ESU’s Jace McDown named CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American

ESU Athletics

EMPORIA – Emporia State linebacker Jace McDown has earned earned Academic All-American honors for the second straight year as presented by CoSIDA. He is just the third Hornet football player to earn multiple Academic All-America honors and the first defensive player.

The Columbus, Kan. native is a health and human performance major with a 3.99 GPA and was named a Second-Team Academic All-American® by CoSIDA in 2019. He is a member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and ESU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as well as being named an MIAA Scholar Athlete during the last season of competition. He is also a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award recipient and member of the Emporia State chapter of Chi Apha Sigma Athletic Honor Society. He was named the Newberg Distinguished Senior at Emporia State.

He was a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda and was named the MIAA Fall Male Student-Athlete of the Year for 2019-20. He was an honorable mention All-American and first-team All-MIAA selection at linebacker for the Hornets in 2019. He finished the season tied for second in the MIAA with 95 total tackles and led the league with 58 solo tackles as Emporia State was ranked second in the MIAA in total defense and third in scoring defense. He was ranked 28th nationally in solo tackles.

The senior to be has 231 career tackles in 33 career games, with 222 of them coming in the last two years. He was named Second-Team All-MIAA last season after leading the MIAA with 127 total tackles, 79 solo tackles, and five forced fumbles. He was ranked third in the nation in forced fumbles, fourth in total tackles and eighth in solo tackles.

He was named Emporia State’s Outstanding Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 2019-20 and was voted best teammate and most outstanding player on the football team by his fellow players.

To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. The Division II and III Academic All-America® programs are partially financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2019-20 Divisions II and III Academic All-America® programs.

McDown’s Academic All-American honor is the 57th all-time for Emporia State and this is the 16th time a Hornet football player has been honored. This is the fifth straight year Emporia State has had a football player earn Academic All-American honors, the longest active streak in the MIAA.

McDown will be a part of MIAA Football Media Day presented by Seigfreid Bingham on Tuesday, July 27 in Kansas City. The Hornets are scheduled to open the season on Saturday, September 4 at Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Okla. The home opener is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 11 from Jones Field at Welch Stadium. Season tickets are on sale now at


Pos. Name School Yr. GPA Major
QB Evan Ernst Ohio Dominican University Sr. 4.00 Finance
RB Brandon Blair West Texas A&M University Sr. 4.00 Biology
RB Andrew Brazicki Bentley University Sr. 3.70 Corporate Finance & Accounting
WR Henry Litwin (1) Slippery Rock University Gr. 3.66/4.00 Safety Management (UG) / MBA (G)
WR Konnor Maloney Hillsdale College Sr. 3.72 Exercise Science
TE Preston Guerra (1) Colorado State University-Pueblo Sr. 3.94 Business Management
OL Derek Ivey (1) Stonehill College Sr. 3.94 Economics
OL Lane Potter Wayne State University Gr. 3.83/3.60 Global Supply Chain Mgmt. (UG) / MBA (G)
OL Andrew Strickland (2) Wingate University Gr. 3.81/3.88 Accounting (G)
OL Austin Wayt Slippery Rock University Gr. 3.50/4.00 Safety Management (UG) / MBA (G)
OL Madison Wrather Northeastern State University Sr. 4.00 Cellular & Microbiology / Business
K Tanner Harding Notre Dame College Sr. 3.91 Psychology
DL Alexander Findura Bloomsburg University Sr. 3.59 Business Management
DL Patrick McMahon Davenport University Sr. 4.00 Accounting
DL Ricky Robinson (1) Shepherd University Gr. 3.88/4.00 Business Administration (UG) / MBA (G)
DL JT Turner (2) Concord University Sr. 3.94 Business Administration
LB Jackson Cauthen Tusculum University Sr. 3.95 Nursing
LB Jace McDown(2) Emporia State University Sr. 3.99 Health & Human Performance
LB Nathan Moore Notre Dame College Jr. 3.96 Management
DB Alexander Anschutz Hillsdale College Sr. 3.86 Biochemistry
DB Brock Floyd Southern Arkansas University Jr. 3.77 Business Administration / Management
DB Alex Shillow (2) Texas A&M University-Commerce Gr. 3.85/3.75 Sports & Rec Management (UG) / MBA (G)
DB Eli Weber Augustana University Jr. 3.67 Nursing
P Lane Spiker Washburn University Sr. 3.70 Health Services Administration
ST Max Drinon Bentley University Sr. 3.56 Supply Chain Management
ST Tucker Mullis Wingate University Sr. 3.82 Management


Pos. Name School Yr. GPA Major
QB Grayson Willingham Lenoir-Rhyne University Gr. 3.75/3.80 Business Administration
RB Toriano Clinton University of Indianapolis Jr. 3.42 Sport Management
RB Payton McAlister Missouri University of Science & Technology Jr. 3.41 Civil Engineering
WR Logan Bolin Ashland University Gr. 3.60/3.75 Finance / MBA
WR Cole Thurness Chadron State College Gr. 3.37/4.00 Organizational Management
TE Jordan Smith (#) Gannon University Sr. 4.00 Biomedical Engineering
OL Demetrius Blackwell Catawba College Sr. 3.65 Business Administration
OL Eric Hudanick California University of Pennsylvania Gr. 3.51/3.77 Business Administration
OL Cole Johnson Hillsdale College Sr. 3.83 Financial Management
OL Gavin Posey Ashland University Jr. 3.88 Accounting
OL Kyle Urich Missouri University of Science & Technology Jr. 3.81 Mechanical Engineering
K Chase Allbaugh Lenoir-Rhyne University Sr. 3.68 Business Management & Marketing
DL Shawn Aarhus Concordia-St. Paul Jr. 3.75 Health & Physical Education
DL Zach Howard Northwest Missouri State University So. 3.51 Physical Education
DL Karron Jeter Winston-Salem State University Sr. 3.52 Exercise Science
DL Luc Leszczynski Winona State University Sr. 3.72 Economics / Finance
LB Jackson Barnes Northwest Missouri State University Jr. 3.96 Chemistry / Medicinal Chemistry
LB Clay McDonald West Liberty University Gr. 3.84/4.00 Business Management (UG) / MBA (G)
LB Dalton Smerchek Concordia-St. Paul Sr. 3.97 Exercise Science
DB Luke Fritsch Augustana University Sr. 3.81 Biology
DB John Merica West Virginia Wesleyan College Jr. 3.76 Accounting
DB Dominique Ramsey Texas A&M University – Commerce Sr. 3.43 Industrial Engineering
DB Connor Steeb University of Indianapolis Gr. 3.53/3.80 MBA
P Andrew Cantrell Tusculum University Jr. 3.64 Chemistry & Pre-Pharmacy

CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year: Evan Ernst, Ohio Dominican University

(1) – CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team selection in 2019-20
(2) – CoSIDA Academic All-America® second team selection in 2019-20
(#) – CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team selection in 2018-19

Emporia State All-time Academic All-Americans
as presented by CoSIDA

2020-21 Football Jace McDown 1st Team
2019-20 Football Jace McDown 2nd Team
2018-19 Women’s Track Brianna Schmitz 2nd Team
Football Landon Nault 1st Team
2017-18 Men’s Track Wyatt Sander 3rd Team
Football Marcus Houghton 1st Team
Football Landon Nault 2nd Team
2016-17 Football Marcus Houghton 2nd Team
2014-15 Softball Taylor Zordel 2nd Team
Baseball Justin Harris 1st Team
Men’s Track Payson Maydew 1st Team
Men’s Track Donald Wilcox 2nd Team
Women’s Track Peyton Weiss 3rd Team
2013-14 Men’s Track Payson Maydew 2nd Team
2012-13 Football Ben Carlson 1st Team
2011-12 Women’s Track/XC Katelyn Mona 1st Team
2010-11 Baseball Kevin Wempe 3rd Team
2007-08 Baseball Brian Majors 2nd Team
Women’s Basketball Michelle Stueve 2nd Team
2005-06 Softball Bree Beattie 2nd Team
Softball Melissa Stevens 3rd Team
Women’s Track/XC Kristen Larson 1st Team
2004-05 Softball Melissa Stevens 3rd Team
2003-04 Football Brad Johnson 1st Team
Football Tyler Paul 1st Team
Women’s Track Rachel Goetz 1st Team
2002-03 Football Tyler Paul 1st Team
Baseball Josh Stratman 2nd Team
Women’s Track/XC Kadri Kelve 1st Team
Women’s Track Sarah Wuertz 1st Team
2001-02 Football Pat Amon 2nd Team
2000-01 Women’s Basketball Emily Bloss 1st Team
1999-00 Women’s Basketball Emily Bloss 1st Team
1998-99 Women’s Track Deandra Doubrava 1st Team
Women’s Basketball Emily Bloss 2nd Team
1995-96 Women’s XC Angela Cathcart 1st Team
Women’s Track Angela Cathcart 1st Team
1995-96 Football Mike Reese 2nd Team
1994-95 Women’s Volleyball Kristi King 1st Team
Women’s Track Angela Cathcart 3rd Team
1986-87 Women’s Volleyball Kindra Jo Wells 2nd Team
1985-86 Baseball Phil McKinzie 1st Team
Men’s Basketball Craig Stromgren Hon. Mention
Softball Becky Barnett Hon. Mention
1984-85 Baseball Phil McKinzie 1st Team
1983-84 Women’s Track Nancy Gray 3rd Team
Women’s Track Lesha Wood 3rd Team
1982-83 Football Dave Robertson 2nd Team
Softball Robie Lewis 1st Team
Women’s Gymnastics Cora Zaletel 1st Team
1980-81 Men’s Basketball Steve Henson 2nd Team
Women’s Basketball Judy Becker 3rd Team
1979-80 Football Tom Lingg 1st Team
Men’s Basketball Curt Pickert 2nd Team
1973-74 Football Mike White 2nd Team
Men’s Basketball Phil Pettay 3rd Team
1972-73 Football Bruce Buchanan 2nd Team

NAIA Football Academic All-Americans

1985 Ike Diel
William McManus
1986 William McManus
1990 Shannon Smith

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