The University of Akron football team wrapped up its season last Tuesday with a 9-3 loss at Ohio University to finish its season with a disappointing record of 5-7. However, four Zips were honored for their play on Wednesday when the Mid-American Conference released their All-MAC teams.
First, sophomore linebacker Ulysees Gilbert was named to the All-MAC first-team defense at the outside linebacker position. The first-year starter led the Zips with 122 total tackles this season, including a team-high 11.5 for a loss. Gilbert also led the Zips with four sacks and two forced fumbles. The Ocala, Florida native started all 12 games at linebacker for the Zips.
Senior wide receiver Jojo Natson was named to two different All-MAC teams. First, he was named to the first-team specialists as a punt returner. Natson returned 16 punts this season, totaling 261 yards (16.3 yards per return) with two touchdowns. Hist two punt return touchdowns in one season ties the Zips record.
Natson was also named second-team offense as a wide receiver. Natson was the perfect complement to fellow receiver Jerome Lane, catching 59 passes for 837 yards with a team-high ten receiving touchdowns. His ten receiving touchdowns is one shy of the team’s record, set by Dan Ruff in 1968.
Zips’ junior receiver Jerome Lane was also named All-MAC third-team offense for the first time. Lane reached 1,000 yards for the first time in his career (1,018), while catching a team-high 62 passes with six touchdowns. Through two seasons with Akron, Lane now has 101 catches, 1,800 yards, and 14 touchdowns with one year of eligibility. It is possible that Lane breaks all three Zips career receiving records next season (184 receptions, 2,653 receiving yards, 27 receiving touchdowns).
Finally, sophomore place kicker Tom O’Leary was named All-MAC third-team offense. O’Leary made an outstanding ten out of 11 field goals this season (91 percent), including a season-long 46-yard field goal versus Kent State on Oct. 1st. He also made 39 of 42 extra points for a total of 69 points.