Sacramento State senior linebacker Darnell Sankey became the first defensive player in school history to be named to the STATS FCS All-America first team.
Sankey ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision and first in the Big Sky Conference with 153 total tackles during the 2015 season.
The San Jose native’s tackle total was the school’s second-highest mark, one shy of Ryland Wickman in 1997. Sankey, who finished fourth all-time at Sac State in career tackles with 330, had a school-record 27 against Weber State.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Sankey also had nine tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks, five pass breakups and forced a fumble this season.
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He is the fifth first-team All-America selection in Sac State history, joining wide receiver DeAndre Carter (2014), wide receiver Fred Amey (2004), offensive lineman Jon Osterhout (1999) and running back Charles Roberts (1998 and 1999).
But Sankey is the Hornets’ first defensive player to be named a first team All-America by STATS, or its predecessor The Sports Network.
Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis (2013), defensive end Zack Nash (2010) and defensive tackle Christian Clark (2009) were each named to the second team. Cyrus Mulitalo and Mike Brannon earned honorable mention in 2007.
Sankey was one of four linebackers recognized by STATS on the first team. He was joined by Deon King of Norfolk State, Christian Kuntz of Duquesne and Incarnate Word’s Myke Tavarres.
Sankey, who was also named to the College Sports Madness All-America first team earlier this month, will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 23 at the StubHub Center in Carson.