Owning 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. 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.
However they had to endure a nervy final few minutes in which Jan Oblak had to be at his best and they survived a late VAR check over what looked like a clear Santiago Arias handball in the area.“It’s controversial, a ball that hits the hand and the referee’s decision is to see if it’s voluntary or not,” said Saul Niguez, whose cross led to their fortunate winner and who gave away a penalty in a similar fashion during Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Valencia.The victory means second-placed Atletico are six points behind Barca, who now have to beat Levante at the Camp Nou later in order to take the title with three matches to spare before they host Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.Should Barca win as expected, they will hold their nine-point lead over Atleti, who will no longer be able to overtake the Catalans thanks to their inferior head-to-head record.However Diego Simeone’s side will be satisfied they are nine points ahead of local rivals and reigning European champions Real Madrid, who travel to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday amid increasing speculation they will respond to a disappointing season by swooping for Eden Hazard and Neymar.“It’s what we deserve, no more, no less. We’ve come so far,” added Saul.“There were moments when we wanted to be first and others that I would say no, that’s what we deserve.”– Under-par Atletico –Valladolid meanwhile stay 17th, just one point and a place away from the relegation zone after a match they will feel they were unlucky to lose.Atletico were far from their intense best, and the first half was a drab affair enlivened by a few Valladolid pot shots and a fine save from Jordi Masip, who did well to tip away Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick.However they upped their game early in the second half and got the breakthrough in the 66th minute when Joaquin launched himself at Saul’s cross from the left and headed the ball past Masip into his own goal.That didn’t stop Valladolid though, and the away side thought they would be given a chance to equalise from the spot with just four minutes left when Arias appeared to handle a cross, only for referee Mario Melero Lopez to give a corner following a long VAR check.They then forced saves from Oblak before Fernando Calero hit the post with a header two minutes into stoppage time, but they couldn’t make their late flurry count.Earlier on Saturday, Athletic Bilbao and Alaves did their chances of European football next season no favours with a 1-1 draw in the Basque Country.Seventh-placed Bilbao are five points away from the Champions league places — with Alaves a further three points back — and could also see Valencia and Sevilla take the Europa league further away from them when they take on Eibar and Girona.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Atletico Madrid had to survive a VAR penalty review to beat Real Valladolid and delay Barcelona’s La Liga title party © AFP / GABRIEL BOUYSMADRID, Spain, Apr 27 – Barcelona were made to wait to retain their La Liga title on Saturday as closest challengers Atletico Madrid scraped past strugglers Real Valladolid 1-0 after surviving late VAR penalty drama.Ernesto Valverde’s side would have been crowned champions for the eighth time in 11 seasons ahead of their home clash with Levante later had Atletico lost to relegation-threatened Valladolid, but Joaquin Fernandez’s own goal was enough to seal the three points and delay the Barca title party.