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Hanson Named Capital One Academic All-American
Liberty senior offensive lineman Mitch Hanson has been named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America ® Division I football first team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) earlier today.
Hanson is the ninth player in football program history to be named to a CoSIDA Academic All-America ® team and the seventh to receive first-team honors. The CoSIDA Academic All-America ® team is the highest collegiate academic team in the country.
The native of Blue Ridge, Va., is joined on the football program's CoSIDA Academic All-America ® first-team honorees list by Jeff Benson (1982), Kelly Bush (1982), Billy Lord (1982), Jarrod Everson (1998), Chris Rocco (2009) and Pat Kelly (2011 and 2012).
Hanson is the 25th Liberty student-athlete to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America ® honors in Liberty's Division I history. Last year, Liberty set a department record with six student-athletes being named to various CoSIDA Academic All-America ® first or second teams.
Hanson posted a 3.92 undergraduate GPA in government and has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA as a graduate student (Human Services Counseling/Executive Leadership). On the field, the senior has started 36 consecutive career games, including all 13 at right guard this season.
Liberty's offensive line has helped pave the way for running back D.J. Abnar to rush for 1,235 yards this year and 15 rushing touchdowns. Abnar's 15 rushing touchdowns ranks fourth best in program history and is two shy of the program single-season record.
Hanson, a two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree, ranks third on the team in overall team performance grade and is tied for second on the team in knockdowns. He has allowed only one sack in 2014 and has helped Liberty rank second in the conference in fewest sacks allowed (14).
Last week, Hanson was named the Big South Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, giving Liberty the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the last three years (Pat Kelly in 2012 and Scott Hyland in 2013).
The senior was also named to the Big South first-team all-conference listing, the second time in his career he has earned all-conference honors (second team in 2013).
Hanson's additional academic honors include being named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll four times and to the 2013 FCS ADA Academic All-Star team.
Hanson and the No. 20/23 Liberty Flames will face No. 5/5 Villanova in the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs on Saturday at Villanova Stadium. Kickoff for the game is set for 4:30 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Liberty Football Players Who Have Earned CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors:
Jeff Benson (1982, QB, first team, college division)
Kelly Bush (1982, FB, first team, college division)
Jay Cline (2004, TE, second team, Division I/university division)
Mark DeMoss (1982, K, second team, college division)
Jarrod Everson (1997, DL, second team, Division I/university division; 1998, DL, first team, Division I/university division)
Mitch Hanson (2013, OL, first team, Division I/university divison)
Pat Kelly (2011, WR, first team, Division I/university division; 2012, WR, first team, Division I/university division)
Billy Lord (1982, DB, first team, college division)
Chris Rocco (2009, DB, first team, Division I/university division)