Eight Gladiators Selected To All-Arena Team
The Arena Football League announced their 2017 All-Arena selections on Monday morning, with Cleveland Gladiators WR Quentin Sims, WR Michael Preston, FB Jeramie Richardson, OL Aslam Sterling, DL, Nick Seither, DL Willie McGinnis, MLB Derrick Summers, and DB Fredrick Obi all being nominated to the league’s All-Arena Second Team.
Sims is awarded All-Arena honors for the first time in his career after further elevating his game this past season by catching 79 passes for 1,071 yards and 24 touchdowns in just nine regular season games for the Gladiators. With those stats, Sims led the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns at the end of June before missing the final four games of the regular season due to injury.
Sims’ best performance during the 2017 season was in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Storm, when he torched the Storm secondary for 14 receptions, 205 yards, and five touchdowns.
Preston has been awarded All-Arena honors for the first time in his career as well after posting big numbers throughout the 2017 campaign upon entering the starting lineup in Week 4. Preston caps off his first season in Cleveland finishing second on the team with 78 receptions, 869 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Week 9 was a coming out party for Preston, who burned the Washington Valor defensive backs all night long, totaling 12 receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the Glads’ 59-35 road victory.
This is the second year in a row that Richardson earns All-Arena honors, having been named to the All-Arena’s Second Team in 2016 while with the Philadelphia Soul.
Playing in his fifth season, Richardson provided a jolt to the run game for the Cleveland offense, finding pay dirt eight times throughout the year and rushing for 110 yards on 47 carries.
Richardson made his biggest impact of the season in Week 9, carrying the ball 14 times for 38 yards and three touchdowns in Cleveland’s convincing 59-35 victory at the Valor.
Sterling was the main constant for the Gladiators offensive line during the 2017 season, playing in 12 of the team’s 14 games and starting in 11 of those 12.
As a team, the Gladiators finished second in the league in sacks against with 18, proving that Cleveland quarterbacks were some of the better protected signal-callers in the league. Sterling helped anchor an offensive front that kept QB Arvell Nelson’s jersey clean for the majority of the season.
Sterling’s most memorable moment of the season came on May 6th against the Philadelphia Soul when he caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Nelson. The touchdown was the first of his career.
Seither earned his first nod on the All-Arena team in his second season with the team after appearing in all 14 regular season games for the Gladiators this season.
The pass-rush ability of Seither was on display all year, routinely getting to the quarterback and making plays in the backfield. Seither went on to finish second on the team in sacks with seven, while also forcing three fumbles and recovering two more.
Seither’s best game came in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Storm when he forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned it 25 yards for a defensive touchdown.
All-Arena honors have become the norm for McGinnis as this year’s nomination is the third of his career, with all three selections coming as a member of the Gladiators defense.
McGinnis finished the season with two and a half sacks and his 20.5 sacks earned over three seasons on the Gladiators defensive line is the most in team history.
McGinnis’ presence was felt most strongly on April 22nd against the Tampa Bay Storm when he spent his majority of the time in the backfield, collecting two sacks as well as two tackles for loss in a close road loss.
Summers earns All-Arena honors for the second time in his career after last doing so with the Jacksonville Sharks in 2011. His eight tackles-for-loss and seven and a half sacks were the most on the team.
His best game of the season came on July 29th against the Washington Valor when he picked up a league-high four sacks in one game. His contributions on the field earned him the AFL’s Defensive Player of the Week award.
This is the second year in a row that Obi has earned All-Arena honors, earning Second-Team All-Arena with the LA KISS in 2016. Obi appeared and started in 11 games for the Gladiators during the 2017 season, leading the team with 53.5 tackles and finishing second with three interceptions.
Obi’s biggest performance of the season came in Week 4 at home against the Valor. In that game, Obi posted three key pass break-ups and intercepted an Erik Meyer pass in the end zone, returning it 18 yards. His performance sparked the Gladiators to a 48-34 victory.
With the All-Arena selections announced, the AFL will continue to announce awards all week leading up to the AFL Awards Show on Friday, August 25th in Philadelphia, PA., The day before ArenaBowl XXX.