LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State sophomore offensive lineman Valerian Ume-Ezeoke has been named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District VII first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the organization announced Thursday.
As a result of his first-team all-district selection, Ume-Ezeoke will now be placed on the ballot for the Capital One Academic All-America team. The team will consist of first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees and will be selected later on this month.
Ume-Ezeoke is in his second year as an offensive lineman on the NM State football team. The Garland, Texas, native has started all nine games at center for the Aggies this season. Ume-Ezeoke is an integral part of an offensive line that so far this year has helped produce over 2,000 yards passing from sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley, over 500 yards rushing from junior running back Germi Morrison and over 1,000 yards receiving from sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin, who is also first in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and third in the nation in receiving yards per game.
During NM State’s home-opener against Sacramento State, while making only his second career start at center, Ume-Ezeoke helped the Aggies score a season-high seven touchdowns and rack up 467 yards of total offense. Against Ohio, Ume-Ezeoke had four knockdowns on his way to earning a perfect assignment rating. The four knockdowns were a season-high for Ume-Ezeoke until last week’s game at Auburn where he had five total knockdowns to bring his season total to 33.
Ume-Ezeoke made an immediate impact at NM State, playing in eight games his freshman year while starting in six of them. He finished his rookie campaign with 32 total knockdowns, only four penalties and did not allow a single sack. Ume-Ezeoke’s contributions helped an Aggie offense that finished 47th in the nation in total offense and 27th in the nation in passing. For his efforts, Ume-Ezeoke was named to the All-WAC Freshman team by Rivals.com.
Ume-Ezeoke’s on-the-field play is only overshadowed by his performance in the classroomm. The biology major finished his freshman year with a perfect 4.0 GPA and currently maintains a 3.7 GPA.
Capital One and CoSIDA are in their third year as partners for the all-district and all-america awards. The program honors nearly 2,000 student-athletes at the national level and 4,000 student-athletes at the district level for their all-around accomplishments in the classroom, in the community and in competition.