Five Broncos named all-academic

Published 3:49 pm Sunday, January 9, 2011

KALAMAZOO — For the sixth time in program history, Western Michigan football boasts five members of the Academic All-MAC Team.

Ben Armer and John Potter each made the team for the second-straight year with Alex Carder and Mitch Zajac earning a spot for the first time.

Phillip Swanson became the first four-time Academic All-MAC honoree in program history.

Western Michigan matched Northern Illinois (NIU) with the most members on their respective teams to earn Academic All-MAC. The five Broncos to earn a spot match the mark set in 1994, 1993, 1968 and 1967. It is the most honorees since WMU boasted a program record nine Academic All-MAC awardees in 1998.

Armer (GPA: 3.68; Major: Exercise science) was named Phil Steele Second Team All-MAC and registered the fifth best punt average in a season (41.2 yards per punt). Armer, an exercise major with a 3.68 GPA, booted a 62-yard punt at Michigan State (Sept. 4), earning MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week (POTW). He averaged 43.0 yards per punt vs. Toledo (Sept. 18), and kicked a career long punt of 65 yards and three punts of 50-plus yards vs. Idaho (Oct. 2), earning MAC West Special Teams POTW for the second time in 2010.

Armer had a season high 51.0 yards per punt average against NIU (Oct. 30), the third highest punt average in a game in program history, and had a career matching four punts inside 20-yard line at Central Michigan (Nov. 5). He kicked fourth punt of 60 yards or longer vs. Kent State (Nov. 20). He is one of 19 Broncos on the football team with a GPA over 3.50.

Carder (GPA: 3.22; Major: Communications) earned Third Team All-MAC after becoming only the third Bronco quarterback in program history to throw for over 3,000 yards (3,334) and throw 30 touchdowns (30) in a season. Carder, a communications major with a 3.22 GPA, was ranked as the third best player in the MAC by after registering four games with over 300 yards passing and seven multi-touchdown games in 2010.

Carder broke two school records in 2010, completing 43 passes against Toledo and recording 567 total offensive plays for the Broncos.

Potter (GPA: 3.97; Major: Business) boasts the highest GPA on the team, earned his first all-conference honor in 2010, garnering Third Team All-MAC, leading the MAC with 50 PATs on 50 attempts. Potter set WMU records for consecutive PATs made in a season (50) and has a current streak of 72 consecutive PATs made in a career, also a program record that ranks seventh in MAC history.

Of Potter’s 72 kickoffs, he registered a career-high 20 touchbacks and finished the year 10-of-12 in field goals (83.3 percent). He is also the program’s record holder for tackles by a kicker with 28 after making a career best 12 stops in 2010.

Swanson (GPA: 3.85; Major: Journalism (Master’s of Communication)) named Phil Steele Second Team All-MAC in 2010, Phillip Swanson is only the second player in WMU football history to earn Academic All-America twice in a career, earning Second Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America in 2008 and again in 2010. He completed his undergraduate degree in August of 2010 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communications.

He was a semifinalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy and his 3.85 GPA ranks forth on the team. On the field, he appeared in over 900 snaps in a season for the third time in his career and finishes his career 48 starts in 49 games. Swanson was on the field for a team-best 911 offensive snaps this year.

Zajac (GPA: 3.81; Major: Mechanical engineering) led team with a career high 97 tackles. His season was highlighted with nine tackles vs. Toledo (Sept. 18), leading the team with eight tackles at Ball State (Oct. 9) and a season high 2.0 tackles for loss at Notre Dame (Oct. 16).

Zajac, who boasts the fifth highest GPA on the team (3.81 in mechanical engineering), had three double-digit tackle games in three of the last four games of the season. He amassed 10 tackles at CMU (Nov. 5) and followed with 14 tackles and 2.0 sacks vs. Eastern Michigan (Nov. 13). Finally, he set a new career high with 15 tackles vs. Kent State (Nov. 20).