CONWAY, S.C. Coastal Carolina football had four players named Associated Press All-Americans, announced today (Dec. 13) by the news organization. Senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen (Winnsboro, S.C./Fairfield Central) was named to the first team, while junior wide receiver Jerome Simpson (Reidsville, N.C./Reidsville), senior safety Quinton Teal (Bennettsville, S.C./Marlboro County) and senior offensive lineman Brad Poston (Florence, S.C./Florence) were honored on the second team. These are the first AP All-Americans for the program and mark a Big South record for a single year and tie the most for any school ever in the league's annals, as Gardner-Webb has four in its Big South history.
Thigpen, who was also an American Football Coaches Association All-American, the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and finished seventh in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award, is currently ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 329.3 ypg of total offense, while being fourth nationally with 274.7 passing yards per game after leading Coastal to its third consecutive Big South title and first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships. The first-ever Big South player to be nominated for the Payton Award, he set nine Conference season records in 2006 in total offense (3,952), total offense per game (329.3), passing yards (3,296), touchdown passes (29), passing yards per game (274.7), passing efficiency (167.42), 300-yard passing games (5), 300-total yard games (9) and rushing yards by a quarterback (656). He was named Player of the Week four times this season and became the first Big South quarterback to rush for more than 600 yards in a season, with his 656 ranking fourth overall in league rushing, while adding five touchdowns. His 3,296 passing yards also made him the first quarterback ever to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a single season. He also ranks second all-time in the Big South in total offense with 8,236 yards, while also helping CCU to a 34-11 (30-8 as a starter) during his four years with the Chanticleers.
Simpson, also a First Team All-Big South selection, set the school records in receptions, yards and touchdowns with 54 catches for 1,077 yards and 16 touchdowns. He currently ranks 11th in the nation in yards per game (89.8) and 26th in scoring (7.64) as well as setting the league record for touchdown receptions in a season (16). Simpson was named Offensive Player of the Week twice this season and scored at least one touchdown in 11 out of 12 contests this year, including five touchdowns in Big South play and a streak of seven consecutive games. He also is Coastal's career leader in receptions (119), yards (2,024) and touchdown receptions (33).
Teal, another two-time First Team All-Big South selection, is the league's all-time interception leader with 17 and leads the conference in single-season picks, this time tying with four, which ranks him 48th in the nation. He led the league with 13 passes defended and had 81 tackles, ranking second for Coastal and 12th overall in the league. He posted a career-best 13 tackles in the win over Liberty, including one tackle for loss and an interception that ended an LU scoring drive. He also added seven tackles, two pass breakups and a blocked kick that led to a two-point PAT conversion that was the difference in the win over Furman.
Poston, who was a two-time First Team All-Big South selection, started all 12 games for the Coastal offensive line that blocked for an offense that set a new Big South record for passing yards and passing touchdowns. He has graded out at least 70 percent in all 12 games this year and has been the only player in Coastal history to start all 45 games since the program's inception in 2003.
Coastal wrapped up the 2006 season with a 9-3 mark, including the Big South's first-ever postseason appearance.