MSU's Paleka-Kennedy wins Rimington Award - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

MSU's Paleka-Kennedy wins Rimington Award

MSU senior center Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy was named the 2016 Rimington Award winner for NCAA Division II / Image Source: MSU Athletic Communications MSU senior center Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy was named the 2016 Rimington Award winner for NCAA Division II / Image Source: MSU Athletic Communications
WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) -

Senior Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy raised the bar of success even higher for the traditional strong Midwestern State offensive Wednesday earning the Rimington Award as the top center in NCAA Division II.
 
The Hilo, Hawaii native joins former teammate Marqui Christian as the lone Mustangs to earn top national honors. Christian, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, competes with the Los Angeles Rams after winning the Cliff Harris Award as the nation's top small college defensive player in 2015.
 
Kennedy became the fourth MSU player to earn American Football Coaches' Association All-America honors earlier this month as a second-team selection joining former two-time honoree Amini Silatolu (2010, 2011), was taken in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, standout running back Keidrick Jackson (2013) and Christian (2015).
 
Also a second-team D2SIDA/D2CCA All-Super Region Four pick, Kennedy earned first-team All-Lone Star Conference accolades last month while continuing MSU's "O-Line Pride" tradition by producing the sixth league offensive lineman of the year over the past seven seasons joining former All-American Amini Silatolu (2010, 2011), Ken Van Heule (2012), Shadow Stokes (2014) and Alfredo Moreno (2015).
 
Kennedy led an offensive line unit that paved the way for the second-best running attack in the LSC while ranking 37th nationally at 196.1 yards per game. He headed a unit that allowed 5.10 tackles for loss per game -- second in the LSC, 38th in NCAA II -- and 11 total sacks this season.
 
He becomes the fifth player from the Lone Star Conference to claim the Rimington Award joining Texas A&M-Kingsville's Kevin Palmer (2003) and Southeastern Oklahoma's Kevin Burton (2004) as well as Abilene Christian's Sam Collins (2008) and Matt Webber (2011).
 
Other winners of the Rimington Award this season including Illinois State's Mark Spelman from the FCS level, Mount Union's Mitch Doraty of NCAA Division III and Saint Francis (Ind.)'s Brian Gegner of the NAIA.
 
Ohio State's Pat Elflein claimed the Rimington Trophy which is presented to the top center at the Bowl Championship Subdivision.

Copyright 2016 KAUZ Sports/MSU Athletic Communications All Rights Reserved

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