Wisniewski earns prestigious NFF Scholar-Athlete scholarship

October 29, 2010

University Park, Pa. — One of the most prestigious honors a collegiate football student-athlete can earn has been bestowed upon Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville, Pa.).

The 2009 first team All-Big Ten honoree and two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American has been selected one of 16 National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes from across all NCAA and NAIA divisions.

Wisniewski will receive an $18,000 scholarship for post-graduate studies. He also is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation's premier college football Scholar-Athlete, with the winner receiving a total of $25,000 for post-graduate work.

Wisniewski is 16th Nittany Lion to be selected a Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete during Coach Joe Paterno's tenure and follows another Western Pennsylvania standout, Paul Posluszny (2006) on the list.

The 2010 Scholar-Athletes will be honored at the National Football Foundation's 53rd Annual black tie awards dinner on December 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

"I am very honored to have been selected for this award amongst all the great student-athletes that play college football," said Wisniewski. "Some exceptional Penn State student-athletes and many great college football players have been selected a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. I am very appreciative of being chosen for this honor and look forward to meeting the other recipients. All the glory goes to God."

The Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Awards are awarded on an annual basis to a select group of college football players in their senior year of eligibility who have demonstrated outstanding academic success, strong leadership, citizenship and superior football performance.

"We are ecstatic about the quality of this year's remarkable National Scholar-Athlete Class. They stand as a testament to our mission of building leaders through football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "From top to bottom, this group has established itself as one of the greatest in the 50-plus years of this program, boasting an impressive array of academic and athletic achievements. We look forward to presenting each of them an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship to further their education, as there are no limits to what these young men will accomplish following their football careers."

Among the other 2010 Scholar-Athletes joining Wisniewski are: Sam Acho (Texas), Ben Chappell (Indiana), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Greg McElory (Alabama), Christian Ponder (Florida State) and Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin).

In addition to Wisniewski and Posluszny, some of the other Penn Staters to earn the prestigious Scholar-Athlete honor since its 1959 inception: Dave Joyner (1971), Mark Markovich (1973), Lance Hamilton (1985), Matt Johnson (1987), Tony Pittman (1994), Jeff Hartings (1995), Wally Richardson (1996) and Aaron Collins (1997).

A senior guard, Wisniwski has established himself as one of the nation's exceptional football student-athletes. Earlier this month he was named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for college football. Wisniewski also was named to the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® for his exemplary community service.

A secondary education major in the Schreyer Honors College, Wisniewski was selected a 2009 first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, as he added to his 2008 second-team honor. Owner of a superlative 3.91 grade-point average, the squad's highest mark, Wisniewski will have an opportunity this fall to become Penn State's first three-time Academic All-American®.

A three-year starter, Wisniewski was named a 2010 first team pre-season All-American by Sporting News, Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Lindy's Football Preview. He also is on the Watch List for the Rotary Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.

Wisniewski earned third team All-America and first team All-Big Ten accolades in 2009, starting all 13 games at center for the Nittany Lions. He moved back to guard during spring practice, where he started 12 games in 2008, helping Penn State win the Big Ten Championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl.

The talented and highly-motivated Wisniewski is among Penn State's most accomplished and community service-oriented student-athletes. He has made mission trips to the Dominican Republic during spring break this past March and in the summer of 2009. Wisniewski has participated in the Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB)'s Autism Awareness reading program, THON Make-A-Wish program, Pennsylvania Special Olympics' State Summer Games, Habitat for Humanity, Athletic Directors Leadership Institute, Athletes In Action, The Second Mile and tutored local high school students, among his vast array of community service activities.

A U.S. Army All-American at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Wisniewski has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA the past three semesters. He spent the 2009-10 academic year student teaching 10th-grade English at State College Area High School.

There are more than 120 chapters of the National Football Foundation, including the Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

The Nittany Lions host No. 25 Michigan on Saturday for an 8:00 p.m. kick. ESPN, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com will air the Big Ten clash

  • Stefen Wisniewski

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

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Last Updated November 18, 2010