Eight Hokies Make BIG EAST Academic Football Team
The Beat
January 29, 2004

Providence, R.I. - Senior Nate Jones of Rutgers heads a group of 68 student-athletes named to the 2003 BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team, the league announced. The cornerback and kick return specialist is the winner of the BIG EAST/Aéropostale Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He receives a $2,000 scholarship which may be applied to graduate or professional studies.

A native of Scotch Plains, N.J., Jones excelled in all aspects at Rutgers. He has played in every game for the Scarlet Knights the last two seasons. On defense, he amassed 219 career tackles, including finishing third on the team with 73 stops in 2003. Jones is also among the top kick returners in BIG EAST history, ranking second all-time in returns (82) and returns for touchdowns (3), while placing third with 1,902 yards. He shared BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2002 and was an All-BIG EAST Second Team choice this past season.

In the classroom and off the field, Jones is even more impressive. He is on course to earn a degree in Finance in four years and has produced a 3.61 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. He was one of only eight players in the country chosen for the National Scholar-Athlete class by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Jones is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America pick, including first team accolades this past season. Outside the classroom, Jones is involved in many activities at Rutgers, including the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. He has also participated in RU's leadership council, middle school program, Thanksgiving turkey day and student-athlete toy drive.

The BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Awards were established to recognize student-athletes who have achieved success in the classroom and on the field. The BIG EAST Male, Female and Men's and Women's Basketball Scholar-Athletes will be announced prior to the BIG EAST Men's & Women's Basketball Championships on March 5 and 9. Opened in 1987, Aéropostale, Inc. is a fast-growing, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories that targets both men and women. The company provides customers with a focused selection of high-quality, active-oriented, fashion basic merchandise at compelling values in a high-energy, entertaining store environment. Aéropostale operates over 400 stores across America. The company web site can be found at www.aeropostale.com.

Thirty-five repeat selections were included on the BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team. Six players - Sandro Sciortino (Boston College), James Sikora (Miami), Marty Pyszczymuka (Rutgers), Jared Davis (Temple) and Rich Scanlon and Nick Romeo (Syracuse) - were honored for the fourth time. Their honors increased to 30 the total of four-time winners in BIG EAST history.

"These players are the most outstanding student-athletes BIG EAST football has to offer," Commissioner Michael Tranghese said. "We are very excited to honor Nate Jones and the entire academic team with these selections."

Seven players lauded for their play on the field in the fall made the academic squad. Miami's Jonathan Vilma and Jonathan Peattie and Brian King of West Virginia were All-BIG EAST First Team members. All-conference second team selections on the field included Jones, Romeo, Scanlon and Pittsburgh's Kris Wilson.

Miami, Pittsburgh, Temple and West Virginia tied for the most academic honorees this year with 10 each. The Mountaineers have the most all-time selections with 101 in 13 seasons of BIG EAST play.

The All-Academic Team recognizes letterwinners who have posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Student-athletes who have completed a minimum of two semesters of academic work and earned a letter are eligible. It is the 12th consecutive season the BIG EAST has honored its student-athletes with an academic team.

2003 BIG EAST ALL-ACADEMIC FOOTBALL TEAM

Name Class Pos. Major Hometown
Boston College
Leonard Bennett Sr. DT Psychology Washington, D.C.
Brian Flores Sr. LB English Brooklyn, N.Y.
Haven Perkins Sr. FB Management Longwood, Fla.
Quinton Porter Jr. QB Finance Portland, Maine
Sandro Sciortino Sr. PK Administrative Studies Markham, Ontario
Greg Toal Sr. FB Education Wyckoff, N.J.
Derek Webley Sr. WR Management Methuen, Mass.
Miami
Robert Bergman Jr. OL Entrepreneurship Bakersfield, Calif.
Brock Berlin Sr. QB Liberal Arts Shreveport, La.
Matthew Carter Sr. H/P History Columbus, Ohio
Alejandro Garcia Sr. OL Technology Miami, Fla.
Mark Gent Sr. PK Marketing Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Kelly Jennings Jr. DB Finance Live Oak, Fla.
Bradley Kunz Sr. OL History Carlyle, Ill.
Jonathan Peattie So. PK Business Mgmt. Operations Clearwater, Fla.
James Sikora Sr. OL Civil Engineering Marathon, Fla.
Jonathan Vilma Sr. LB Finance Coral Gables, Fla.
Pittsburgh
Justin Belarski Jr. OL History Fairfield, Ohio
Brian Bennett r-Fr. LB Administration of Justice Delanco, N.J.
Vincent Crochunis Jr. DL Political Science Schuylkill Haven, Pa.
Luke Getsy r-Fr. QB Pre-Education/Mathematics Munhall, Pa.
Dan LaCarte Sr. OL Education (Grad.) Charleroi, Pa.
Brandon Miree Sr. RB Public Administration (Grad.) Cincinnati, Ohio
Yogi Roth Sr. WR Communication & Rhetoric Dalton, Pa.
Jon Schall Sr. OL Business Accounting Cincinnati, Ohio
Dan Stephens Jr. DL Urban Studies Wheeling, W. Va.
Kris Wilson Sr. TE Economics Lancaster, Pa.
Jeremy Campbell Sr. LB Sociology Montclair, N.J.
Nate Jones Sr. CB Finance Scotch Plains, N.J.
Brian Leonard r-Fr. RB Undeclared Gouverneur, N.Y.
Raymond Pilch Sr. TE Criminal Justice Piscataway, N.J.
Marty Pyszczmuka Sr. C Economics Sparta, N.J.
Syracuse
Dave DeAmato Sr. LS Policy Studies Wilmington, Mass.
Steve Franklin So. OG Child & Family Studies Dover, Del.
Andrew Johnson Sr. QB Neuroscience Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Nick Romeo Sr. C Engineering Mgmt. (Grad.) Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Rich Scanlon Sr. LB Health & Excercise Science Oradell, N.J.
Matt Tarullo Jr. OG Psychology Albany, N.Y.
Josh Thomas Sr. DE Philosophy Orchard Park, N.Y.
Tim Washington r-Fr. RB Information Management & Technology Bristol, Conn.
Temple
John Adams Jr. DE Secondary Education Pitman, N.J.
Taso Apostolidis Sr. DT Broadcasting, Telecomm. & Mass Media Philadelphia, Pa.
Eric Carpenter Jr. TE Computer Information Sciences Lebanon, Pa.
Jared Davis Sr. PK Broadcasting, Telecomm. & Mass Media Saunderstown, R.I.
John Gross So. OT Environmental Studies Slatington, Pa.
Jason Johnson So. DE Int'l Business Administration Camp Hill, Pa.
Stephen Josephson So. PK Journalism Philadelphia, Pa.
Ray Lamb Jr. DB Biology Fort Worth, Texas
Joey Lippo Sr. LS Sports & Recreation Mgmt. Saint Augustine, Fla.
Elliot Seifert r-Fr. OT Biology Reading, Pa.
Virginia Tech
James Anderson So. LB Art Chesapeake, Va.
Chad Cooper Jr. LB Marketing Herndon, Va.
Jacob Gibson Sr. OG Education (Grad.) Rocky Mount, Va.
Jeff King So. TE Finance Pulaski, Va.
Robert Peaslee Sr. H/P Health & Physical Education (Grad.) Pulaski, Va.
Chris Shreve Sr. WR Human Nutrition (Grad.) Mouth of Wilson, Va.
Jordan Trott So. LB Accounting Torrance Calif.
Keith Willis Sr. TE Health & Physical Education (Grad.) Norfolk, Va.
West Virginia
Scott Fleming Jr. LS Business Plano, Texas
Jay Henry r-Fr. LB Business Jenks, Okla.
Jeremy Hines r-Fr. C Economics/Spanish Westlake, Ohio
Todd James Sr. P Accounting New Eagle, Pa.
Garin Justice So. OT Athletic Coaching Education Gilbert, W. Va.
Adam King Sr. FB Athletic Coaching Education Ripley, W. Va.
Brian King Sr. DB Athletic Coaching Education Damascus, Md.
Adam Lehnortt Jr. LB Business Management Oil City, Pa.
Dan Mozes r-Fr. OG Business Washington, Pa.
John Pennington Jr. WR Accounting Charleston, W. Va.
(Grad.) = Graduate School Program