The Northern Illinois University football team placed 11 student-athletes on the 2019 Academic All-MAC Team announced Monday by the Mid-American Conference. The Huskie contingent was led by a pair of four-time honorees – senior offensive lineman Jordan Steckler and senior safety Trayshon Foster.
Foster and Steckler are the fifth and sixth Huskies in school history to be named Academic All-MAC four times and two of 13 players on the 2019 squad to have received the academic honor all four years. Steckler, a leadership and management major who graduated from NIU this past weekend, carried a 3.615 GPA and was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy this year. Foster posted a 3.361 GPA while earning his degree in organizational and corporate communications, last year and pursued postgraduate certificates in non-profit and NGO studies this fall.
Tight ends Mitchell Brinkman and Corey Lersch and offensive lineman Benn Olson were named to the Academic All-MAC Team for the second time in 2019. Lersch, a junior health sciences major, carries the highest GPA of any Huskie with a 3.978, while Brinkman was close behind with a GPA of 3.814 in leadership and management in the NIU College of Business. Olson is a 3.706 student in engineering management.
Six Huskies made their first appearance on the squad as the Huskies’ honored included two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and two redshirt freshmen. NIU players honored were tight ends (3), offensive linemen (3), two specialists, a safety, a linebacker and a tailback.
Erik Abrell, Long Snapper, Sophomore, 3.497 GPA, Finance (Aurora, Ill.)
Mitchell Brinkman, Tight End, Junior, 3.814 GPA, Leadership & Management (Council Bluffs, Iowa)
Matt Ference, Punter, Junior, 3.217 GPA, Marketing (St. Louis, Mo.)
Trayshon Foster, Safety, Senior, 3.361 GPA, Nonprofit and NGO Studies (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Nathan Harman, Linebacker, Redshirt Freshman, 3.278 GPA, Business Administration (Monticello, Ill.)
Corey Lersch, Tight End, Junior, 3.978 GPA, Health Sciences (McHenry, Ill.)
Benn Olson, Offensive Lineman, Junior, 3.706 GPA, Engineering Management (Burnsville, Minn.)
Liam Soraghan, Tight End, Sophomore, 3.344 GPA, Mechanical Engineering (Dearborn, Mich.)
Jordan Steckler, Offensive Tackle, Senior, 3.615 GPA, Leadership and Management (Two Rivers, Wis.)
Rahveon Valentine, Tailback, Redshirt Freshman, 3.225 GPA, Sociology (Lena, Ill.)
Austin Warner, Offensive Lineman, Junior, 3.441 GPA, Marketing (Oswego, Ill.)
The Academic All-MAC honor is for a student who has excelled in athletics and academics. To qualify, a student must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the contests in that season. First-year students, junior college transfers in their first year of residence and four-year and grad transfers are not eligible for the award.