Kansas City, MO For the second consecutive year, the University of the Cumberlands football team shined on the field and qualified for the NAIA Football Championship Series, advancing to the quarterfinals. On Friday the Patriots notched another consecutive streak as UC placed a player on the Associated Press NAIA Football All-America Team as sophomore defensive line Kumi Sarpong, Jr. was named a second-team selection.
Sarpong Jr. had a breakout season for the Patriots recording 53 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and two fumble recoveries on the season. The Grayson, GA native led the Patriots in tackles for loss and sacks, while being ranked fifth on the team in tackles. Sarpong Jr. is ranked fifth in the NAIA in sacks (12.0), sixth in sackers per game (1.0), and 17th in tackles for loss (17.0).
The sophomore's best performance came in UC's 47-10 homecoming win over Campbellsville as he tallied nine tackles with a career-high 3.0 sacks and 4.5 tackle for loss. Sarpong Jr. recorded at least five tackles in a game four times and notched three multi-sack games. He also recorded a fumble recovery against Bethel and Marian.
For his efforts this season, Surpong Jr. was named a Mid-South Conference first-team all-conference selection and tallied one MSC defensive player of the week accolade. The sophomore was a key part of a Patriot defense that limited opponents to 17.1 points per game and 36.5 sacks, both of which rank in the top ten of the NAIA.
This marks the second straight year that the Patriots placed a player on the Second Team All-America team as Sarpong Jr. joins running back Milton Shelton, who was named to the team in 2018. The Mid-South Conference had 11 players named to the AP All-America Team, including four of them from the Bluegrass Division.
The Patriots posted a 10-2 record, including a 6-1 mark against the MSC Bluegrass Division. UC qualified for the NAIA Football Championship Series, where they defeated seventh-ranked Keiser 28-24 for their first road postseason victory in program history.