Please rank your selections 1 through 8 with “1” being awarded to your No. 1 selection, “2” being awarded to your No. 2 selection, etc. You MAY vote for your own student-athlete.

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Isaiah Talbert
Eastern New Mexico | RT
6-3 | 290 | Denver, Colo. 

2017 Key Statistics: Greyhounds are second in the nation in rushing and fourth in the Lone Star Conference in scoring. Eastern also is fourth in the LSC in total offense and first downs. His superior blocking has led to Kamal Cass leading the league in rushing and ranking 11th in the nation. Since the 2014 season, Talbert has played in 38 games with 24 starts and over that span, ENMU has had one of the top rushing attacks in the nation and consistently produced All-Americans at the running back position and all-conference performers at quarterback.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Second Team All-Lone Star Conference in 2016. ENMU has led the conference since the 2014 season when Talbert arrived.

Team Record and Honors: ENMU is in the AFCA Top-25 for the first time since 2003 and has a 7-1 record for the first time since the 1998 season

Coach’s Comment: “Isaiah Talbert is an excellent candidate for the Gene Upshaw Award. Isaiah has been a four-year starter for Eastern New Mexico beginning in his true freshman season. During his time, he has blocked for over 14,000 yards with two 4000-yard rushing seasons. He has blocked for two different All-American running backs, a Lone Star Conference Running Back, and a Lone Star Conference player of the year. We also currently have the top rusher in the LSC this year. He has compiled over 400 knockdowns in his career. Currently, he averages over 15 knockdowns a game for an offense that averages nearly 350 yards rushing a game. Isaiah has been a crucial part of our triple option attack throughout his career and we have had some of our best statistical seasons during his tenure with the Greyhounds.” (Kelley Lee)

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Alex Cappa
Humbolt State | OL
6-7 | 305 | Dublin, Calif.

2017 Key Statistics: Anchors the left side of the nation’s 21st best rushing offense (220.6 yards per game) and 14th best passing attack (292.7 yards per game). Blocks for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s top total offense and scoring offense and the league’s top rusher, Ja’Quan Gardner.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Cappa is a three-time All-GNAC First Team selection and GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year. More awards are listed below by year.

(2016) Played in 11 games … Named D2football.com preseason All-American … All- GNAC First Team selection … Tabbed the GNAC GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year … Earned D2CCA First Team All-Region … Named AFAC All-American First Team … Selected as a representative on the Associated Press Little All-America Second Team … Earned Hero Sports All-American First Team (2015) Named a D2CCA Second Team All-American … Collected Don Hansen Honorable Mention All-American honors … Selected to the D2CCA All-Region Team and the Don Hansen All-Super Region First Team … Tabbed the GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year and was a unanimous All-GNAC First Team selection … Played in 12 games … Earned GNAC All-Academic Team honors (2014) Played in 10 games … Was named a unanimous First Team All-GNAC selection … Named the GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year (2013) Redshirted.

Team Record and Honors: HSU has a 6-1 overall record and ranks second in the GNAC standings. HSU is currently the No.18 team in the country and the fifth seed in Super Region 4 rankings.

Coach’s Comment: “Alex is a “check every box” type of player for us. Expected to be four-time unanimous Lineman of the Year in conference as voted by opposing coaches, 1st team All-American in 2016, a first-in, last-out guy when it comes to the weight room, team leader both in the classroom and as three year team captain as voted by teammates.” (Rob Smith) 

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Jake Gronholz
Winona State | OL
6-3 | 281 | Lake Mills, Wisc.

2017 Key Statistics: Has started in all nine game this season…Member of offensive line which has allowed just 16 sacks through nine games (ranks sixth in the NSIC)…Winona rushing offense ranks seventh in NSIC at 174.8 yards/game

Career Awards and Accomplishments:
2016 NSIC First Team
2016 Don Hansen All-Region
Has only missed four games in his career…started in all but three of those games

Team Record and Honors: 8-1 record in 2017
Currently ranked No. 18 in AFCA Poll & No. 4 in Super Region Four

Coach’s Comment: “Jake has been as good as any offensive lineman in the NSIC the last four years. He was a First Team All-Conference selection last year and we expect the same in 2017. His dedication to the sport, team and the University is second to none. On and off the field Jake’s leadership is excellent. Jake is deserving of this prestigious award.” (Tom Sawyer)

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Jesse Springer
Sioux Falls | OT
6-4 | 250 | Denver, Colo.

2017 Key Statistics:
Has 65 knockdowns with a grade of 88.7 percent.
Has allowed just two sacks and four total in career
Member of offensive front that ranks fourth in the NSIC in rushing at 200 yards per game
Member of offensive front that returned two starters but have ranked in top five in offense in NSIC and top four in rushing all year, despite the loss of All-American running back Max Mickey.

Career Awards and Accomplishments:
Named Academic All-NSIC two straight years and eligible with 3.6 GPA for a third straight honor
Nominee for Academic All-American
Named All-NSIC second year a year ago
Has graded out at 91 percent over his four years at USF
In four years as starter, Springer has totaled 123 knockdowns
Part of offensive line that helped USF rank third in the nation a year ago in rushing with 308, setting a school record for rushing yards at 4,000
Part of offensive front that paved way for All-American Max Mickey to rank second in nation a year ago and was second nationally in yards (873) until hurt in game five

Team Record and Honors:
8-1 ranked #13 in AFCA Coaches Poll
Sioux Falls is defending NSIC champion and sits second overall in league standings
Cougars have been ranked in 45 straight national polls

Coach’s Comment: “Jesse is an exceptional leader and one of those lead by example guys. He is an outstanding young man, who has a high GPA while showing leadership on a young offensive line. Jesse’s greatest strength is the bond he has for his teammates. There is no “I” in Jesse, it is all team and represents the Sioux Falls on his jersey with honor, vigor and passion.” (Jon Anderson)

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Dillon Vaughan
West Texas A&M | OL
6-6 | 312 | Corpus Christi, Texas

2017 Key Statistics: Has played and started all 10 games for the Buffs on the offensive line. Has logged 573 plays and graded out at 91.1%. He has allowed 5.5 sacks, while recording 18 knockdowns and 10 pancakes with 22 cuts.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Graduated with a degree in finance last year and is working on his master’s degree at WT. He earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last season and became the 30th student-athlete from West Texas A&M to do so since 1980. He finished his undergraduate degree with a 4.0 GPA in finance. 

He has played in 31 games with 18 starts on the offensive line and at tight end for the Buffs. Vaughan was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and earned named to the LSC Commissioners Honor Roll and Academic All-Conference last season. This season, he earned the prestigious honor of being named to the AFCA Allstate Good Works Team.

Not only does Vaughan excel on the field and in the classroom, he participates in numerous school and community activities, as well as volunteer opportunities. Vaughan is a member of S.A.G.E (Students Assisting “N” Good Endeavors), a faith based community/university service campus organization at WT, as well as being a student ambassador and a member of S.A.L.T (Student-Athlete Leadership Team) and part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He also is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and has helped his family put on the Superhero Ball, benefitting an orphanage in Uganda through Children’s Hope Chest and sponsoring a child in the orphanage through Children’s Hope Chest.

Team Record and Honors: 3-7 and 1-6 in Lone Star Conference play. Vaughan and the Buffs upset then-No. 7 Colorado State-Pueblo in the second game of the season, 24-21 on Sept. 9.

Coach’s Comment: “When it comes to character, leadership and service, there isn’t a better role model, example or teammate than Dillon Vaughan,” WT head football coach Hunter Hughes said. “He represents the pride and tradition of West Texas A&M Football to a ‘T’.” (Hunter Hughes)

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Jacob Busse
Minnesota State Moorhead | DT
6-2 | 290 | Waseca, Minn.

2017 Key Statistics:
8 solo, 42 assisted tackles
2.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks
One fumble recovery

Career Awards and Accomplishments:
All-NSIC North Division First Team in 2016
named to Don Hansen All-Super Region 3 third team in 2016
All-NSIC North Division Second Team in 2015
All-NSIC North honorable mention 2014

Team Record and Honors:
5-5
led Dragons to back-to-back winning season

Coach’s Comment: “”Jake is a four-year starter on the defensive line and has developed into one of the top interior players in the region.” (Steve Laqua)

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Evan Perrizo
Minnesota State Mankato | DE
6-5 | 275 | Eden Prairie, Minn.

2017 Key Statistics: 
– Leads Minnesota State in tackles for loss with 13.5 and in sacks with 8.5.
– Returned a fumble recovery 12 yards for a touchdown vs. Winona State.
– Has 33 tackles this season, including a season-high seven tackles against the University of Mary.

Career Awards and Accomplishments:
– Has 122 career tackles at Minnesota State, including 39 tackles for a loss.
– Is fourth all-time at Minnesota State in career sacks with 23.5.
– His 39 tackles for a loss are tied for fifth all-time at Minnesota State.
– Named to the Don Hansen Super Region Three Third Team and the NSIC South Division First Team in 2016.
– Named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Week.
– Has played in 47 of Minnesota State’s 48 games during the last four seasons, including 33 starts in MSU’s last 33 games.

Team Record and Honors:
– Minnesota State owns a 10-0 record this season and recently received the #1 ranking in the AFCA poll for this first time in more than two seasons.
– During his four seasons at Minnesota State, the Mavericks have posted a combined record 42-6, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament and an appearance in the NCAA Championship game in 2014.
– Have won three NSIC Championships during his four seasons and three NSIC South Division championships.

Coach’s Comment: “Evan is a senior captain who shows up in a big way on video tape. Evan is a dominant run stopper with the speed and athleticism to rush the passer. Evan is also our most active and effective playmaker on defense. He has a great physical presence and lead’s our team by example both on and off the field.” (Todd Hoffner)

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Blake Nelson
Colorado Mesa | DE
5-11 | 230 | Centennial, Colo.

2017 Key Statistics:
69 Total Tackles (Leads team)
12.5 Tackles for Loss
7.0 Sacks (Ranks first in the RMAC and 39th nationally)
8 QB Hurries
3 Blocked Kicks (Ranks fourth nationally)
1 Interception

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Three-time All-RMAC selection
Four-time RMAC All-Academic selection

Team Record and Honors: Team is 9-1 on the season and currently ranks 15th in the AFCA poll and 6th in the NCAA regional rankings.

Coach’s Comment: “Blake Nelson is the most intense and competitive player I have coached in my career. He has excelled as a pass rusher, run stopper and great special teams player for four years. He has started every game since his red shirt freshmen year and been a leader on the field, weight room and around campus.” (Russ Martin)

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Thayer Sauter
Black Hills State | DL
6-0 | 245 | Wiggins, Colo.

2017 Key Statistics: Is second in the RMAC and 22nd in the nation, with 89 total tackles … Has 33 solo tackles … Has recorded 10+ tackles in four of nine games this year … Had 18 tackles against South Dakota Mines, which is the most in a single game in the RMAC this year … Had 16 tackles against For Lewis, which is tied for the second most in a single game in the RMAC this year … Had 1.5 sacks against nationally ranked CSU-Pueblo … Has three total sacks … Eighth in the RMAC in tackles for loss, with 10 … Part of a defense that has the RMAC’s best 3rd down conversion rate (32.1%) … Team captain

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Has played in all 42 games in his career … Has 353 total tackles in his career … named 2016 All-RMAC Honorable Mention

Team Record and Honors: Team is 4-5 this year … In four victories, defense has held opponents to just 16 points in the second half … Held opponent scoreless this year for the first time since 2012

Coach’s Comment: “Thayer has been a consistent force over the last two years. He is a converted linebacker, who worked extremely hard in the weight room to put himself in a position to be a dominant defensive lineman. His stats this year show his consistency being around the ball, and his ability to make big plays for our team.” (John Reiners)

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Bo Banner
Central Washington | DE
6-2 | 241 | Bellingham, Wash.

2017 Key Statistics: Leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in sacks and tackles for loss with 8.5 and 12.0, respectively… Helps spearhead a CWU defense that ranks third nationally in terms of total defense, and lead the nation with 4.70 sacks per game.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Ranks 10th all-time in tackles for loss and blocked kicks for the Wildcats, also 12th all-time in QB sacks.

Team Record and Honors: CWU Football is 10-0 on the season, ranked 7th nationally and 1st in Super Region 4 at the time of nomination.

Coach’s Comment: “Bo is the hardest worker we have on our team. He has put in a lot of work to get to where he is at. He is relentless both in the weight room and on the field and his stats back that up. Bo never complains, he puts his head down and grinds out whatever we put in front of him.” (Ian Shoemaker)

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Chase Varnado
Tarleton State | DE
6-1 | 235 | Stephenville, Texas

2017 Key Statistics: 10 games played … Fourth-leading tackler with 51 total tackles … 5.0 tackles for a loss … 1.5 sacks … 6 QB hurries … 1 pass breakup … 2 fumble recoveries, including one for a 40-yard touchdown return against Angelo State.

Career Awards and Accomplishments:
Senior (2016):
Tarleton’s Student-Athlete of the Month for October.

Junior (2016):
Honorable Mention All-LSC … Finished fifth on the team in tackles with 62 as a defensive end, including 26 solo stops … Tied for the team lead with a career high 13.0 TFLS … Led the team with a career high 8.0 sacks and 10 QB hurries … Had a season high 12 tackles against Southwest Baptist … Made 5.0 TFLs at West Texas A&M … Forced three fumbles and recovered one.

Sophomore (2015):
USA College Football, Inc. Second-Team Preseason All-America selection … Honorable mention All-LSC … Recipient of the Buddy Fornes Award … Second on the team with 69 total tackles from the defensive line, 27 of which were solo stops … Led the team with 13.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks … Had two breakups, seven QB hurries, and two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 48 yards for his first career touchdown at AT&T Stadium against West Texas A&M … Twice had a season-high 11-tackle performance, one against Eastern New Mexico and the other against Angelo State.

Redshirt Freshman (2014):
Recipient of the Zach Shaver award and will wear the No. 96 during his sophomore campaign after his efforts as a redshirt freshman… LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll… Played in all 10 games in his first collegiate season of action… Totaled 22 tackles from the defensive end position, including 11 solo stops and three for a loss… Recorded his first career sack against Angelo State on Nov. 1 for a nine-yard loss… Also had one fumble recovery.

Team Record and Honors: 6-4, 4-3 LSC … Tarleton’s first winning season since 2013.

Coach’s Comment: “Chase is a great leader for our football program on and off the field,” said head coach Todd Whitten. “He’s been through a lot in his time here and he comes to work every single day with the intent of getting better and making his teammates better. He’s everything you want as a coach.” (Todd Whitten)

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Josh Croy
CSU-Pueblo | DE
6-4 | 260 | Littleton, Colo.

2017 Key Statistics: Named RMAC Defensive Player of the Week following the first game where he totaled 10 tackles (four solo) and 2.0 tackles for loss (-3 yards) in his first game back from missing the 2016 season due to injury … Started all 10 games at defensive end … Fifth on the team with 42 tackles (18 solo) … Adds 8.0 tackles for loss (-25 yards), which is second on the team and T-19th in the RMAC … Adds 2.5 sacks (-16 yards) and a forced fumble … Academic All-RMAC First Team.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: 2015 All-RMAC Second Team … Owns 137 career tackles (67 solo) … Compiled 29 tackles for loss (-116 yards) … Has 11 career sacks (-66 yards) … Three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Team Record and Honors:
The ThunderWolves are 8-2 overall and 8-1 in RMAC play.
Defensive Rankings (NCAA/RMAC)
Total Defense 11th / 1st
Turnovers Gained 14th / 1st
Scoring Defense 15th / 1st
First Downs Defense 15th / 1st
Passing Yards Allowed 17th / 1st 
Rushing Defense 29th / 1st

Coach’s Comment: “Josh is everything we want in a Pack football player. He is an outstanding player, student, but most of all, citizen. His work ethic is unmatched and we wouldn’t be where we are this season without his leadership. He does things The Pack Way.” (John Wristen)

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Islam Sbeih
Midwestern State | LG
6-1 | 298 | East Oakland, Calif.

2017 Key Statistics: Started all eight games for NCAA Division II’s No. 5 total offense (514.3 yards per game)… grades as top performer for offensive line unit that has allowed the fewest tackles for loss in NCAA Division II (2.75 per game)and is 12th nationally in sacks permitted at 0.75 per game… front for an offensive unit which averages 45.9 points per game (7th in D2) scoring at least 35 in each game and 40-or-more in the last five games.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: Earned All-Lone Star Conference honorable mention as a junior in 2016… a two-time LSC Commissioner’s Honor selection.

Team Record and Honors:  Midwestern State is off to its second-best start at 8-0… clinched at least a share of their fourth Lone Star Conference title.

Coach’s Comment: “He’s a tough, hard-nosed guy who plays hard every week. He’s the leader one of the most important units on our team. We go as they go” (Bill Maskill)

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Sam Lee
Augustana | OL
6-5 | 300 | Blue Earth, Minn.

2017 Key Statistics: Started all 10 games to date, and slated to start the final regular season game … anchor of the offensive line that averages 329.8 yards of total offense per game; 152.6 rushing and 177.2 passing … blocks for a true freshman running back that tallied three 100+ yard games this season so far

Career Awards and Accomplishments: 2012 (Freshman): Appeared in seven games, making five starts at right tackle … helped Viking offense average 445.7 yards of total offense per game ––– 2013 (Sophomore): Started all 11 games at left tackle … helped offense to average 292.1 yards of total offense ––– 2014 (Medical Redshirt) ––– 2015 (Junior): Started the first three games before suffering a season-ending injury ––– 2016 (Redshirt Junior): started seven games at left guard … helped Augustana set single season records with 5,617 yards of total offense, 3,786 yards passing 65 touchdowns

Team Record and Honors: Four-time academic all-conference selection; all-conference honorable mention in 2016

Coach’s Comment: “In 25 years of coaching, Sam is the most complete offensive lineman I have ever coached. He not only has great skill and physical ability as a dominant offensive lineman, he also is one of the greatest servant leaders I have ever had. Sam played every position in the offensive line, except center, in his career and did so with tremendous success. A coach on the field, and on our campus, that is respected even more for who he is more than what he is. Sam will play on Sundays, and has left a great legacy at Augustana University.” (Jerry Olszewski)

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Bryce Johnson
St. Cloud State | OT
6-6 | 325 | Beaver Dam, Wisc.

2017 Key Statistics: Moved to and started the first two games at right guard until he was forced back into his left tackle position due to injuries along the offensive line…has helped SCSU have three different runners eclipse 100 yards on the ground in a game this season…the SCSU offense currently ranks among the Northern Sun intercollegiate Conference leaders in third down conversions (43.1 – 2nd), fourth down conversions (50.0 – 5th), fewest penalties (55 – 5th), first down offense (192 – 6th), passes had intercepted (6 – 3rd), passing yards per completion (13.58 – 3rd)…red zone offense (86.5- 3rd), rushing offense (162.1 – 9th), scoring offense (29.7 – 5th), tackles for loss allowed (4.70 – 2nd), passing efficiency (1294.19 – 2nd), time of possession (34:36 – 2nd)…the Huskies offense is fifth nationally in time of possession and have already had three games this season where the offense has held the ball for more than 39 minutes.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: A three-year starter that has started 34 games including 16 consecutive games between guard (2) and tackle (14) the last two seasons…2017 NSIC Preseason Player to Watch on offense…a two-time All-NSIC All-Conference selection on the offensive line…has been named the Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2017…named the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player (as voted by his teammates) this season.

Team Record and Honors: 6-4, 3-2

Coach’s Comment: “Bryce is a three-year starter in our program and has had to played both guard and tackle throughout his career. He is a fierce run blocker with the athleticism to play tackle versus the speed rushing ends! At 6’6” and 325 pounds, Bryce has allowed us to be a solid rushing offense on his side while protecting our first-year starter at quarterback this season. This is also the first time in my 29 years of college coaching that an offensive lineman was voted as the Most Valuable Offensive Player by his peers. I think that speaks volumes to how his teammates recognize his talent & abilities as well as the 15+ NFL scouts that have been on campus to evaluate Bryce.” (Scott Underwood)

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Jared Machorro
Texas A&M Commerce | LT
6-7 | 280 | Coldspring, Texas

2017 Key Statistics: Lions lead the nation in passing offense (352.9 ypg), and rank 31st in total offense (450.1 ypg). Team allows less than 2 sacks per game, while passing 42 times per game. Machorro has also punted twice for an average of 35.5 yards with a long of 41 and 1 inside the opponents’ 20. He ranks 11th in the LSC in punt average.

Career Awards and Accomplishments: 2016: AFCA Division II Second Team All-American… D2CCA Second Team All-American… Don Hanson Division II Third Team All-American… Second Team All-Super Region Four… Associated Press’ Little All-America Second Team… D2CCA First Team All-Super Region… First Team All-Conference… Played in all 12 games for the Lions as a junior… Helped block for the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference and the No. 1 passing offense in the conference… Part of the line that allowed the fewest sacks in the conference.

Team Record and Honors: 8-1, 6-1 in the LSC. Ranked in the top 10 of the nation in every poll this season. Ranked 7th in the region and 8th in the nation at time of nomination.

Coach’s Comment: “Jared has been a dominant left tackle for the nation’s top passing offense over the past two years and is an NFL prospect because of that. He’s the anchor of our offensive line and has also excelled in track and field. He is a two-sport phenom.” (Colby Carthel)

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Truett Box
Chadron State | DT
6-3 | 285 | Cheyenne Wells, Colo.

2017 Key Statistics: 10.5 tackles for loss-30 yds, 4.0 sacks-17 yds, 55 total tackles (31 solo) playing three-technique inside defensive tackle position … Has three forced fumbles and one recovery … one interception … two QB hurries, two pass breakups … tied for 5th in RMAC for sacks and TFL

Career Awards and Accomplishments: 109 total tackles (55 solo), 18.5 TFL-57 yds, 8.0 sacks-38 yds, 3 FF, 2 FR, 1 INT, 3 breakups, 3 QBH

Team Record and Honors: 6-4, 6-3 RMAC, T-3rd RMAC, Team leads RMAC in sacks and 4th-dn conversion defense, #2 in Red Zone Defense

Coach’s Comment: “Truett is a guy who does all the right things on and off the field, and has the personality to make a team better. He is a team leader in every way. He is a five-year guy in our program and is our top guy right now on either side of the line. Truett has continued to improve every year and throughout this season.” (Jay Long)

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