BROOKFIELD, Ill. -- A quartet of Bemidji State University football student-athletes were selected to the 2019 Don Hansen All-America Team, released Monday. Senior Michael Junker was named to the All-America second team to set a new program benchmark, sophomore running back Jalen Frye was selected to the All-America third team and senior offensive linemen Nick Niemi and Joe Woods were named to the honorable mention team.
Junker’s selection is his fifth All-America honor of the 2019 season and his career, setting the BSU program record for most All-American selections for a single student-athlete. He surpassed former defensive back Gunner Olszewski, who recorded four All-America honors following the 2018 season, after being named Don Hansen All-American, AFCA All-American, AP All-American, D2CCA All-American and D2Football.com All-American.
Junker, a senior defensive back from Hastings, Minn., was the NSIC leader in interceptions and finished tied for fourth nationally with eight on his way to earning 2019 NSIC North Division All-Conference First Team Defense. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns and led the nation with 272 interception return yards this season. Junker finishes his career as BSU’s all-time leader in interception return yards (378) and the program’s runner-up in career interceptions (17). He now has seven post-season awards following the 2019 season.
Niemi, a senior offensive lineman from Cloquet, Minn., and Woods, a senior offensive lineman from Fertile, Minn., anchored one of the NSIC's best offensive lines while both were named to the 2019 NSIC North Division All-Conference First Team Offense. The duo helped the Beavers’ offense rank second with 434.3 total yards per game, third with 213.8 rushing yards per game, fourth with 30.4 points per game and fourth with 232.5 passing yards per game. Niemi and Woods also helped allow the fewest sacks in the NSIC with 10.
Frye, a sophomore running back from Mahtomedi, Minn., was also an NSIC North Division All-Conference First Team Offense selection and earned one NSIC Player of the Week honor on Nov. 18 after rushing for a career-high 316 yards, three shy of the program single-game record. He led the NSIC with 148.6 rushing yards per game, which ranked fifth nationally, and totaled 10 rushing touchdowns, which ranked third in the NSIC, in just nine games played. Frye recorded six 100-yard rushing games last season and enters his junior season 10th all-time at BSU with 1,957 career rushing yards.
The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).