Duff Tittle | Posted: 18 Nov 2021 | Updated: 28 Nov 2021

Three Cougars named CoSIDA Academic All-District

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BYU CoSIDA Academic All-District


PROVO, Utah — BYU football players James Empey, Ryan Rehkow and Ben Bywater have been named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Team.

The CoSIDA Academic All-District award recognizes 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 a minimum 3.30 cumulative GPA.

District 8 honorees represent the states of Arizona, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai’i and Alaska as well as Canada.

As first-team Academic All-District honorees, Empey, Rehkow and Bywater now advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot. First- and second-team Academic All-America honorees will be announced in mid-December.

Empey, who was also Academic All-District in 2019 and 2020, graduated this summer with a 3.84 GPA in finance with a minor in nonprofit management. A two-time team captain, Empey has started all 41 games he has played over his BYU career. He was a 2018 FWAA Freshman All-American and was named a 2021 preseason All-American center by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. 

Empey is currently a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award and the Wuerffel Trophy. He was also a candidate for the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the AFCA Good Works Team. In addition, he was selected to the Rimington Award Watch List for the third time and the Outland Trophy Watch List for the second-straight year. 

Rehkow is majoring in finance and has a 3.78 GPA. He is currently on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, awarded annually to the nation’s top punter. Rehkow was honored as a Ray’s 8 Award winner on Oct. 4.

Rehkow set a new BYU record with an 83-yard punt (breaking the old record of 81) in BYU’s 27-17 win over No. 19 ranked ASU. He would currently be ranked fourth in the NCAA in punting, averaging 48.8 yards per game, but is two punts shy on the season of meeting the NCAA minimum. In 33 punts during 2021, he has kicked 16 over 50 yards and has downed 13 inside the 20-yard line  

Bywater is majoring in finance and has a 3.86 GPA. Through 10 games, the linebacker from Salt Lake City leads BYU with 71 tackles (45 solo, 27 assist), which ranks in the top-30 nationally. He also has four tackles for loss and one sack.

For more information about CoSIDA’s Academic All-District and Academic All-America Teams program, visit AcademicAllAmerica.com.