University of the Incarnate Word linebacker named Southland Conference Football Student Athlete of the Year

SAN ANTONIO — The University of the Incarnate Word midfielder was named the Southland Conference Football Student Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, the school said in a press release on Wednesday.

The award is another mark on senior Kelechi Anyalebechi’s belt, who was previously named a finalist for the 2022 Buck Buchanan Award, given to the FCS National Defender of the Year.

The press release states that Anjalebeci received a 4.0 GPA while working on his Sports Management MBA program.

In his last season at the UIW, Anjalebeci led the way in the best defense in the Southland Conference. The Cardinal defense lost only 19.1 points per game on average, which contributed to the UIW holding the top record in Division I football.

Anyalebechi recorded 88 tackles (45 solo), 7.5 tackles to lose, three pass interruptions and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He also holds career records for total tackles (310), unassisted tackles (168), forced fumbles (7), and rushed quarterbies (12) for the Cardinals.

UIW led the conference with seven academic nominees including Marcus Cooper, Darion Chafin, Taylor Grimes, Reed Francis, Caleb Johnson, Carson More and Anyalebechi. The press release states that Francis has become a laureate for the third time.

It is stated that to be eligible for UIW, student-athletes must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in the semester prior to a championship in that sport and have completed at least one full academic year of school while participating in at least than in 50% of team competitions.

First team members selected for all conferences who meet the requirements are automatically selected to the academic team.

Here is a list of favorites from all UIW conferences:

  • Kelechi Anyalebechi, MBA, Sports Management | 4.00 GPA

  • Marcus Cooper MS, sports management | 3.13 GPA

  • Darion Chafin MS, sports management | 3.50 GPA per year

  • taylor grimes, cultural studies | 3.50 GPA per year

  • Reed Francis, Engineering | 3.99 GPA per year

  • Caleb Johnson Engineering physics | 3.12 GPA

  • Carson More, Psychology | 3.84 GPA per year


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