The Olsen Family posing in their Turkey Trot gear and with their signs.

The Olsen Family posing in their Turkey Trot gear and with their signs.

The Olsen Family posing in their Turkey Trot gear and with their signs.

WACO, Texas β€” After becoming the Frontier Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, senior linebacker Michal Arenas continued to add hardware being named an NAIA First Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association on Monday morning.

Arenas was a stalwart for an EOU defense that suffered through a rash of injuries during the 2017 campaign as the senior played nearly every snap at the inside linebacker position.

The 6-foot, 215-pound senior racked up 89 tackles on the year, 33 of which were unassisted. Arenas ranked 21st in the NAIA and second in the Frontier Conference with 8.9 tackles per game.

"I love the kid and I think he knows how I feel about him, but I've never been more proud," said Eastern Oregon head coach Tim Camp. "He's been a great teammate, It's a great honor that he's won this postseason award β€”he's done everything that he's supposed to do. He has all the intangibles: he's big, he's fast, and he can run, but more so than that, he's a great kid who represented Eastern Oregon University each and every Saturday the right way."

The Winnemucca native and Lowry High School graduate started all 10 games for the Mountaineers, totaling 6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks on the season.

As a leader on defense and an inside linebacker, Arenas was constantly around the ball and a player that defenses had to be aware of as he posted 10 or more tackles in five contests.

The senior helped lead a young defense that steadily improved down the stretch of the season, holding their final two opponents under 400 yards in a Frontier Conference dominated by strong offenses.

In the Mountaineers' 41-34 overtime victory against Carroll College on Senior Day, Arenas finished with a season-high 12 tackles and an important sack in the fourth quarter.

Arenas becomes the first Eastern Oregon All-American since 2015, when wide receiver Jace Billingsley was a second team member.

Billingsley is also a Lowry graduate and now on the Detroit Lions' practice squad

Arenas is one of four Frontier Conference selections on the AFCA NAIA All-America First Team, and just one of two on the defensive side of the ball. Rocky Mountain defensive back Keenan Fagan was also a first team member.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions.

What makes the teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best β€” the coaches themselves.