Tigers add All-America honors

By BRIAN RAMSEY | OBU Sports Network

ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University football players TJ Cole and Peyton Stafford have earned additional All-America honors for the 2022 season.

Cole, who finished fifth in the 2022 Harlon Hill voting, has been selected to the Elite 100 All-America First Team and the Associated Press All-America Second Team. Stafford also picked up second team honors on the AP All-America team, and earned a spot on the Elite 100 honorable mention team.

TJ Cole, left, and Peyton Stafford make quick work of an SAU Mulerider in a 2022 conference game. | Wesley Kluck/Ouachita Baptist University

In addition to where he finished in the Harlon Hill Trophy race as one of the nation’s top players this past season, Cole, a senior running back from Texarkana, Texas, also earned first team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association. Cole wrapped up his Ouachita career in 2022 by breaking the school’s single-season records for rushing yards (1,672) and rushing touchdowns (26).

One of the reasons Cole was so successful was blockers like Stafford, who was a nominee for the Gene Upshaw D2 Lineman of the Year award and a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy as one of the top scholar athletes in the nation. The senior offensive lineman from Amarillo, Texas was a team captain for the second straight season in 2022, and helped the Tiger offense rank in the top 10 of multiple national stat categories, including fourth in rushing at just under 282 yards per game.

Cole and Stafford led Ouachita to its 14th consecutive winning season in 2022, the longest active streak of any college program in the state of Arkansas. The Tigers turned in a final record of 11-1 with an undefeated regular season, a Great American Conference championship, and an appearance in the D2 playoffs.


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