SouthtownStar Athletes On Campus: Naval Academy’s Keegan Wetzel a decorated football player
By Mike Walsh For Sun-Times Media December 28, 2012 8:12PM
Keegan Wetzel, Navy football, St. Laurence graduate.
Updated: January 31, 2013 6:17AM
It cannot be said that Keegan Wetzel’s senior football season at the United States Naval Academy has been devoid of highlights.
Not only has the Palos Heights resident anchored a defense that helped the Midshipmen earn a berth in Saturday’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Arizona State in San Francisco, as well as defeat rival Army for the 11th straight time, Wetzel also earned his share of personal honors.
Through 12 games this season, the St. Laurence graduate was tied for third in tackles with 74, had 15 tackles for 68 yards in losses, seven sacks, one forced fumble, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. To date, his 15 tackles for loss this year rank as the ninth-most in school history for a single season, while his seven sacks are tied for fourth place in a single season for the Midshipmen.
The outside linebacker was one of two Navy players named to the 2012 Football Bowl Subdivision All-Independent First Team, as chosen by a nationwide media panel.
Wetzel also was named the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 10 after his efforts in Navy’s 17-13 win over Army on Dec. 8 in Philadelphia. In that game, Wetzel finished with a career-best 11 tackles while also recording a sack.
Wetzel was invited to the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game on Jan. 11 at Kino Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.
As well as Wetzel has performed on the field, he’s also excelled in the classroom, being chosen a Capital One First Team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Wetzel is just the eighth Navy player to be named First Team Academic All-American. This marks the third consecutive year Navy has had a player make the First Team. Wetzel scored a perfect 1,600 on the SAT. He’s believed to be the only current FBS player in the country to accomplish such a feat.
He carries a 3.89 grade-point average and is majoring in systems engineering.
Release the ’Hounds
Three Southland residents who are members of the University of Indianapolis’ football team were chosen to the 2012 All-Great Lakes Valley Conference Football Team.
Senior defensive lineman Jovone Jordan (Thornridge) was named to the First Team, as was junior defensive lineman Vince Maida (Marist).
Jordan, also recognized as the Greyhounds’ Defensive Lineman of the Year, finished with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses (totaling 19 yards), two pass breakups, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
Maida led Indy with 10½ tackles for 32 yards in losses, while adding 24 tackles, seven sacks, two quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one interception.
Rounding out the list of local athletes on the All-GLVC First Team is sophomore offensive right tackle Kevin McKenna (Brother Rice). McKenna was one of four Greyhound offensive linemen on the First Team as Indy finished the regular season second in the nation in Division II in fewest sacks allowed. The line helped running back Klay Fiechter set a new single-season school record in rushing yardage (1,475).
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chris Barcelona (Mount Carmel) was named the Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year. The Orland Hills resident played in 13 games this season, totaling 17 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Providence graduate Bridget Murphy received two postseason honors for her efforts on Western Illinois’ women’s volleyball team during the 2012 season.
The New Lenox native earned the Leadership Award as well as the Most Digs Award. The senior defensive specialist concluded her career at WIU with the second-most digs in program history (1,750).
In 2012, she had a team-high 500 digs (4.76 per set), 99 assists and 14 service aces.