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Schmerge named preseason second-team All-American by

ONU senior linebacker Zach Schmerge recorded 103 tackles last season, which led the OAC. (photo/ ONU Sports Information)

Senior linebacker Zach Schmerge, who led the OAC in tackles last season, was tabbed as a preseason second-team All-American by on Tuesday afternoon.

Schmerge was one of five OAC players listed as first or second-team preseason All-Americans. John Carroll’s Ray Brown (DE) and Mason McKendrick (LB) were given first-team honors, while Marietta’s Roger Walker (RB), Mount Union’s Mike Vidal (DT) and Schmerge were named to the second team.

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Schmerge, who was named All-Region last season and is a two-time first team All-OAC linebacker, called the preseason nod “an honor.”

“I’m truly honored to make the list,” Schmerge said. “I’m just glad all the work I’ve put in has finally paid off, to make such a highly rated list, with some of the best Division III athletes out there. It just makes all the work I have put in worth it.”

Schmerge recorded 103 tackles last season, averaging 10.3 per game. He had a career-high 20 tackles in the team’s season finale against Baldwin Wallace.

Click here for an (early) 2017 OAC football preview

The senior currently has 226 career tackles, which places him just outside the top 10 in school history. Schmerge would need 80 tackles this season to rank third all-time in school history, and would need 128 to rank second.

If Schmerge were to be named an All-American after his senior season, he would be the 45th in program history. Ohio Northern’s last All-American was wide receiver Devon Price, who graduated in 2016 and played for the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the IFL last year.

From 2016: Price headed to Tennessee for mini-camp

Of the five OAC players to be listed as preseason All-Americans by on Tuesday, Schmerge is the only one who was not an All-American last season.

John Carroll’s McKendrick was a first-team All-American last fall at linebacker, as he also received the Gene Slaughter Award, given to the OAC’s “most outstanding linebacker.” Brown was an Honorable Mention All-American at defensive end.

Marietta’s Walker was an Honorable Mention All-American last year and was the recipient of the 2016 Bob Packer Award, given to the OAC’s “most outstanding running back.” Walker ran for nearly 1,300 yards last season and was the second-leading rusher in the conference, behind ONU’s Christiaan Williams.

Mount Union’s Vidal was a first-team All-American at defensive tackle in 2016, leading the OAC in sacks with 13.

Schmerge credits his success to his family, the ONU coaching staff and his high school coach, Doug Frye. He and the Polar Bears will begin their 2017 season on Sept. 2 at Adrian (Mich.).