Valparaiso Linebacker Evan Annis Named PFL Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Wednesday, November 29, 2023
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Pioneer Football League’s football communications directors named Valparaiso redshirt junior linebacker Evan Annis the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Wednesday, leading a group of 56 student-athletes named to the 31st Academic All-PFL teams, announced Wednesday.

Annis, a illiard, Ohio native, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and entered this season with a 3.94 cumulative grade-point average. He is a three-time First Team Academic All-PFL selection, previously earning first-team honors in Spring 2021 and Fall 2021.

Annis returned as a Beacons team captain in 2023 after missing the entire 2022 season due to injury. He made the most of his return and earned Second Team All-PFL honors earlier this week. He led Valparaiso with 79 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and four quarterback pressures. Annis earned Valparaiso’s 2021 Koenig Award, presented to the football student-athlete with outstanding sportsmanship and character. Last season, he was named the Beacons’ “Most Inspirational Award.”

Butler offensive lineman Bryan Bystol joined an elite group of PFL student-athletes to earn First Team Academic All-PFL recognition four times during their career. Morehead State offensive lineman Jaxen Spears and Dayton offensive lineman David Tkatch joined Annis as PFL student-athletes to earn a third First Team Academic All-PFL honor this season.

Pioneer Football League athletic directors established the Academic All-PFL squads in 1993 as a way to recognize the league’s outstanding student-athletes. To be eligible for Academic All-PFL consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, reach his second season academically and played at least one full season at his current institution.

2023 Academic All-Pioneer Football League First Team

(as selected by PFL athletics communications directors)
Student-Athlete School Class. Pos GPA Major


Luke Bailey Drake Sr. QB 3.70 Economics/Finance
Bryan Bystol (4x, 1) Butler RSr. OL 4.00 Middle/Secondary Education
Dylan DeMaison Dayton RJr. OL 3.71 Mechanical Engineering
Chris Leonardo Marist RFr. OL 3.97 Economics
Jimmy Poremba Drake Grad. OL 3.80 Secondary Education
Tytus Ragle Valparaiso RJr. WR 3.96 Biology/Chemistry
Alec Rasmussen (1) St. Thomas Jr. OL 3.84 Business Administration:
Financial Management
Mason Sheron Davidson So. RB 3.93 Undeclared
Jaxen Spears (3x, 1) Morehead State Jr. OL 4.00 University Studies
David Tkatch (3x, 1) Dayton Frad. OL 3.86 MBA
Derek Willits (1) Dayton RSr. WR 3.97 Biochemistry


Evan Annis (3x) Valparaiso RSr. LB 3.94 Bioengineering
Nick Bafia Butler Jr. DB 3.70 Business/Finance and Risk Management
Jonathan Bunce (1) St. Thomas Jr. LB 3.92 Business Administration:
Operations and Supply Chain Mgmt.
Garrett Carney (2) San Diego Sr. LB 3.71 Computer Science
Finn Claypool (2) Drake RSo. DL 3.44 Marketing
Johnson Fallah St. Thomas Grad. DB 4.00 Business Administration:
Organizational Leadership
Sam Hafner (1) Valparaiso RJr. DL 3.78 Biology
Mason Henry Dayton RJr. DL 3.97 Mechanical Engineering
Edward Hernandez Stetson Grad. DL 4.00 Marketing
Justin Iaccio Marist Grad. LB 3.66 Information Systems
Jeremy Jonozzo Dayton RSo. CB 3.94 Accounting
Kurt Kessen Valparaiso Sr. DL 3.99 Mechanical Engineering
Jack Wiese (1) Davidson Sr. LB 4.00 Psychology


Shane Dunning (2) Drake Sr. K/P 3.77 Management & Organizational
Ezra King Presbyterian Sr. P 4.00 Business Management
Evan Matthes Valparaiso 6th Yr. P 3.88 Sports Administration
Notes in parentheses: (4x) – A four-time First Team Academic All-PFL Selection; (3x) – A three-time First Team Academic All-PFL selection; (1) – A 2022 First Team Academic All-PFL selection; (2) – A 2022 Second Team Academic All-PFL selection.

2023 Academic All-Pioneer Football League Second Team

Student-Athlete School Class Pos. GPA Major


Cade Beam Dayton RJr. H-Back 3.97 Finance
Carter Cravens Morehead State RSo. QB 3.47 Finance
Adam Dolan Butler RSo. OL 3.80 Finance Accounting
Colin Howard Drake Sr. WR 3.77 Management & Organizational
Owen Keane Butler RJr. OL 3.63 Pharmacy
Ethan Loss Butler RFr. WR 3.92 Business
Ryan Mann Valparaiso RSo. RB 3.62 Finance
Re-al Mitchell San Diego Grad. WR 3.63 Leadership Studies
Trey Radocha Drake Sr. WR 3.75 Economics
Brody Reina Davidson So. WR 3.93 Undeclared
Gage Vander Leest Drake Sr. FB 3.73 Biochemistry Cell
and Molecular Biology
Maxwell Weaver Davidson Jr. WR 3.74 Economics
Elijah Workinger Stetson Grad. TE 3.83 MBA


CJ Grisar Drake Jr. DB 3.99 Finance
Jonathan Hammond Davidson Sr. DL 3.39 Communications
Eric Haney San Diego Sr. DB 3.53 Mechanical Engineering
Alex Herriott Presbyterian Jr. LB 3.35 Business Management
Jahleel Holmes Morehead State Grad. LB 3.47 Biology
Joshua Hughes Stetson Grad. DL 3.89 Computer Science
Lucas Kozlowski Butler RJr. DB 3.60 Finance
Joey Lukrich Drake Sr. DB 3.81 Finance
Jihad McCall Morehead State RSo. DB 3.54 Exercise Science
Tyler Radocha Drake Sr. DB 3.75 Finance
Anthony Thornton Presbyterian Sr. DB 3.74 Business Administration
Grif Wurtz St. Thomas Sr. DB 3.82 Economics: Business


Justin Iaccio Marist Grad. LS 3.66 Information Systems
Brady McKnight Morehead State Jr. LS 3.78 Agribusiness
Sam Webster Dayton Sr. K 3.59 Finance
Luka Zurak Butler RJr. P/K 3.55 Economics