Nov. 26, 2008
The Big Ten topped all conferences 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 seven first-team selections, matching the second-highest total in conference history behind only the eight first-team honorees in 2006.
The Big Ten's total of eight Academic All-Americans led all conferences, followed by the Big 12 with seven selections, all on the second team. The Big Ten's seven first-team honorees nearly matched the total of nine first-team picks from all other Football Bowl Subdivision conferences, including five Mountain West selections, two SEC honorees and one choice each from the Pac-10 and Sun Belt.
The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten include Illinois' Ryan McDonald, Northwestern's Phil Brunner, Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Penn State's Gerald Cadogan, Josh Hull, Andrew Pitz and Mark Rubin. Second-team honors went to the Nittany Lions' Stefen Wisniewski. McDonald, Robiskie and Cadogan each earned their second consecutive first-team accolades after being honored last season.
Penn State's four first-team selections and five overall honorees led the nation. Brigham Young, Dayton and North Dakota State were the only other schools with more than two Academic All-Americans. Penn State is the first school to have five Academic All-America football players since Nebraska in 1997.
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). This GPA standard is higher than the 3.2 required in previous years.