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Mustang Football Players Romanelli and Jackson Earn All-American Honors

Mustang Football Players Romanelli and Jackson Earn All-American Honors

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Fullback Jake Romanelli and cornerback Asa Jackson, both seniors, have been selected to The Sports Network/Fathead.com Football Championship Subdivision All-American teams.

Romanelli, who became the first Mustang in five years to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in rushing, finishing with 1,015 yards, was named to the second team while Jackson, who returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns this season, landed on the third team.

Romanelli (6-3, 240, Templeton, Calif./Templeton High School), the 14th player in Cal Poly football history to reach the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for a single season, was named Cal Poly's most valuable football player at a team brunch earlier this month.

Romanelli surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing in four consecutive games, one shy of the school record, and picked up No. 5 with his career-high 36 carries and 179 yards against Eastern Washington on Nov. 12. He finished with six career 100-yard games at Cal Poly, and was No. 1 in the Great West and No. 35 in the FCS averaging 92.27 yards a contest.

Romanelli scored seven touchdowns on the ground this fall, averaging 4.5 yards a carry. He also caught 14 passes, two for touchdowns. With his 1,992 career yards rushing, Romanelli is No. 19 all time at Cal Poly and produced 10 career games of 90 or more yards rushing.

Romanelli is a two-time All-Great West Conference first-team selection (2009, 2011) as voted by the coaches and was a second-team choice as a junior in 2010. He was the lone unanimous selection on the 18 ballots submitted by writers, television and radio broadcasters as well as sports information directors for the All-Great West team chosen by the media and was named Great West offensive player of the year by College Sports Madness.

Last week, Jackson (5-11, 190, Sacramento, Calif./Christian Brothers HS) was Cal Poly's first Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision All-American honoree in three years, named to the third team.

Selected as Cal Poly's most valuable defensive player two weeks ago, Jackson landed a spot on College Sports Madness' All-American second team last week. He was a third-team Sports Network All-American in 2010.

Jackson earned Great West Freshman Player of the Year honors in 2008 and is the third Mustang to earn all-conference first-team honors four times and the first player in the history of the league to be honored four times on the first-team defense.

The other four-time all-conference first-team Mustangs were offensive lineman Stephen Field and wide receiver Ramses Barden, both from 2005-08.

A preseason Buck Buchanan Award candidate, Jackson notched 199 tackles in four seasons with the Mustangs along with eight interceptions (two in each season) and 32 pass breakups. In his senior campaign, Jackson had 54 tackles (31 solo) with two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns (52 and 100 yards), and seven pass breakups.

Jackson also was among the nation's leaders in punt returns this fall, averaging 18.0 yards on eight returns with a long of 41 yards. He returned a theft against South Dakota State 47 yards for a touchdown in 2009 and now owns the school Division I record with his three interception returns for touchdowns. His 14.7 career punt return average is an all-time school mark.

Last week, Romanelli and Jackson were two of 10 Mustangs selected to the All-Time Great West Conference Team. In addition, former Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson was named the team's coach.

The Southern Conference placed a high of seven players on the Sports Network All-American first team and Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein was the only repeat first-team selection on the 2011 All-America team released Monday.

Six of the nine SoCon teams placed at least one player on one of the three teams, including Georgia Southern, which tied with Sam Houston State and Indiana State with four selections each.

Thirteen FCS conferences plus an independent program, Texas State, had players represented on the three teams. The Big Sky Conference and Southern Conference led with 14 selections each, while the Missouri Valley Football Conference had 10.

In addition to Romanelli and Jackson, the only other player from Great West Conference schools on the Sports Network All-American teams is offensive tackle Tom Compton of South Dakota on the third team.

Players from 2011 Cal Poly opponents in addition to Compton are quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell of Eastern Washington (first or second team), wide receiver Nicholas Edwards of Eastern Washington (first team), linebacker Caleb McSurdy of Montana (first team), cornerback Trumaine Johnson of Montana (second team), kick return specialist Austin Minefee of Southern Utah (third team) and punt return specialist Jabin Sambrano of Montana (third team).

The first- and second-team quarterbacks will be determined after the Walter Payton Award is presented in early January 2012.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selected the All-America based only on the regular season..

Cal Poly posted a 6-5 mark in 2011, its eighth winning season in the last nine years, and claimed its fourth Great West title, more than any other school in the eight-year history of the conference. The Mustangs, who were ranked No. 8 among all 124 NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision teams in this week's Jeff Sagarin rankings published in USA Today, move to the Big Sky Conference in 2012.