SAN ANTONIO — Nate Leonard and Eric Soza both earned first-team Capital One Academic All-District VII honors, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on Thursday. The pair now is eligible for the Academic All-America ballot.
Leonard, who maintains a 3.99 GPA in physical education, was named to the team for the second consecutive year. The only Roadrunner to start all 31 games in program history, he has chronicled his junior campaign with a blog on goUTSA.com after doing so last season for The Huffington Post.
The center from McKinney has been instrumental in the team's success this fall. He has helped UTSA post a 4-5 overall record, including a 3-2 mark in Conference USA play, and that has it one game out of first place in the league's West Division heading into Saturday's contest with Tulane. The offense is averaging 27.3 points, 418.4 total yards (177.6 rush/240.9 pass), 22.7 first downs and 32:44 possession time (3rd C-USA/19th FBS) per outing this fall and the 6-foot, 280-pounder leads the offensive line with 56 knockdown blocks, including a season-high 10 against Rice (Oct. 12).
Meanwhile, Soza graduated last May with a 3.96 GPA in physical education and he currently is taking graduate courses in education leadership and policy studies with plans to pursue coaching when his playing career is complete.
The Beeville native was a member of both the Manning Award (nation’s top QB) and inaugural Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (top offensive player in Division I with ties to the state of Texas) preseason watch lists. The first Roadrunners football player ever to be named to a national award preseason watch list owns a 16-13 (.552) record in two-plus seasons as the Roadrunners' starting quarterback. He is the program’s all-time leading passer (517-for-872/6,224 yards/45 TDs) and also has rushed 237 times for 948 yards and 13 scores.
Soza has connected on 179-of-283 (63.3 percent) passes for 1,991 yards, including a program-record 316 against Houston (Sept. 28), and 11 touchdowns through the season’s first nine games. He also has rushed for 299 yards and four scores on 75 carries.
He was selected as one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes on Oct. 31 and now is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy (a.k.a. the Academic Heisman). The 6-foot, 210-pounder was named to this year’s American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team in September and also was a Senior CLASS Award candidate.
The Capital One Academic All-District teams recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom and the squads are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States. Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA’s Academic All-America teams programs since 2011. First-team honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.