PHOTO: Matt Beck, No. 50 (Mike Ekern photo)
St. Thomas junior center Matt Beck has been named to the Associated Press Division III Little All-America team for 2017. Beck is among 50 players recognized.
Beck was among 53 players voted to this elite team from 36 different Division III programs, and the lone MIAC athlete.
This is the 11th on-field All-America award for a Tommie offensive lineman (seventh for a center) in the 10-year Glenn Caruso era.
Beck and his offensive line mates helped the Tommies average more than 47 points a game and score 75 offensive TDs, tied with the Oklahoma Sooners for third most among all 660 NCAA teams. He helped the 2017 Toms post an 11-2 record and advance to the national playoff quarterfinal round.
Despite first-year starters at quarterback and wide receiver -- plus an injury that knocked out All-America running back Jordan Roberts -- the Tommie offense had an impressive balance with 258 passing yards and 208 rushing yards per contest, plus 23 first downs a game.
St. Thomas led all Division II and III teams in offensive plays (1,015), including a school-record 97 in a playoff win over previously-unbeaten Berry (Ga.). UST held the ball for nearly 39:00 of 60:00 in the Target Field win over top-10 ranked St. John's, and more than 41:00 against Berry. The Toms led all NCAA teams in fourth-down conversions (34); and was second by one in fourth-down conversion attempts with 57.
Earlier this week, senior teammates Austin Jochum (AFCA All-America) and Isaac Seering (CoSIDA Academic All-America) received national awards. Last month, Jochum (Mike Stam Award) and Caruso (co-Coach of the Year) received special MIAC honors.
In 10 seasons under Caruso, Tommie Football now has 19 players who have combined to receive either All-America or Academic All-America honors a total of 32 times.