Underwood, Ericksen Named All-Americans by The Sports Network
Ben Ericksen

Ben Ericksen

Dec. 10, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - Illinois State junior defensive end Colton Underwood was named a 2012 First-Team FCS All-America selection and senior safety Ben Ericksen was named a third-team selection by The Sports Networkin the organization's annual national vote announced Monday. The Redbird duo was among 11 players from the Missouri Valley Football Conference honored on this year's list.

With his selection, Underwood becomes the first Redbird player named a First-Team All-America selection by The Sports Network since 2007, when Kye Stewart earned first-team honors from The Sports Network and the Walter Camp Foundation. The announcement also marked the first time the Redbirds had two players named to an all-America list since 2006, when Cameron Siskowic and Pierre Rembert were both named all-Americans.

Underwood, who was also named a Buck Buchanan Award nominee by The Sports Network, had one of the best defensive seasons in recent memory for a Redbird defensive lineman. The Washington, Ill., native leads the MVFC in sacks (10.5) and tackles-for-loss (19.5) and currently ranks No. 13 in the country in sacks and is tied for No. 12 in the FCS in tackles-for-loss.



An All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection and a MVFC All-Academic Second team pick, Underwood recorded at least one sack in eight games and a tackle-for-loss in nine games, with five multiple tackle-for-loss performances. Underwood also finished the season ranked second on the team with 95 tackles and was credited with nine quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and a blocked kick.

In his final season with the Redbirds, Ericksen started all 13 games at free safety, and he currently ranks No. 4 in the country in receptions per game. An All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection, he ranked sixth on the team with 67 tackles, one sack and 3.5 tackles-for-loss to go along with his team and league-leading seven interceptions. The Greendale, Wis., native recorded a season-best 12 tackles in the team's second-round playoff victory at Appalachian State, and he was named the national and MVFC Defensive Player of the Week, after intercepting two passes and finishing with four tackles in a win at FBS Eastern Michigan on Sept. 8.

Illinois State finished the regular season with a 9-4 overall record and a 6-1 road record. The team's six road wins tied for the most in a single season for a Missouri Valley Football Conference program, and the nine-win season for the Redbirds was just their third in school history. The Redbirds were ranked in the national polls every week throughout the season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs for the third time.

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