EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Three UW-Eau Claire football players have been named 2013 Division III Preseason All-Americans, according to USA College Football.
Earning second team recognition on offense was Joel Sweeney (Sr.-Tomah, Wis.) while Sean Graham (Sr.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) was named to the second team on defense. Offensive lineman Paul Santi (Sr.-Kingsford, Mich.) was honorably mentioned.
In 2012, Sweeney led the entire conference with 122.3 yards rushing per game. He carried the ball 264 times and accumulated 13 touchdowns to lead the team and WIAC in touchdowns. Sweeney currently ranks seventh in rushing yards in a career for the Blugolds with 2,853 and eighth in rushing attempts with 634. He was named to the first team All-WIAC on offense last season while in 2010 he was selected to the second team. He was also selected to the D3football.com All-West Region team in 2012.
Graham led the Blugolds in tackling in 2012 with 63 (44 solos, 19 assists), tied for 18th most in the WIAC, and also had a team-high 6.5 tackles for loss. He recorded one sack and recovered three fumbles, tied for the most in the conference. Last season, Graham earned second team All-WIAC defensive honors while being honorably mentioned in 2011.
Santi, who was named a second team All-WIAC selection on offense for the past two seasons, started all 10 games last year at center. He has started all 30 games in his career so far.
The Blugolds will open the 2013 season on the road against 2012 NCAA Division III runner-up University of St. Thomas (Minn.) on September 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.