St. Louis, Mo. -- Youngstown State senior defensive tackle Nick DeKraker and junior quarterback Kurt Hess were named first-team Academic All-Missouri Valley Football Conference while sophomore cornerback Julius Childs was selected to the All-Newcomer Team.
It marks the second consecutive year that Hess, an honorable-mention all-conference pick in 2012, was named to the first team while DeKraker was a first-team selection for the first time in his career.
Academic Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (4.0 scale). Student-athletes must have reached sophomore academic and athletic standing at their institutions (freshmen are not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution. League sports information directors voted on the team by designating 11 players for first-team honors and 11 players for second-team honors.
Childs is the first YSU cornerback since Codera Jackson in 2005 to be named to the all-newcomer squad. Only three Penguin cornerbacks have received all-newcomer accolades since the Penguins joined the MVFC in 1997. Sherod Holmes, another native of California, is the other being honored in 2002.
CB Julius Childs, 5-11, 185, So., Los Angeles, Calif., (Lynwood/Compton)
Started all 11 games at cornerback…led the YSU secondary with 51 total tackles and ranked third on the team for the season…intercepted a pass in victory over Indiana State…forced a fumble that sealed victory over Pittsburgh in season opener…in MVFC action, had 40 total tackles, including 27 solo stops…had four-or-more tackles on eight occasions…had seven solo stops in win over Indiana State…had a season-high nine tackles at North Dakota State…had six stops against Southern Illinois and Pittsburgh.
QB Kurt Hess, YSU, 6-3, 230, Jr., 3.36 Early Childhood Education
Completed 176-of-278 passes for 2,112 yards and 15 touchdowns…averaged 192 yards per game and had a completion percentage of 63.3…finished with an efficiency of 139.89…in MVFC games, completed 141-of-223 passes for 1,637 yards and 11 touchdowns…averaged 204.6 yards per game…threw for more than 200 yards in five contests, all of which were in league play…had a season-high 290 yards passing and threw for four touchdowns in win over UNI…had 270 yards at South Dakota State, 248 vs. Indiana State, 231 against Southern Illinois and 201 at Illinois State…had four other two touchdown passing performances.
DT Nick DeKraker, YSU, 6-3, 275, Sr., 3.93 General Studies
Led team with 5.5 sacks despite playing in nine games…had 26 tackles on the campaign…25 of his 26 tackles came in MVFC action…recorded sacks against Southern Illinois (two), South Dakota State, South Dakota and Western Illinois…had a career-high seven tackles at SDSU…had a season-high three solo stops vs. the Coyotes… YSU rush defense allowed under 100 yards per game for first time since 1994.
TB Torrian Pace, YSU, 5-10, 225, Jr., 3.45 Criminal Justice
Two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District V selection, including 2012…backup tailback rushed for a career-high 320 yards on 62 carries and scored five touchdowns…had rushing touchdowns in league play against UNI and Western Illinois, both of which came in the fourth quarter…had a season-high 146 yards rushing against Valparaiso on 14 carries…had 41 yards against the Leathernecks…played in all 11 games.
LB Dom Rich, YSU, 6-1, 235, Jr., 3.70 Marketing Management
Played in all 11 games and started eight games…credited with 17 total tackles, including nine solo stops…had a sack for an eight-yard loss against Indiana State…recovered a fumble a Western Illinois…had a season-high four tackles in win over Valparaiso…had a TFL against Albany…selected as a team captain after playing just three games last year because of injuries.