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Connor earns AFCA All-America honors

Michael Connor
Michael Connor

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Simpson linebacker Michael Connor has been named to the 2018 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America Second Team, as announced by the AFCA.

Connor is the only player from the the American Rivers Conference recognized on the 50-person team. The senior from Woodward, Iowa becomes the 22nd football All-American in school history and first since 2008. He is the first linebacker to earn the distinction.

The American Rivers Defensive MVP caused fits for opposing offenses in 2018, disrupting the pass and the run. He finished the year with league-highs in tackles (113) and sacks (8.5) to go along with 16 tackles for loss. The hard-hitting Connor recorded the most sacks by a linebacker in school history and became the first linebacker to lead the conference in sacks since 2014.

In every game of the season, Connor had either a sack, tackle for loss, forced fumble, interception or pass breakup.

Connor began his career as a fullback and didn't see significant playing time until his junior season. He is also a Second Team All-West Region pick and a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the country representing Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities.

2018 AFCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team

AFCA All-America Team Background
The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945. The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad in 1945. From 1945 until 1967, only one team was chosen.

From 1967 through 1971, two teams – University Division and College Division – were selected. In 1972, the College Division was split into College I and College II.

In 1979, the University Division was split into two teams — Division I-A and Division I-AA.

In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III, respectively. The AFCA began selecting an NAIA-only team in 2006. Also in 2006, the Division I-A and Division I-AA teams were renamed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), respectively.

From 1965-81, a 22-player (11 offensive, 11 defensive) team was chosen. In 1982, a punter and placekicker were added to the team. In 1997, a return specialist was added, giving us the current 25-player team. The return specialist position was replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006. In 2016, the AFCA added a second team All-America.

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