NSU’s Ryan Reed, Dustin Burns earn Southland All-Academic honors

Ryan Reed, Dustin Burns 2018

For the third straight season, Northwestern State junior safety Ryan Reed has been included on the Southland Conference All-Academic Football Team, joined on the 2018 roster by junior offensive lineman Dustin Burns representing the Demons.

Reed has a 3.52 cumulative grade point average in industrial engineering technology. Burns graduated last month with a 3.71 GPA in biology and will return to play his senior season as a graduate student next fall.

Reed was the Demons’ third-leading tackler with 81 (38 solo). He was 12th-ranked in tackles among all Southland defenders. He is the only three-time selection on the Southland’s 2018 All-Academic Team.

The St. Francisville-West Feliciana product made two interceptions, two pass breakups, and 1.5 tackles for loss this season. Reed contributed to NSU’s Purple Swarm defense ranking third nationally in turnovers forced (26).

Late last year, Reed was named as a repeat selection to the Academic All-District 6 Team as part of the the Academic All-America program, operated by the College Sports Information Directors of America. District 6 includes all Division I schools (FBS and FCS) from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. District 6 covers nine states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

After 18 career starts, Reed will return to play his senior season in 2019 with 190 career tackles.

Burns, a Beaumont, Texas-West Brook High School product, started at tackle and guard in seven games before an injury ended his season. He had 116 knockdown blocks and 33 “mental toughness, extra effort” points in six games before getting hurt on the second play of the seventh game.

His 19.3 average on knockdowns as best by any offensive lineman who played at least half the season. He had a season-best 23 at Southeastern Louisiana and 21 in his hometown during a 49-48 win over FCS playoff entry Lamar.

Burns’ blocking helped NSU rank sixth nationally with a 321-yard passing average. He has 13 career starts, including all seven games he played in 2018.

Burns and Reed were key components as the Demons (5-6 overall, 4-5 in the Southland) finished just three points of their first winning season since 2008. NSU won three of the last four games, including a 37-34 double-overtime upset of 18th-ranked McNeese and a season-ending 35-23 win at rival Stephen F. Austin.

Luke Anthony, a junior quarterback at Abilene Christian who has a 4.0 GPA, was voted as the Southland’s Football Student-Athlete of the Year.