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Three Tigers earn BSN All-America honors

Three Dakota Wesleyan University football players were selected to the Beyond Sports Network All-America Team, it was announced Thursday afternoon.

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DWU junior running back Francois Barnaud was named to the All-American second team, senior wide receiver Anthony Muilenburg was named to the third team and sophomore linebacker Brady Bonte earned honorable mention honors.

“It shows a lot about our team, the success we’ve had and how instrumental those three guys were to that success,” said DWU second-year head coach Ross Cimpl. “The great thing is we get two of those guys back next year.”

The BSN All-America teams are selected based on votes from coaches, media, BSN staff and sports information directors from around the NAIA.

Barnaud and Muilenburg also earned all-Great Plains Athletic Conference first-team offense honors, while Bonte was named to the conference’s first-team defense. The trio helped the Tigers to an 8-3 overall record and a 7-2 conference record.

This is Barnaud’s first All-America honor and is one of three running backs on the second team. He led the NAIA in rushing and set a school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,893. The Belle Fourche native finished second in the NAIA in rushing yards per game (172.1), third in all-purpose yards (2,109) and fourth in all-purpose yards per game (191.7).

“I have no reservations about saying that he should have been in the first team,” Cimpl said. “He led the nation in rushing yards and he has another year to get on that team.”

Barnaud finished his junior season with 14 touchdowns and caught 20 receptions for 215 yards for the Tigers.

This is Muilenburg’s second All-America honor. He was named an AFCA NAIA All-American receiver as a junior in 2011. In his senior year, the Sioux Falls native set the school record for receiving yards in a game (251) and receptions in a career (225). Muilenburg, who caught 13 touchdown receptions and ran for another score, finished the year ninth in the nation in receiving yard (1,002) and 11th in receiving yards per game (91.1). Muilenburg returned to the Tigers after sitting out the 2012 season with a leg injury sustained prior to the start of the year.

“You can’t say enough good things about Anthony,” Cimpl said. “For him to have a season like he had this year coming off an injury like that says a lot about him and his work ethic.”

Bonte, a Garretson native, led the Tigers and finished eighth in the conference with 8.1 tackles per game. He totaled 88 tackles on the year and finished eighth in the NAIA with 20 tackles for a loss and nine sacks.

“He is the definition of a football player,” Cimpl said about Bonte. “If you saw a picture of a football player in the dictionary it would be his.”

The AFCA All-American selections are due out later this month.