Towson, Md. - Saint Xavier University football standouts Patrick Appino (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic), Michael Prosser (Rockton, Ill./Rockton-Hononegah) and Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) were all named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Football first team Monday as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The College Division Academic All-America® football team is comprised of student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions. Only 24 players (12 offensive, 12 defensive) nationwide earned first team recognition with SXU joining Central Methodist University (Mo.) and McPherson College (Kan.) with three first team honorees. Nebraska Wesleyan University (Neb.) led the way with four first team selections.
"All three of these young men are so deserving of this honor," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis. "Anyone who has watched them play knows how good they are on the field. But this award validates the success they have had in the classroom as well. I couldn't be happier for Michael, Pat and Shane and this is just another great honor for our NIC-10 guys."
Appino, a senior mathematics major with a minor in secondary education, has posted 40 tackles for the Cougars. He has also tallied 15 tackles for lost yardage and had seven sacks. A native of Rockford, Ill., Appino also broke up three passes and recovered three fumbles en route to All-Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League first team honors. Another All-MSFA first team selection, Prosser leads the Cougars with 90 tackles and ten sacks. The senior business major from Rockton, Ill., ranks among the NAIA defensive leaders with 21.5 tackles for lost yardage and 10 sacks. Zackery, a junior wide receiver, has 86 catches for 1,130 yards and 17 touchdowns for SXU. The Rockford native ranks third in the NAIA in both total catches and receiving yards and fifth in total scoring (102 points).
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
Saint Xavier (13-1 overall/4-1 MSFA) will be making its first appearance in the NAIA National Championship game in Rome, Ga., on Saturday, December 17. Saint Xavier will face 2010 defending national champion Carroll College (Mont.) at Barron Stadium with a 4:30 p.m. (eastern) kick-off.