Six EKU Colonels pick up OVC football honors

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Six Eastern Kentucky University football players earned postseason Ohio Valley Conference honors on Tuesday, the league announced from its Brentwood, Tennessee headquarters. Tight end Dan Paul and punter Keith Wrzuszczak were chosen first team all-conference. Wide receiver Ryan Markush, defensive end Luder Jean Louis, defensive back Kobie Grace and return specialist LJ Scott earned second team honors. Scott was also named to the OVC All-Newcomer Team as a running back and return specialist.

Paul concluded the season with 41 receptions for 407 yards and caught one touchdown pass. The redshirt junior from Naples, Florida had more catches and yards than any other tight end in the conference. He set season-highs for receptions (8) and yards (76) against Tennessee State. Paul caught a 22-yard touchdown pass against Murray State.

Wrzuszczak set a pair of program records this season while finishing first in the conference and sixth in the nation with an average of 44.1 yards per punt. The senior from Geelong, Victoria, Australia broke the 51-year-old EKU record of 78 yards with an 84-yard punt against Tennessee-Martin. It's the second-longest punt in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) this season. He also broke his own program season average record (43.7 yards/punt), which he set in 2015. In 2017 Wrzuszczak punted 58 times and only five of them were touchbacks. He placed 19 punts inside the 20 yard line and had 11 punts of 50 or more yards. He helped Eastern lead the conference and finish second in the nation in net punting (41.14 yards/punt).

Markush led the team in receptions (55), yards (745) and touchdowns (9). The senior from Germantown, Maryland ranked second in the OVC in receiving touchdowns, third with an average of 67.7 receiving yards per game and fourth with an average of 5.0 catches per game. He began the season with seven receptions for 107 yards and caught two touchdown passes at Western Kentucky. Markush had a career-high 122 yards on four catches at Southeast Missouri.

Jean Louis capped his career by recording 52 tackles and 10 sacks in 2017. He totaled 16 tackles for a loss, had 12 quarterback hurries, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble. The Brooklyn, New York native tied for the conference lead in sacks and ranked 11th in the nation with an average of 0.91 per game. Jean Louis finished second in the conference and 15th in FCS football with an average of 1.5 tackles for a loss per game. His 10 sacks were the sixth most ever by a Colonel in one season.

Grace was second on the team, and ninth in the OVC, with 78 tackles. He posted seven tackles for a loss, had one interception and broke up seven passes. The senior from Winter Park, Florida was second in the league with three forced fumbles. He recovered four fumbles, which tied for the most in the nation.

Scott returned 21 kickoffs this season for an average of 30 yards per return. His average was the best in the OVC and fourth-best in the nation. The redshirt junior from Marion, Ohio also finished second on the team with 294 rushing yards and led the Colonels with six rushing touchdowns.

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