Blake Frank and Luke Gibbs were named to the 2016 AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Football Team.
Morningside’s Blake Frank, a 6-3, 285 lb. senior offensive lineman from Mapleton, Minn., was named to the 2016 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Coaches’ All-America First Team.
In addition to Frank, the Mustangs’ Luke Gibbs, a 6-3, 245 lb. junior defensive lineman from Maxwell, Iowa, was named to the AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Second Team.
Their exploits helped lead Morningside to a 10-2 record, a sixth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship and a 13th consecutive post-season appearance in the NAIA Football Championship Series, where it lost 42-35 against the University of Saint Francis in the quarterfinals.
Frank is an offensive line standout for a Morningside team that leads the nation with an average of 578.4 yards total offense per game and is the second highest scoring team in the nation with an average of 51.1 points per game. Frank’s blocking skills helped the Mustangs average 223.7 yards rushing per game and 5.1 yards per rushing attempt.
Frank was a three-year starter and a three-time All-GPAC performer during his Morningside career. He earned first-team All-GPAC honors as a junior and senior and was a second-team All-GPAC selection as a sophomore.
Gibbs, a two-time first-team All-GPAC performer and the 2016 GPAC Defensive Player of the Year, is the defensive leader of a Morningside team that ranks second in the nation in total defense with an average of 263.2 yards per game and third in scoring defense with an average of 13.9 points per game.
Gibbs was the Mustangs’ leading pass rusher this past season with team-high totals of 7.5 quarterback sacks and eight quarterback hurries. He collected 44 tackles with 21 solos and 23 assists and ranked second on the team with 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 75 yards. Aside from leading the Mustangs in quarterback sacks and quarterback hurries, Gibbs also topped the team with three blocked kicks. He had four pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception he returned 73 yards for a touchdown in the Mustangs’ 14-13 victory against Northwestern College.
Morningside has placed a player on the AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America First Team for 11 straight seasons since 2006 to tie Carroll College, which also had a player named to the first team for 11 consecutive years from 2005 to 2015, for the longest streak by any team in the NAIA.
The AFCA has selected All-America teams since 1945. The association selects All-America teams for the NAIA and all divisions of the NCAA. The AFCA started selecting a NAIA only team in 2006.
Click here for the complete 2016 AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Football Team.