GREENWOOD, IND. -- Ten members of the Defiance College football team have been selected to the All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference teams for their individual efforts this season. [2015 All-HCAC Teams]
The Yellow Jackets had seven players tabbed second-team All-HCAC in seniors Joe Niehaus (Grass Lake, Mich./Grass Lake), Andrew Feldhaus (Lutz, Fla./Steinbrenner), juniors Matt DeVore (Van Buren), Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers), Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher) and freshmen Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and Nate Roberts (St Petersburg, Fla./Boca Ciega).
Junior Cody Wilson (McComb) and freshman Jalin Nealy (Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield) were selected honorable mention and senior Cody Lee (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.
Niehaus earns All-HCAC honors for the first time in his career after a season that saw him play in five games on the offensive line and started all five. Niehaus helped the Yellow Jacket offense total 2,533 yards of offense (1,536 rushing and 997 passing) and averaged 253.3 yards per game. As a unit, the DC offense ranked sixth in the HCAC in rushing yards (1,536) and was seventh overall offensively (2,533). Niehaus helped play a role in helping the Jackets post a season-best 391 yards of offense against Earlham (Ind.) College on Oct. 24 that included an impressive 334 yards on the ground. It was the third time in the last five games against the Quakers that DC rushed for 300 yards or more.
DeVore had a solid effort this season as a defensive lineman and earned his first All-HCAC award. He led all DC linemen with 42 total tackles (17 solo and 25 assists) to rank sixth on the team. He also had 7.5 tackles for loss and team-leading 2.5 sacks. His 7.5 tackles for loss were the fourth-best on the squad. He recorded a season-high seven tackles (three solo and four assists) against Manchester (Ind) University on Oct. 10. He also had one interception which he returned for 43 yards for a TD against Mount St. Joseph University on Sept. 15. The TD was one of five defensive scores the Yellow Jackets had this season to rank tops in the HCAC in that category and tied for second nationally.
Gilmer had his best season to date this past fall leading the team in tackles with 77 (48 solo and 29 assists) and tackles for loss with 13. His 77 tackles put him eighth in the HCAC and his 13 tackles for loss were tied or fourth. He recorded four games with 10 or more tackles, including a career-high 13 stops against Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 15. His 13 tackles were all solo tackles which were two short of tying the school single-game record. He also had two sacks, a pair of interceptions and forced fumbles, in addition to one fumble recovery.
Feldhaus ends his playing career with his third All-Conference Award. He earned first-team All-HCAC accolades the last two seasons. In 2015, Feldhaus was third on the team, and tied for 16th in the HCAC, in tackles with 61 (40 solo and 21). His 40 solo stops were the second most on the team and was also third in tackles for loss with nine, including two quarterback sacks to rank tied for second. He recorded one game with 10 or more tackles with an 11-tackle effort in the season-opener against Adrian (Mich.) College on Sept. 5. In addition, Feldhaus had one forced fumble and five pass breakups. For his career, Feldhaus totaled 234 tackles (158 solo and 76 assists) with 25 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and one blocked kick. Feldhaus also saw playing time on special teams this past season as the team's leading punt returner. In 17 attempts, he ended the year with 197 yards and averaged 11.6 yards per return with a season-long return of 39 yards. His 197 yards led the HCAC and his 11.6 average was second highest.
Jones was amongst the top secondary players in the conference with a pair of TDs on a 90-yard fumble return and a 10-yard interception return. He finished with 39 total tackles (29 solo and 10 assists) with one tackle for loss. He tallied a season-high eight tackles (five solo and three assists) in the season-opener against Adrian back on Sept. 5. He had a team-leading four interceptions and a team-best seven pass breakups. His four INTs put him in a tie for fourth in the conference. In addition, Jones had two blocked kicks, finishing tied for second in the HCAC in that category.
L'Heureux led the team in scoring with 38 points having made seven-of-nine field goals and 17-of-20 extra point attempts. He recorded a season-long field goal of 44 yards, missing tying the school record by just two yards. He was also one made field goal away from tying the school single-season mark (eight). His seven made field goals were second most in the HCAC and his 17 successful PATs put him sixth amongst the conference kickers. He ends the season having made his last seven field goal attempts and 13 of his last 14 PATs. L'Heureux had season-highs of two made field goals on three occasions and six PATs in a win against Earlham.
Roberts earned his first All-HCAC Award on special teams as a kick returner. He led the Jackets in both return attempts (18), yards (378) and averaged 21.0 yards per return. His 378 return yards were fifth most in the HCAC and his 21.0 return average was sixth best. He posted a season-long return of 36 yards on two occasions which came in back-to-back games against Anderson (Ind.) University and Franklin (Ind.) College. In addition to returning kicks, Roberts was also a starting wide receiver for DC and caught seven passes for 70 yards (10.0 yards per catch) and had one TD.
Wilson had another solid all-around season for the Purple & Gold to earn his second All-Conference honor with back-to-back honorable mention selections. He led the team in all-purpose yards (889) and was the team's leading rusher and receiver. His 889 all-purpose yards were the 11th most in the conference. On the ground, Wilson rushed for 369 yards on 40 carries (9.2 yards per carry) and had a team-high three touchdowns. As a receiver, he recorded team-highs of 45 catches for 409 yards to go along with a pair of TD. His 45 catches placed him 10th in the HCAC. In addition, Wilson saw playing time on special teams as a punt and kick returner. He ended the season second on the team in punt returns with 46 yards on three attempts and was third in kickoffs with 65 yards on five attempts.
Nealy began his collegiate career with a 16-tackle effort in the season-opener against Adrian and finished the year second on the team in tackles with 63 (31 solo and 32 assists) to earn his first All-Conference honor as a freshman. He also went on to fiished second in tackles for loss with 10 and tied for second in sacks with two. Nealy also posted one forced fumble. His 63 tackles put him in a tie for 12th in the HCAC and his 10 tackles for loss were 10th most.
Lee ends his four-year playing career by being selected to the All-Sportsmanship Team. He played in all 10 games this past season, with eight starts, and recorded 31 tackles (14 solo and 17 assits) to go along with five tackles for loss and two sacks. Lee also one forced fumble. He equaled his career-high in tackles in a single game in the season opener against Adrian in which he posted five stops (three solo and two assists) against the Bulldogs. For his career, Lee had 77 tackles (38 solo and 39 assists) in 29 games. He also had 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles.