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FHS grad is a 1st-team preseason player

Nicholls State University offensive lineman P.J. Burkhalter is a preseason all-American in FCS.

The 2015 Franklinton High School graduate is a HERO Sports 2020 FCS Preseason first-team All-American FCS player.

“It was good to get recognized, but that’s not the goal,” Burkhalter said. “The goal is to win the championship. Overall, I feel happy about it, but it’s only the beginning. I don’t really care about accolades and being recognized, I only care about our team winning.”

Burkhalter, who will be a senior in the 2020 season, was part of a line that blocked for the Southland Conference team with the most average rushing yards per game yards in 2019 with 196.1. The Colonels ran for 2,746 yards over 14 games.

Burkhalter racked up the awards last season.

He was the Southland Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Burkhalter was on the Associated Press FCS All-America first-team, STATS FCS All-America first team, Phil Steele FCS All-America first team, Walter Camp FCS All-America, All Southland first team, All Louisiana first team and he was on the Hero Sports FCA All-America second team.

He talked about his key to being successful.

“Being consistent. Showing up everyday with the right attitude and mindset. Paying attention in film, studying my opponent, listening to my coach, what he sees and what I see,” Burkhalter said.

Last season, Nicholls State went 9-5 including the playoffs.

The Colonels captured their second-straight Southland Conference Championship and reached the second-round of the postseason before they were defeated by North Dakota State, 37-13. North Dakota State, which went 16-0, won the FCS Championship with a 28-20 victory over James Madison.

When asked about his goals for this season, Burkhalter said the goal for him is just to win.

“I don’t care about how many pancakes I get or my grade that week. Obviously, those are important and they help you win, but I just want to win. We won conference two times in a row, but now our focus is getting past the second round of the playoffs and winning the national championship,” Burkhalter said.

Nicholls State opens the season on Sept. 5 with a home game against Mississippi Valley State.

Burkhalter