Academic All-America Honors Awarded to Jeff Minnerly

Despite collarbone injury, senior safety joins a select group of only seven Eastern players in school history to be honored previously on the prestigious squad

One of the hardest awards for a student-athlete to win was a birthday present on Thursday (Dec. 6) to Eastern Washington University senior safety and hometown product Jeff Minnerly.

Minnerly becomes the eighth EWU player in school history since 1989 to be honored on the Capital One Academic All-America Division I football team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He earned the honor after advancing to the national ballot following his third All-District VIII honor announced earlier this season.

Minnerly, who turns 23 today, was named to the second team. Minnerly currently has a 3.78 grade point average with a double major in finance and electrical engineering.

 “Any time you can receive an All-America honor that is a combination of success on the field and in the classroom, it’s the epitome of what you want in your student-athletes,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “Jeff is exactly that, and not just this year. He has been consistent performer on the field and in the classroom in his five years here.”

Minnerly joins a group of high-achieving Eagle football players which include previous recipients Jeff Ogden, Steve Mattson, Kyler Randall, Jacob Kragt, Kurt Schulz, Mike MacKenzie and Lance Ballew. Along with Minnerly, they have combined to win 10 Academic All-America honors (Mattson and Randall were two-time winners). Kragt, a defensive end from Ritzville, was EWU’s most recent recipient in 2009.

“We’re really proud of that honor and Jeff,” Baldwin added. “Whenever you win that award it’s earned in a lot of ways, and he’s put in a lot of hard work. It’s going to pay off as soon as he leaves Eastern.”

Minnerly broke his collarbone against Montana on Sept. 29, and didn’t return until Senior Day versus UC Davis on Nov. 10. He started that game, and is expected to start again this Saturday when the Eagles host Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

He has started 22 of 38 games he has played in his career, with career totals of 146 tackles, five interceptions, nine passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He has 19 tackles, an interception and a pass broken up this year so far.

Minnerly had an honor-filled career as a 4.0 student at Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., and he has followed that with a variety of athletic and academic awards at Eastern. This year he was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII squad for the third-straight year and will earn his fourth Big Sky Conference All-Academic award. In 2011, he repeated as an honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference selection and was chosen to the NCAA Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Academic All-Star Team.

In the 2010 season, Minnerly was awarded the “Elite 88” Award by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He received the award for having the highest cumulative grade point average among the participants in the 2010 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Eastern won that game 20-19, as Minnerly finished with two passes broken up and two tackles.

His long hair has been a trademark of his, as a friendly wager between teammates is now in year three. During the 2010 season, Minnerly and linebacker Ronnie Hamlin challenged each other to see who could go the longest without cutting their hair. Linebacker Zach Johnson was also in on the wager, but dropped out after EWU won the NCAA Division I title.


CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team
2009 -
Jacob Kragt, Defensive End
2003 - Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver
2002 - Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver
1997 - Steve Mattson, Defensive End
1997 - Jeff Ogden, Wide Receiver

CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team
2012 –
Jeff Minnerly, Safety
2000 - Lance Ballew, Tight End
1998 - Mike MacKenzie, Running Back
1996 - Steve Mattson, Defensive End
1991 - Kurt Schulz, Defensive Back

CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII
2012 –
Jeff Minnerly, Safety; Ashton Clark, Center; Jordan Talley, Running Back. 2011 - Jeff Minnerly, Safety. 2010 - J.C. Sherritt, Linebacker; Jeff Minnerly, Safety. 2009 - Chris Thomas, Offensive Line; Jacob Kragt, Defensive Line. 2008 - Chris Thomas, Offensive Line; Jacob Kragt, Defensive Line. 2007 - Tom McAndrews, Tight End; Jacob Kragt, Defensive Line; Chris Carlsen, Offensive Line; Tony Davis, Wide Receiver; Brett Igbinoba, Defensive Back. 2006 - Nick Denbeigh, Defensive Back. 2003 - Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver; Kurt Sigler, Offensive Tackle; Joey Cwik, Linebacker; Nate McFarlane, Defensive Back. 2002 - Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver; Kurt Sigler, Offensive Tackle. 2001 - Chris Polinder, Center; Bryan Shireman, Defensive Tackle; Anthony Griffin, Linebacker; Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver. 2000 - Lance Ballew, Tight End; Ole Olesen, Cornerback. 1999 - Lance Ballew, Tight End; Aaron Best, Center; Scott Johnson, Off. Tackle; Ole Olesen, Cornerback. 1998 - Mike MacKenzie, Running Back; Jeff Allen, Defensive End; Lance Ballew, Tight End. 1997 - Mike MacKenzie, Running Back; Steve Mattson, Defensive End; Jeff Ogden, Wide Receiver; Derek Strey, Linebacker. 1996 - Steve Mattson, Defensive End. 1995 - Jesse Hardt, Tight End. 1994 - Jesse Hardt, Tight End; Rob Aronow, Defensive End; Timm Scott, Linebacker. 1993 - Rob Aronow, Defensive End; Raphael Guillory, Safety; Jesse Hardt, Tight End. 1992 - Trevor Westlund, Tight End. 1991 - Tony Brooks, Wide Receiver; Kurt Schulz, Defensive Back; Robert Puller, Safety; Peder Thorstenson, Offensive Guard 1990 - Kurt Schulz, Defensive Back; Peder Thorstenson, Off. Guard; Brendan Rogers, Linebacker. 1989 - Kurt Schulz, Cornerback.

CoSIDA Academic All-America All-Time Team
- Kurt Schulz, Defensive Back (played 1988-91)

NCAA “Elite 88” Award
- Jeff Minnerly, Safety (highest GPA, 3.91, among student-athletes participating in NCAA Division I Championship Game)

NCAA Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Academic All-Star Team
2011 -
Jeff Minnerly, Safety
2011 - Mike Jarrett, Kicker
2010 - J.C. Sherritt, Linebacker
2010 - Matt Martin, Tight End
2009 - Chris Thomas, Offensive Tackle
2009 - Jacob Kragt, Defensive End
2007 - Tom McAndrews, Tight End
2005 - Joey Cwik, Linebacker
2003 - Kyler Randall, Wide Receiver
2003 - Kurt Sigler, Offensive Tackle
2002 - Josh Blankenship, Quarterback
1999 - Aaron Best, Center
1998 - Mike MacKenzie, Running Back


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