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Jacobsen, Diggins honored by WIAC

UW-River Falls senior football players Nick Jacobsen and Michael Diggins have been honored with two of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (WIAC) highest honors, the conference announced Thursday, Nov. 16.

Jacobsen, a senior defensive lineman from Prescott, has been named the WIAC Defensive Player of the Year, while Diggins, a senior running back from Andover, Minn., has been honored with the 2017 WIAC Max Sparger Football Scholar-Athlete Award. A total of 10 Falcon football players earned All-WIAC accolades.

Jacobsen, a 2013 graduate of Prescott High School, anchored a Falcon defensive unit that led the WIAC in rushing defense, allowing opponents just 79.8 yards per game on the ground. He finished the season with 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup. Jacobsen served as team captain and was a first team All-WIAC selection in 2016, second team honoree in 2015 and honorable mention as a freshman in 2014.

Joining Jacobsen on the All-WIAC first team is fellow senior Kyle Narges, a defensive back from Cumberland, and Max Praschak, a sophomore linebacker from Somerset.

Narges finished the season with 27 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups while ranking fifth in the WIAC with 10 passes defended. Praschak led the WIAC in tackles, tallying 91 on the season, was second in the league with 14.5 tackles for loss and finished fifth in sacks with 5.5.

Falcons named to the All-WIAC second team include Diggins, Levi Ross, a sophomore offensive lineman from St. Francis, Minn., and Isaac Bowe, a senior center from Kasson, Minn.

Rakeem Felder, a junior defensive lineman from Maple Grove, Minn., Trenton Monson, a junior wide receiver from Big Lake, Minn., and Jay Robinson, a senior defensive lineman from Bloomington, Minn. earned Honorable Mention accolades while Nick Flesland, a a senior special teams player from Vadnais Heights, Minn. was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

Diggins, a senior from Andover, Minn. (Centennial), sustains a 3.71 grade point average and is majoring in health and physical education with a minor in adapted physical education. He was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society in 2017 and is a three-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll. Diggins has been recognized on UW-River Falls Dean's List numerous semesters.

He secured All-WIAC second team recognition this season after earning honorable mention accolades in 2015 and 2016. Diggins led the conference in rushing this season with 1,298 yards, an average of 129.8 yards per game, to become UWRF's first 1,000 yard rusher since 2011. His 17 touchdowns and 102 points scored tied the school single-season records. Diggins was a team captain the past two years and two-time recipient of UW-River Falls Offensive MVP. In 2016, he received the Falcon Award.

Diggins is a member of the Minnesota Society of Health and Physical Educators and has volunteered at Shriner's Hospital for Children. He has participated in Relay for Life, Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, Bridge-On Campus, Trick or Treat For Canned Goods and Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. Diggins has served on the UWRF Hall of Fame Committee and assisted with the UWRF Educator Preparation Program and UWRF Health and Human Performance Adapted Physical Education Program. He has worked with UWRF Campus Recreation, as well as a youth football camp.

Diggins is the ninth UWRF football player to receive the Max Sparger Football Scholar-Athlete Award since it's inception in 1985-86 and the fourth since 2011-12. Ryan Kusilek was the last to receive the award in 2015.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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