Penn State leads nation with three first-team Academic All-Americans

University Park, Pa. — For the third consecutive year, the Penn State Football program is at the head of the class on the ESPN Academic All-America Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Senior guard Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville), senior linebacker Chris Colasanti (Leonard, Mich.) and sophomore defensive end Pete Massaro (Newtown Square) earned first team ESPN Academic All-America honors as Penn State's three selections again led all institutions in the University Division.

Wisniewski becomes the first Penn State Football student-athlete to earn Academic All-America accolades three times, having been a first team selection last year and a second team choice in 2008. Owner of a superlative 3.91 grade point average, Wisniewski becomes the ninth Nittany Lion to earn first team Academic All-America honors twice.

Alabama, Dayton and Southern Illinois were the nation's only other schools with more than one first team honoree. Purdue was the only other Big Ten institution that placed a squad member on the first team.

The Penn State football team has had a least one first team ESPN Academic All-American in each of the past seven seasons. Penn State has had 11 Academic All-Americans the past three years, with 10 first team selections.

The Nittany Lions' 15 Academic All-Americans over the past five years (13 first team selections) leads the nation. Within the University Division, South Dakota State is second with 10 honorees from 2006-10, followed by Dayton with eight. Among Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, Notre Dame and Ohio State have five selections and Nebraska has four over the past five years after Penn State's 15 honorees.

During Coach Joe Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 47 Academic All-Americans, with 37 earning first team honors. The Nittany Lions' all-time total of 49 Academic All-America football players ranks third among all FBS institutions and leads all Big Ten institutions.

A 2009 first team All-Big Ten selection, Wisniewski returned to guard this season after starting all 13 games at center in 2009. A three-year starter, he is enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College, has a 3.91 grade point average in secondary education and is on schedule to graduate in December.

The former Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School standout has earned four additional prominent athletic/academic/community service honors this fall:

- National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete ($18,000 post-graduate scholarship). Finalist for William V. Campbell Trophy.
- Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
- Among 10 finalists for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for college football
- Among 10 finalists for Wuerffel Trophy

Colasanti has started 10 games at middle linebacker this season. He leads Penn State and is No. 6 in the Big Ten with 92 tackles and his 7.0 TFL are third-highest on the team. The former Brother Rice High School star made a career-high 18 stops (10 solo) vs. Illinois on Oct. 9, tied for the highest total by a Big Ten player this season. Colasanti owns a 3.61 GPA in kinesiology/pre-medicine and is on schedule to graduate next spring.

Massaro is in his first season as a starter at defensive end. He has 30 tackles and leads the team with 5.5 TFL. The former Marple Newtown High School standout is second on the squad with 3.5 tackles for loss and also has a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Massaro owns a 3.83 GPA in finance.

The three Nittany Lion Football student-athlete honorees brings Penn State's all-time total to 170 The ESPN Academic All-Americans, the third-highest total in the nation. The ESPN Academic All-District and All-America Teams are selected by the 2,300 members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 on a scale of 4.00.

(For the complete Academic All-America Football teams, go to www.CoSIDA.com).

Winners of four of its last five games, Penn State will conclude the regular season with its Senior Day clash against No. 11/10 Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 27 at noon ET in Beaver Stadium. The contest will air on ESPN2, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.

Tickets for the Michigan State game are available at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m. Tickets also are available at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket office

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Last Updated December 09, 2010