By Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information
WACO, Texas — Ouachita Baptist University junior running back TJ Cole has been selected to the 2021 American Football Coaches Association Division II All-America First Team.
Cole was the offensive leader for the Tigers during the 2021 campaign, which yielded the seventh nine-plus win season in program history. Ouachita finished the year at 9-2, just missing out on what would have been the program’s fourth consecutive playoffs appearance.
The Texarkana, Texas, native becomes the 34th individual in Ouachita football history to earn All-America honors, and just the third to earn All-America honors from the AFCA, joining two-time selection Cole Antley (2016, 2018) and Justin Gooseberry (2018). Cole’s selection this year is the 13th all-time first team All-America honor for the Tigers.
2021 was a special season for Cole. He broke the Great American Conference single-season rushing record, finishing the season with 236 carries for 1,530 rushing yards. That total ranks third on the Ouachita single-season charts, behind William Miller (1,668 in 1978) and Johnny Baker (1,614 in 1970). This season, Cole found the endzone a total of 17 times, and even recorded one passing touchdown. He had nine games of at least 100 yards and four games of at least 150 yards.
Cole’s best performance helped the Tigers come from behind to beat East Central 43-28 on October 30. He finished that game with 271 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Heading into his senior season in 2022, Cole is on pace to eclipse the 3,000-yard career rushing milestone, which would make just the sixth Tiger to do so in the school history. He ended his junior season with 2,314 career rushing yards.