Brett Pyne | Posted: 22 Jun 2021 | Updated: 22 Jul 2021

Empey, Pili named to CoSIDA Academic All-District® Football Team

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James Empey, Keenan Pili named 2020-21 Academic All-District

PROVO, Utah — BYU football players James Empey and Keenan Pili have been named to the 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-District® Football Team.

Empey, a two-time recipient, and Pili were both named to the District 8 First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), strategic communicators for college athletics. The CoSIDA Academic All-District® teams include student-athletes from geographic districts across the United States and Canada.  District 8 represents the states of Arizona, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai’i and Alaska as well as Canada.

The CoSIDA All-District awards recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. To be eligible for nomination, student-athletes must be a starter or significant contributor and maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.

Empey, who was also named Academic All-District in 2019, maintains a 3.84 GPA as a finance major with a minor in nonprofit management. A team captain and leader on the offensive line for the Cougars, Empey has helped BYU to a 25-13 overall record in his three seasons on the field while starting in all 34 games he has played. The Rimington Trophy watch list center helped BYU’s offensive line be recognized as a Joe Moore Award semifinalist in 2020 while the Cougars achieved an 11-1 record and No. 11 final ranking.

Pili, who became a full-time starter for BYU at linebacker in 2020, has a 3.50 GPA as exercise science/premed major. He has helped BYU earn an 18-7 record in his two seasons on the field while starting in nine of 21 games. He was named the Boca Raton Bowl Defensive MVP to conclude this past season while ranking second on the team overall with 72 tackles. He helped BYU rank No. 4 in scoring defense and No. 10 in total defense last season.

As first-team Academic All-District® honorees, Empey and Pili both advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot. First- and second-team Academic All-America® recipients will be announced in early July.

The CoSIDA Academic All-America® program separately recognizes football honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

For more information about CoSIDA’s Academic All-District® and Academic All-America® Teams program, visit on

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