PHILADELPHIA- As new University of Delaware football head coach Dave Brock prepares for his first season at the helm of the Blue Hens, it's clear he has the services of three of the top players in the nation on his squad.
The Sports Network issued its annual pre-season All-American lists on Monday afternoon and two Blue Hens - senior running back Andrew Pierce, senior kicker Sean Baner, and senior defensive tackle Zach Kerr - earned spots on the prestigious squad. Baner and Kerr were named to the pre-season second team All-American squad while Pierce was a third team selection.
A total of 14 players from the Colonial Athletic Association were selected to the three teams with Delaware and Towson being the only schools to place three players on the squads.
Baner, a three-year regular from Southampton, Pa. (William Tennent High School), earned his second pre-season honor of the summer as he was one of 32 student-athletes recognized on the placekicker watch list by the College Football Performance Award in June.
He earned first team All-CAA honors as a sophomore in 2011 and has twice in his career being named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week. After converting 15 of 20 field goals and 29 of 29 extra points as a sophomore in 2011, Baner was even better as a junior in 2012 when he made good on 18 of 23 field goal attempts and on all 33 of his PAT conversions. For his career, he is 33 of 43 in field goal attempts and 62 for 62 on extra point tries.
He holds school records for consecutive extra points (an active streak of 62 straight entering the 2013 season), extra point pct. in a season and career (1.000), kicking points in a game (15 vs. William & Mary in 2012), and field goals in a game (4 vs. Bucknell, 2012). His 33 career field goals rank second only to Jon Striefsky's 41 in 2005-09 in UD lore while his while his career field goal pct. of 76.7 percent ranks third and his 161 career points ranks seventh. He has kicked eight field goals of 40 or more yards during his career.
Kerr, a 6-2, 330 lb. senior from Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard HS), made quite a first impression in 2012, his first season at Delaware after spending the previous three seasons of his career at the University of Maryland. An outstanding run-stopper, Kerr started all 11 games at defensive tackle a year ago and earned second team All-CAA honors after registering 27 tackles, including 15 solo stops.
Kerr, one of eight players with starting experience returning to the UD defensive front in 2013, also had 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two fumble recoveries, and one interception. He returned the interception 47 yards for a touchdown in an early season victory at William & Mary.
Pierce, a three-year starter in the UD backfield from Bridgeton, N.J. (Cumberland Regional HS), has been one of the nation's most productive runners throughout his career. A two-time All-American and three-time All-CAA selection, he has appeared in 35 career games and rushed 747 times for 3,637 yards and 34 touchdowns, good for an average of 4.9 yards per carry and 103.9 yards per game.
Selected to the Walter Payton Player of the Year Aware Watch List each of the past two seasons and a strong candidate again in 2013, Pierce has led the team in rushing each of the past three seasons, gaining 1,655 yards with 14 touchdowns as a freshman in 2010, 1,279 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011, and 703 yards and four touchdowns during an injury-plagued junior season in 2012. He is aiming to become only the second player in UD history to lead the team in rushing all four seasons and would join former All-American Omar Cuff (2004-07).
Pierce ranks fourth among all active NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision players with 3,637 yards and has recorded 21 career 100-yard rushing game performances. He needs 950 yards to break Delaware's career rushing record of 4,587 by Daryl Brown in 1991-94.
Other CAA players joining Baner and Pierce on the All-American team were first team picks in OT Michael Bamiro of Stony Brook, DT Antoine Lewis of Villanova, LB Stephon Robertson of James Madison; second team picks in RB Terrance West of Towson, OL Eric Pike of Towson, and S Dean Marlowe of James Madison; and third team selections in WR R.J. Harris of New Hampshire, OL Seamus O'Neill of New Hampshire, OL Dan Shirey of Villanova, DE Michael Cole of Maine, and CB Jordan Love of Towson.