NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State placed six players on the All-Ohio Valley Conference team, as announced on Tuesday. Chris Collins, Lane Clark and Ebenezer Ogundeko were all named to the first team, while Patrick Smith, Jason Morrow and Vincent Sellers were selected to the second team. Sellers also earned a spot on the All-Newcomer team.
The defense stood tall in 2017 ranking seventh in the nation in total yardage allowed, including holding opponents to 146.5 yards through the air, which was third best in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Collins, Ogundeko, Morrow and Sellers led the charge for Tennessee State who accomplished their fifth winning season in the last seven years and their sixth non-losing campaign during the same time frame.
Collins improved on his second team All-OVC selection as a junior by finishing his final season at TSU with 97 tackles, 58 solo, 13.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The linebacker led the OVC in solo tackles for the second consecutive year and topped the conference in tackles per game (8.8). Collins also finished in the top five in tackles for loss. The senior finished with 266 stops in three years as a starter, which was good for seventh all time at Tennessee State. Collins also forced two fumbles in 2017, as well as record two quarterback hurries, two pass deflections and a quarterback hurry. Collins opened the season being named FCS STATS National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance at Georgia State.
Clark earned his second consecutive first team selection after connecting on 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) field goals and 25-for-25 on extra points. The senior finished 10th in the FCS with 1.30 Field Goals Per Game. Clark paced his season going 6-of-9 from beyond 40-yards, increasing his two-year total of long distant boots to 15. The Hays, Kan. native leaves TSU with eight of the longest 11 kicks in program history.
Ogundeko becomes the first Tiger to be named to the All-OVC First Team in three consecutive years since Eugene Clifford who accomplished the feat from 2008-10. Ogundeko was still a force despite playing in just nine contests. The senior registered 43 stops, 25 solo, and 7.5 tackles for loss. Ogundeko also picked up 4.0 sacks for 22 yards and had four quarterback hurries, three breakups, three passes defended and a fumble recovery.
Smith earned his second trip to the All-OVC team after finishing fourth all time in receiving touchdown in conference history. Smith scored touchdowns by passing, receiving and on punt return in 2017 as he caught 42 passes for 648 yards (15.4 per reception). Smith scored eight touchdowns through the air, while he tossed one against Austin Peay and returned one versus Jackson State. The Memphis product finished with 887 all purpose yards on the season. Smith also leaves his mark in the TSU record books in career receptions, yardage and touchdowns.
This marks the first postseason honor for Morrow in his four-year career. The senior was a force in the middle of the defensive front with two pass deflections, a breakup, a hurry and ranked third in the nation with three blocked kicks. Morrow also made 21 stops, 5.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks, while also notching his first career interception in a game at Eastern Kentucky.
Sellers, just off being named as a FCS STATS Jerry Rice Award Finalist for top freshman in the country, played in all 11 games, starting 10, and made 49 tackles, two for loss, two interceptions for touchdowns, a safety and five pass breakups. The freshman was named STATS FCS Freshman of the Week, Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player and Newcomer of the Week after his performance at Eastern Kentucky (10/7). Sellers opened the season with a STATS FCS Freshman of the Week Honorable Mention selection and earned OVC Newcomer of the Week.
Sellers was the only defensive player to be named to the All-Newcomer squad. The Sarasota, Fla. native was one of only four freshmen to be honored as All-Conference.