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Walls Tabbed as CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year

first_imgOwning an unblemished 4.0 grade point average, Walls will graduate this weekend with a degree in engineering physics and a minor in mathematics after just three and a half years of study in Nacogdoches. A native of Pearland, Texas (Pearland H.S.), the safety is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team selection and is the reigning Southland Football Student-Athlete of the Year. No less than 33 of the 50 members of the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Football Team have at least a 3.90 GPA, with 14 student-athletes maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA as either undergraduate or graduate students. The 25 members of the first team own an average GPA of 3.94. The Southland’s pick as a 2017 STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award finalist, Walls is the only football player from the conference to appear on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Football Team. SFA’s first William V. Campbell Trophy® finalist and National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete, Walls’ accomplishments were highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports last week at the 2017 NFF & College Hall of Fame Annual Awards Dinner in downtown New York City. The prestigious Campbell Trophy® is regarded as the highest scholar-athlete honor in all of college football and is the academic equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. “It just puts another layer of icing on the cake,” Walls said upon being notified of his achievement. “Everything I’ve been able to accomplish at SFA is far beyond anything I would have ever imagined. I believe in leaving your mark on a program/organization and seizing every moment, but the impact I’ve had here is truly extraordinary.” With SFA already having a Walter Payton Award winner in former quarterback Jeremy Moses (2010), the ‘Jacks became just the sixth football program in the nation to have both a Walter Payton Award winner and a NFF National Scholar-Athlete. Of those, only five schools have had both a Walter Payton Award winner and a Campbell Trophy® finalist since the award began in 1990. On the gridiron, Walls recorded 60 tackles, including 31 solo stops and two tackles for loss, while playing in all 11 games and making 10 starts this season. He registered a career-high 11 total tackles versus 17th-ranked Nicholls on Nov. 11 and posted nine tackles in two other outings. Walls also claimed three pass breakups, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery throughout the year. No Lumberjack on SFA’s current roster has played in (46) or started (24) more games than Walls has throughout his four-year career at SFA. With the national honor, which includes both FCS and FBS football student-athletes, Walls joins an illustrious fraternity of Academic All-Americans® of the Year with some of the most notable names in the sport. Previous CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year selections include Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1995 & 1996), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Drew Brees (Purdue, 2000), Alex Smith (Utah, 2004), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2008 & 2009) and Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011). Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was named 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American® of the Year as a junior at Stanford last season.center_img AUSTIN, Texas – Stephen F. Austin football’s Marlon Walls will be graduating this Saturday as the only Lumberjack to ever earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® of the Year honors after the announcement of the 2017 Thursday afternoon. Selected by sports information directors across the nation, Walls appears on the first team for the second consecutive year after becoming the first SFA football player to be named CoSIDA Academic All-America® First Team in 2016. Outside of football and academics Walls has been very active in the community, both in Nacogdoches and Houston, during his time as a student-athlete. Among the large number of community service projects he has participated in are serving as a nutrition and life skills advocate, a student instructor, a math and science tutor and lending his time on Thanksgiving Day, passing out meals to needy citizens. Walls also speaks at area elementary schools, assists with the football team’s “Read to Succeed” program and has been a part of SFA’s Big Event project. Over this past summer, Walls completed an internship at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. While there, he joined other students from institutions such as MIT, Stanford and Yale to assist with the Europa Propulsion Module, a NASA space probe joint project. Upon graduating, Walls plans to return to Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to gain more work experience before pursuing a graduate degree in mechanical engineering next fall. 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Football Team Only two other student-athletes in the history of the Southland Conference have attained the title of CoSIDA Academic All-American® of the Year since the inception of the accolade in 1987. Walls joins former UTSA volleyball player Tamara Luchenmeyer (2000) and former Lamar men’s basketball student-athlete Matt Sundblad (1999) as the only three from the Southland to achieve CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year status. UTSA was a league member from 1991 to 2012. A nominee for both the 2016 and 2017 Allstate/American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team, Walls was named to the 2016 FCS Athletic Directors Association (ADA) Academic All-Star Team. He has been placed on the Southland’s All-Academic Team for the past two seasons and has been a member of the Southland fall commissioner’s honor roll each year since his freshman campaign in 2014. Named to the SFA President’s List every semester of his career, Walls was the recipient of the SFA physics department’s Brian Patrick Hanson Memorial Scholarship last year and claimed the Murray Shaw Award for owning the highest GPA of any Lumberjack football player.last_img

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