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          Release: 12/06/2012
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Burkhead, Fisher Help Huskers Hit Milestone

Randy York’s N-Sider

 

One of the most inspirational and one of the smartest football players in Nebraska history helped the Huskers reach a milestone Thursday. When the College Sports Information Directors of America voted and Capital One named running back Rex Burkhead a First-Team Academic All-American and linebacker Sean Fisher a Second-Team Academic All-American, Nebraska became the first school in NCAA history to claim 300 Academic All-Americans.

Somehow, it seems only fitting that those two Husker seniors teamed up to reach that landmark achievement. In New York this week to receive a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, Burkhead is a popular choice as one of the most inspirational Huskers ever. The recipient of  three Sullivan Scholarship Awards, Fisher is arguably one of the smartest and most dedicated Academic All-Americans in Nebraska's rich tradition of academic excellence.

“Those are two great scholar-athletes to help us reach that 300 Academic All-American milestone,” said Dennis Leblanc, Nebraska’s senior associate athletic director for Academics. “With Rex, you just say ‘Why not’? He will graduate this month after 3½ years with a 3.448 cumulative grade-point-average in history. He’s only our second running back to be a two-time first-team Academic All-American (Joel Makovicka is the other in 1997 and ’98). He was a first-team All-Big Ten player and ranks fifth in career rushing yards with more than 3,200, even though he’s been injured throughout his senior season.”

Leblanc considers Fisher to be one of the nation’s top student-athletes. “He has 142 credit hours with a 4.0 GPA in business administration and pre-medicine,” Leblanc pointed out. “He’s a starting linebacker (with 47 tackles) this season. With two second-team Academic All-American honors, he’s one of 25 football players in the history of this school with multiple Academic All-American honors. He scored a 39 on his M-Cat exam for medical school. The best way to frame that is the average score to get into Harvard Medical School is 35. He works hard. Even in the summer, right after his morning workout, he showers and comes to study hall. All the security guards know him because he’s still studying at midnight.”

Leaders in Academic All-Americans, Top Eight Awards

Nebraska has dominated the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American awards and the NCAA Top Eight awards that are often called “The Heisman of Academics”.

“I think the importance of these awards is reflected by which school ranks second in both categories,” Leblanc said. “We lead the all-time Academic All-American list with 301 now, and Notre Dame is second with 227. We’re the all-time leader in NCAA Top Eight Awards with 16, and Stanford is second with 14.”

Since Top Eight Awards combine athletic and academic excellence with life skill/community involvement and leadership, Leblanc believes Burkhead “is a Top Eight-caliber guy” but the Huskers will have to wait to see who emerges from that highly competitive list of candidates.

Academic, athletic and life skill leadership is one of Dr. Tom Osborne’s greatest legacies to the athletic department, the university and the state. His vision and the emphasis he placed left a sustainable record of athletic/academic excellence after he became the Athletic Department’s first–ever academic counselor in the 1960s.Nebraska's never-ending pursuit of scholastic performance is reflected in 104 Academic All-Americans in football, the most of any individual team in the country.

Nebraska’s nation-leading total of 301 CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-Americans reflects the athletic department’s philosophy and overall mindset. University of Nebraska student-athletes from all teams and all sports combined far outdistance any other school in the country. Jeff Griesch from our media relations staff diligently documents all athletic/academic achievements for Huskers.com.

He points out that to be considered for the award, student-athletes must be sophomore status or above, maintain a minimum 3.3 cumulative grade-point average, be a team starter or key reserve and be active in the community. Every Nebraska student-athlete who garners first-team Academic All-America recognition has an oil painting portrait completed in their honor, and the picture is forever displayed in the West Stadium. 

Eight Huskers Earn Academic All-America Honors

Before Thursday’s latest announcement, Nebraska had added eight members to its nation-leading crop of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans the previous calendar year, including Rex Burkhead (1st team, football), Austin Cassidy (1st team, football), Tucker Lane (1st team, wrestling), Bjorn Barrefors (1st team, men's track/cross country), Nate Polacek (1st team, men's track/cross country), Sean Fisher (2nd team, football), Josh Ihnen (2nd team, wrestling) and Brett Grieb (3rd team, men's track/cross country).

Barrefors earned his second straight first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America award in 2012, becoming the 13th three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American across all teams and all sports in Husker history.

The Nebraska football team leads the nation (all teams, all sports, all divisions) with 104 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Notre Dame ranks second with 58 football Academic All-Americans and Penn State ranks third with 51.

The Nebraska volleyball team leads all women's teams all-time across all sports with 36. The Nebraska softball team is second among all women's programs with 29.

Nebraska also leads the nation with 104 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans since 2000, extending its nation-leading streak to 41 consecutive years with at least one CoSIDA Academic All-American. Nebraska also ranks among the top 10 nationally in CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in women's track and field/cross country academic (T2nd, 13), men's track and field/cross country (T4th, 17), baseball (T8th, 19) and women's basketball (T10th, 8).

Rank

School

Total

2012-13

 1.

Nebraska

301

2

 2.

Notre Dame

227

4

 3.

MIT

193

4

 4. 

Penn State

178

3

 5.

Stanford

174

0

 6.

Augustana (Ill.)

141

2

 7.

Nebraska Wesleyan

134

5

 8. 

Emory

134

2

 9

Texas

124

0

10.

Florida

123

0

 

Bucknell

123

1

The CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame honors former college student-athletes who have excelled in their professions and made substantial contributions to their communities. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a candidate must have been a CoSIDA Academic All-America team member who graduated at least 10 years prior to their nomination for induction.

Honorary inductees are eligible candidates who competed prior to the establishment of the Academic All-America program in their sport. The Academic All-America program was created by former SMU sports publicist Lester Jordan in 1952. The CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame was established in 1988.

Three former Nebraska student-athletes, Dave Rimington, Karen Jennings and Pat Tyrance, have earned spots in the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. As of June 2009, fewer than 110 student-athletes all-time across all sports and all teams, have been inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Current Nebraska swimming and diving coach Pablo Morales, is also an Academic All-America Hall of Fame member.

CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame Inductees

The CoSIDA Academic All-American-of-the-Year award is given annually to the top student-athlete in each sport as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America. A total of 10 Nebraska student-athletes have won the CoSIDA Academic All-American-of-the-Year award 15 times with winners coming from seven NU sports.

Chronological Listing

  • Lori Sippel, Softball (1988)
  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1988, 1989)
  • Janet Kruse, Volleyball (1990, 1991)
  • Karen Jennings, Women's Basketball (1992, 1993)
  • Rob Zatechka, Football (1994)
  • Nicola Martial, Women's Track & Field (1996)
  • Joy Taylor, Women's Gymnastics (1996)
  • Janet Blomstedt, Women's Track & Field (1997)
  • Jeff Leise, Baseball (2002, 2003)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (2006, 2007)

Two-Time Academic All-Americans of the Year (5)

  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1988, 1989)
  • Janet Kruse, Volleyball (1990, 1991)
  • Karen Jennings, Women's Basketball (1992, 1993)
  • Jeff Leise, Baseball (2002, 2003)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (2006, 2007)

A total of 13 Nebraska student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition on three occasions during the Husker careers, including just a trio of three-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. The following list includes all of NU's three-time Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports, dating back to the inception of the CoSIDA Academic All-America program in 1952.

Chronological Listing

  • Karen Dahlgren, Volleyball (HM, 1984; 1st, 1985; 1st, 1986)
  • Lori Richins, Softball (HM, 1985; 1st, 1986; 2nd, 1987)
  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Janet Kruse, Volleyball (3rd, 1989; 1st, 1990; 1st, 1991)
  • Karen Jennings, Women's Basketball (1st, 1991; 1st, 1992; 1st, 1993)
  • Denise McMillan, Softball (2nd, 1992; 2nd, 1993; 2nd, 1994)
  • Rob Zatechka, Football (2nd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Sumner Darling, Men's Gymnastics (3rd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Nicole Duval, Women's Gymnastics (3rd, 1993; 3rd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Laura Pilakowski, Volleyball (2nd, 2000; 2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002)
  • Jeff Leise, Baseball (2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002; 1st, 2003)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Bjorn Barrefors, Men's Track & Field (2nd, 2010; 1st, 2011; 1st, 2012)

Three-Time First-Team Academic All-Americans

  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Karen Jennings, Women's Basketball (1st, 1991; 1st, 1992; 1st, 1993)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)

A total of 69 Nebraska student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition on at least two occasions during the Husker careers, including 13 three-time Academic All-America selections (listed below in bold). The following list includes all of NU's two-time and three-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports, dating back to the inception of the CoSIDA Academic All-America program in 1952.

Chronological Listing

  • Bob Oberlin, Football (1st, 1952; 1st, 1953)
  • Bill Kosch, Football (2nd, 1970; 2nd, 1971)
  • Gene Stohs, Baseball (2nd, 1970; 2nd, 1972)
  • Ted Harvey, Football (1st, 1976; 1st, 1977)
  • Randy Schleusener, Football (1st, 1979; 1st, 1980)
  • Ric Lindquist, Football (2nd, 1980; 1st, 1981)
  • Dave Rimington, Football (1st, 1981; 1st, 1982)
  • Randy Theiss, Football (1st, 1981; 2nd, 1982)
  • Rob Stuckey, Football (1st, 1983; 1st, 1984)
  • Scott Strasburger, Football (1st, 1984; 1st, 1985)
  • Denise (Day) Eckert, Softball (1st, 1984; 1st, 1985)
  • Karen Dahlgren, Volleyball (HM, 1984; 1st, 1985; 1st, 1986)
  • Lori Richins, Softball (HM, 1985; 1st, 1986; 2nd, 1987)
  • Nicole Ali, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 1985; 2nd, 1986)
  • Stephanie Bolli, Women's Basketball (HM, 1986; 1st, 1988)
  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Margie Ogrodowicz, Softball (2nd, 1987; 2nd, 1988)
  • Mark Blazek, Football (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988)
  • Tom Schlesinger, Men's Gymnastics (HM, 1986; 1st, 1988)
  • Jake Young, Football (2nd, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Pat Tyrance, Football (2nd, 1989; 1st, 1990)
  • Beau Reid, Men's Basketball (3rd, 1989; 3rd, 1991)
  • Janet Kruse, Volleyball (3rd, 1989; 1st, 1990; 1st, 1991)
  • Karen Jennings, Women's Basketball (1st, 1991; 1st, 1992; 1st, 1993)
  • Ann Halsne, Softball (3rd, 1991; 3rd, 1992)
  • Pat Engelbert, Football (2nd, 1990; 1st, 1991)
  • Mike Stigge, Football (1st, 1991; 1st, 1992)
  • Denise McMillan, Softball (2nd, 1992; 2nd, 1993; 2nd, 1994)
  • Rob Zatechka, Football (2nd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Sumner Darling, Men's Gymnastics (3rd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Justin Switzer, Men's Swimming & Diving (1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Nicole Duval, Women's Gymnastics (3rd, 1993; 3rd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Terry Connealy, Football (1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Aaron Graham, Football (2nd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Allison Weston, Volleyball (2nd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Brady Bonsall, Men's Track & Field/Cross Country (3rd, 1995; 1st, 1996)
  • Joy Taylor, Women's Gymnastics (2nd, 1995; 1st, 1996)
  • Grant Wistrom, Football (1st, 1996; 1st, 1997)
  • Alex Lamme, Men's Track & Field (1st, 1996; 2nd, 1997)
  • Joel Makovicka, Football (1st, 1997; 1st, 1998)
  • Ryan Tobin, Wrestling (2nd, 1996; 1st, 1998)
  • Chad Kelsay, Football (2nd, 1997; 1st, 1998)
  • Brian Shaw, Football (2nd, 1998; 2nd, 1999)
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch, Football (1st, 1999; 1st, 2000)
  • Nancy Metcalf Meendering, Volleyball (2nd, 1999; 1st, 2001)
  • Laura Pilakowski, Volleyball (2nd, 2000; 2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002)
  • Rachel Spiry, Rifle (2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002)
  • Jeff Leise, Baseball (2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002; 1st, 2003)
  • Jen French, Women's Gymnastics (2nd, 2002; 2nd, 2003)
  • Matt Murray, Wrestling (2nd, 2004; 3rd, 2005)
  • Christina Houghtelling, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2007)
  • Dane Todd, Football (1st, 2005; 2nd, 2006)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Nate Probasco, Men's Track & Field (2nd, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Jenny Green, Women's Track & Field (3rd, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Ashley Selig, Women's Track & Field (1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Imke Reimers, Women's Tennis (2nd, 2007; 1st, 2008)
  • Stephen Tetrault, Men's Gymnastics (3rd, 2007; 1st, 2008)
  • Kim Shubert, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 2007; 1st, 2008)
  • Molly Hill, Softball (3rd, 2008; 1st, 2009)
  • Kori Cooper, Volleyball (1st, 2008; 1st, 2009)
  • Bjorn Barrefors, Men's Track & Field (3rd, 2010; 1st, 2011; 1st, 2012)
  • Nicholas Gordon, Men's Track & Field (1st, 2010; 2nd, 2011)
  • Natalie Willer, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 2010; 1st, 2011)
  • Austin Cassidy, Football (1st, 2010, 1st, 2011)
  • Tucker Lane, Wrestling (2nd, 2011; 1st, 2012)
  • Nate Polacek, Men's Track & Field (2nd, 2011; 1st, 2012)

Sport-by-Sport Listing

Football (24)

  • Bob Oberlin, Football (1st, 1952; 1st, 1953)
  • Bill Kosch, Football (2nd, 1970; 2nd, 1971)
  • Ted Harvey, Football (1st, 1976; 1st, 1977)
  • Randy Schleusener, Football (1st, 1979; 1st, 1980)
  • Ric Lindquist, Football (2nd, 1980; 1st, 1981)
  • Dave Rimington, Football (1st, 1981; 1st, 1982)
  • Randy Theiss, Football (1st, 1981; 2nd, 1982)
  • Rob Stuckey, Football (1st, 1983; 1st, 1984)
  • Scott Strasburger, Football (1st, 1984; 1st, 1985)
  • Mark Blazek, Football (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988)
  • Jake Young, Football (2nd, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Pat Tyrance, Football (2nd, 1989; 1st, 1990)
  • Pat Engelbert, Football (2nd, 1990; 1st, 1991)
  • Mike Stigge, Football (1st, 1991; 1st, 1992)
  • Rob Zatechka, Football (2nd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Terry Connealy, Football (1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Aaron Graham, Football (2nd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Grant Wistrom, Football (1st, 1996; 1st, 1997)
  • Joel Makovicka, Football (1st, 1997; 1st, 1998)
  • Chad Kelsay, Football (2nd, 1997; 1st, 1998)
  • Brian Shaw, Football (2nd, 1998; 2nd, 1999)
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch, Football (1st, 1999; 1st, 2000)
  • Dane Todd, Football (1st, 2005; 2nd, 2006)
  • Austin Cassidy, Football (1st, 2010; 1st, 2011)

Volleyball (9)

  • Karen Dahlgren, Volleyball (1st, 1985; 1st, 1986)
  • Virginia Stahr, Volleyball (1st, 1987; 1st, 1988; 1st, 1989)
  • Janet Kruse, Volleyball (3rd, 1989; 1st, 1990; 1st, 1991)
  • Allison Weston, Volleyball (2nd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Nancy Metcalf Meendering, Volleyball (2nd, 1999; 1st, 2001)
  • Laura Pilakowski, Volleyball (2nd, 2000; 2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002)
  • Christina Houghtelling, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2007)
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball (1st, 2005; 1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Kori Cooper, Volleyball (1st, 2008; 1st, 2009)

Softball (6)

  • Denise (Day) Eckert, Softball (1st, 1984; 1st, 1985)
  • Lori Richins, Softball (HM, 1985; 1st, 1986; 2nd, 1987)
  • Margie Ogrodowicz, Softball (2nd, 1987; 2nd, 1988)
  • Ann Halsne, Softball (3rd, 1991; 3rd, 1992)
  • Denise McMillan, Softball (2nd, 1992; 2nd, 1993; 2nd, 1994)
  • Molly Hill, Softball (3rd, 2008; 1st, 2009)

Men's Track & Field/Cross Country (6)

  • Brady Bonsall, Men's Track & Field/Cross Country (3rd, 1995; 1st, 1996)
  • Alex Lamme, Men's Track & Field (1st, 1996; 2nd, 1997)
  • Nate Probasco, Men's Track & Field (2nd, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Bjorn Barrefors, Men's Track & Field (3rd, 2010; 1st, 2011; 1st, 2012)
  • Nicholas Gordon, Men's Track & Field (1st, 2010; 2nd, 2011)
  • Nate Polacek, Men's Track & Field (2nd, 2011; 1st, 2012)

Women's Track & Field/Cross Country (5)

  • Nicole Ali, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 1985; 2nd, 1986)
  • Jenny Green, Women's Track & Field (3rd, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Ashley Selig, Women's Track & Field (1st, 2006; 1st, 2007)
  • Kim Shubert, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 2007; 1st, 2008)
  • Natalie Willer, Women's Track & Field (2nd, 2010; 1st, 2011)

Men's Gymnastics (3)

  • Tom Schlesinger, Men's Gymnastics (HM, 1986; 1st, 1988)
  • Sumner Darling, Men's Gymnastics (3rd, 1992; 1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)
  • Stephen Tetrault, Men's Gymnastics (3rd, 2007; 1st, 2008)

Women's Gymnastics (3)

  • Nicole Duval, Women's Gymnastics (3rd, 1993; 3rd, 1994; 1st, 1995)
  • Joy Taylor, Women's Gymnastics (2nd, 1995; 1st, 1996)
  • Jen French, Women's Gymnastics (2nd, 2002; 2nd, 2003)

Wrestling (3)

Women's Basketball (2)

Baseball (2)

  • Gene Stohs, Baseball (2nd, 1970; 2nd, 1972)
  • Jeff Leise, Baseball (2nd, 2001; 1st, 2002; 1st, 2003)

Men's Basketball (1)

  • Beau Reid, Men's Basketball (3rd, 1989; 3rd, 1991)

Women's Tennis (1)

Rifle (1)

Men's Swimming & Diving (1)

  • Justin Switzer, Men's Swimming & Diving (1st, 1993; 1st, 1994)

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