LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall football team had eight players named to the 2022 College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) Academic All-District® Team. This honor recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.
Academic All-District® honorees advance to the CSC Academic All-America® ballot. First-, second- and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in December. To be eligible for this honor a student-athlete most be at least a sophomore and have completed at least one full year at their current institution in addition to maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA while playing in at least half of the team's contests. The CSC Academic All-America® program separately recognizes football honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.
Isaiah Brown, John DeSantis, Nolan Gise, Will Higson, Jacob Hille, Tom Papa, Jack Rodenberger, and Mitch Wagner all earned this honor for the Diplomats. Each of these individuals are receiving this recognition for the first times in their career.
Junior Isaiah Brown caught seven passes for 60 yards this season, making the first receptions of his career in 2022. Brown had a breakout performance under the lights during the season opener against Lebanon Valley where he also had his first career touchdown catch. The computer science major also had receptions against nationally-ranked Susquehanna and Juniata throughout the regular season.
A staple of the offensive line, John DeSantis started all 10 games for the Diplomats after playing in nine contests a season ago. DeSantis saw his action at the tackle position where he helped block for Aaron Rascoe who set a new single-season record for rushing touchdowns. A business, organizations & society major, DeSantis earned his way onto the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll during each of his three eligible seasons.
Nolan Gise was another staple on the offensive line as he played in seven games, starting the year at center. Gise stepped into a prominent leadership position on the offensive line where he saw significant action for the first time in his career as a junior. A mathematics major at Franklin & Marshall, Gise led the way for a strong rushing attack and has now twice been named to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Will Higson caught 14 passes for 176 yards as the starting tight end for the Diplomats. The sophomore has now seen significant action during each of his first two seasons and has 250 receiving yards for his career. He caught a season-high four passes during the final home game against Moravian, including his first touchdown of this season. He scored the fifth receiveing touchdown of his career during the regular season finale at Gettsyburg.
Jacob Hille was previously announced as a second-team All-Centennial Conference linebacker after leading Franklin & Marshall and finishing eighth in the Centennial Conference with 72 tackles (35 solo, 37 assisted). Hille picked up double-digit tackles four times throughout the regular season. In the matchup with Ursinus, Hille recorded a sack in addition to his season-high 12 tackles. He also forced and recovered a fumble against nationally-ranked Susquehanna.
Tom Papa was a major contributor along a very strong defensive line. The junior started nine games and made 12 tackles, including three behind the opponent's line of scrimmage. He made multiple stopes against McDaniel, Johns Hopkins, and Juniata – featuring two tackles for loss in the game at Huntingdon. A junior mathematics major, Papa has now twice been named to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Jack Rodenberger was an all-conference selection last year and backed that up this year by averaging 36.1 yards on his attempts in 2022. Rodenberger punted 48 times this year and pinned the opposition inside its own 20 on 17 of those attempts. At least once per game teams started inside their own 20 following a punt from the F&M senior, including multiple times during six contests. The double major in American Studies and business, organizations & society recorded a long punt of 52 yards during home opener against Lebanon Valley and had another 51-yard effort at Gettysburg. Rodenberger also handled kickoff duties for the Diplomats on special teams.
Senior Mitch Wagner carried 60 times for 247 yards and two touchdowns – averaging 4.1 yards per carry this fall. He additionally caught five passes out of the backfield for 23 more yards. Wagner's heaviest workload came at McDaniel where he ran 15 times for 60 yards and one touchdown. That score came one week after his first touchdown of the season at nationally-ranked Susquehanna. A business, organizations & society major, Wagner ran for a season-high 74 yards on just nine carries (8.2 per carry) during the win versus Juniata.
Franklin & Marshall finished with a 6-4 record for the team's seventh consecutive winning season. The Diplomats finished fifth overall in the Centennial Conference with a 5-4 record in league play and have not had a losing record in over a decade.