the selections with spots on the Third-Team Defense.
The USA College Football All-American Team represents the outstanding student-athletes Division II who have been selected by members of football writers associations, head coaches, sports information directors and the staffs of Lindy's Sports and USA Football News. Every player listed on these teams, including honorable mention status, are eligible to participate in the USA College Football Bowl that will be played January 19, 2015 in Jackson, MS.
Wells, a 2013 Second-Team All-GLIAC selection and a 2014 Beyond Sports Network GLIAC Preseason All-Conference Team selection, tallied a program-high 110 total tackles and 4.5 sacks during the 2013 season. He recorded 10 or more tackles four times. Against Tiffin University on November 16, Wells set the Lake Erie record for total tackles in game with 22- 12 of which were solo. Against Walsh on November 2, Wells recovered a fumble. In addition to his defensive prowess, Wells also served as a part-time punter and kick-off specialist.
Herth finished the 2013 season with 79 tackles while leading the Storm with six sacks to earn All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors. Lining up at defensive end, Herth had at least five tackles in every game, including a season-high 10 at Ferris State University on September 14. Herth had a standout game in the Storm's finale against Tiffin, where he registered a program-record 4.5 sacks, totaled 9 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, while forcing and recovering a fumble.
As Third-Teamers, Wells and Herth also earned Preseason Regional All-Star honors.
Bilal set many program-highs in 2013, finishing as one of the nation's top rushing leaders. Bilal accounted for 60 percent of Lake Erie's effective ground game in 2013, rushing for 1,542 yards and 24 touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He rushed for a touchdown in 10 games last season, including eight games with at least two. Bilal rushed for four touchdowns in a game twice. The sophomore ran for 100 yards in eight games including five games of 150 yards or better and pair of 200 yard rushing games. Against Notre Dame College on October 12, Bilal set a program-high for rushing yards in a game with 235 yards.
Offensive linemen Jackimowicz and Miller paved the way for Bilal while protecting All-GLIAC Honorable Mention quarterback Brandon Gallagher. Jackimowicz, an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection in 2013, played in all 11 games as the center. Miller, also an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection in 2013, played in nine games as the right guard. The two linemen helped the Storm rushing attack average 252.8 yards a game.
Van Fleteren earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors in 2013. The redshirt sophomore caught 42 passes for 502 yards and two touchdowns. Van Fleteren caught five or more passes in six games and had a season-high 121 receiving yards at Malone University on October 19. In that game, Van Fleteren had a highlight reel touchdown catch in which he dragged Malone defenders over ten yards into the end-zone.
The Storm opens the 2014 season on the road against Ashland University on September 6.