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July 1, 2009
The Penn State football team produced another outstanding academic performance during the Spring 2009 semester, with 46 squad members earning at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Among the 46 Nittany Lions, 42 will be returning for the 2009 season. Seventeen of the 42 returnees earned Dean's List recognition by posting a 3.5 GPA or higher this past semester.
Two of Penn State's school record five ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® from 2008, kick snapper Andrew Pitz (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville), earned perfect 4.00 grade point averages during the spring semester, as did punter Jeremy Boone (Mechanicsburg). Boone and Pitz graduated in May and Wisniewski, a student in the Schreyer Honors College, is entering his junior year.
Also earning a 4.00 GPA last semester was placekicker Kevin Kelly (Langhorne), who also graduated in May.
Senior linebacker Josh Hull (Millheim) is the third returnee among Penn State's Academic All-Americans® from last year and he again earned Dean's List honors during the spring semester.
The superlative academic performance brings the number of returning Nittany Lion football student-athletes to a 36 who have a cumulative 3.0 GPA through the spring 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.
Penn State's four first team selections and five overall ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® led the nation in 2008. 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.
Boone, Hull, Pitz and Wisniewski should be strong Academic All-America® candidates this fall, in addition to linebacker Chris Colasanti (Leonard, Mich.), defensive end Kevion Latham (Greensboro, N.C.) and linebacker Nate Stupar (State College). All the above players earned Dean's List distinction in the spring, with Latham and Stupar posting superb 3.85 GPAs.
The outstanding classroom performance is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of Coach Joe Paterno's program, who consistently are near the top nationally in graduation success:
For the third consecutive year, the Nittany Lions posted the second-highest GSR among teams in the Big Ten Conference, trailing only Northwestern.
The Penn State football team has the highest multi-year APR score among Big Ten football squads at 976, according to last month's NCAA report. The Nittany Lions easily surpassed the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) average of 941 and the Division I public institution average of 931.
The Nittany Lions had 17 Academic All-Big Ten football honorees last fall, improving their conference-leading total to 226 from 1993-2008.
A record 55 Penn State football student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade point average during the Fall 2008 semester. Among the 55 Nittany Lions, a record 19 earned Dean's List recognition by posting a 3.5 GPA or higher last fall.
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.
Entering his 44th season as head coach and 60th season on the Penn State coaching staff, Joe Paterno returns 37 letterwinners and 10 starters for the 2009 season, which begins Sept. 5 vs. Akron (12:00 p.m., Big Ten Network).