Midwestern State's Zack Eskridge will be among nine scholar-athletes honored by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) at the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas' third annual banquet set for April 20 at Cowboys Stadium.
"We are elated to honor these student-athletes for succeeding at the highest level in the classroom and on the field. Their drive to succeed is apparent in all aspects of their lives, and this recognition is a direct reflection of their hard work and leadership skills," said Gerald Brence, president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas and athletics director for the Plano Independent School District.
With doors opening at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7 p.m., the event will showcase the great stories in North Texas that will inspire future student-athletes to excel in the classroom and become more involved in their communities. The event will also pay tribute to several outstanding individuals for their contributions to the game and the North Texas region. TCU head coach Gary Patterson will accept the Distinguished Texan Award, the gridiron club's most prestigious award. Other awards remaining to be announced include the Legends Award, the Athletics Director of the Year, the Steve Storie Official of the Year, and the high school coaches and assistant coaches of the year.
The nine scholar-athletes were selected as the best from the entire region at the collegiate level for their combined achievements as students, athletes and leaders in their respective communities. The selection committee included coaches, teachers, administrators and business leaders from the North Texas area.
Evan Beaton, East Texas Baptist - Beaton, who garnered All-American Southwest Conference First Team and Academic All-ASC honors, was the team's fourth-leading tackler in 2010 with 49 stops and also compiled nine tackles for loss, six sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two pass breakups. As a junior, he accumulated 40 tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, three fumble recoveries, three blocked kicks and one pass breakup. He was named to the Academic All-ASC team in 2009. As a sophomore, Beaton placed second on the club with a career-high 50 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one pass breakup. As a freshman, he posted 45 tackles, 4.5 TFL, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups. The Whitehouse native is an Eagle Scout and joined members of the team on a two-week mission trip in Croatia.
Derek Epperson, Baylor - An NFF William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist and three-time All-Big 12 honoree, Derek Epperson leaves Baylor as one of the most accomplished players in program history. The Southlake native ranks third in Bears history in punting yards (9,574) and punting average (42.74). He has boomed 49 punts of greater than 50 yards, ranking second in school history, and launched eight punts of greater than 60 yards, which places third in school history. Epperson was also a three-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist. A three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, five-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll member and a two-time Dean's List honoree, Epperson graduated in August 2010 with a degree in management information systems.
Zack Eskridge, Midwestern State - In 2010, Eskridge led MSU with 1,976 passing yards and 17 touchdowns while adding 325 rushing yards and four scores. In November he was named the Lone Star Conference South Division Academic Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He was also named a CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-Region 6 performer while becoming the first Mustang quarterback to lead the school to consecutive postseason berths. As a junior, Eskridge was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award after leading the Mustangs to their first Lone Star Conference title. He set school single-season records for passing yards (3,295), touchdowns (29), completion percentage (71.3) and led the nation with a 180.2 quarterback rating. A native of Rowlett, Eskridge holds school records in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and completion percentage.
Adam Farkes, Texas A&M-Commerce - After transferring from Maine and earning his first start in the fourth game of the 2009 campaign, Farkes garnered All-Lone Star Conference Honorable Mention honors by completing 174 of 336 passes for 1,953 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also led Texas A&M - Commerce to the LSC South Division title, scoring the go-ahead touchdown and two-point conversion in the division-clinching win over Southwestern Oklahoma State. As a senior, he connected on 179 of 364 attempts for 1,960 yards and five touchdowns. Farkes is a native of Boston, Mass.
Pete Fleps, SMU - An NFF William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, Fleps was selected as SMU's team captain in 2010. He finished the 2010 campaign ranking second on the squad with a career-high 123 tackles and tied for second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss. With 50 career appearances, Fleps compiled 322 stops as a Mustang. As a junior and senior, Fleps helped SMU appear in the program's first bowl games since 1984. The Southlake native recorded a 3.56 GPA while pursuing a master's degree in liberal arts after earning a bachelor's degree in management.
Bart Johnson, TCU - Named TCU's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Month for November, Johnson caught 31 passes for 419 yards and four touchdowns. In all, he appeared in 52 career games and caught 85 passes for 1,098 yards and nine scores. A three-time CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honoree, Johnson became TCU's first ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-American since 2003 as a senior. Johnson often came up big in TCU's biggest games, catching a 23-yard touchdown pass in TCU's landmark Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. He corralled a go-ahead 11-yard touchdown pass in the Horned Frogs' victory over archrival SMU, and hauled in a 26-yard scoring strike against then-No. 5 Utah. The Brownwood native was majored in marketing and plans to attend law school.
Austin Light, Austin College - Light played in eight games as a senior and helped Austin College achieve 1,279 rushing yards and 1,749 passing yards while garnering All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team honors. As a junior, Light helped push the Kangaroos to the top of the SCAC in rushing yardage with 2,078 yards. Light was twice named to the All-SCAC First Team. The 6'2", 270-pound lineman is a native of Collinsville.
Micah Mosley, North Texas - A versatile four-year contributor, Mosley appeared in 31 career games for the Mean Green, compiling 583 all-purpose yards. The Nederland native garnered native rushed for 569 yards and six touchdowns on 118 carries at running back while also contributing on special teams. Mosley interned with architectural firm HKS, Inc. last summer during the construction of the Mean Green's new, on-campus football stadium.
Jacob Rowe, Tarleton State - A four-year contributor for the Texans, Rowe amassed a career year as a senior in 2010. He posted career bests in tackles (47), tackles for loss (9.5), sacks (three), quarterback pressures (five), fumble recoveries (two) and added two blocked kicks. Playing in 41 games, Rowe compiled 152 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. The Alvarado native was a member of the 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Rowe was an All-Lone Star Conference Honorable Mention pick in 2010.
The 2010 event attracted a sellout crowd of 700 people. For more information on 2011 tickets and/or banquet sponsorship opportunities, please contact club president Gerald Brence at 469-878-5370 or via e-mail at Gerald.Brence@pisd.edu.