(MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) – Three seniors, punter Tyler Kohman (Pataskala, Ohio/Columbus Academy), safety Drew Fitzmorris (Omaha, Neb./Westside) and offensive lineman Tyler Eckler (Chelsea, Mich.) of the Carnegie Mellon University football team were named to the D3football.com 2017 All-South Region First Team. The three were joined by a pair of seniors, wide receiver John Prather (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and running back Sam Benger (Hingham, Mass.) along with sophomore returner Willie Richter (Leander, Texas/Cedar Park) as honorees on the Division III All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) squad.
Fitzmorris, Kohman, Prather and Richter were named to the All-ECAC First Team with Benger and Ekler landing a spot on the second team.
Kohman, first team All-Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) and University Athletic Association (UAA) Special Teams Player of the Year, was the top punter in the PAC and UAA with an average of 45.7 yards per punt, which ranked second nationally and set the program's single-season record. The senior had 16 punts of 50 yards or more including a career-best 62-yarder. Kohman placed 21 of his 45 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Fitzmorris, first team All-PAC and the UAA Defensive Player of the Year, led the UAA and was second in the PAC with 102 tackles, averaging 9.3 tackles per game. He tied the school single-game record with 22 tackles against Geneva College and then recorded a career-best 13 solo tackles against Westminster College. Fitzmorris ended his career ranked fourth on the school's all-time tackle list with 247.
Eckler, a first team All-PAC and All-UAA member, played a key part in blocking for one of the nation's top rushers the past three seasons. He appeared in 32 contests during that span and started every game the past two seasons. Eckler fronted an offensive line that helped the Tartans reach the 510-yard mark in the Tartans' win over the University of Rochester while compiling 496 yards against nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University.
Prather led the UAA and was second in the PAC with 1,032 yards, 11 receiving touchdowns and 63 receptions. The senior was a first team All-PAC and All-UAA honoree. He became the first Tartan to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Prather tied the school single-game reception record with 10 in the Tartans' win at Bethany. His 11 touchdown receptions in 2017 tied for the most in a single-season for a Tartan. Prather ended his career as the school's all-time receiving leader (3,077), receptions leader (194) and touchdown receptions leader (25).
Benger, who was nagged by injuries all season, rushed for 1,053 yards on 190 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry, which ranked tops in the UAA and fourth in the PAC. Benger, the school's all-time rushing leader with 5,376 yards, became the first back in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. The senior was named to the All-UAA first team and All-PAC second team.
Richter, a first team All-PAC and All-UAA selection, finished the season with a combined 816 return yards and ranked eighth nationally and first in the PAC and UAA. The sophomore averaged 14.2 yards per punt return, which ranked tops in the UAA, second in the PAC and 11th nationally. Richter returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the Tartans' win over Rochester, as it was the second longest punt return for a touchdown in program history.
Ekler, Fitzmorris and Ekler were selected to the D3football.com South Team in balloting by South Region sports information directors and D3football.com staff and were chosen from 240 nominations by Division III member schools. All three are eligible to be considered for D3football.com All-America honors, which will be announced the evening of Dec. 15, in D3football.com's pregame coverage for Stagg Bowl XLV.