Four Red Raiders named all-american

WACO, Texas – After a perfect record heading into the 2023 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship game, the top-ranked Northwestern College football team (14-0, 10-0 GPAC) saw four athletes honored as All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and NAIA, highlighted by First Team honors for starting quarterback Jalyn Gramstad.

This season marks the second-straight season, and fifth time in the Matt McCarty era, that the Red Raiders have received a First Team AFCA and/or NAIA First Team All-American. It marks the fifth-straight year with a First Team honoree, with an Associated Press (AP) First Team All-American in 2021.

Jalyn Gramstad – AFCA/NAIA First Team All-American (QB)

The 2023 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Player of the Year continues to add major awards to his name. Gramstad (Jr., Lester, Iowa), in his first full year as starting quarterback, has solidified himself as one of the best signal callers in the NAIA.

The junior has had another stellar season so far in 2023, leading Northwestern back to Durham and the NAIA national championship game for the second-straight year. He has surpassed 3,000 passing yards in a season for the first time in his Red Raider career, throwing for 3,381 yards heading out to North Carolina with his NAIA-leading 70.7% completion percentage (244-for-348).

“Jalyn has had an outstanding season leading our team,” noted McCarty. “His poise and leadership have helped lead our team back to Durham.”

Gramstad has thrown for a career-high 33 touchdowns this season to just eight interceptions, with his longest pass being 64 yards at Mount Marty back on September 23. He has compiled a quarterback rating of 178.65 this season, which ranks third in the NAIA.

The leader of the Red Raider offense is picking up his first-career All-American honor, adding to his GPAC Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference honors this season. Last season saw Gramstad garner Second Team All-Conference honors.

Konner McQuillan – AFCA/NAIA Second Team All-American (RB)

The senior running back has exploded onto the scene this season under first-year Offensive Coordinator Josh Fakkema. McQuillan (Sr., Leavenworth, Kan.) has notched his first-career 1,000-yard rushing season, going out to North Carolina with 1,303 yards to his name and averaging 6.3 yards per carry this season.

He leads the GPAC, and sits in a tie for fourth in the NAIA, with his team-leading 20 rushing scores. He broke off a career-high rush of 73 yards for a touchdown against Briar Cliff back on October 14. To open the season, he rushed for a career-best 252 yards at Concordia (Neb.), the first time he has rushed for 200+ yards in a game.

“Konner has been a dynamic weapon for our offense this year,” commented McCarty. “He has made some big plays in key moments to help lead us back to the National Championship game.”

Additionally, he has been a threat in the passing game out of the backfield. He has a career-high six receiving touchdowns, bringing his season total of touchdowns scored to 26. He sits third on the team with his 477 receiving yards on 45 catches, averaging 10.6 yards per catch.

McQuillan was named a First Team All-Conference (RB) performer for the third-straight season this year. While his Second Team All-American honor is the first All-American recognition of his Red Raider career.

Cody Moser – AFCA/NAIA Second Team All-American (DB)

Adjusting from cornerback to safety this season on the defensive unit for Defensive Coordinator Billy Kirch, Moser (Jr., Rock Valley, Iowa) has had a season to remember. He has exploded onto the national scene with his NAIA-leading 10 interceptions, tying an NWC single-season program record (records only available to 1998). Additionally, the safety has recorded 33 tackles this season to go along with five recorded pass break-ups.

“Cody has been a playmaker for our defense,” said McCarty “He has a great nose for the ball and knack for making a big play in big moments.”

He had a season-high five tackles in the win at Midland on September 30, while twice recording multi-interception games (vs. Hastings, Oct. 7 & at Dakota Wesleyan, Nov. 4). In the Homecoming win over Hastings, one of his interceptions he returned 85 yards to the house for the fifth-longest INT returned for a touchdown in program history.

Entering the game in Durham, he needs just one interception to set a new single-season program record and needs just four to crack into the program’s top-10 list. He currently sits with 12 career interceptions.

This season, Moser has picked up his first-career All-Conference honor (First Team) and All-American accolade (Second Team).

Michael Storey – NAIA Third Team All-American (WR)

The career of Storey (Sr., Spencer, Iowa) continues to impress the Raider faithful, week in and week out. This season has cemented the Spencer, Iowa native as one of the best wide outs in program history, as he now leads the program in career receptions (297 and counting).

For the second-straight season, Storey has compiled a 1,000-yard receiving season, saving his best season for last with a career-high 1,354 yards entering the national title game. He also leads the team in receptions with 86, while sitting second in the NAIA with his 16 receiving touchdowns as he averages just under 100 yards per game (96.7).

“Mike had an outstanding season and was one of our top playmakers on offense,” noted McCarty. “He came through in a lot of key moments.”

For the second-straight season, the Red Raider wide receiver has been named an All-American after his Second Team honors in 2022. He has earned an All-Conference recognition of some kind in each of his five seasons in a Red Raider uniform, including First Team honors the last three seasons (2021-23).

You can find the full list of AFCA and NAIA All-America teams linked above. To note, the Third Team honorees are only recognized by the NAIA, and not by the AFCA.

On the First Team list, the GPAC saw four athletes named to the AFCA/NAIA team including Gramstad (NWC), Austin Jablonski (WR, Concordia (Neb.)), Parker Beck (OL, Dordt), and Lonell Boyd Jr. (DB, Morningside). In total, the league saw 15 athletes honored between the AFCA/NAIA First and Second Teams, and the NAIA Third Team.

Northwestern will hit the gridiron for one final time this season on Monday, December 18 in the NAIA national championship game against Keiser University (Fla.) with an 11:00 a.m. (CT) kickoff from Durham County Memorial Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

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