Stars and Striped: Hudgins, Ekanem
Defenders Named to Another All-America Team
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A pair of defensive players on the Southwestern Assemblies of God University's football team were named to the JBS NAIA Preseason All-America Team.
Senior inside linebacker Jared Hudgins (Midland, Tx / Midland Christian) and sophomore cornerback Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) were selected to their second All-American team this summer. The honor is a tribute to their efforts in 2009 and puts the Lions in the national spotlight.
Earlier the pair were cited in The Sporting News' annual preseason magazine for the same reason. Only two teams in the country had two players recognized on the First Team, and SAGU was one of them. It also adds considerable focus on the duo to live up to the hype, something they will have plenty of opportunities to do this season.
JoshBuchanan'sScouting.com listed Hudgins on the First Team, and Ekanem (EE-kon-um) on the Second Team.
Last fall both players led the nation in a defensive category. Hudgins was tops in tackles, averaging 14.5 stops per game, twice making 20+ tackles in a single game. He credits his teammates who execute Defensive Coordinator John Allen's scheme, which is based on a unit doing their individual assignments. The result frees up a talented linebacking core that put a period at the end of plays. Junior LB Dante Embry (Paris, Tx / Paris HS) was second on the team in tackles. Quentin Hollomon (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS), another junior LB, was fourth.
Hudge worked diligently this summer to increase his strength and size, adding 15 pounds, while maintaining one of his assets, quickness.
Ekanem was #1 in the country in passes defended, which combined passes broken up and interceptions. The former Arkansas State University (NCAA D-I) transfer turned 13 would-be receptions into incompletions due to his efforts to deflect or physically prevent a catch. He also made six interceptions, tied for third nationally, including two against ranked Langston University. His most meaningful, he stated during summer camp, came against University of the Incarnate Word, which he nearly returned for a TD. He nearly transferred to the San Antonio school before choosing SAGU. Ekanem was third on the Lions in tackles per game last year.
Home Opener, September 4, vs. Austin College
Both Hudgins and Ekanem will lead their cohorts on defense this Saturday night when Southwestern opens the 2010 season with a 7pm game against Austin College (NCAA D-III). The contest will be played at Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie. The Kangaroos won last year's meeting in Sherman. Two years ago SAGU rallied to win, 16-14, with a last-minute field goal by Raymond Santivanez.
Tune in to SAGU SPORTS: Live
The game will be broadcast in high definition, live, on the internet in the inaugural season of SAGU Sports Live. Free access can be found on the home page of the SAGU website's Athletic section. Scroll down to Live Streaming. The pre-game show begins at 6:45pm.
Other CSFL'ers on the JBS Honor Roll
Senior running back Nate Guillory (GILL-or-ee), of Northwestern Oklahoma State, was the top ground gainer in the country last year. The former recruit for the Iowa Hawkeyes was the only other player from the Central States Football League to be chosen on the First Team.
Leading the Second Team was wide receiver Octavis Parker, a senior at Texas College, who led the conference in catches with 77. Bacone College offensive lineman, senior Brandon Medelburg, also made the grade. Chosen as the All-Purpose perfomer was sophomore Kevin Brooks. The Southern Nazarene player averaged over 175 yards per game, including rushing, receiving (he made 65 catches) and kick return yards. Parker and Brooks each had 8 TD's.
SAGU fans can see most of those players this season at Lions home games. NW Oklahoma State, Texas College and Bacone (BAY-kone) all visit Waxahachie.