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Muilenburg named AFCA All-American for second time

Dakota Wesleyan University’s Anthony Muilenburg runs with the ball against Hastings College on Sept. 28 at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. Muilenburg was selcted to the AFCA All-American team for a second time in 2013. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

After returning from an injury that cost him his 2012 season, Dakota Wesleyan University football’s Anthony Muilenburg was selected as an All-American for the second time in his career, it was announced Wednesday.

“I was surprised and I didn’t know I would get this award,” Muilenburg said. “It’s an award that anyone would want to get. Getting it once was great, but to win it twice is amazing.””

The senior wide receiver earned selection to the AFCA-NAIA All-American second team for his performance in 2013. Muilenburg missed the 2012 season due to a leg injury suffered prior to the first game.

“The credit goes to my coaches and teammates, because without them I wouldn’t have gotten there,” Muilenburg said.

As a junior, the Sioux Falls native was named to the AFCA All-American first team after finishing the year fourth in the nation in scoring.

For his career at DWU, Muilenburg accumulated three All-American honors, seven all-GPAC honors and six GPAC player of the week selections. Last week, he was named a third-team All-American by the Beyond Sports Network.

Muilenburg finished with 2,825 receiving yards in his four-year career, 56 yards shy of breaking the school’s record held by Bubba Slaba. Muilenburg holds the school record for receptions with 225 and the school mark for longest reception (99) and longest kickoff return (88). In 2013, he racked up 65 catches for 1,002 yards.

“When you talk about numbers like that you are talking about one of the best in the country,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said.

Having Muilenburg back on the field for the Tigers this season did more than ignite the DWU offense. He was there to help lay the foundation for future Tiger wide outs.

“He is a guy that other players look up to and does things by example,” Cimpl said. “There were three freshmen wide receivers playing for us this year, and it was great having Anthony there as a mentor for those guys. He was more of a vocal leader this year than ever before.”

Muilenburg can now be seen playing solid minutes off the bench for the DWU men’s basketball team. He was on the court for the Tigers just two days after joining the team immediately after the football season ended. He learned he had made the All-American team as he awas traveling with his team to Aberdeen Wednesday for a game against Presentation College.

Muilenburg was the lone Tiger to be honored as an All-American by the AFCA. Star junior running back Francois Barnaud was left out despite leading the NAIA in rushing during the regular season and shattering the Tiger single-season mark with 1,893 yards.

DWU defensive leader Brady Bonte was also left off the team. Bonte and Barnaud both received All-American honors from the BSN last week.

“In my mind, Francois being left off the team is disgusting,” Cimpl said.