West Texas A&M returner Tobias Harris was named as a first-team All-American by the AFCA. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
West Texas A&M specialist Tobias Harris was recognized as a NCAA Division II first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on Tuesday morning.
The dynamic sophomore becomes the first Buff to earn AFCA All-American honors since since former quarterback and Lone Star Conference all-time passing leader Dustin Vaughan in 2013.
“It means so much to me” Harris said. “When I came to college I had a list of goals. One was an All-American. make it a reality just means a lot to me.”
The exuberant Harris had one of the best seasons as a returner in WT program history.
The speedster was one of three players in NCAA to record over 1,000 combined return yards. As a punt returner, his 22.9 yards per return were second only to Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle.
The Pflugerville graduate finished the 2019 season with a program record 436 yards and a touchdown on 19 returns. He broke the single-season and career punt return record against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 9, with his 72-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Buffs overcome a 17-point first quarter deficit. As a kick returner, Harris had 25 returns for a career-best 571 yards and a touchdown.
Harris fields a punt during a game earlier this season. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
”I like special teams” Harris said. “never was allowed to play offense in high school, because my coach said athletes played defense. So anytime I get a chance to touch the ball is extremely fun. Also, I’m not tall so making it on special teams was one thing I knew I could do.”
As humbled as he is by his All-American honor, Harris says he can’t accept it without thanking his teammates around him.
”I can make one or two guys miss but not 11,” Harris said. “The people who block aren’t getting their name called, but they are the ones running downfield with me making it happen. I‘m blessed to have them around me.”
Harris helped a WT team to its first 8-win season since 2013, as the Buffs finished 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the LSC.
Harris was one of two LSC Conference players to be named to the first-team joined by Tarleton receiver Zimari Manning. UT Permian Basin linebacker Chris Hoad earned second-team recognition.