Courtesy of Wes Popolizio, Western New England Sports Information
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (December 12, 2016) – After earning various honors at the conference and regional level, senior cornerback Obi Etuka (Middletown, Conn.) of the Western New England University football team has received national recognition with his selection as an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Second Team All-America and a D3Football.com Honorable Mention All-America.
Etuka adds these prestigious distinctions to his resume after being named to the All-New England Football Conference (NEFC) First Team, the New England Football Writers Division II/Division III All-New England Team, and the D3football.com All-East Region Team. He is the first Golden Bear in program history to garner All-America honors from the AFCA, which began selecting a Second Team this fall. He is also just the second WNE player to be honored as a DIIIFootball.com All-America.
The senior recorded 42 tackles (2.5 for loss), 12 pass breakups and six interceptions in 2016 as the Golden Bears posted their second consecutive undefeated regular season and captured the program's first ever NCAA Tournament victory.
He became Western New England's all-time interceptions leader with his two-pick performance in the Golden Bears' 37-0 shutout of MIT on October 15, and he registered interceptions in the team's final two regular season contests as well as its NCAA triumph over Husson on November 19. His career statistics include 143 tackles (6.5 for loss), two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 36 pass breakups and 21 interceptions in 43 games.
Etuka, the 2015 NEFC Defensive Player of the Year, is among eight defensive backs in NCAA DIII to be honored by the AFCA with either First or Second Team accolades. He is also one of nine players that is earning AFCA All-America recognition for his program for the first time.
The AFCA's Division III All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA's eight districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen. The first D3football.com All-America team was awarded in 1999 and is, along with the AFCA All-America team, the only ones recognized in the NCAA record book. Players are nominated by schools in November and December for the D3football.com All-Region team, and are then considered for All-America recognition.