Football’s Ackerman Concludes an Outstanding Career

By Ronald Hanaki

Sports Editor

Redshirt-senior Devon Ackerman just completed an outstanding career as the starting center for ESU Football.

His accomplishments on the gridiron have been outstanding, but Ackerman has been the epitome of the student-athlete for the Warriors. A double-major in biochemistry and chemical biotechnology, he has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout his collegiate career.

In fact, he is called “4.0” by his teammates.

“My plan is to apply and go to medical school,” stated Ackerman. “I would like to go to Penn State-Hershey because I am from that area.”

“Biochemistry is my backup plan,” said Ackerman. “I can work in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Ackerman has been named twice to the Academic All-America 1st team. This year, he has been named as a semi-finalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy.

“This is the end of my 15th year of playing football collectively,” said Ackerman.

“I was always bigger and stronger–and slower–than everyone else,” said Ackerman. “So I was always on the offensive and defensive lines growing up.”

“I was playing on the sixth grade team as a fourth-grader,” stated Ackerman.

Ackerman took to football because he liked the team aspect.

“Most of my friends and the people that I hang out with are from football,” said Ackerman.

“It’s like a fraternity,” stated Ackerman. “We all compete and have success together.”

Ackerman was recruited heavily by Division III schools, but he always wanted to play at the highest level of competition that he could. For the Hanover, Pa. native, that was Division II and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

“Growing up, I knew that the PSAC was a very good and competitive conference, and I was recruited here by Coach Mike Terwilliger,” stated Ackerman.

“I redshirted my first year,” said Ackerman. “But after that, I started every game of my career.”

Ackerman started all 44 games in his collegiate career for the Warriors and was named to the PSAC Fall Top 10 twice.

Ackerman said that his most memorable football games are from two seasons ago. The first is the five-overtime game against Shippensburg.

“I think we ran 300 offensive plays in that game,” said Ackerman.

“It turned into a shootout,” said Ackerman. “It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster.”

“Even though we didn’t come out on top, I learned a lot about the game,” stated Ackerman.

The second is beating Bloomsburg University during the 2015 season. It was the first time that the Warriors beat the Huskies since 2005.

During Ackerman’s first two season on the offensive line, the Warriors ran a pass-first offense. But during his last two seasons, Ackerman was called on to do more run-blocking. Ackerman discussed making the transition between the two different styles of offense.

“When [Matt] Soltes, [Jon] Schnaars and [Robert] Healy were here, I knew that sometimes I had to hold the block longer to give our offense more time,” said Ackerman.

“Jaymar Anderson is more of a down-the-hill running back. So I know that I only have to hold my block for a short time, and Jaymar is going to be there,” said Ackerman.

“Now with [redshirt-freshman quarterback Ben] Moser, I have to make sure that I have to hold my blocks longer. Because if there is nothing there, I know that Moser is going to run around and try to make a play,” said Ackerman.

“So when I first got here, we were a throw-the-ball-first, spread offense. It’s not hard to pass-block, but you have to impose your will in run-blocking,” said Ackerman.

“But in my time here, we stepped up and emphasized the run more,” said Ackerman. “So I am proud of that.”

Ackerman may be studious, but he is not averse to playing pranks when the Warriors are on the road.

“The goal posts have a cushion with the name of the university on it. So I like to spin the cushion around so that you can’t see the name of the other team,” said Ackerman.

“But overall, I was happy with the campus support. We always have a great turnout in the stands,” said Ackerman.

“[Former Director of Athletics Josh] Looney did a lot with that. He put up decorations and stuff around the stadium. I thought that was pretty cool because it probably got more people to turn out for the games,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman stands ready to help the Warriors recruit more great players like himself.

“The Poconos is a great place, and I love this area,” stated Ackerman.

“I wasn’t a great recruit coming out, but I came here. The coaches here gave me an opportunity, and I made the most out of it.”

“So if I was going to say anything to a potential recruit, I would tell him that you could do that here, too.”

Ackerman said that he was able to accomplish all his goals in football except play in the PSAC Championship Game.

“I always wanted to play in the championship game and get the PSAC ring, but I have a lot of memories from playing football here,” said Ackerman.

“We had a great year, and I enjoyed my time here,” stated Ackerman.

Email Ronald at:

rhanaki@live.esu.edu

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