EKU Football Stars Earn ASUN and Phil Steele All-American Honors

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Among others, Jackson named ASUN Defensive Player of the Year

RICHMOND, Ky. (EKU Athletics) — Postseason accolades continued to pour in for Eastern Kentucky as Phil Steele’s 2021 All-American and All-ASUN teams were announced Tuesday.

defensive back Davion Ross added his third All-American honor of the playoffs by being named to the fourth team All-American. offensive lineman Payton Collins earned his second All-American honor after being named a second-team Freshman All-American. Linebacker Matthew Jackson was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Year.

Ross led the nation with three interception returns for touchdowns and was chosen by the coaches as ASUN Defensive Player of the Year. He tied for sixth nationally with 13 pass breakups and also recorded 46 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. The Perry, Georgia native was also a special teams threat, ranking 13th in the nation with a 27.5-yard kickoff return average, highlighted by a 98-yard touchdown run against Sam Houston. .

Collins, a native of Columbus, Ohio, started all 11 games at left tackle for the Colonels. He helped EKU rank fourth in the nation in red zone scoring (93.9%) and was integral to an offensive line ranked 19th nationally in sacks allowed per game (1.27) . An ASUN-All Conference selection, Collins helped the Colonels rack up more than 400 rushing yards in five of the last seven games of the season.

Buck Buchanan Award finalist Jackson led the league with 102 tackles and ranked second in the conference with 10 tackles for a loss. He also had 3.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Jackson started all 11 games and was named to the All-ASUN Coaches Team.

In all, 28 colonels were selected for the All-ASUN team. Ross was named first-team defensive back and kick returner and was joined on the defensive side of the ball by Jackson, Ubong Udom and Kyle Bailey. dakota allen was EKU’s only first-team selection in attack and Patrick Nations was chosen first team kicker.

Second-team offensive honors went to Collins, Parker McKinney, Da’Joun Hewitt, Matt Wilcox Jr., Brad Davis, Drew Hart, and Tucker Schröder. In defense, quinten floyd, Roland Walder, Kelton Dawson, Eli Hairston, Joseph Sayles, and Roy Baker earned second-team accolades. Ross was picked as a second-team all-rounder.

The winners of EKU’s third team in attack were Kyeandre Magloire, Jaden Smith, Jayden Higgins, and Howard Watkins Jr. I’ Vari Anderson, Jadenwood, and John Blunt Jr. were named third-team defensive, while Phillip Richards earned third-team punter honors and Jonathan Duf was named third team long snapper.

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