A school-record and league-leading 14 Northern Illinois University Huskie football players have been named to the Mid-American Conference’s 2014 Academic All-MAC Football Team released Tuesday by the league office.
NIU’s 14 Academic All-MAC players tied with Central Michigan as the most by any school in the league. Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Ohio each had 13 selections. In all, 128 players representing all 13 MAC schools were named to the team.
Student-athletes with a grade point average of 3.2 and above who saw action in at least half of their team’s games in 2014 were able to earn the recognition under the new guidelines established for the Academic All-MAC honor this year. Transfers and true freshmen in their first year were not eligible.
“It’s great to have 14 players recognized on the Academic All-MAC team and I’m extremely proud of this group,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said. “They have worked as hard in the classroom as they have on the field. Achievements like this, our APR [eighth in the FBS] and our graduation rate [second among all public schools that played in a bowl game in 2014] are as significant as the wins and MAC Championships.”
Fullback Rob Sterling was named to the Academic All-MAC team for the third time. Sterling, who carries a 3.63 GPA in accountancy, was also named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team for the second time in 2014 and was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.
Sterling’s fellow fullback, senior Ricky Connors, earned Academic All-MAC honors for the second straight year with a 3.29 GPA in his graduate courses in political science. Senior defensive end Jason Meehan (3.25, marketing) made the Academic All-MAC squad for the first time after receiving honorable mention honors in each of the past two seasons, while tight end Luke Eakes (3.26, sociology) previously made the honorable mention list in 2013.
Four of the Huskies’ 2014 Academic All-MAC selections have already earned their undergraduate degrees from NIU, including Connors, offensive tackle Ryan Brown (3.67, business administration), Eakes, and senior center Michael Gegner (3.66, health and systems engineering).
Six of the Huskies Academic All-MAC selections were seniors in 2014, while two juniors (Cameron Clinton-Earl and Matt McIntosh), both of NIU’s sophomore quarterbacks (Drew Hare and Anthony Maddie) and four redshirt freshmen (Jackson Abresch, Bobby Jones IV, William Lee and Shane Wimann) made up the rest of the NIU honorees. Six different position groups are represented, led by the Huskie fullbacks and tight ends with four Academic All-MAC players, while all three players who saw action at quarterback for the Huskies last year earned the award for 2014.
NIU’s 2014 Academic All-MAC players (with majors and GPAs)
- Jackson Abresch – 3.87/Business
- Ryan Brown – 3.67/Business Administration ^
- Cameron Clinton-Earl – 3.25/Psychology
- Ricky Connors – 3.29/Political Science (2013) ^
- Luke Eakes – 3.26/Sociology (HM2013) *
- Michael Gegner – 3.66/Health and Systems Engineering *
- Drew Hare – 3.63/Business Leadership & Management
- Bobby Jones IV – 3.51/Kinesiology
- William Lee – 3.31/Journalism
- Anthony Maddie – 3.20/Communications/Media Studies
- Matt McIntosh – 3.30/Marketing
- Jason Meehan – 3.25/Marketing (HM2013, HM2012)
- Rob Sterling – 3.63/Accountancy (2013, 2012)
- Shane Wimann – 3.49/Sociology
^In grad school; *December 2014 graduate; parentheses indicate previous Academic All-MAC or honorable mention Academic All-MAC honors with years.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.