Nebraska Wesleyan University had four football players named to the First-Team of the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Football Team that was announced Dec. 5. The four First-Team selections led all schools in the NAIA. Three other NWU players were named to the Academic All-America® Second-Team, giving the Prairie Wolves a total of seven Academic All-Americans.
Senior offensive lineman Garek Bebee and junior kicker Steven Anderson were named to the First-Team on offense, while junior defensive lineman Russell Walton and sophomore punter Kelby Vandenberg were on First-Team defense. On the second team were senior tight end Matt Edwards, junior defensive back Cody Eiler and junior linebacker Brett Kaczor.
Nebraska Wesleyan was the only NAIA school with four players selected to the First-Team with Central Methodist, McPherson and Saint Xavier getting three each. Central Methodist also had four Second-Team selections to tie NWU for the most Academic All-Americans.
Bebee (Wakefield, Neb.) has a 3.69 GPA as a physics major. He started all 40 games of his career at offensive tackle and was a two-time First-Team All-GPAC selection. Anderson (Omaha, Neb.) has a 3.33 GPA in exercise science. Anderson led NWU with 58 points going 28-31 on PAT and 10-13 on field goal attempts. Walton (Franklin, Neb.) has a 3.86 GPA in business administration. He is a two-time First-Team All-GPAC selection and had 71 tackles with six sacks on the year. Vandenberg has a 3.79 GPA in business administration. He averaged 38.7 yards per punt and had a season-long punt of 76 yards.
On the second team Edwards (Gretna, Neb.) has a 3.50 GPA in biology, Eiler (O’Neill, Neb.) has a 3.52 GPA in business administration and Kaczor (Ewing, Neb.) has a 3.47 GPA as a business administration major.
Nebraska Wesleyan University now has 116 Academic All-America® awards, which is among the top schools in all divisions of competition. The NWU football team now has had 29 players earn 39 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 ESPN the Magazine 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.