Six members of the Valparaiso University football program have earned 2020 membership into the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society based on their excellence in the classroom.
The society is comprised of college football seniors from all divisions who own a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher. Six Valpo players met those standards this season with running back Kyle Cartales (Loxahatchee, Fla. / Cardinal Newman), wide receiver JD Koehler (St. Charles, Mo. / Francis Howell), kicker Dimitrios Latsonas (Westmont, Ill. / Westmont), quarterback Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child), linebacker Nick Turner (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren Township) and offensive lineman Jimmy Zajac (Tinley Park, Ill. / Andrew) all receiving membership.
A chemistry major with a 3.59 GPA, Cartales accrued 111 receiving yards on 23 catches over nine games this season. The Academic All-Pioneer Football League Second Team honoree also rushed for 99 yards. The senior hauled in a career-high eight receptions to lead the team on Sept. 14 vs. Central Connecticut, tying for the most catches in a single game by a Valpo player since the 2016 campaign.
Koehler, who owns a 3.64 GPA in exercise science, played in all 12 games and was third on the team with 246 receiving yards on 26 catches in 2019. The fifth-year senior scored his first career touchdown on senior day, a 3-yard grab from Chris Duncan. In 2018, he became the first Valpo player in over a decade to recover an on-side kick, and did so twice in a three-week span that season.
Latsonas shattered the program record for career extra points with 93 over his four seasons at Valpo. He also ranked among the program’s all-time scoring leaders with 180 points, the fourth-most in program history and most since Jeff Horton capped his career in 2007 with 188. Latsonas cracked the Top 5 in program history for field goals in a single season in 2017 with 11 in addition to setting the program record for single-season PATs in both 2017 (35) and 2018 (36). The PFL Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 27 after his 4-for-4 field-goal showing in the team’s win over Stetson, Latsonas has a 3.26 GPA in physical education.
Seewald finished among the most accomplished quarterbacks in program history, ranking fifth in Valpo lore with 4,682 career passing yards. He guided the program to its best season since 2003 in 2017, in the process cracking the Top 5 in program history in single-season passing TDs (18), passing yards (2,602) and total offense (2,570). The team captain owns a 3.21 GPA in finance.
Also a team captain, Turner was tabbed to the PFL All-Academic Second Team this fall. He finished second on the team in tackles at 76 (6.3 per game), racking up 11.5 TFL to lead the team while also recording one sack, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and four QB hurries. The fifth-year senior became the first Valpo player with 3.5 TFL in a single game since 2015 in the PFL Opener at Drake. The 2017 All-PFL Second Team honoree had a career-high 14 tackles on Nov. 2 at Davidson this season. He finished with a 3.44 undergraduate GPA in management before beginning his pursuit of a master’s in business administration.
Zajac, who boasts a 3.54 GPA in finance, was a member of the PFL honor roll throughout his career and played in a career-high eight games on Valpo’s offensive line this season.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society recognized 1,471 players from 370 colleges and universities honored as the Society celebrated its 14th year.