February 1, 2014

Jeremy Stephens Named To USA National Football Team

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler senior football standout Jeremy Stephens has been named to the USA National Team which will compete in the inaugural World University Championships in Uppsala, Sweden this spring.  The U. S. will compete against seven other countries in the Championships, slated for May 1-11.

Stephens wrapped up a stellar Butler career last fall, helping the Bulldogs to a share of the Pioneer Football League title and Butler's first appearance in the NCAA Division I FCS Championship.  He was named Butler's Defensive Top Dawg (MVP), and he received the team's Defensive Battle of the Trenches (Lineman of the Year) Award for the second consecutive year.  A two-time, first team All-PFL performer, the 6-1, 250-pound defensive end finished the 2013 season as Butler's leader in quarterback sacks (4) and tackles for loss (8).  He closed out his Butler career with 15.5 quarterback sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss in three seasons, after transferring from Thomas More in 2010.

The former Lawrence Central High School player was selected to the U.S. team by Athletes in Action (AIA) Football, which is facilitating the team of collegiate football players, featuring 2013 and 2014 graduating seniors from NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II and III and NAIA rosters.
    
"To represent the USA is an honor," said Stephens, who started 35 consecutive games over three seasons for the Bulldogs.  "People dream of things like this, and I am beyond thankful and blessed that the committee believed that my skills on the field would help them win."

The U.S. team will be coached by Eastern Kentucky head football coach Dean Hood, and the coaching staff includes Franklin head coach (and former Butler assistant coach) Mike Leonard.  The team will travel to Sweden on April 28 and will have three days of practice in the host country, before playing its first game on May 2.  The Gold Medal game is scheduled for May 11.

American football is making its debut in the World University Championships, which are part of the sporting events of the International University Sports Federation.  In addition to the U.S., the competition will include teams from China, England, Finland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.

Athletes in Action is the sports outreach of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and works with professional and amateur athletes and coaches to use the unique platform of sports to help people around the world answer questions of faith.  AIA is active on more than 250 collegiate campuses in the U.S. and 90 countries worldwide.