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ISU trio named to top squad

ISU trio named to top squad

Redbirds Davis, Robinson, Hawkins earn spots on I-AA All-America team

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NORMAL - Living up to the hype of being a preseason All-American wasn't easy for Illinois State offensive lineman Stafford Davis.

But the fact Davis joined teammates Laurent Robinson and Brent Hawkins on the Sports Network Division I-AA All-America team Monday is pretty solid evidence he succeeded.

"I felt a lot of pressure at the beginning of the season to perform, be some super human," Davis said. "But then I looked in the mirror and didn't see any "S" (for Superman) on my chest. I just had to play my game, open up holes and it all came together."

ISU and Eastern Washington were the only I-AA programs with three first team All-America picks. Redbird linebacker Cameron Siskowic was voted to the second team in balloting of I-AA sports information directors and selected media members to make ISU one of four schools to place four players on the All-America team.

Switching from guard to center for his senior season, Davis helped pave the way for an ISU offense that averaged a school-record 477.5 yards per game. That total ranked fourth nationally. Davis played 783 snaps and led the team with 68 knockdowns.

Also sparking the Redbirds to a Gateway Conference-leading 39.2 points per game was Robinson, a junior receiver who caught 86 passes for 1,465 yards (both school records). Robinson led the nation with 133.2 yards per game and was second at 7.8 catches per game.

"I'm just happy," said Robinson, who was named to the Walter Camp Foundation All-America team and finished 10th in voting for the Walter Payton Award for I-AA's top player. "This (ISU's four honorees) means we're all setting standards for where we need to be."

Hawkins and Siskowic are both nominees for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to I-AA's top defensive player.

A senior defensive end, Hawkins also was selected to the Walter Camp team. He topped the nation and established school records with 26 1/2 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles and set ISU and Gateway records with 17 sacks.

"It means a lot. I put in a lot of work," Hawkins said. "Part of it is me taking better to my coaching. My coaches put me in position and I made the most of it."

A junior linebacker, Siskowic led the Gateway with 132 tackles, 37 more than the second-place defender. He ranked fourth nationally at 12 stops per game and was 15th in tackles for loss.

"I wasn't expecting to be a consensus (first-teamer). I'll go after that next year," Siskowic said. "I'm just happy to be on any All-America list. There are a lot of I-AA colleges. To be included with the best of the best is always an honor."

Siskowic did make the I-AA first team of Web site nfldraftscout.com along with teammates Hawkins and punter Ryan Hoffman. Robinson was a second team selection.

Hoffman led the Gateway with a 42.2-yard punting average. Hoffman's career punting average (also 42.2) is a school record. The senior has been invited to play in the Hula Bowl next month.

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