Twelve members of the Case Western Reserve University football team were named to the 2016 All-Presidents' Athletic Conference team, as announced by the conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Earning All-PAC First Team selection were junior center Gage Blair, senior wide receiver Brendan Lynch and senior cornerback Nick Kwon. Second Team honorees for the Spartans included junior guard Ryan DeMarinis, junior running back Jacob Burke and sophomore defensive end Cameron Brown. CWRU players who earned an All-PAC honorable mentioned include junior offensive tackle Ryan Merlau, senior guard Dante Capicchioni, junior quarterback Rob Cuda, junior linebackers Justin McMahon and Chanan Demery and junior cornerback Adrian Cannon.
Four of the five starters on the Spartans offensive line – Blair, DeMarinis, Merlau and Capicchioni – earned All-PAC recognition, after the unit led the Spartans to a school record 2,597 rushing yards in 2016. The group was also named to the D3football.com Team of the Week on November 1st, after helping the team collect 707 yards of total offense and 435 rushing yards in a 56-38 win at Washington (Mo.). This season marked the third-straight year that Blair has earned All-PAC honors, and the second-straight year he has been named to the all-conference first team. It was the second All-PAC honor for both DeMarinis and Capicchioni, who were honorable mention selections last year, while Merlau claimed an All-PAC honor for the first time in his career.
Lynch finished the year with 67 catches and ranked second among all PAC players with 1,049 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016. It marked just the fourth time in program history that a receiver eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a single season, and his 12 touchdown catches were tied for the second-most in a campaign by a Spartan. He was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week on September 20th, after matching a school record with 222 receiving yards, one of two 200+ yard games he recorded during the year. This was his second career all-PAC honor, after being named an honorable mention as a sophomore in 2014.
Kwon claimed his second-straight All-PAC honor after earning a nod to the second team last year. He was second on the team with 66 total tackles during the season, and led all Spartans with 48 solo tackles and eight pass breakups. Kwon added three interceptions, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble, a sack and four total tackles for a loss in 2016. He also served as a team co-captain during the year, helping to lead a defense that ranked second in the PAC with just passing yards allowed, and third in both total points and yards allowed.
Burke ended the regular season ranked second in the PAC and 11th in Division III with 16 rushing touchdowns, and third in the PAC and 31st in Division III with 1,065 rushing yards. He recorded just the sixth 1,000-yard rushing season in CWRU history, and was second in program history in rushing TDs in a season. This was the second All-PAC honor for Burke, who was selected as an honorable mention as a punter last year.
In his first season of playing collegiate football, Brown started all ten games at defensive end for the Spartans, leading all CWRU players with 4.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, and six quarterback hurries. He added 47 total tackles (23 solo), five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week and the PAC Defensive Player of the Week on October 24th, and was the PAC Rookie of the Week on October 10th.
Cuda earned All-PAC honors for the second-straight year, after claiming a spot on the first team last year. The quarterback rushed for 908 during the campaign, the seventh-most in a season by a Spartan and the most-ever by a CWRU quarterback, while adding 12 rushing touchdowns. In the passing game, he completed 59.6% of his passes for 2,328 yards and 19 touchdowns.
McMahon led all Spartan players with 76 total tackles (38 solo) during the year, including 4.5 tackles for a loss. He added an interception and two fumble recoveries as well, while started all 10 games at inside linebacker for CWRU. This was the first All-PAC honor of his career.
Demery tallied a team-leading four interceptions and three forced fumbles during the 2016 season, starting nine games at linebacker. He added 51 tackles (32 solo) including a pair for a loss and two quarterback hurries. It was the first All-PAC honor of Demery's career.
Cannon earned the first All-PAC honor of his career after serving as a key piece of the Spartans' secondary in 2016-17. Appearing in all 10 games and making nine starts, the cornerback was second on the team during the year with three interceptions and seven pass breakups, in addition to his 37 total tackles (25 solo), one tackle for a loss, and one fumble recovery.
The Spartans finished the 2016 season with an overall record of 9-1, including a 7-1 record in PAC play to place second in the conference, the team's best finish since rejoining the conference prior to the 2014 season. Case Western Reserve also finished 2-1 in University Athletic Association games, earning a share of the sixth UAA title in the program's history.