Thirteen Spartan Football Players Earn Academic All-Big Ten Honors

Published 4:22 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

EAST LANSING — Thirteen Michigan State football players have been named to the 2010 Academic All-Big Ten Team.

They are red-shirt freshman offensive tackle David Barrent, senior punter Aaron Bates, fifth-year senior fullback Nick Bendzuck, sophomore running back Larry Caper, junior quarterback Kirk Cousins, sophomore offensive tackle John Deyo, junior offensive guard Joel Foreman, red-shirt freshman defensive tackle Dan France, red-shirt freshman center Nate Klatt, red-shirt freshman quarterback Andrew Maxwell, red-shirt freshman kicker Kevin Muma, junior wide receiver Keith Nichol and sophomore offensive guard Ethan Ruhland. The 13 Academic All-Big Ten selections are tied for the third-highest single-season total in MSU history.

To be eligible for the Academic All-Big Ten Team, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner in his second academic year and carry at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale).

Michigan State’s list of honorees includes seven multi-year selections. Bates, Cousins and Foreman have been named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team for the third-straight year, while Bendzuck, Deyo, Nichol and Ruhland have made the honor roll for the second year in a row.

“It’s important that we continue to foster an environment that encourages and supports our student-athletes to pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “With a conference championship already on their resume, we congratulate these 13 student-athletes who represent Michigan State on the Academic All-Big Ten Team. They have done an outstanding job of managing their time, balancing the responsibilities that go along with being both a student and an athlete. They have set the standard for excellence in the classroom.”

“Instilling a commitment to academic success has been a priority for Coach Dantonio since his first day on the job,” MSU Director of Academic Services for Student-Athletes Todd Edwards said. “With his coaching and family background, he understands and truly appreciates the value of education, and is continually stressing that to our student-athletes in both team and individual settings. We have team leaders on our Academic All-Big Ten list, and I’m also very encouraged by our younger student-athletes who are positioning themselves for this recognition in the future.

“Coach Dantonio has firmly established a foundation that allows our student-athletes to pursue excellence in the classroom and championships on the field.”

“Coach Dantonio constantly reminds us that we’re here as student-athletes and that means taking care of business in the classroom first,” Cousins said. “We’re blessed to have access to all of the resources necessary to get the job done. Coach Dantonio wants us to be prepared and positioned for success long after our playing careers are over. That’s why he stresses the importance of earning a degree because it provides that solid foundation for a lifetime.”

In the first three seasons under Dantonio, 43 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten, including double-digit totals each of the last three years (2008-10).