Led by Midwest Conference Defensive Line MVP Jordan McInerney and MWC North Newcomer of the Year A.J. Jackson, Lake Forest had 14 players included on Tuesday's announcement of the 2019 All-MWC Football Teams.
McInerney, a First Team All-MWC South selection in 2018, was one of eight Foresters to be named First Team All-MWC North this year. The senior defensive end led the conference and ranks second in the nation with 14.5 sacks and 22.0 tackles for loss on the season. He also led Lake Forest and ranked among the top 10 in the league with 76 tackles overall. McInerney is now the program's all-time leader with 54.5 career tackles for loss and his 29.0 sacks are tied-for-second in team annals.
Jackson was voted First Team All-MWC North as a wide receiver and kick returner after ranking second in the conference with 805 receiving yards and first in the country with 939 yards on punt and kickoff returns combined. The freshman leads all of NCAA Division III with 22.5 yards per punt return and is also eighth in the country with 28.8 yards per kickoff return. Jackson is tied for the national lead with three punt return touchdowns and added another score on a kickoff return, eighth touchdown receptions, and a rushing score for 13 total touchdowns.
All 45 of Jackson's receptions this season came from senior quarterback Bill Degnan, who was also named First Team All-MWC North in his first year as the team's starting signal-caller. He completed 119 of 202 passes, led the MWC with 17 touchdown passes, and ranked second in the conference with 1,760 passing yards and a 153.9 efficiency rating, the highest mark in school history.
The only other Forester to be named First Team All-MWC North on offense was left guard John Colasacco, a second team selection in the South a season ago. Colasacco started all 10 games and helped the team average 324.6 yards and 29.7 points per contest. Lake Forest gained no fewer than 250 yards in any game and surpassed the 300 mark seven times.
Joining McInerney as First Team All-MWC North selections on defense were senior outside linebacker Johnny Laponte and junior cornerback Jordan Briggs, who combined for seven interceptions on the season. Laponte was second on the team and in the top 10 in the league with 68 tackles and only four player in the conference had more than his three interceptions. Laponte finished his career ranked ninth in program history with 269 tackles, including 25.5 tackles for loss, over the last four years. Briggs tied for second in the MWC with four interceptions and added a team-high 10 pass breakups. Briggs also racked up 19 tackles on the year, including 6.0 tackles for loss.
In addition to Jackson as a returner, Lake Forest's special teams unit also had senior Michael Bounds named First Team All-MWC as a kicker and freshman Danny Baker as a special teams player. Bounds led all kickers in the conference with 60 points and 33 extra points and tied for the league lead with nine field goals in 14 attempts with a long of 43 yards. He finished fourth in team history with 13 field goals and 76 extra points in his career. Baker blocked three punts this season and made six tackles on kickoff returns and on on a punt return.
Second Team All-MWC North selections from Lake Forest include sophomore running back Stone Matthews, senior right guard Tommy Kelly, and freshman left tackle Dakota Banning. Kelly and Banning helped pave the way for Matthes to lead the team and rank fifth in the league with 759 rushing yards. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry, ran for five touchdowns, and added 92 yards on seven receptions.
Senior cornerback Jeremy Brown and a pair of interior defensive lineman in sophomore Jamari Tansmore and freshman Sam Okwuobu were also Second Team All-MWC North selections. Brown finished his final season with an interception, five pass breakups, and 20 tackles. Tansmore recorded 28 tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, and forced and recovered a fumble. Okwuobu was just behind Tansmore with 27 stops, including 7.0 tackles for loss.
Lake Forest finished the season with an overall record of 7-3 and a mark of 4-1 in MWC North Division play. The Foresters' 15 all-conference honors are the team's highest total since 2002.