Austin Cassidy earned first-team academic All-America honors for the second straight year.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Three Huskers Earn Academic All-America Honors

By NU Athletic Communications
Senior safety Austin Cassidy, junior running back Rex Burkhead and junior linebacker Sean Fisher were named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I football team on Thursday, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Cassidy was a first-team selection for the second consecutive year, and was joined on the first team by Burkhead, while Fisher earned second-team honors. Nebraska was one of three schools with two players named first-team Capital One Academic All-America team, including Army and Montana. With its three overall selections, Nebraska was the only school with three players on the first- and second-team lists.

The selection of the three student-athletes continues Nebraska's Academic All-America tradition. Nebraska now has a nation-leading 67 first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America selections in football, including 14 double winners. Cassidy became Nebraska's first two-time first-team selection since Kyle Vanden Bosch in 1999 and 2000. Overall, Nebraska increased its total to 102 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans when including 35 second- or third-team honorees.

In addition to leading the nation in football Academic All-Americans, Nebraska also leads the nation in honorees across all sports. With today's announcement, Nebraska now boasts 294 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, which is 72 more than second-place Notre Dame.

Cassidy was one of four repeat selections on the Capital One Academic All-America Division I first team. A Lincoln Southwest graduate, Cassidy played the 2011 season as a graduate student after earning his degree in psychology last May and completing his undergraduate work with a 3.91 grade-point average. Cassidy is pursuing his M.B.A. and has a 4.0 grade-point average in his graduate courses. On the field, Cassidy was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten safety. He is fourth on the team with 68 tackles, has a pair of interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Burkhead carries a 3.38 cumulative grade-point average in history, and was a first-team All-Big Ten performer on the field. Burkhead rushed for 1,268 yards in the regular season and scored a total of 17 touchdowns. While Nebraska has had two fullbacks earn first-team academic All-America honors in recent years, Burkhead is the first Husker I-back/tailback to earn first-team Academic All-America honors since Jeff Kinney in 1971.                                   

Fisher continues to excel as one of the nation's top student-athletes. A graduate of Millard North High School, Fisher carries a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in business administration/pre-medicine. On the field, Fisher was a regular at linebacker for Nebraska, earning four starts in 2011. He tallied 24 tackles, including three tackles for loss.

Burkhead, Cassidy and Fisher were three of five Nebraska players to earn CoSIDA Academic All-District VII honors in November, earning a spot on the national ballot. Offensive guard Spencer Long and tight end Ben Cotton also earned all-district honors and Nebraska's five academic all-district picks led the nation.

The three CoSIDA Academic All-America selections in 2011 gives Nebraska six football Academic All-Americans in Head Coach Bo Pelini's first four seasons. Receiver Todd Peterson and linebacker Tyler Wortman were second-team selections in 2008, and Cassidy was a first-team pick in 2010.

On Wednesday, 27 Nebraska players were named to the Fall Academic All-Big Ten team, the second-highest total in the conference.

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