AUSTINTOWN, Ohio--The University of Mount Union had a conference-best four Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference Football selections as picked by the conference's 10 faculty athletics representatives.
Juniors in offensive lineman Brett Ekkens (East Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) and safety Alex Ferrara (Independence/Walsh Jesuit) along with seniors in linebacker Sam Kershaw (West Jefferson/West Jefferson) and tight end Kyle Miller (Elida/Elida) were all Academic All-OAC selections.
All four earned All-OAC First Team honors on the field and Ferrara, Kershaw and Miller were all named to the ESPN/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American team.
Ekkens has started all 12 games at center and anchored one of the nation's top rated offenses. He has a 3.61 grade point average as a health and physical education major.
Ferrara is second on the team with three interceptions and is a business administration major with a 3.82 gpa.
Kershaw is second on the team in tackles and has a 3.45 gpa as a business administration major.
Miller is third on the team in receptions and yards while also handling the team's long snapping duties. He is a health and physical education major with a 3.48 gpa.
Also honored was sophomore safety Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood), who was an Academic All-OAC Honorable Mention selection. He has a team-best five interceptions and is an exercise science major with a 3.62 gpa.
The five players have helped lead the No. 2 ranked Purple Raiders back to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Playoffs for a record 19th straight year. Mount Union takes on Alfred (N.Y.) Saturday at noon in Alliance.
To qualify, a student-athlete must have maintained a 3.25 GPA, be a sophomore academically and is in at least his second year of participation. He must also have been a starter or key reserve who has made a significant athletic impact.