Findlay, Ohio – Headed by junior offensive lineman Brian Studnicka (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) with a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.91, the Saint Xavier University football team had 10 of its players earn a spot on the 2012 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) All-Academic Team when the team was released by the league Friday morning. The remaining players to make the team were junior defensive lineman JD Barchard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Sioux Falls/Crystal Lake South), senior wide receiver Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic), senior linebacker Mike Bushnell (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), junior Zach Dolph (Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic), junior kicker/punter Spencer Nolen (Columbia, Tenn./UT-Chattanooga/Columbia Central), senior wide receiver Chase Catton (Washington, Ill./Washington), junior defensive back Jacob Ghinazzi (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic), junior wide receiver McHale Smith (Grand Haven, Mich./Spring Lake) and senior defensive lineman Ryan Miles (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South).
Criteria for the team include: being an active player on a MSFA member institution, at least a junior academic status and a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or above. Last season, the Cougars had seven of their players named to the 2011 MSFA All-Academic Team. SXU has had a number of its players recognized for academic achievement this past season with Zackery named a national finalist for the National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award as well as having Bushnell, Zackery and sophomore defensive lineman Greg Hayward (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Team. Bushnell, Nolen, Studnicka and Zackery were also named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes this past December as well.
"I'm really proud of these guys and what they have been able to accomplish," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis. "They fully understand that academics come first and to have 10 of our players be honored by the MSFA for their excellence in the classroom is outstanding."
Saint Xavier had another amazing season finishing with an 11-2 overall record and making its fourth straight appearance in the semifinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series. The Cougars carried the NAIA's No. 1 ranking for the first five weeks of the 2012 season and later went on to defeat then No. 1 ranked Marian University (Ind.), 23-6, on November 1 in Chicago. SXU claimed the No. 4 spot in the NAIA's final regular season top 25 poll.