Aaron Patrick terrorized opposing quarterbacks during his outstanding college career.
The Dayton, Ohio, native racked up 27.5 sacks -- the second-most in EKU history -- and had 42.5 tackles-for-loss.
He was a First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection in 2016 and 2018 -- and on Monday he earned one of the league's highest honors.
The senior defensive lineman was named the 2019 OVC Defensive Player of the Year.
Six other Colonels were honored as well.
Patrick, senior running back Daryl McCleskey and senior kicker Sam Hayworth were all First-Team All-OVC selections, while sophomore running back Alonzo Booth, offensive linemen Tucker Schroeder and Graham Ashkettle and defensive lineman Taquan Evans were all Second-Team All-OVC selections.
Patrick is the 15th EKU player to be named the OVC Defensive Player of the Year -- the first since Noah Spence in 2015.
Other notable Colonels to claim the award include: George Floyd (1980 & 1981), Aaron Jones (1987), David Wilkins (1991), Chad Bratzke (1993), Tony McCombs (1996), Yeremiah Bell (2001) and Spence (2015).
Patrick finished the season with 52 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. The redshirt senior led the OVC in sacks per game (0.83) and was second in tackles-for-loss (1.38 per game). He ranks 11th nationally in sacks per game, 22nd in forced fumbles and 29th in tackles-for-loss per game). He is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in FCS football.
The Dayton, Ohio native had a season-best eight tackles, including two sacks, in a win over Tennessee State. He had a season-high 3.5 tackles for a loss against nationally-ranked Southeast Missouri. Patrick also recorded two sacks in the season-ending win at Jacksonville State.
McCleskey was the only player in the conference to rush for 1,000 yards this season, finishing with 454 more yards than any other player.
The senior totaled 1,238 yards on 214 carries for an average of 5.8 yards per touch. He scored eight touchdowns on the ground and caught one TD. He finished the season with 28 receptions, the second-most on the team, for 197 yards.
In addition to leading the OVC in rushing, McCleskey was fourth in rushing touchdowns and third in all-purpose yards (119.6 per game). He is ninth in the country in rushing yards, 13th in yards per game, 23rd in yards per carry and 57th in rushing touchdowns. The Dayton native ran for a career-best, and eclipsed the 2,000-yard career rushing mark, with 202 yards against Tennessee State.
Hayworth finished the 2019 season 18-for-22 on field goal attempts with three of his misses coming from 40 yards or more away. He went 17-for-18 on attempts from inside the 40 yard line. The redshirt senior also made all 37 of his extra-point attempts.
The Ormond Beach, Fla., native led the OVC in scoring this season with 7.6 points per game. He was second in the conference in field goal percentage (81.8 percent) and field goals per game (1.50 per game). He ranks ninth in the nation in field goals per game and 16th in field goal percentage. Hayworth was chosen as the OVC Specialist of the Week twice and the national special teams player of the week once this season.
Booth finished the season with 673 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, led the conference and is 14th in the nation in rushing touchdowns.
Schroeder, a redshirt sophomore from St. Cloud, Fla., started all 12 games at left guard. Ashkettle, a redshirt sophomore from Crestwood, started 10 times at right tackle. The two were part for an offensive line that helped EKU rush for 2,468 yards. The duo helped the Colonels lead the OVC and rank 22nd in FCS football with 205.5 rushing yards per game. Over the final six games of the season, the offensive line allowed only three sacks. Both started against Tennessee State and aided a running attach that churned out 379 yards, averaging nine yards per rush.
Evans played in all 12 games. He totaled 29 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups. The redshirt senior from Douglasville, Ga., was second in the OVC with 0.67 sacks per game and sixth with 1.04 tackles for a loss per game. He ranks 33rd in the nation in sacks per game and 85th in tackles for a loss per game. Evans had three sacks in Eastern's win over Tennessee Tech.
The Colonels finished the 2019 season with a 7-5 record (5-3 OVC) and was fourth in the OVC.