skip to Main Content
Rashad Yelding
Rashad Yelding was one of two players to earn Academic All-American status.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Garners Three Football Academic All-Americans

For the first time in program history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team produced three College Sports Communicators (CSC, formerly CoSIDA) Academic All-Americans in the same season. Rashad Yelding and Blake Jefferson were named First Team Academic All-Americans while Jon Ross Maye earned a Second Team selection.

Yelding repeats as a First Team Academic All-American as he earned the same distinction in 2022. Yelding is the only two-time First Team Academic All-American in program history as the graduate senior produced a 3.91 undergrad GPA and perfect 4.0 in his master’s program in business administration. On the field, Yelding started in all 15 games and produced 31 total tackles, nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks to go with four fumble recoveries. In his best game of the year, Yelding led the Bears to a win over Valdosta St. in the Regional Final with two tackles for loss, two sacks, and interception and a fumble recovery.

Jefferson joins Yelding on the First Team, his first career selection. Jefferson started in 14 of LR’s 15 games, missing just one game due to injury. Jefferson, a graduate student, has stared every year at center since stepping foot on campus and was also a team captain. He finished with a 3.75 grade point average in economics and finance.

Maye, the quarterback of the defense, also earns his first Academic All-American award as he earned a spot on the second team. The LB produced a 3.57 GPA in management as a junior and was an All-American on the field. Maye, a Second Team All-American by D2CCA, became the first Bear since 2018 to top 100 tackles in a single season. Maye finished with 116 tackles and added 15.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception. The 116 tackles are the most by an LR player since 2013 when Tanner Botts had 134 and he keyed a defense that finished seventh in the nation in points allowed per game.

The trio helped LR to a Divisional, Conference and Regional Championship in 2023 and a spot in the National Semifinal. They are also the only student-athletes from the South Atlantic Conference to earn Academic All-American.

This brings LR’s total of CSC (formerly CosIDA) Academic All-Americans to 13. Since 2018, LR has had nine Academic All-Americans.