Posted: Jan 9, 2013 4:14 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2013 6:48 PM
JEFFERSON CITY -- The accolades keep pouring in for Lincoln defensive back O'Hara Fluellen, who on Wednesday was named to the Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-Super Region 3 squad. The senior football player, who broke up an MIAA-best 11 passes and nearly broke the LU record for career interceptions, was one of 15 players named second team defense by the Don Hansen Football Committee.
Fluellen led Lincoln with 67 total tackles and 55 solo takedowns this season and made four tackles that led to a loss of 12 yards. His biggest impact was as a pass defender, as he finished second in the conference in passes defended with four interceptions combined with an MIAA-best 11 broken-up passes. His four picks were the fourth-most by any player in the league in 2012. One of the leaders of the defense this season, Fluellen was also credited with Lincoln's sole safety of the season, making a tackle in the end zone against Washburn on Oct. 6. He also blocked two kicks.
Besides being one of the best defensive backs in the MIAA, Fluellen made an impact on all three phases of football this year. Fluellen racked up 516 yards on 24 kick returns this season, finishing second in the league with a 21.5 yards-per-return average to earn an honorable mention from the conference at that position. In Lincoln's win over Nebraska-Kearney on Oct. 13, Fluellen also played on offense, catching a 97-yard touchdown pass on his first-ever snap as a receiver. That reception was both the longest in the MIAA this season and the longest in Lincoln history, breaking the previous mark of 96 set in 1974.
One of the best pass defenders in Lincoln history, Fluellen registered his 21st interception of his career this season, placing him second behind Bruce Johnson's mark of 22 picks. Fluellen's stats also stacked up well against the other cornerbacks who were up for the Daktronics award, as his 67 tackles led all nominees and his 11 pass break-ups ranked second. His four tackles-for-loss were also the most among the other CBs up for the honor while his four interceptions tied for second.
The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, and began selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen's Football Gazette started selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003. A total of 103 players earned some form of Don Hansen All-Super Region 3 honors. Players from 38 of the 46 football-playing schools in Super Region Four earned All-Region accolades.
By virtue of being named to the Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-Super Region 3 Second Team, Fluellen will now advance to a national ballot from which the 2012 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-American team will be named later this month.
This marks the third postseason honor of the year for Fluellen, who was also tabbed to the All-MIAA first team and to the Daktronics Super Region 3 All-Region second team. The Don Hansen announcement also comes two days in advance of the Casino Del Sol All-Star game, which Fluellen will play in on Friday. In that all-star exhibition, which last year featured six players who were drafted and 61 more who were invited to NFL training camps last July, Fluellen will have the opportunity to showecase his skills mainly against players from NCAA Division I programs, including players from schools such as Kansas State, Michigan State, Stanford and Arizona, among many others. The 2013 Casino Del Sol All-Star Game can be watched live on ESPN3.com at 8:00 p.m. CST.