ESU football earns more preseason awards

Emporia State University
Emporia State University

EMPORIA, Kan. – The preseason honors continue to roll in for the Emporia State football program as four members of the Hornet offense were named to the USA College Football preseason All-American watch list. Emporia State was ranked #13 in the nation by Lindy’s Preseason Magazine and #22 by The Sporting News.

All four of the Hornets mentioned on the USA College Football list come from the offensive side of the ball. Emporia State returns nine starters from an offense that ranked 15th in the nation in scoring offense and 20th in total offense. Guard Jarrett Stastny was named first-team All-American, quarterback Brent Wilson earned second-team honors while tackle Aaron Blount and receiver Austin Willis were both named to the third team.

Stastny was a first-team All-MIAA selection and was the only freshman on the first-team. He was a second-team Daktronics All-Region pick and earned third-team honors from Hansen’s Football Gazette. He was a three-time Squarehead Award winner as the top offensive lineman for Emporia State this season, earning the award in wins over Neb.-Kearney and nationally ranked Missouri Western and Washburn. He is one of four returning starters on the offensive line for the Hornets.

Wilson earned second-team All-MIAA and was a third-team selection on the Hansen’s Football Gazette All-Region team. He was fifth in the nation in points responsible for per game, sixth in passing efficiency and ranked seventh in the nation touchdown passes. He was 220 for 320 for 2,985 passing yards with 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions and added 396 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He led the Hornets to a 9-1 regular season record, but missed Emporia State’s NCAA Playoff game with an injury.

Willis was a second-team All-MIAA pick despite missing two games with an injury. Willis caught 45 passes for 911 yards and ten touchdowns in nine games. He was 23rd in the nation in receiving yards per game at 101.2 yards per game. Five of his ten touchdown receptions went for over 50 yards, including a 55 yarder against Minn.-Duluth in the NCAA Playoffs.

Blount was named third-team All-MIAA last season and has started 21 straight games for the Hornets at left tackle. He was a two-time winner of Emporia State’s Squarehead Award as the offensive lineman of the game last year.

In addition to the offensive firepower the Hornets have seven starters returning on defense. Emporia State led the MIAA in interceptions last season with 22 and have the players responsible for half of them returning. Four of the top five tacklers from a year ago return led by linebacker Deshawn Dinwiddie.

The Hornets have gone 19-4 over the last two seasons and have not lost to an unranked team since a 22-16 loss to a then unranked Missouri Western on Oct. 15, 2011. Emporia State is 8-2 over their last ten games on Jones Field at Welch Stadium with both losses coming to teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. The Hornets were slated for #22 in the Sporting News Preseason Top 25.

The Fourth Annual KC Night of Champions will give Emporia State fans a preview of the 2014 edition of the Hornets. It will be held on Thursday, July 31 at St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kan. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is an opportunity to visit with Emporia State coaches and players and will raise funds for the Hornet football program.

The Hornets will have five home games during the 2014 season, starting with a Thursday night game against Missouri Southern on September 6 at 7:00 p.m. Season tickets are on sale now through the Athletic Ticket Office in the Emporia State Memorial Union. Reserved season tickets are just $66, a $10 savings over purchasing the tickets on a game by game basis. Adult general admission season tickets are $41 with season tickets for children and people over 65 years old can be picked up for just $26.

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