BROOKFIELD, Ill. --- Tusculum student-athletes Martez Thompkins and Hunter Cantrell have been named to the 2017 Don Hansen Football Gazette NCAA Division II All-Super Region Two team announced officials Tuesday. The Tusculum duo garnered third team All-Region honors on the year.
Thompkins, a senior defensive back from Atlanta, Georgia, led the Pioneers with his three interceptions, which are tied for third-most in the South Atlantic Conference. The 2017 All-SAC first team choice totaled 27 tackles (19 solo) with three stops for loss, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and led the team with his 13 passes defended (10 break-ups, 3 INT). His 13 passes defended were second in the league and 34th in NCAA Division II.
In his 38-game career with the Pioneers, Thompkins has been credited with 97 tackles, including 67 solos, four tackles for loss and one sack. His 29 career passes defended are the fifth-most in program history while his eight career interceptions are fourth and his 150 interception return yards are second in the TC record book. He has also posted 11 kickoff returns for 257 yards, averaging 23.4 yards per return.
In Tusculum's 2015 road win at Virginia-Wise, he tied a TC single-game record with two interceptions for a TC record 149 return yards, including a 59-yarder for a touchdown. For his efforts, Thompkins was named the SAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Cantrell, a senior punter from Sparta, Tennessee, earns his second All-Region accolade after garnering Division II Conference Commissioners Association second team accolades. Cantrell finished the season with a 41.64 punting average, which was second in the SAC and 15th in the country. His average this year was also the fifth highest in a TC single-season. Of his 56 punts, 26 were pinned inside the 20-yard line, the most of any punter in the conference. He recorded a six punts over 50 yards, including a season-long 56-yarder at Limestone.
He posted a season-best 45.5 yards per punt at Limestone in a NCAA Division II-Showcase Game where the ESPN3 announcers named him "Hunter the Punter". In TC's 31-30 double-overtime win at Newberry, Cantrell averaged 43.1 yards on his eight punts with all eight of his kicks inside the 20-yard line. He was named D2Football.com National Special Teams Player of the Week and he SAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
He leaves Tusculum as its all-time leader with his 241 punts and 9,504 punting yards and is fourth with his 39.44 career punting average. His 70 career punts inside the 20-yard line are also the most in school history.
The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Illinois, started and published Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen's Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.
The Pioneers finished the season with a 5-5 overall record, including 3-4 in league play to finish fourth in the conference, the team's second straight top-tier finish in the SAC. TC also posted its first non-losing campaign since 2014.