Local Sports
Western Illinois Football seniors Brett Taylor, Jaelon Acklin and Jacob Judd, along with junior Khalen Saunders received All-American honors. 
 
Taylor, a senior linebacker and Buck Buchanan Award finalist was honored as a First Team All-American by both STATS FCS and Phil Steele. Taylor led the nation with 162 tackles, 13.5 stops per game and 96 assisted tackles. He was also named Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as he finished his career a three time All-MVFC selection.
 
Acklin, a senior wide receiver, was named Second Team All-American by STATS FCS and Third Team by Phil Steele. Acklin finished second in the nation in receiving yards (1,369), fifth in receiving yards per game (114.1), seventh in total touchdowns (14), ninth in all-purpose yards per game (135.33), 11th in receptions per game (7.0) and 14th in receiving scores (10). He also set school single-season records in 2017 with 84 receptions for 1,369 yards. 
 
Judd, a senior center, was named Third Team All-American by both STATS FCS and Phil Steele. In addition to anchoring the high-powered Leatherneck offensive attack, he was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American for the second year in a row. Judd finishes his career at WIU as a three-time All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.
 
Saunders, a junior defensive lineman, made the Phil Steele Third Team All-American list. He finished fifth in the conference in both forced fumbles (three, 41st nationally) and sacks (7.5, 54th nationally). Saunders was named to First Team All-MVFC for the first time in his career.