Even in the offseason, the Hillsdale College football team stayed busy, Alex Anschutz, Konnor Maloney, and Cole Johnson were all named 2020 – 21 Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
To earn Academic All-American, the student-athlete must earn a cumulative 3.3 GPA or higher, as well as be chosen by CoSIDA based on academic and athletic performance. Only 18 athletes in Hillsdale’s history have earned this honor since 1952. Anschutz, a senior team captain who plays the safety-linebacker hybrid position, said the achievement is a great honor.
“I wouldn’t say it was a personal goal of mine but the culture of our team and our school is based around hard work and rejoicing in challenge,” Anschutz said. “My personal goal was to do my best both academically and athletically to contribute to that culture.”
Part of Anschutz’s earning this award comes from hs activity off the field.
“Anschutz is a Biochemistry major, and he earned the President’s Scholar-Athlete Award at Hillsdale College for maintaining a GPA of 3.8 or higher in both 2020 and 2021, and presented a semester-long research project in the spring of 2020 highlighting key points of the mechanisms involved in the human dopamine transporter in the brain,” Hillsdale College’s official press release said. “He’s currently on track to graduate with high honors from Hillsdale College.”
Johnson, a redshirt junior offensive lineman, also spoke on Hillsdale’s culture both on the field and in the classroom.
“I believe Hillsdale College athletes are built for this award,” Johnson said. “We strive to complete the demanding academic rigor up the hill and continue to have athletic success down at the sports complex.”
Johnson’s involvement off the field comes from his financial management major.
“Johnson also earned the President’s Scholar-Athlete Award at Hillsdale College for 2021, and was named Outstanding Senior by the Hillsdale Financial Management department this spring,” Hillsdale’s press release said. “He’s made the dean’s list all eight semesters at Hillsdale and earned a 4.0 GPA in each of the last two semesters. Johnson is on track to graduate with high honors from Hillsdale College.”
Head coach Keith Otterbein said all three set a great example for the underclassmen.
“They have established themselves as leaders in the culture of the football program,” Otterbein said. “They also understand why they’re here, for an education, and they have a great work ethic.”
Prior to Maloney, Johnson, and Anschutz, only five Charger football players had ever earned this award. The Chargers became one of only five football programs in Division II with multiple first team honorees, in Maloney and Anschutz. The Chargers also were the only program with three Academic All-Americans on both teams, wth Johnson earning Academic All-American Second Team.
“Knowing how few Chargers, especially Charger football players, have earned this award exemplifies just how hard my teammates and I have worked over the years and brings about a great sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished both on and off the field,” Maloney, a senior wide receiver, said.
Maloney is active in the Hillsdale Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which helps plan and set up charity efforts.
“[Maloney] has made the Dean’s list at Hillsdale College seven semesters in a row,” Hillsdale’s press release said. “A member of the Tri Beta Biological Honorary, he also studied at an internship at the Michigan State University Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences and Engineering, assisting in and earning credit for the research for a scientific paper published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. An Exercise Science major, Maloney is on track to graduate with honors at Hillsdale College.”
All three players are returning for the fall season, and say there’s considerable energy for this upcoming season.
“It’s a great feeling to see our hard work in the classroom start to pay off, so I’m extremely excited to see how our efforts in the off season will similarly lead to great accomplishments during the upcoming season,” Maloney said. “I could not be more proud of the way our team has handled adversity throughout the years and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 2021 season.”