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Nebraska fullback C.J. Zimmerer was named one of five finalists for the 2014 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award. The award is presented annually to a leader in the world of college football who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community. The winner will be presented at the Maxwell Club Awards Gala on March 14, 2014, at Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Big Ten student-athletes have won the past two Rare Disease Champion awards, as Penn State's Eric Shrive took home the honor last season and Nebraska's Rex Burkhead was tabbed the winner in 2012.
To read more about Zimmerer's cause, click here.
To vote for Zimmerer through Jan. 31, click here.
Cliff Avril, DE, Seattle Seahawks (Purdue) - Notched one solo
tackle, one sack and one forced fumble in Seattle's 23-17 win over San
Cliff Avril, DE, Seattle Seahawks (Purdue) - Notched one tackles,
one pass deflection and 0.5 sacks in Seattle's 23-15 win over New Orleans
Penn State University has selected James Franklin, a Pennsylvania native who is one of the nation's most successful and dynamic coaches, as the 16th head football coach in its storied 127-year history. Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner announced Franklin's appointment today. The enthusiastic and passionate Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success in his three years as head coach, winning nine games in each of the past two years, and finishing in the Top 25 in consecutive seasons, both for the first time in school history. Franklin succeeds Bill O'Brien, who was named head coach of the National Football League's Houston Texans earlier this month.
From Langhorne, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, Franklin's enthusiasm and tireless efforts resulted in taking Vanderbilt to new heights over the past three years, posting a 24-15 record, including marks of 9-4 during each of the past two seasons, capped by bowl victories. The Commodores finished the 2013 season with five consecutive victories, with wins over Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky in Southeastern Conference play, along with a win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Franklin's 2012 squad finished the season with seven consecutive victories and posted VU's first nine-win season since 1915.
For more information on Penn State's new football coach, click on this link.
NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers (Penn State) - Led the team with 10 tackles, all solo, and a forced fumble in San Francisco's 23-20 victory over Green Bay
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (Purdue) - Threw for 250 yards on 20-of-30 passing and one touchdown in the Saints' 26-24 win over the Eagles
Mike Daniels, DE, Green Bay Packers (Iowa) - Tallied five tackles, including three solo, and a sack in the Packers' 23-20 loss to the 49ers
With bowl season complete, five Big Ten schools received votes in the final Associated Press (AP) or USA Today coaches polls, including at least two top-10 teams for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Following a victory in the 100th Rose Bowl Game, Michigan State ended the season ranked No. 3 in both national polls, the second straight season a Big Ten team concluded the year at No. 3 after Ohio State was rated third in the final 2012 AP poll. The No. 3 ranking was the best finish for the Spartans since ending the 1966 campaign second in the country. The Buckeyes also ended this season rated among the top 10 nationally, appearing in a tie for No. 10 in the coaches' poll and No. 12 in the AP vote. The Big Ten also placed multiple schools among the top 10 in the final national rankings in 2011 (No. 10/11 Wisconsin, No. 11/10 Michigan State, No. 12/9 Michigan), 2010 (No. 5/5 Ohio State, No. 7/T8 Wisconsin), 2009 (No. 5/5 Ohio State, No. 7/7 Iowa, No. 9/8 Penn State) and 2008 (No. 8/8 Penn State, No. 9/11 Ohio State). Other Big Ten schools to end the season among the top 25 this season were Wisconsin, rated No. 22 by the media and No. 21 by the coaches, and Nebraska, ranked No. 25 in the USA Today poll. Iowa also received votes in the AP rankings.
With the NFL playoffs beginning on Saturday, 90 former student-athletes from current Big Ten schools appear on the active rosters of the playoff teams. The Big Ten has at least four players on each playoff roster and every Big Ten school is represented, including nine schools with five or more standouts taking the field during the postseason.
Ohio State leads all Big Ten teams with 14 former student-athletes taking the field, while Illinois has 13 former players on NFL rosters. Iowa and Penn State are tied for third in the conference with 11 standouts each. Wisconsin will be represented by 10 student-athletes, while Michigan has nine players on playoff rosters.
Green Bay leads all playoff squads with 10 former Big Ten standouts on the active roster, including three each from the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes. Carolina, Cincinnati, New England and Philadelphia feature nine Big Ten players, while San Diego has eight.
Five Big Ten student-athletes on postseason teams were also selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl, including quarterbacks Tom Brady (New England-Michigan), Drew Brees (New Orleans-Purdue) and Russell Wilson (Seattle-Wisconsin) and linebackers NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco-Penn State) and Tamba Hali (Kansas City-Penn State).
The full list of former Big Ten student-athletes on NFL playoff rosters is below:
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers
Prince Amukamara, CB, New York Giants (Nebraska) - Collected five tackles and two pass deflections in the Giants' 20-6 defeat of the Redskins
Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Michigan) - Caught three passes for 45 yards in Philadelphia's 24-22 win over Dallas
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos (Wisconsin) - Carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards in Denver's 34-14 win over Oakland
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Michigan State) - Rushed the ball 20 times for 90 yards and one touchdown in the Steelers' 20-7 defeat of the Browns
NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers (Penn State) - Recorded a team-high 10 tackles, including nine solo, one sack, one forced fumble, one interception and one pass deflection in the 49ers' 23-20 win over the Cardinals
Zack Bowman, CB, Chicago Bears (Nebraska) - Reeled in six solo tackles in the Bears' 33-28 loss to Green Bay
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (Michigan) - Completed 14-of-24 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots' 34-20 defeat of the Bills
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (Purdue) - Threw for 381 yards on 24-of-31 passing and four touchdowns in the Saints' 42-17 win over the Buccaneers
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos (Minnesota) - Caught four passes for 27 yards and one touchdown in the Broncos' 34-14 win over Oakland
A.J. Jenkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (Illinois) - Caught three passes for 67 yards, including a long of 48 yards, in the Chiefs' 27-24 loss to the Chargers
Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills (Iowa) - Caught three passes for 55 yards in Buffalo's 34-20 loss to the Patriots
Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Oakland Raiders (Ohio State) - Reeled in eight tackles, including seven solo, in Oakland's 34-14 loss to the Broncos
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Iowa) - Led the team with 10 tackles, including six solo, and one sack in Tampa Bay's 42-17 loss to New Orleans
Barry Cofield, NT, Washington Redskins (Northwestern) - Recorded five tackles and one pass deflection in Washington's 20-6 loss to the Giants
Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nebraska) - Registered seven tackles in the Buccaneers' 42-17 loss to the Saints
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, New England Patriots (Nebraska) - Collected five solo tackles and one pass deflection in New England's 34-20 win over the Bills
Bradley Fletcher, CB, Philadelphia Eagles (Iowa) - Recorded seven tackles, including six solo, in the Eagles' 24-22 win over the Cowboys
Ted Ginn, WR, Carolina Panthers (Ohio State) - Recorded two receptions and one touchdown in Carolina's 21-20 win over the Falcons
Chad Greenway, LB, Minnesota Vikings (Iowa) - Made five tackles in Minnesota's 14-13 defeat of the Lions
David Harris, LB, New York Jets (Michigan) - Collected five tackles, including four solo, in the Jets' 20-7 win over Miami
Junior Hemingway, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (Michigan) - Reeled in five receptions for 45 yards in Kansas City's 27-24 loss to the Chargers
Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Michigan) - Threw for 331 yards on 30-of-51 passing and one touchdown in Jacksonville's 30-10 loss to the Colts
Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets (Ohio State) - Caught three passes for 41 yards in the Jets' 20-7 win over Miami
Lance Kendricks, TE, St. Louis Rams (Wisconsin) - Caught five passes for 54 yards in the Rams' 27-9 loss to Seattle
James Laurinaitis, LB, St. Louis Rams (Ohio State) - Led the team with 10 tackles, including six solo, in the Rams' 27-9 loss to Seattle
Corey Liuget, DE, San Diego Chargers (Illinois) - Made four tackles and recorded one sack in San Diego's 27-24 win over the Chiefs
DeAndre Levy, LB, Detroit Lions (Wisconsin) - Collected seven tackles and one pass deflection in the Lions' 14-13 loss to Minnesota
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals (Illinois) - Carried the ball 10 times for 47 yards and caught two passes for 13 yards in the Cardinals' 23-20 loss to San Francisco
Mike Neal, DE, Green Bay Packers (Purdue) - Recorded six tackles, including five solo, in Green Bay's 33-28 win over the Bears
Rob Ninkovich, DL, New England Patriots (Purdue) - Reeled in five tackles and one sack in the Patriots' 34-20 defeat of the Bills
Kyle Orton, QB, Dallas Cowboys (Purdue) - Threw for 358 yards on 30-of-46 passing and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 24-22 loss to the Eagles
Domata Peko, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (Michigan State) - Collected eight tackles in Cincinnati's 34-17 win over the Ravens
Bernard Pollard, S, Tennessee Titans (Purdue) - Recorded six tackles and one pass deflection in the Titans' 16-10 win over the Texans
Paul Posluszny, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Penn State) - Led the team with nine tackles, including six solo, in Jacksonville's 30-10 loss to Indianapolis
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders (Ohio State) - Completed 21-of-38 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns in Oakland's 34-14 loss to Denver
Nick Roach, LB, Oakland Raiders (Northwestern) - Collected six tackles in Oakland's 34-14 loss to Denver
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints (Illinois) - Carried the ball seven times for 20 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' 42-17 win over Tampa Bay
J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans (Wisconsin) - Recorded nine solo tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one pass deflection in the Texans' 16-10 loss to Tennessee
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (Wisconsin) - Threw 15-of-23 passing for 172 yards and one touchdown in Seattle's 27-9 win over the Rams
Charles Woodson, S, Oakland Raiders (Michigan) - Recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo, and one sack in the Raiders' 34-14 loss to the Broncos
Prince Amukamara, CB, New York Giants (Nebraska) - Registered four solo tackles and one pass deflection in the Giants' 23-20 win over the Lions
Alan Ball, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Illinois) - Recorded an interception, a pass deflections and two solo tackles in Jacksonville's 20-16 loss to Tennessee
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Michigan State) - Rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh's 38-31 victory over Green Bay
NaVorro Bowmna, LB, San Francisco 49ers (Penn State) - Tallied 11 tackles, including nine solo and one for loss, and returned an interception for a touchdown in the 49ers' 34-24 defeat of the Falcons
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (Purdue) - Completed 30-of-44 passing for 281 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' 17-13 loss to the Panthers
Josh Brown, PK, New York Giants (Nebraska) - Nailed three field goals, including the game-winning 45-yard field goal in overtime, in the Giants' 23-20 win over the Lions
Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Oakland Raiders (Ohio State) - Recorded eight tackles, including six solo, in Oakland's 25-13 loss to San Diego
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Iowa) - Registered three tackles, including two for loss, and a forced fumble in the Bucs' 23-13 loss to the Rams
Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nebraska) - Led the team with 11 tackles, including 10 solo, and recovered one fumble in the Buccaneers' 23-13 loss to the Rams
Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts (Illinois) - Notched three solo tackles and two pass deflections in the Colts' 23-7 win over the Chiefs
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos (Minnesota) - Caught 10 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in Denver's 37-13 defeat of Houston
Jay Feely, PK, Arizona Cardinals (Michigan) - Nailed three field goals, including a 46-yarder, in Arizona's 17-10 victory over Seattle
Bradley Fletcher, CB, Philadelphia Eagles (Iowa) - Totaled nine solo tackles and two forced fumbles in the Eagles' 54-11 victory over the Bears
Ted Ginn, WR, Carolina Panthers (Ohio State) - Caught two passes for 66 yards and carried the ball for seven yards in Carolina's 17-13 victory over New Orleans
William Gholston, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Michigan State) - Tallied six tackles, including two for loss, in the Bucs' 23-13 loss to the Rams
Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans (Iowa) - Ran for 91 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee's 20-16 win over Jacksonville
Chad Greenway, LB, Minnesota Vikings (Iowa) - Racked up eight tackles, including one for loss, in the Vikings' 22-14 loss to the Bengals
David Harris, LB, New York Jets (Michigan) - Recorded six tackles and a pass deflection in the Jets' 24-13 win over the Browns
A.J. Hawk, LB, Green Bay Packers (Ohio State) - Recorded six tackles, one interception and one pass deflection in Green Bay's 38-31 loss to Pittsburgh
Nick Hayden, DT, Dallas Cowboys (Wisconsin) - Recorded five tackles in Dallas' 24-23 win over Washington
Penn State senior standout John Urschel was named the winner of the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in the sport of football, it was announced on Monday.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I FBS football coaches, national football media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, community, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
A mathematics major, Urschel finished his undergraduate degree in three years with a 4.0 grade point average, earned his first master's degree in math in one year and is working on a second master's degree in math education. He has taught math classes to Penn State students while playing football. In the community, Urschel has participated in the Penn State Uplifting Athletes Lift for Life, an event that has raised nearly $500,000 the last four years for the Kidney Cancer Association, He has also volunteered at the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) Make-A-Wish event, the THON pep rally, the Special Olympics Pennsylvania State Summer Games and Relay for Life. Named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2013, Urschel is also a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree.
Urschel is the second Big Ten student-athlete to win the honor since it was first presented in 2008, joining former Ohio State standout James Laurinaitis, who won the award in its inaugural year.
Click here to read the full Penn State release.
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