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Leading off: UNI football players secure national preseason accolades
LEADING OFF

Leading off: UNI football players secure national preseason accolades

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Football

  • University of Northern Iowa defensive end Elerson Smith has been recognized as the FCS National Preseason Defensive Player of the Year during Phil Steele’s FCS Preseason honors.

Smith enters his senior season after a breakout junior campaign that saw the defensive end rack up 14 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss and 14 QB hurries. He also forced five fumbles and blocked a pair of field goals.

Spencer Brown and Bryce Flater were also named first team preseason All-Americans. Isaiah Weston and Jared Brinkman were second team All-Americans, while Xavior Willimas was named fourth team All-American.

All seven of UNI’s preseason All-Americans were named first team all-MVFC. Chris Kolarevic, Omar Brown and Matthew Cook also received first team all-MVFC recognition.

NBA

  • Tom Thibodeau is coming back to the New York Knicks, who are still seeking the success they enjoyed when he was an assistant two decades ago.

The Knicks are finishing a deal to make Thibodeau their coach, a person with knowledge of the details said Saturday.

No contract has been signed but a deal is expected to be announced next week, the person told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were ongoing.

Baseball

  • Independence sophomore infielder Marcus Beatty was named a first team All-WaMaC West selection. Beatty finished the season with .533 batting average, three homes runs and 17 RBI.

A quartet of Mustangs were named to the second team. That group included pitcher Korver Hupke, infielder Kaine Millard, outfielder Kaleb Lamphier and utility player Logan Schmit.

College

  • Wartburg College has announced its athletics Hall of Fame class of 2020 inductees.

The group includes Hannah (Baker) Bombei (women’s track and field), Dan Hammes (football), Andy Hodge (men’s cross country/track and field), Katie (Rapp) Houston (women’s soccer), Collin Lane (men’s soccer), Dusty Rhodes (wrestling), Matt Scherbring (baseball), Ryan Sturm (wrestling), and Bob Wachholz (football/men’s track and field).

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