MIAC and region champion St. Thomas had a program-record five All-America honorees on the 2011 D3Football.com honor team announced Friday night. The group led the Tommies to a program-best 13-1 record and first berth in the semifinal round of the national playoffs.
On the D3Football.com squad, linebacker Tony Danna (SR-Lake Elmo/Hill-Murray) was named to the first-team defense; Fritz Waldvogel (SR-Mendota Heights/St. Thomas Academy) was named second-team at both WR and as kick returner; center Curtis James (JR-Edina) was named second team offensive line; Colin Tobin (SR-Itasca, Ill./Fenwick) and OT Dan Chapman (SR-Urbandale, Iowa/Johnston) were named to the third team.
St. Thomas also had a school-record two Little Americans on the elite Associated Press combined honor team of Divisions II and III and NAIA football -- James and Tobin were named to the third team. Only 19 Division III players were honored.
James previously was named to the 24-player AFCA All-America team.
Just two other Tommie football made AP Little All-America in the last 60 seasons -- TE Ryan Davis in 1994 and center Josh Ostrue in 2009.
The D3Football.team has 76 players named to three teams. NCAA champion UW-Whitewater and the Tommies had the most honorees (five), while NCAA runner-up Mount Union had four.
UST players have now received 10 All-America honors and xx CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the four-year era of Coach Glenn Caruso.
No other MIAC players were named to the first three all-America teams. Bethel OT Mitch Elliot and St. Olaf DE Brian Albrecht were among 25 named to the D3football.com honorable mention list.
Click here to see D3football.com teams:
Click here to see AP Little All-America teams:
Danna was named the West Region’s Defensive Player of the Year by D3football.com -- the first UST player to receive the award.
Danna has become the third UST player to surpass 300 career tackles and finished second on the school career list.
In 47 career games, he had 325 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles, 14 sacks and 43.5 tackles for loss.
Despite losing three starters to season-ending injuries in 2011, Danna helped pace a UST balanced defense that set a school record for sacks (49); had 111 tackles for loss; got interceptions or fumbles from 19 different players; allowed just 10.1 points a game; and led Division III in rushing yards allowed among teams that played a full season schedule (56.7 ypg).
Waldvogel was one of four national finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University. The award salutes the Most Outstanding all-around football student-athlete in NCAA Division III. He also was a second-team Capital One Academic All-America honoree.
Waldvogel recently was announced Conference Player of the Year for the second time in his career. In 2011, he had 17 touchdowns, 80 catches for 1,193 yards and 2,032 all-purpose yards.
On his career, Waldvogel had 46 touchdowns, including 10 on kick returns; he ranks first in MIAC career punt-return yards (1,498 on 99 returns); second in all-purpose yards (7,433 yards); and ranks third in MIAC career lists for receptions (300), receiving yards (4,289) and kickoff-return yards (1,580 on 57 returns).
He had nine touchdowns in 10 career NCAA playoff games.
A 2009 consensus All-American and two-time MIAC Player of the Year, he started a school-record 50 games and caught at least one pass in each one.
His 10 career kick/punt return touchdowns rank first in conference history and the second most in Division III history. He also has two other kick returns inside the six-yard line, and returned three kicks for TDs as a prep senior at St. Thomas Academy.
He tied an NCAA D-III record with at least one reception in all 40 regular-season games his team played, and tied another NCAA record with two punt returns for TDs in one quarter in 2009 win over Macalester.
He returned the opening kickoff for touchdowns in back-to-back 2009 games (Carleton, Augsburg). He had a 71-yard kickoff return in the 2009 NCAA playoff road win at Monmouth, and a 100-yard kickoff.
A three-year starter, James switched from guard to center this season. He helped the No. 3-ranked Tommies win 13 games and reach the NCAA playoff semifinals, both firsts in program history.
The Tommies have had 32 100-yard rushing performances thus far in his era and a 36-4 record. UST's offensive line has allowed just 30 sacks in those 40 games. The Tommie offense has averaged nearly 40 points and 425 yards a game over the last three seasons.
It's the fourth year in a row that St. Thomas has had a center named All-America, as Josh Ostrue was honored from 2008-2010.
In his first season as a full-time starter, Tobin had an elite showing with 22 TDs and 1,885 all-purpose yards, including 1,666 rushing yards.
In his last seven career postseason games he finished with 12 TDs and 987 rushing yards.
On his career, he finished with 50 touchdowns to share a school record, including 48 in his last three seasons. His 3,654 career rushing yards ranked third best in UST history. He had six career TD runs of 60 or more yards.
Chapman also made 2011 first-team All-Region and All-MIAC. He was voted the MIAC's Mike Stam recipient as the top offensive or defensive lineman in the conference. The last time a Tommie was so honored was 1996 when Aaron Harper won the Stam Award. He also was a first-team Capital One Academic All-America honoree for the second year in a row.
He has studied abroad in Greece and Turkey (J-term 2010) and Spain (J-term 2011), and is a member of University of St. Thomas Aquinas Scholars.
He has volunteered at San Miguel Middle School in Minneapolis through the Tutor-Mentor Program at St. Thomas. He's also volunteered with Goodwill Industries and with Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that delivers free meals to individuals with serious and life-threatening diseases.
On the field, Chapman was a three-year starter on the offensive line, and helped UST compile a 36-4 record since 2009. The Tommies averaged nearly 40 points and more than 400 yards of offense over the last three seasons. UST scored 193 offensive TDs in its last 40 games. The offensive line has compiled 32 100-yard rushing performances while allowing just 30 sacks in 40 games since 2009.