Sept. 2, 2009
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Baylor senior linebacker Joe Pawelek was one of 30 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes named a candidate for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, it was announced Wednesday. Candidates must be a senior academically and athletically and have shown excellence in four areas: classroom, character, community and competition.
Pawelek, a double major in finance and economics, earned All-America and Academic All-America honors last season after tallying 128 tackles with six interceptions. He led the Big 12 in tackles per game and ranked seventh nationally. Furthermore, Pawelek was seventh nationally in interceptions and led all Division I linebackers in picks a year ago. He was the only Division I FBS player last season to amass at least 120 tackles and at least five interceptions.
A product of Smithson Valley [Texas] High School, Pawelek enters the 2009 season with 313 career tackles, most of any active Division I FBS player. He will start his 35th consecutive game in Saturday’s season opener at Wake Forest, the longest streak by a Baylor player since Maurice Lane’s school-record 45-game run from 2002 to 2005. Pawelek’s is tied for sixth among active Division I FBS players with eight career interceptions, most among linebackers.
One of Baylor’s 2009 team captains, Pawelek’s resume also includes service off the field and outside the classroom. He actively volunteers in the community and recently assisted the Central Texas area at events such as Santa’s Workshop, read to area youth in the One Book One Waco program, worked with young cancer survivors at the Little Wranglers event, and worked with Waco’s Special Olympics. He also served as spokesperson for Baylor’s Food for Families canned food drive.
Pawelek is one of five linebackers on the 30-man candidate list for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. He also is one of six players from the Big 12 Conference, joining Auston English (Oklahoma defensive end), Kurtis Gregory (Missouri offensive lineman), Andrew Lewis (Oklahoma State offensive lineman), Colt McCoy (Texas quarterback) and Darrell Stuckey (Kansas safety).
Midway through the regular season, 10 semifinalists will be selected from the 30-man candidate list; the winner will be chosen from that list. Last year’s recipient was Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis.