Record 55 Members of Nittany Lion Football Team Earn 3.0 GPA or Higher During Fall Semester
Jan. 28, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - The Penn State football team produced another outstanding academic performance during the Fall 2008 semester, with a record 55 squad members earning at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Among the 55 Nittany Lions, a record 19 earned Dean's List recognition by posting a 3.5 GPA or higher this past semester. The previous marks were 50 football student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or higher during the Fall 2004 semester and 17 that made the Dean's List during the Spring 2008 semester.
Senior tackle Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio) earned a perfect 4.00 GPA for the second consecutive fall semester en route to earning first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors for the second consecutive year. Freshman quarterback Shane McGregor (Ebensburg) also earned a 4.00 GPA last semester. Fifteen football student-athletes had a 3.7 GPA or higher during the semester.
The superlative academic performance brings the number of Nittany Lion football student-athletes to a record-tying 46 who had a cumulative 3.0 GPA through the fall. There also were 46 following the Fall 2004 semester.
Last fall also saw a record five Nittany Lions be selected ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® team, with four earning first team honors. Cadogan was joined by junior linebacker Josh Hull (Millheim), junior kick snapper Andrew Pitz (Bettendorf, Iowa) and senior safety Mark Rubin (Amherst, N.Y.) as first team honorees. Sophomore guard Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville) was a second team choice.
Cadogan became Penn State's sixth two-time first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®.
Penn State's four first team selections and five overall selections led the nation. Brigham Young, Dayton and North Dakota State were the only other schools with more than two honorees. Penn State was the first school to have five Academic All-America® football players since Nebraska in 1997.
During Coach Joe Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 42 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans®, with 31 earning first team honors. The Nittany Lions' 44 Academic All-Americans® all-time are No. 3 in the nation among Division I-A programs.
In addition to the previously mentioned players, among the other Nittany Lions who earned Dean's List recognition during the Fall semester were: junior punter Jeremy Boone (Mechanicsburg), freshman defensive end Kevion Latham (Greensboro, N.C.), senior tight end Greg Miskinis (Lewistown) and freshman linebacker Nate Stupar (State College).
The outstanding classroom performance is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of Paterno's program, who consistently are near the top nationally in graduation success:
Penn State's 78 percent Graduation Success Rate was No. 2 in the nation among teams ranked in the final 2008 Asscociated Press poll, easily above the national average of 67 percent. Texas Tech (79) was the only team with a higher GSR, according to data released by the NCAA last fall.
African-American members of the Penn State football team also earned a GSR of 77 percent, significantly higher than the 58 percent national average, according to the 2008 NCAA report.
For the third consecutive year, the Nittany Lions posted the second-highest GSR primary averages among teams in the Big Ten Conference, trailing only Northwestern.
The Nittany Lions have a four-year APR score of 964, easily beating the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) football average of 936 and the public institution average of 925. Penn State earned the Big Ten's second-highest APR score among football squads, trailing only Northwestern.
Eighteen Nittany Lions took the field vs. USC in the 2009 Rose Bowl having already earned their degrees, including senior fullback Dan Lawlor (Mechanicsburg), who earned his second undergraduate degree in December.
The Nittany Lions had 17 Academic All-Big Ten football honorees last fall, improving their conference-leading total to 226 from 1993-2008.
The Nittany Lions were 11-2 and won their second Big Ten title and Bowl Championship berth in the past four years during the 2008 season. Penn State was No. 8 in the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, earning its 22nd final Top 10 ranking under Paterno. The Lions won at least 11 games for the 14th time under the Hall of Fame coach.
Penn State has earned one of the nation's Top 10 records since the start of the 2005 season, posting a 40-11 (78.4) mark, good for No. 9 nationally. The Nittany Lions have won 42 of their last 53 games overall, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season.