Eight Cougars named Academic All-District
PROVO, Utah — Eight BYU football student-athletes have been named 2022 Academic All-District by the College Sports Communicators.
Representing the Cougars on the Academic All-District Team are three repeat honorees—Ben Bywater, Ryan Rehkow, and Keenan Pili—joined by teammates Clark Barrington, Christopher Brooks, Talmage Gunther, Connor Pay and Gabe Summers. Bywater and Rehkow were both recognized as All-District last season, while Pili previously achieved the honor during the 2020 season.
The 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, the student-athlete must be a starter or significant contributor and maintain a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA.
Academic All-District honorees now advance to the CSC Academic All-America ballot. First- and second-team Academic All-Americans will be announced for the 2022 season in late December.
Bywater, a 6-3, 230-pound sophomore linebacker from Salt Lake City, Utah, has a 3.69 GPA in the No. 2-ranked finance program in the United States. He is equally impressive on the field as he is in the classroom, currently leading BYU in total tackles with 75 and assisted tackles with 51. Bywater was a candidate for the 2022 Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Butkus Award. In 2021, he was a 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honoree and was named Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Rookie of the Year and to the Defense First Team.
Rehkow, the Cougars 6-6, 232-pound sophomore punter, is majoring in finance and has a 3.74 GPA. He was on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award in both 2021 and 2022. The Veradale, Washington, native has started all 23 games for BYU as a freshman and sophomore over the past two seasons. In 2021, Rehkow was named Pro Football Network Independent Punter of the Year and to the Special Teams First Team.
Barrington from Spokane, Washington, is a 6-6, 305-pound junior left guard who has a 3.55 GPA in construction management. He is a 2022 semifinalist for William Campbell Trophy, given annually to college football's premier scholar-athlete. Barrington was also a 2022 candidate for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. In addition, he received 2022 preseason All-America honors from Phil Steele, Sporting News, Athlon, Lindys Sports and Action Network. Over the past three seasons, Barrington has started all 33 games for BYU and was named a 2021 All-American by Action Network and Pro Football Focus.
Brooks a 6-1, 230-pound senior running back from Oceanside, California, is a graduate transfer from Cal-Berkeley, where he completed his degree with a 3.68 GPA. He is currently in his first year of graduate school at BYU. The senior leads BYU in rushing yards with 463, rushing TDs with five and yards per game at 57.9. Before transferring to BYU, Brooks was Cal's leading rusher in two of the past three seasons with 1,734 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.
Gunther is a 6-0, 195-pound wide receiver who excels on special teams. The sophomore from Cedar Hills, Utah, has a 3.61 GPA in the finance program. He has played in 34 of 35 games over the past three seasons (2020-2021-2022), only missing the Utah game in 2021. He forced a fumble on the opening kickoff versus No. 19 ASU in 2021 which set up BYU's first score of the game in a 24-16 Cougar victory.
Pay from Highland, Utah, is a 6-6, 312-pound sophomore center who holds a 3.78 GPA in entrepreneurial management. He is a candidate for the Remington Award, given annually to the nation's best center. Through eight games in 2022, Pay held the No.1 pass blocking grade of 90.0 for FBS centers. He has played in 22 games with 19 starts over the 2021 and 2022 seasons and was named an assistant offensive captain this season.
Pili, a 6-3, 237-pound linebacker, has a GPA of 3.52 in exercise science and is expected to graduate in December. The junior from Provo, Utah, was the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl Defensive MVP and was named to the Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team. Pili is a team captain for the second straight season and a 2022 Chuck Bednarik Award candidate. He is third on the team in tackles with 51 and tackles for loss with three.
Summers from Saratoga Springs, Utah, has a 3.52 GPA also in the nationally recognized finance program. The 6-2, 295-pound junior defensive lineman has played in seven of 10 games in 2022, missing three games due to injury. He played in every game during both the 2020 and 2021 seasons for top-25 ranked BYU.
For more information about CSC Academic All-District® and Academic All-America® Teams program, visit AcademicAllAmerica.com.
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