SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Although Cal Poly earned a share of the 2011 Great West Conference football championship, only four Mustang players were accorded first-team all-conference honors.
In sharp contrast, a total of 15 players from UC Davis and Southern Utah, which shared last place with 1-3 records, were voted onto the first team by the conference's five head coaches. Six Aggies and nine Thunderbirds were honored.
The quartet of Mustangs named to the first team are offensive lineman Scott Winnewisser, fullback Jake Romanelli and cornerback Asa Jackson, all seniors, along with junior inside linebacker Kennith Jackson.
Asa Jackson (pictured at right) is a first-team honoree for the fourth straight year while Romanelli was a first-team selection as a sophomore and a second-team choice as a junior. Winnewisser was a second-team honoree as both a sophomore and junior while Kennith Jackson was an honorable mention as a freshman and a second-team selection as a sophomore.
Named to the all-conference second team this season are senior offensive lineman Art Munoz, senior slotback Mark Rodgers, junior quarterback Andre Broadous, senior defensive linemen Erich Klemme and Kyle Murphy and senior defensive back Greg Francis.
Honorable mentions include freshman wide receiver Lance Castaneda, junior defensive lineman Sullivan Grosz and junior defensive back Bijon Samoodi.
No Mustangs earned any specialty awards. Four of the five specialty award winners are from Southern Utah, which has posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than a decade.
Romanelli (6-3, 240, Templeton, Calif./Templeton HS) surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing in four consecutive games, one shy of the school record, and picked up No. 5 with his career-high 36 carries and 179 yards against Eastern Washington. He finished with six career 100-yard games at Cal Poly, and was No. 1 in the Great West and No. 35 in the FCS averaging 92.27 yards a contest.
Romanelli rushed for 1,015 yards (the 14th Mustang to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a season) and seven touchdowns this fall, averaging 4.5 yards a carry. He also caught 14 passes, two for touchdowns. With his 1,992 career yards rushing, Romanelli is No. 9 all time at Cal Poly and produced 10 career games of 90 or more yards rushing.
Asa Jackson (5-11, 190, Sacramento, Calif./Christian Brothers HS) earned Great West Freshman Player of the Year honors in 2008 and is the third Mustang to earn all-conference first-team honors four times. The others were offensive lineman Stephen Field and wide receiver Ramses Barden, both from 2005-08.
A preseason Buck Buchanan Award candidate, Jackson notched 199 tackles in four seasons with the Mustangs along with eight interceptions (two in each season) and 32 pass breakups. In his senior campaign, Jackson had 54 tackles (31 solo) with two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns (52 and 100 yards), and seven pass breakups.
Jackson also was among the nation's leaders in punt returns this fall, averaging 18.0 yards on eight returns with a long of 41 yards. He returned a theft against South Dakota State 47 yards for a touchdown in 2009 and now owns the school Division I record with his three interception returns for touchdowns.
Kennith Jackson (6-0, 230, Santa Clara, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS) was Cal Poly's second-leading tackler with 80, including 40 solo stops and 40 assisted tackles. He also recorded 6.0 tackles for lost yardage, including one sack, broke up eight passes, hurried the quarterback twice, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pair of passes.
Winnewisser 6-5, 285, Santa Barbara, Calif./Bishop Garcia Diego HS) anchored a Mustang offensive line which enabled Cal Poly to finish No. 1 in the Great West in rushing offense, scoring offense and total offense and No. 2 in sacks allowed. The Mustangs finished No. 6 in the FCS in rushing offense, No. 27 in scoring offense, No. 40 in total offense and No. 49 in sacks allowed.
Munoz (6-2, 275, Santa Ana, Calif./Valley HS) was a sixth-year senior who was granted a medical redshirt after missing nine of 11 games in 2009 due to a fractured leg. He earned second-team all-conference honors in 2010.
Broadous (6-0, 205, Portland, Ore./Grant HS) completed 101 of 171 passes (58 percent) for 1,235 yards and nine touchdowns this fall. He threw his first career interception in 207 career attempts Nov. 5 at UC Davis. Broadous is No. 4 in the FCS in scoring (9.82 points per game) and No. 35 in passing efficiency (136.73). He also is No. 5 in the Great West in rushing, averaging 65.0 yards per game, and broke a school record this season by rushing for 18 touchdowns, surpassing James Noble's 16 in 2005.
Rodgers (5-8, 180, Hawthorne, Calif./Leuzinger HS/West Virginia) rushed for 588 yards and two scores and caught 16 passes for 198 yards and two more TDs this fall. He also averaged 22.5 yards per kickoff return and is among the nation's leaders in all-purpose yardage, averaging 142.2 yards a contest. His fifth career 100-yard game as a Mustang was a 120-yard performance against South Alabama last week. Rodgers netted 882 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, including a 235-yard performance against South Dakota, and was among the nation's leaders in kickoff returns, averaging 27.4 yards per return with a long of 65 yards.
Klemme (6-2, 270, Long Beach, Calif./St, John Bosco HS) and Murphy (6-4, 260, Santa Rosa, Calif./Cardinal Newman HS/Santa Rosa JC) combined for 11.5 tackles for lost yardage and eight sacks this fall. Klemme produced 34 tackles (18 solo), 4.0 tackles for lost yardage (1.5 sacks) and seven quarterback hurries while Murphy accumulated 32 tackles (18 solo), 6.5 tackles for lost yardage (all sacks), three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and 11 quarterback hurries.
Francis (6-1, 190, La Habra, Calif./La Habra HS) recorded 61 tackles (44 solo), broke up five passes and led the Mustangs with his three interceptions, giving him nine for his four-year Mustang career along with 190 total tackles. This fall, Francis also averaged 9.1 yards on 10 punt returns.
Among the honorable mentions, Castaneda (6-3, 215, Modesto, Calif./Grace M. Davis HS) was Cal Poly's top receiver with 26 catches for 283 yards and one score (a 22-yarder against Eastern Washington), Grosz (6-4, 265, Fresno, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial HS) notched 45 tackles (30 solo), 11.0 tackles for lost yardage (5.5 sacks), seven quarterback hurries, a pass breakup and a forced fumble, and Samoodi (5-10, 185, Anaheim, Calif./Servite HS) was third on the team with his 62 tackles (35 solo) and also had five pass breakups and an interception.
Southern Utah's specialty award winners were quarterback Brad Sorensen as offensive player of the year, defensive lineman Tyler Osborne as defensive player of the year, return specialist Austin Minefee as special teams player of the year and wide receiver Brady Measom as rookie of the year.
The coach of the year award went to North Dakota's Chris Mussman as he led the Fighting Sioux to a record of 8-3, a share of the 2011 Great West title and a five-game turnaround from the 3-8 record of a year ago.
In total, Southern Utah led first-team selections with nine members while UC Davis and South Dakota had six members each, Cal Poly four and North Dakota three. Cal Poly and North Dakota had six players each on the second team, while South Dakota and Southern Utah had five each.