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

University Park, Pa. — For the second consecutive year, the Penn State Football program is at the head of the class in ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selections.

Three Nittany Lions have repeated their Academic All-America accolades on the 2009 team: senior linebacker Josh Hull (Millheim), senior kick snapper Andrew Pitz (Bettendorf, Iowa) and junior center Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville). Hull and Pitz were 2008 first team honorees and Wisniewski was a second team selection last year.

Hull and Pitz become the seventh and eighth Nittany Lions to earn first team Academic All-America honors twice. Tackle Gerald Cadogan did so in 2007 and '08 and linebacker Paul Posluszny was a first team honoree in 2005 and '06.

Texas was the only other school in the nation with more than one first team honoree.

The Big Ten Conference's total of eight Academic All- Americans led all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences for the fifth consecutive year. The Missouri Valley (five selections) and Big 12 (four) were next among conferences on the University Division team.

Last year, a program record five Nittany Lions were selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team. Penn State has had 12 Academic All-Americans over the past four years.

The trio of Nittany Lion honorees were joined on the 2009 Academic All-District team by senior punter Jeremy Boone (Mechanicsburg). Penn State was second among all Football Bowl Subdivision schools with its quartet of Academic All-District selections.

A starter at middle linebacker in all 25 games the past two years, Hull owns a 3.56 grade point average in environmental systems engineering. Winner of Penn State's prestigious Eric A. Walker Award last spring, the former Penns Valley High School standout is on schedule to graduate in December. He led Penn State's Top 10 defense with 110 tackles this season and earned 2009 second team All-Big Ten honors.

Pitz has effectively served as the long snapper on all kicking plays this season and handled snaps on all placements in 2008. He owns the squad's highest grade point average, graduating last May with a 3.93 in journalism. He is working on a second degree, in telecommunications.

Wisniewski is in his first year as the Nittany Lions' center after starting 12 games at guard last year. He is enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College and has a 3.89 grade point average in secondary education. A starter in 24 of 25 games the past two years, he was selected 2009 first team All-Big Ten by the media and coaches, helping the Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense and rank second in scoring.

The Penn State football team has had a least one Academic All-American in each of the past eight seasons, with Posluszny being selected the 2006 Academic All-American of the Year for the University Division.

During Joe Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 45 Academic All-Americans, with 34 earning first team honors. The Nittany Lions' all-time total of 47 Academic All-America football players ranks third among all FBS institutions and leads all Big Ten schools.

The ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District and All-America Teams are selected by the 1,800 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.

Nittany Lion women’s volleyball All-American Megan Hodge was selected the Academic All-American® of the Year for her sport on Monday and men’s soccer star Jason Yeisley, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, earned first team recognition earlier this month, giving Penn State five Academic All-Americans® this semester on the heels of a school record 11 honorees in 2008-09.

Coach Joe Paterno's squad (10-2) is ranked No. 13 in this week's Bowl Championship Series standings, No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches and Harris Interactive polls and No. 12 in the Associated Press poll. Penn State concluded its regular season with the convincing victory over the Spartans, posting Paterno's Football Bowl Subdivision record 21st season with at least 10 victories.

The Nittany Lions are 50-13 (79.3) since the start of the 2005 season, the nation's No. 8 winning percentage over that span. Penn State is awaiting the destination and opponent for its 36th bowl game under Paterno, who is the all-time leader in post-season appearances and victories (23-11-1 record).

For the complete Academic All-America Football teams, go to

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Last Updated June 01, 2012