Nov. 24, 2009
The Big Ten topped all conferences for the fifth straight season with eight student-athletes named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first or second teams in football as announced today by CoSIDA. The Big Ten also led the way with six first-team selections, matching the third-highest total in conference history behind only the seven first-team honorees in 2008 and the eight first-team choices in 2006. The Big Ten paces all conferences with 43 Academic All-Americans in the sport of football over the last five years, including at least eight honorees every season.
The Big Ten's total of eight Academic All-Americans led all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences, followed by the FCS' Missouri Valley with five selections and the FBS' Big 12 with four honorees. The first-team selections included six honorees from the Big Ten and nine choices from all other FBS conferences, including two each from the Big 12 and SEC.
The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten include Michigan's Zoltan Mesko, Michigan State's Blair White, Northwestern's Zeke Markshausen and the Penn State trio of Josh Hull, Andrew Pitz and Stefen Wisniewski. Second-team honors went to Northwestern's Stefan Demos and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan. Hull and Pitz each earned their second consecutive first-team accolades after being honored last season.
To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average (GPA).