The University of Dayton has placed eight Flyer football players on the 2009 University Division ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Team, the most of any team in the country for the second straight year, it was announced Thursday. The Dayton list included five first-team selections which tied with Fresno State and fellow Pioneer Football League member Marist for the most first-team selections of any Division I program.
In the district, no other team had more than two first team selections. Alabama, Central Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan and Youngstown State all had two first-teamers.
Included in Dayton's first team selections were a pair of 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans - senior defensive end Brandon Wingeier (Newark, OH), who was a First Team Academic All-American last year, and senior defensive tackle Sean Heenan (St. Joseph, MI) was on the second team.
Heenan and Kalen Hemmelgarn (St. Henry, OH) were named to the district team for the third straight season. It is Heenan's second time on the first team, and Hemmelgarn's first. Joining Wingeier, Heenan and Hemmelgarn on the first team were ¬senior defensive back Matt Smyth (Highlands Ranch, CO) and sophomore safety Ben Welsh (Goodland, IN).
Wingeier is a Mechanical Engineering major. Heenan is a Pre-Med major. Hemmelgarn majored in Finance & Entrepreneurship and is now pursuing his MBA. Smyth majors in Business Economics and Welsh in Electrical Engineering. This is the second time Smyth has been named academic all-district. He was named second team in 2008.
All five of UD's student-athletes named to the first team play on the defensive side of the ball.
Flyers named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team were senior cornerback Scott Horcher (Carpentersville, IL), senior linebacker Joe Ries (Cincinnati, OH) and sophomore wide receiver Tyler Shutz (Mentor, OH). Horcher is a Physical Education major, Ries majors in Sport Management, and Shutz is a double major in Leadership and Finance. Ries is a repeat academic all-district team member.
The ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team is the first step in selecting this year's Academic All-America team. Everyone named to the district first teams appears on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America national ballot.
The district IV teams are made up of student-athletes from Division I-A and I-AA schools in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. To be nominated, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve, and carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher. Team members are selected by a vote of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) within the district.
The Dayton football program has produced 17 Academic All-Americans since the 2000 season. That's the most by any school at any level of college football, and includes the 2007 Division I ESPN The Magazine All-American of the Year, Brandon Cramer.
In the history of the Academic All-America program, UD has had 48 Academic All-Americans. Among schools currently playing Division I football, only Nebraska (97) and Notre Dame (52) have had more. Ohio State has also had 48. UD has had at least one football player named Academic All-American in 16 of the last 17 years. Covering all sports, at least one University of Dayton student-athlete has been named an Academic All-American for 25 straight years.
Dayton is 7-1 overall, has won seven straight games and is tied for first place in the Pioneer Football League with a 5-0 record. The Flyers are tied at the top of the PFL with Butler and Drake. UD plays Butler Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET.