Nebraska Wesleyan University had five football players named to the First-Team of the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Football Team that was announced Dec. 3. The five First-Team selections led all schools in the NAIA.
Senior defensive lineman Russell Walton and junior punter Kelby Vandenberg were both repeat selections to the Academic All-America First-Team. Junior kicker Aaron Lorraine, junior defensive back Michael Huettner and sophomore defensive back Seth Wardyn were also named to the Academic All-America® First-Team.
Nebraska Wesleyan led the country in its number of Academic All-Americans for the second consecutive season. Northwestern College was second with four this season, three on the First-Team.
Walton (Franklin, Neb.) has a 3.82 GPA as a business administration major. He was a three-time First-Team All-GPAC selection on the defensive line and this season anchored the NWU defense that ranked second in the NAIA in rush defense. Vandenberg (David City, Neb.) has a 3.73 GPA as a business administration major and was a repeat selection as the First-Team punter as he averaged 40.5 yards per punt to rank 10th in the NAIA and earned him First-Team All-GPAC honors.
Lorraine (Omaha, Neb.) has a 3.85 GPA in business administration. After winning the kicking duties in fall camp, Lorraine converted 12-20 field goals to rank eighth in the country in made FG attempts. Huettner (Verdon, Neb.) has a 3.95 GPA in accounting and started all 10 games at safety for the Prairie Wolves with 38 tackles and eight pass breakups. Wardyn (Grand Island, Neb.) was one of only two sophomores on the First-Team. He was second on the Prairie Wolves defense with 64 tackles and had two interceptions in the secondary.
Nebraska Wesleyan University now has 133 Academic All-America® awards, which is among the top schools in all divisions of competition. The NWU football team now has had 32 players earn 44 Academic All-American awards which ranks among the top 10 of all football playing schools in the country.
Student-athletes must meet four criteria to earn Capital One Academic All- America® honors: 1) must have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or better, 2) must have at least two terms of attendance at the institution, 3) must be at least a sophomore in athletic eligibility, 4) must be a starter or key reserve in their respective sport.