GREENSBORO (December 19, 2017) – North Carolina A&T graduate Brandon Parker (6-foot-7, 309, left tackle, Kannapolis, NC) earned another postseason award on Tuesday after being named first-team STATS FCS All-American. Teammate Khris Gardin (5-7, 185, punt returner, Morganton, NC), who like Parker played his final collegiate game in the Aggies 21-14 win over Grambling State last in the 2017 Celebration Bowl last week, was named to the third team.
The count is adding up for Parker who earned his third straight offensive lineman of the year award from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in November to go along with his third straight first-team All-MEAC honor. Last week, Parker became only the fourth first-team Associated Press All-American in school history joining defensive end Chris McNeil (1997), return specialist Curtis Deloatch (2001) and running back Tarik Cohen (2016). Tuesday’s recognition by STATS is his second straight first-team All-American honor from STATS.
Going into Saturday’s Celebration Bowl game on Dec. 16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Parker had played 656 snaps with 48 knockdown blocks and an 84 percent average grade. The Aggies offense produced 5,122 yards over 12 games as the Aggies won their second black college football national championship in three years with Parker as the Aggies leader on the offensive line.
Gardin is one of the best returners in Football Championship Subdivision/Division I-AA history. He finished his career with 1,594 punt return yards, second all-time behind Hampton’s Marquay McDaniel (1,668 punt return yards). In 2017, Gardin returned 29 punts for 371 yards and a touchdown. He had an 88-yard punt return for touchdown against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 2. He had five career punt returns for touchdown and averaged 14.6 yards per return.
N.C. A&T just completed a 12-0 season, the first in the history of the MEAC. They are also the first Division I-AA HBCU to finish unbeaten and untied.