EKU earns ASUN yearly awards, spots on All-Academic Team

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ/EKU Athletics) – The Eastern Kentucky Colonels have earned numerous awards from the ASUN conference for their performance on and off the field.

Eastern Kentucky’s Davion Ross and Patrick Nations, along with head coach Walt Wells, took home three of the five individual league awards announced by the ASUN on Wednesday.

Ross was named the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year while Nations was selected as the ASUN Special Teams Player of the Year. Wells rounded out the awards as Coach of the Year.

The league office also announced that Eastern Kentucky placed six players on the 2021 ASUN All-Conference team. Ross and Nations were joined on the all-conference team by Matthew JacksonPayton CollinsQuinten Floyd, and Parker McKinney.

On top of that, Ubong Udom was named the ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Je’Vari AndersonShane Burks II, and Parker McKinney earned All-Academic distinctions.

Ross led the nation with three interception returns for touchdowns and is tied for sixth nationally with 13 pass breakups. He also recorded 46 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.

Nations led the ASUN in field-goal accuracy, making 12 of his 16 attempts. His 51-yarder was the longest made kick in the league and his 70 points put him second on the conference’s scoring list.

In his second season at the helm, Wells guided EKU to a 7-4 record and the biggest one-year improvement in program history. EKU went 5-1 at Roy Kidd Stadium and defeated three teams that were ranked in the preseason top-25.

Jackson, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, led the league with 102 tackles and ranked second in the conference with 10 tackles for loss. He also notched 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Collins started all 11 games at left tackle for the Colonels. He was part of a unit that helped EKU rank fourth in the nation in red-zone scoring and 18th in sacks allowed per game.

Floyd finished the season with 30 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles per loss, and 2.0 sacks. He totaled at least one tackle in all 10 games he appeared in and tackles for loss in five contests.

McKinney set a school record with 229 completions, most in the ASUN, throwing for 2,429 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 596 yards and six touchdowns. He accounted for over 300 yards in four different games, including the final three games of the season. The Coalfield, Tenn., native has a 3.42 GPA in public health.

Udom, a redshirt senior, led the team with 4.0 sacks and finished with year with 42 tackles and 6.0 tackles for loss. The St. Joseph, Mo., native owns a 4.0 GPA while pursuing a graduate degree in teacher education.

Anderson finished the season with 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. A redshirt senior from Oakland, Calif., Anderson is pursuing a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling with a 4.0 GPA.

Burks, a redshirt junior from Lexington, Ky., ended the year with 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. He has a 4.0 GPA in business administration.

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