Football Places 10 on Athlon Sports Preseason All-MAC List

YPSILANTI, Mich. ( – A total of 10 Eastern Michigan University football student-athletes were named Preseason All-MAC by Athlon Sports, the magazine announced this week.

Offensive lineman Brian Dooley (Bowling Green, Ohio-Toledo St. John’s Jesuit), running back Samson Evans (Crystal Lake, Ill.-Prairie Ridge-Iowa), and punter Mitchell Tomasek (Columbus, Ohio-Worthington Kilbourne) garnered the Eagles’ first team selection, while wide receiver Tanner Knue (Mason, Ohio-Mason), defensive back Kempton Shine (Chicago, Ill.-St. Rita), and kicker Jesús Gómez (Puebla, Mexico-Prepa Tec Puebla) added second team accolades. Linebacker Joe Sparacio (Naples, Fla.-First Baptist Academy-Boston College) added third team accolades, as offensive lineman Alex Howie (Canton, Mich.-Salem), linebacker Chase Kline (Chardon, Ohio-Chardon-Michigan State), and kick returner Jaylon Jackson (Burleson, Texas-Centennial-Lamar) picked up fourth team honors. 

Dooley finds himself on the all-conference honor roll for the third consecutive season after grabbing second team honors in 2022. A leader and team captain, the Bowling Green, Ohio, product played 924 snaps for the Eagles last season, allowing just five quarterback hits all season. He helped EMU’s offense tally 29.8 points per game, a number that ranks second-best in program history. EMU ranked third in the league and 34th nationally with a time of possession of 31:17, including winning the battle of the clock in its final six contests.

Evans earned his first all-conference honors in 2022 after a historic season in the backfield for EMU. The Crystal Lake, Ill., native scored his 27th career rushing touchdown against Central Michigan, Nov. 25, to move into first place in Eastern Michigan program history in the category during a 2022 season which saw him rush for 100+ yards in four contests, a career-best mark. His 29 scores put him in second on EMU’s all-time touchdowns list (rushing and receiving). With 1,166 yards on the ground last season, Evans is the 14th EMU player to rush for a total of 1,000 yards or more in a single season. The senior’s total was good for eighth all-time in single-season laurels at EMU. His 15 touchdowns in 2022 ranked first in the MAC and 15th nationally.

Tomasek was outstanding all season long in his first year as the team’s primary punter. The Columbus, Ohio, native took home five MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week honors, the most weekly award wins for an Eagle since Jake Julien hit that mark in 2018. Tomasek punted 49 times for an average of 44.1 yards per attempt in 2022. That figure led the MAC, and ranked 23rd in the nation. Moreover, his 44.1 yards per punt was the third-best single-season total in EMU program history. Tomasek was recognized nationally on two occasions this season by the Ray Guy Award as a “Ray’s 8” selection, given to the eight best college punters in each respective week of the regular season.

Earning all-conference honors for the first time in 2022, Knue led the Eagles with 632 yards receiving, nine touchdowns, and just one dropped pass. Ranked seventh in the MAC in total touchdowns, the Mason, Ohio, native’s nine TDs are tied for third-best in a single season at EMU.  Furthermore, the former walk-on is ranked third in the league and 14th nationally in receiving touchdowns. Knue caught at least three passes in all but one game in 2022, while he went for a season-high 106 yards against Buffalo, Sept. 24.

Shine started all 12 games that he appeared in last season, recording 30 tackles, 13 passes defended, and one interception. Shine’s 13 knock-a-ways are tied for the second-most in a single season during the modern statistical era. His best game occurred against Buffalo, Sept. 24, when he notched seven stops and three breakups. 

For his career, the Chicago native has 18 pass breakups, and is just 10 away from tying the all-time record of 28 held by DaQuan Pace (2013-16).

Gomez wasted no time entering the EMU record books in his first season as the team’s primary place kicker. Second on the team in total points (89), Gomez knocked in 14-of-17 field goal attempts this season (82%), a percentage which ranked seconded in the MAC. Additionally, he was a perfect 47-of-47 on extra point attempts during the 2022 regular season. Gomez’s signature kick came against Ball State University, Oct. 22, when he drilled a program-record-tying 55-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half.

A first-year linebacker with the Green and White in 2022, Sparacio made an immediate impact on the EMU defense. The Naples, Fla., native was second on the team with 89 total tackles, including 42 solo and 47 assisted. He added 6.0 TFLs, good for second on the team behind only All-American Jose Ramirez. Additionally, he recorded the first interception by a linebacker at EMU since the 2018 campaign, and also notched a fumble recovery.

Howie appeared in eight games as a starter last season on the offensive line, still accumulating 509 snaps played despite missing four games due to injury. All told, he allowed just 12 quarterback pressures on the season.

Kline led Eastern Michigan in tackles with 91 in his first season in Ypsilanti. He ranked 16th in the MAC and 95th nationally with 7.6 stops per game. His best day came at Akron, Nov. 8, when he notched 14 tackles and a sack in his return to northeast Ohio. 

Jackson grabbed First Team All-MAC accolades in 2022 after joining the program from Lamar University. The Burleson, Texas, product was one of just four MAC players to record a kick return for a touchdown this season and one of just 29 nationwide to do so.  Jackson ranked 18th nationally with an average of 24.8 yards per kick return.

Eastern Michigan is flying high after winning the 2022 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 41-27, over San Jose State, Dec. 20, in Boise, Idaho. It was the second postseason bowl game win for the program and its first since it defeated the same SJSU team in the 1987 California Bowl in Fresno, Calif. The Eagles finished the season with nine wins, the second-most in program history, and in addition to the Potato Bowl championship, also earned a co-MAC West Division title, and won the Michigan MAC trophy for the first time since 2012.

In the midst of one of the most successful runs in program history, Eastern Michigan has made a bowl game appearance five times since 2016, a number that ties for the most by any team in the Mid-American Conference. Additionally, the team has now played in bowl games in four consecutive seasons (excluding the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign) for the first time in school history.

Eastern Michigan football season tickets are currently on sale. EMU continues to offer the Ultimate Fan Season Ticket Plan for just $150. This package includes a wide chairback with armrests on the 50-yard line along with VIP season parking. Chairback Season Tickets are $120 and include a chairback in Reserved Sections 104-109. Reserved season tickets are just $108 (Reserved Sections 104-109), while General Admission season tickets are $84 (Sections 110-114 and the visiting side). Call 734.487.ENOW (3669) or visit