FROM UNI ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS.
Twelve UNI football student-athletes were named to Missouri Valley Football All-Conference Teams announced by the league Monday.
Five Panthers earned first-team honors, four UNI players were named to the second team and three were named honorable mention honorees.
Senior guard Jackson Scott-Brown, junior defensive tackle Elerson G. Smith, sophomore receiver Isaiah Weston and freshmen Omar Brown (defensive back) and Matthew Cook (kicker) were named to the MVFC First Team.
Juniors Spencer Brown (offensive line), Jared Brinkman (defensive tackle) and Xavior Williams (defensive back) along with sophomore Chris Kolarevic (linebacker) were named to the second team.
Senior defensive backs Christian Jegen and Roosevelt Lawrence and freshman quarterback Will McElvain received honorable mention honors.
Brown will start his 47th consecutive game on the offensive line Saturday against South Dakota State. He is a captain for the Panthers this season and helped UNI to the second spot in the MVFC in sacks allowed. UNI recorded the best red-zone offense in the Valley.
Smith has already tallied 13.0 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss on the season and Saturday against San Diego broke the UNI single-season record for QB hurries. He leads the MVFC and is third in the country in forced fumbles. He is second in the league in sacks and third in tackles for loss. Smith is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award.
Weston missed all of the 2018 season with an injury but came back in a huge way. He scored touchdowns in seven consecutive games and racked up an MVFC-high 10 so far. He leads the FCS in yards per reception and is just the 10th Panther All-Time to record 1,000-yards receiving in a season. He is a nominee for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Brown stepped into the starting lineup for UNI as a freshman and all he did was lead the league in interceptions. He has six so far this season, including two against Illinois State when he earned FCS STATS Freshman of the Week honors for his performance. He is fourth on the team in tackles and has four tackles for loss this year.
Another freshman that stepped into the lineup early, Cook hit his first nine collegiate kicks, including a 50-yard attempt in front of 61,500 fans at Jack Trice Stadium in his first kick ever. He went on to lead the MVFC in field goals made and was among the leaders in field goal percentage. He has made four kicks over 45 yards so far this season.
Among second-team honorees, Williams leads the second-team honorees, he moved to safety from corner this season and has been a big part of leading UNI to the 23-ranked defense in passing yards allowed and the No. 4 ranked defense in interceptions. He has a pair of fumble returns, including the longest fumble return for a touchdown in UNI history, a 53-yarder against Iowa State. He has a team-high 11 pass breakups. He was a first-team honoree last season at cornerback.
Brown was another solid anchor on the Panther offensive line. He is a big part of UNI’s success on the ground and in the air, helping McElvain break the freshman MVFC passing record and the Panthers tally the best red zone offense in the MVFC.
Brinkman has been a huge part of the UNI defense being the No. 10 rush defense in the country despite facing All-American caliber players like Weber State’s Josh Davis and Illinois State’s James Robinson. He has70 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks on the season. He also has three QB hurries and a pair of forced fumbles.
Kolarevic didn’t make his debut until the Weber State game and only played in nine games so far this season. Despite missing much of the year, he made up for lost time. He is third on the team with 79 total tackles. He also had 2.0 sacks, an interception returned for a touchdown and a 40-yard fumble return that set up a touchdown against North Dakota State. He was twice named the Valley defensive player of the week.
McElvain earned an honorable mention nod after breaking the MVFC freshman passing record. He is now up to 2,540 yards on the season. He also has thrown for 2540 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year. On the ground, he rushed for 374 yards and was twice named the MVFC Newcomer of the Week.
Jegen is second on the team with 98 total tackles, 3.0 TFLs, four interceptions, and five pass breakups. He also has a pair of forced fumbles on the season. He is in his first full year in the position after switching to defense from the running back position last year.
Lawrence was a solid corner opposite of Brown. He has 56 total tackles, a sack, an interception, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble. The senior is a two-year starter for UNI.
The honorees include just one senior in the first and second teams and four members of the UNI defensive secondary were honored by the league.
Deion McShane and Briley Moore were injured for most of the season. Moore was a first-team honoree and McShane was a member of the All-Newcomer team a season ago.
North Dakota State took home the most first-team honorees with eight. Illinois State and UNI tied for second with five. Two of three freshmen that were honored on the first team and three of seven freshmen and sophomores were Panthers.
UNI’s season continues Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs. The Panthers play on the road at South Dakota State.