On the strength of a dominating 10-1 season, a trio of Linfield College student-athletes have earned distinction on the D3football.com All-America team for 2011 and a fourth Wildcat was chosen for the all-West Region team.
Linfield safety Drew Fisher received his third All-America citation, following a second-team award in 2010 and a third-team recognition in 2009.
Named to the third team D3football.com All-America team was defensive tackle Tyler Steele. Offensive lineman Jordan Barnes received honorable mention.
Fisher was the leading tackler on a ball-hawking defense that led the Northwest Conference in fewest yards allowed (195.5 per game) scoring defense (8.13), interceptions (18), sacks (47).
A three-time first-team all-Northwest Conference selection, Fisher was named the 2011 NWC Defensive Player of the Year. He was voted NWC Defensive Player of the Week three times while leading Linfield in total tackles (76), interceptions (5) and pass breakups (4).
Steele, a two-time first team all-NWC defensive tackle, turned in his finest season to date. He ended his junior season as Linfield’s third-leading tackler while starting all 11 games. He recorded 13 sacks, eighth-most in Division III in 2011, helping the Wildcats led the nation in total sacks.
Barnes, a three-time first team all-conference offensive lineman, started all 11 games at either guard or tackle. He captained an offensive line that team surrendered only 24 sacks in 11 games. That enabled first-year quarterback Mickey Inns to pass for 31 touchdowns as the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs.
Four Wildcats were singled out in all-West Region balloting. Fisher, Barnes and Steele were each first-team all-region selections. Linfield kicker Josh Kay, a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Award saluting the nation’s top kicker, was a second-team all-region pick.
A first team all-NWC kicker, Kay set the Linfield single-game record with 10 PATs (on 10 attempts) in a win over Puget Sound. For the season, he was virtually automatic on PATs, converting 55-of-56 attempts. He also hit 16-of-19 field goals attempts, including a season-best effort of 49 yards.
Kay led the Wildcats in scoring with 103 points, including 17 during a win over Lewis & Clark. Against the Pioneers, he went 4-for-4 on field goals. His outstanding play twice earned him NWC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Linfield ended the season ranked No. 6 in the final D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association polls.