KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Spencer Cowherd of Saint Francis (Ind.), Jacob Russell of Campbellsville (Ky.) and Wendall Williams of Cumberlands (Ky.) were named NAIA Football National Player of the Week, the national office announced Monday. The trio was chosen for their performances during the week of Sept. 28 – Oct. 4 and were selected out of a pool of conference award winners.
National Defensive Player of the Week
Spencer Cowherd, Saint Francis (Ind.)
So., CB, Fort Wayne, Ind.
• Returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the No. 11 Cougars’ 45-42 comeback win against then-No. 6 Marian (Ind.) last Saturday.
• Tallied a team-high 12 tackles, including eight solo stops.
• Recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter that led to a Saint Francis touchdown.
• Ranks 11th nationally in interceptions with three.
• Tied for third on the team in tackles this season with 28.
• First career National Defensive Player of the Week award.
• Last Saint Francis National Football Player of the Week: Nick Ferrer (offense; Sept. 14, 2015)
National Offensive Player of the Week
Jacob Russell, Campbellsville (Ky.)
Sr., QB, Lawrenceburg, Ky.
• Completed 30-of-53 passes (56.6 percent) for 379 yards and a program single-game record six touchdowns to guide the Tigers to a 59-50 road win over then-No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.) – the club’s third win over a top-five team in its last 10 games.
• Added 44 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
• Has now thrown for more than 300 yards in four-of-five games this season.
• Leads the NAIA in total offense (371.6 yards per game), while ranking third in passing (334.8 passing yards per game) and 10th in passing efficiency (154.8).
• First career National Offensive Player of the Week award.
• Last Campbellsville National Football Player of the Week: Casey Clarke (special teams; Oct. 1, 2012).
National Special Teams Player of the Week
Wendall Williams, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Sr., WR, Syracuse, N.Y.
• Returned a kick-off 75 yards to pay dirt in Cumberlands’ (Ky.) 59-7 win over Bethel (Tenn.) last Saturday.
• The score gives him four career kick return touchdowns, which is a new program record.
• Owns four special teams touchdowns this season – three on kickoffs and one punt return.
• First career National Special Teams Player of the Week award.
• Last Cumberlands National Football Player of the Week: Albert Huntley (special teams; Sept. 9, 2013)
For a complete list of all the national statistical leaders, click here.
For the complete NAIA Player of the Week calendar, click here.
Offensive Nominees: Phillipi Sparks, Arizona Christian; Derek Fulton, Grand View (Iowa); Tanner Staats, Ottawa (Kan.); Nick Ferrer, Saint Francis (Ind.); John Magee, St. Francis (Ill.); Charles Fortis, Point (Ga.); Michael Sena, Jamestown (N.D.); Cruz Samaniego, Hastings (Neb.).
Defensive Nominees: Alden Mann, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Jamal Graham, St. Francis (Ill.); Marquis Cain, Campbellsville (Ky.); Tyrell Everett, Baker (Kan.); Tyrone Wright, Kansas Wesleyan; Zac Schleuger, Morningside (Iowa); Brice Hatcher, Southeastern (Fla.); Cedarion Hopkins, Jamestown (N.D.).
Special Teams Nominees: Derek Brush, Arizona Christian; Matt Cotiguala, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Jordan Pedersen, Doane (Neb.); LonDarius Thomas, Kansas Wesleyan; Caleb Winter, Southeastern (Fla.); Nathan Milos, Jamestown (N.D.); Nathan Milos, Jamestown (N.D.); Desi Villanueva, Missouri Valley.
2015 NAIA Football Players of the Week (complete schedule)
Week 1 (Sept. 14)
Offense: Nick Ferrer, Saint Francis (Ind.)
Defense: Caleb Taylor, Faulkner (Ala.)
Special Teams: Daniel Martinez, Wayland Baptist (Texas)
Week 2 (Sept. 21)
Offense: Tray Boone, Dickinson State (N.D.)
Defense: Dontaye Johnson, Robert Morris (Ill.)
Special Teams: DeMario Fair, Valley City State (N.D.)
Week 3 (Sept. 28)
Offense: Patrick Smith, St. Ambrose (Iowa)
Defense: Josh Woodard, St. Francis (Ill.)
Special Teams: Matt Cotiguala, St. Ambrose (Iowa)
Week 4 (Oct. 5)
Offense: Jacob Russell, Campbellsville (Ky.)
Defense: Spencer Cowherd, Saint Francis (Ind.)
Special Teams: Wendall Williams, Cumberlands (Ky.)