WACO, Texas - The Southern Conference had three student-athletes named to the 2012 AFCA FCS Coaches All-America Team. Chattanooga defensive lineman Davis Tull, The Citadel offensive lineman Mike Sellers and Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette all garnered All-American honors.
Tull, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., was the 2012 Southern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league with a school record 12.5 sacks as a defenisve end. He also set a UTC single-season record with a SoCon-leading 19.0 TFLs. He is one of only two sophomores to make the AFCA All-American team.
He finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles while forcing three fumbles. He was also named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District team for his work in the classroom as a Health & Human Performance major. He is currently second on the Mocs' all-time list with 17.5 career sacks.
This is the second straight year UTC has had a sophomore earn first team All-American honors. Linebacker Wes Dothard was named to the Sports Network/Fathead.com first team last season.
Chattanooga finished 6-5 overall and tied for fourth in the SoCon with a 5-3 league mark. UTC posted a winning record for the third time in the last four years. The Mocs have not had a run like that since 1984-87.
Mellette becomes just the second Phoenix player to ever earn AFCA All-America accolades.
A first-team All-Southern Conference selection by both the league's coaches and media members, Mellette placed eighth in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, which is presented annually to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Sanford, N.C., native concluded the season with a league-leading 108 points and 18 receiving touchdowns. The TD catches are tied for the second-most ever in a single season in SoCon history. In his senior year, Mellette caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards. He led the SoCon and ranked second nationally in both receptions per game (8.82) and receiving yards per game (127.09). He eclipsed 100 receiving yards in eight of Elon's 11 contests, including matching career-highs with 237 yards and three touchdowns against Appalachian State on Oct. 6. Mellette posted a six-game span in which he caught at least two touchdowns. He will participate in the upcoming Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 26.
For his career in the maroon and gold, Mellette posted 4,254 receiving yards, 304 receptions, 44 touchdown catches and 23 100-yard games. All of those numbers rank second in both Elon and Southern Conference history.
Elon's only other selection as a member of the AFCA All-America Team was wide receiver Terrell Hudgins in 2009.
Sellers becomes the first Bulldog to be honored by the AFCA in four years.
Earlier this fall, Sellers received first team All-Southern Conference recognition and was presented with the Jacobs Blocking Award as the top offensive lineman in the league.
The last Citadel player named to the AFCA All-America team was wide receiver Andre Roberts in 2008, and the last Bulldog offensive lineman on the squad was Levi Davis in 1994. Overall, Sellers is the ninth different Citadel player honored by the AFCA dating back to the 1982 season.
Sellers led the team with 75 knockdown blocks and earned the highest assignment grade of all Citadel offensive linemen. He anchored a line which enabled the Bulldogs to rank fourth in the nation with an average of 300.6 rushing yards per game while allowing only two sacks.
A year ago Sellers was the team's offensive MVP, and he has started the past 22 games at center after originally coming to The Citadel as a defensive lineman.
In addition to Sellers and Davis, three other Citadel offensive linemen have been named to the AFCA All-America team, including Jim Gabrish (1984 and 1985), Carlos Avalos (1988) and DeRhon Robinson (1990).
Rounding out the list of AFCA All-Americans from The Citadel are defensive lineman Jim Ettari (1982), safety Lester Smith (1992) and defensive lineman Brad Kenney (1995).
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the coaches themselves.