Senior kicker Mitch Payne and junior running back Bryan Kariya (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Senior kicker Mitch Payne and junior running back Bryan Kariya were named to the ESPN Academic All-District VIII team on Thursday.
Both athletes are first time Academic All-District honorees. With the selections, nine Cougars in the last three years have be named Academic All-District, with five players going on to earn Academic All-America.
Payne, a Business Management major currently working on his Master's of Public Administration, is the lone representative at kicker on the team. Payne is the BYU and Mountain West Conference record holder in career in PAT conversions and will likely finish his career with the most PAT attempts and career kicking points in MWC history. He is 9-for-12 on field goal attempts and 11-of-12 on PAT attempts this season.
Payne was also selected as a semifinalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy and as a candidate for the 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards earlier this year.
Kariya, a Chinese major with a 3.87 GPA, was one of two running backs named to the squad. The junior is coming off a career-high 88-yard rushing performance against Wyoming and has four touchdowns on the year, including two against San Diego State. He has caught a pass in every game but one this year.
As first-team honorees, both players will be eligible to be named Academic All-American when the team is announced on Nov. 23.