CLEVELAND – A total of seven South Dakota State football student-athletes were named Friday to All-America teams compiled by Phil Steele Publications.
The Jackrabbit contingent was led by first-team All-America selection Jordan Brown at cornerback. A senior from Scottsdale, Ariz., Brown was named to his fifth All-America team this postseason after leading the squad with 12 pass breakups and ranking second with three interceptions. He also forced a fumble and registered 29 total tackles, 22 of which were solo stops.
Brown earlier had received first-team honors from HERO Sports and the American Football Coaches Association.
Third-team honors went to senior quarterback Taryn Christion and junior linebacker Christian Rozeboom.
Christion rewrote the Jackrabbit and Missouri Valley Football Conference record book during a standout career and ended his senior season with 3,020 yards passing and 32 touchdown passes, completing 57.9 percent (197-of-340) of his attempts. The Sioux Falls native also ran for 333 yards and six scores.
A junior from Sioux Center, Iowa, Rozeboom paced the Jackrabbits in tackles for the third consecutive year, again topping the century mark with 105 stops. His 10.5 tackles for loss also were a team best as he added two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Rozeboom registered double figures in tackles five times during the 2018 season, including each of SDSU’s final two playoff games.
Rounding out the SDSU honorees were fourth-team offensive selections Cade Johnson and Tiano Pupungatoa.
Johnson established a Jackrabbit and MVFC single-season record with 17 touchdown catches as part of a 67-reception, 1,332-yard season. A native of Papillion, Neb., he also led the Jackrabbits with 462 yards on 17 kickoff returns, averaging 27.2 yards per attempt.
Pupungatoa, a three-year starter at guard for the Jackrabbits from River Falls, Wis., helped pave the way for a offensive unit that turned in school-record performances by averaging 42.5 points and 480.5 yards of total offense per game.
Also earning recognition were Pierre Strong, Jr. and Krockett Krolikowski, who were honored on the Phil Steele FCS Freshman All-America Second Team.
A native of Little Rock, Ark., Strong emerged as SDSU’s featured back the second half of the season, rushing for a team-high 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns. Strong averaged 9.5 yards per carry, reaching the 1,000-yard mark on his 100th rushing attempt of the season. The Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year, Strong also caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Krolikowski, a defensive tackle from Winner, started 10 of the team’s first 11 games of the season, tallying 28 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss. His four sacks ranked second on the squad, as did his two blocked kicks.
Both Strong and Krolikowski were named to the HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America First Team earlier this winter.
SDSU, coached by John Stiegelmeier, made its seventh consecutive appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs during the 2018 campaign. The Jackrabbits who reached the national semifinals for the second consecutive year, ended the season with a 10-3 overall record, including a 6-2 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.