Benedictine University Running Back John Borsellino today became just the fourth football player in school history to earn NCAA Division III All-America status and the first since 1993 as the American Football Coaches Association recognized the junior as the all-purpose player on its All-America Team.
Borsellino enjoyed a record setting 2011 campaign for Benedictine, which made the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the second consecutive year. Borsellino established new single season standards for rushing attempts, yards, and total touchdowns. The Oak Brook, Ill. native ran for 1,361 yards on 249 carries, scoring 22 total touchdowns. All of the new records broke long standing marks. Ken Carruthers held the single season record for rushing yardage at 1,281 since 1973. Prentis Wilson scored 21 touchdowns in 1988 while Wendall Walton carried 232 times in 1993.
The Northern Athletics Conference named Borsellino as the Offensive Player of the Year after leading the conference in rushing yards, carries, and touchdowns. The Montini product was also a First Team All-Conference choice as a running back and returner. Benedictine placed six individuals on the All-Northern Athletics Conference First Team and captured or shared three of the four major awards. Additionally, Borsellino was chosen First Team All-North Region by D3Football.com.
During the 2011 season Borsellino scored touchdowns in 10 of the 11 contests including multiple scores in eight games. Of the 22 touchdowns, 17 came on the ground, four receiving, and one on a return. Borsellino ranked third on the team in receiving. Overall, the second year running back amassed over 2,400 all-purpose yards with seven games over 200 yards and two over 300.
The junior ranked second in the nation in all-purpose yards, tied for fourth in scoring, and finished 14th in rushing yards per game. Borsellino crossed the 100-yard marker six times on the ground and also attempted a pass in the NCAA Playoff loss at Mount Union.
When Benedictine opened the season at home against Eureka on September 3, Borsellino amassed a career high 194 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns in a 45-7 victory. Trailing 16-0 at halftime against Aurora in the homecoming contest on October 8, Borsellino broke off a 61-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half to ignite a comeback. Borsellino returned a kickoff 84 yards later in the third as Benedictine rallied to a 26-19 victory.
Another comeback was needed at Rockford late in the season to help Benedictine clinch the playoff slot and Borsellino tallied a season best four touchdowns, running for three and hauling in another from quarterback Matt Brown. The third year Benedictine player snared eight passes in the regular season finale against Wisconsin Lutheran.
In the NCAA Division III Playoffs, Borsellino snapped off a 52-yard run at Mount Union, the longest rushing play of the year against one of the nation's top defenses. Borsellino ran for 79 yards against Mount Union, matching the most in a single contest this year against the national power.
Borsellino began his career at Benedictine as a slot receiver before switching to running back in 2010. The last All-American at Benedictine, who became the first school from the Northern Athletics Conference to make the playoffs in consecutive years this season, was Eric Green as a kick returner in 1993.
Since 1945, the American Football Coaches Association has selected an All-America team. What makes this team special is that it is the only one selected exclusively by the men who know the most about the players, the coaches themselves. The AFCA selects a 25-player team in each of its five divisions. The team is made up of 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, a punter, a placekicker and an all-purpose player. The offensive unit normally consists of two wide receivers, one tight end, four offensive linemen, one center, one quarterback and two running backs. On defense, four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs are normally chosen.