Dec. 13, 2017
BALTIMORE, MD – Three members of the Johns Hopkins football team have been named to the 2017 Division III CoSIDA Academic All-America Football Team it was announced today. Senior center Ben Gaal (Sheffield Lake, OH/St. Edware) was named to the first team, while junior wide receiver Luke McFadden (Tampa, FL/Plant) and junior defensive lineman Anthony Davidson (Cuddy, PA/South Fayette) were named to the second team. The three selections boost Johns Hopkins' all-time number of Academic All-Americans in football to 31.
Johns Hopkins' three selections are tied with Rose-Hulman (IN) and Springfield (MA) for the most of any team in the nation and also tie the program record. This is the fifth time Johns Hopkins has produced three Academic All-Americans in football in the same season (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) and this is also the seventh straight year that head coach Jim Margraff's team has had two or more Academic All-Americans.
To be eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-All-America honors, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA, be a sophomore or above and a starter or significant reserve.
Gaal started all 11 games at center for the Blue Jays this season as was the leader of a Johns Hopkins offensive line that paved the way for an offense that averaged 39.5 points and 505.7 yards per game. Gaal has a 3.80 cumulative GPA and is majoring in political science/pre-med.
In addition to his exploits on the field, Gaal has served as a research assistant at the Bloomberg School of Public Health for the last year, conducted research at the Cleveland Clinic last summer, spent the summer of 2016 shadowing a hematologist/oncologist at the Mercy Cancer Center; he also completed an internship in the office of Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
Gaal is the 12th Johns Hopkins offensive lineman to earn Academic All-America honors and this is the third consecutive year that a Blue Jay offensive lineman has been named to the team
McFadden, the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year, a First Team All-Centennial selection and a Second Team D3football.com All-South Region pick in 2017, totaled 58 receptions for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. His 1,162 receiving yards are third best in school history, while his 20.0 yards per reception is a school record for players with 50 or more receptions in a season. McFadden is majoring in economics and has a 3.50 cumulative GPA.
McFadden is a Small Group leader through Hopkins Christian Fellowship, completed a Missions trip to Ecuador in 2016, is in his second year as an Interfraternity Council Representative and is a member of the Financial Analyst Club.
McFadden is the second Johns Hopkins wide receiver to earn Academic All-America honors as he joins Evan Earnest, a first team selection in 2006, on this distinguished list.
A key member of a deep and talented rotation on the defensive line, Davidson is majoring in neuroscience and carries a 3.94 cumulative grade point average. He finished the 2017 season with 20 tackles, including 6.5 for losses and 4.5 sacks, and also led the team with four forced fumbles; his four forced fumbles were third most in the nation in Division III this season.
Davidson is currently serving as a Laboratory Research Assistant in the lab for Child Development at Johns Hopkins, has twice completed surgical shadowing programs, works as a Teaching Assistant (Organic Chemistry) and a Study Consultant and has served as the class liaison for the Johns Hopkins football team in its Be the Match Bone Marrow Drive and its adoption of a child cancer survivor through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
Davidson is the eighth Johns Hopkins defensive lineman to be selected as an Academic All-American, including the fifth since 2011.
Johns Hopkins posted a 9-2 record, won its ninth consecutive Centennial Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Playoffs for the seventh straight year in 2017.
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