KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brady Bonte of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), Nolan Saraceni of Montana Tech and Stephen Simms of Saint Xavier (Ill.) were named NAIA Football National Players of the Week, the national office announced Monday. The trio was chosen for their performances during the week of Oct. 19 – 25 and were selected out of a pool of conference award winners.
National Defensive Player of the Week
Brady Bonte, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)
Sr., LB, Garretson, S.D.
• Tallied 14 tackles (12 solo), including three tackles for loss and two sacks in Dakota Wesleyan’s 27-17 road win at then-No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa) last Saturday.
• Forced a key fumble in the third quarter to stall a potential Northwestern scoring drive at the Dakota Wesleyan 24-yard line.
• Leads the team in tackles (56), tackles for loss (14.5) and is No. 2 in sacks (6.5) on the year.
• First career National Defensive Player of the Week award.
National Offensive Player of the Week
Nolan Saraceni, Montana Tech
Jr, RB, Billings, Mont.
• Tied two school scoring records – most points (30) and most touchdowns (5) – in the Orediggers’ first win at then-No. 18 Carroll (Mont.) since 2001.
• Carried the ball 24 times for 273 yards and four scores, while also registering one pass for eight yards and a passing touchdown.
• Rushing touchdowns came from eight, 28, 80 and 99 yards.
• Reached the single-season 1,000-yard plateau for the first time in his career at Montana Tech.
• Leads the NAIA in total rushing (1,041), rushing yards per game (173.5) and scoring per game (TDs) (15.0).
• First career National Offensive Player of the Week award.
National Special Teams Player of the Week
Stephen Simms, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Jr., WR, Valparaiso, Ind.
• Tallied 162 kick-off return yards, including a 90-yard return for a touchdown in the Cougars 27-18 win over Trinity International (Ill.).
• The return for a touchdown was the first for Saint Xavier since Randall Wells did it on Oct. 25, 2014.
• Set a school record with 375 all-purpose yards – 162 kick-off return, 124 rushing and 85 receiving – against the Trojans. The previous record was 317 by Nick DeBenedetti in 2013.
• First career National Special Teams Player of the Week award.
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: Hayden Adams, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.); Cody Smith, Waldorf (Iowa); Kelly Cordova, Kansas Wesleyan; Michael Bowles, Lyon (Ark.); Niagel Curtis, Reinhardt (Ga.); John Magee, St. Francis (Ill.); Seth Coate, Saint Francis (Ind.); Charles Fortis, Point (Ga.); Elliott Hawkins, Missouri Valley.
Defensive Nominees: Corey Washington, Cumberlands (Ky.); Joey Williams, Edward Waters (Fla.); Ethan Eastwood, SAGU (Texas); Calvin Brayboy, St. Francis (Ill.); Dustin Wanner, Taylor (Ind.); Nicholas Mcbeain, Valley City State (N.D.); Kharon Brown, Baker (Kan.); Dylan Delk, Tabor (Kan.); Julius Rucker, Southern Oregon.
Special Teams Nominees: Chris Linnin, McPherson (Kan.); Derek Brush, Arizona Christian; Daveon Banks, Dakota State (S.D.); Dovi Gamble, Taylor (Ind.); Will Ward, Campbellsville (Ky.); Jordan Pedersen, Doane (Neb.); Samson Tamijani, William Penn (Iowa); Calvin Conners, Eastern Oregon; David Strickland, Point (Ga.).
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.)
Week 5 (Oct. 12)
Offense: Ryan Thompson, Reinhardt (Ga.)
Defense: Nick Holshoe, Concordia (Mich.)
Special Teams: Chadd Dearen, SAGU (Texas)
Week 6 (Oct. 19)
Offense: Ryan Kasdorf, Morningside (Iowa)
Defense: Ben Kullos, Dakota State (S.D.)
Special Teams: Abdul Mahdi, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Week 7 (Oct. 26)
Offense: Nolan Saraceni, Montana Tech
Defense: Brady Bonte, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)
Special Teams: Stephen Simms, Saint Xavier (Ill.)