Nov. 25, 2008
IRVING, Texas — All-America candidate Joe Pawelek headlined a group of 16 Baylor student-athletes named to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 Conference teams, announced Tuesday by the league office. The Bears placed 11 student-athletes on the first team, while five Baylor student-athletes earned second-team honors.
The Bears matched the 2006 squad for the program’s most first-team academic all-conference honorees in school history; the 16 total selections are second in program history behind the 2006 squad’s 18. Baylor has produced 36 first-team honorees over the past four seasons after producing only 38 first-team selections in the league’s first nine years. In all, Baylor has produced 139 Academic All-Big 12 selections since the league’s inception in 1996; 56 of those selections have come in the last four years.
Baylor’s first-team selections were punter Derek Epperson (sophomore; business), linebacker Ty Findley (senior; engineering), linebacker Ben Hixson (senior; sport management), running back Jacoby Jones (senior; general studies), linebacker Tyler King (junior; finance), defensive end Jason Lamb (junior; management), safety Zak Mitchell (senior; health science studies), linebacker Pawelek (junior; finance), quarterback Ryan Roberts (senior; sport management), defensive end Zac Scotton (redshirt-freshman; political science) and tight end John David Weed (senior; general studies).
Hixson earned first-team honors for the fourth consecutive season, joining Kyle Atteberry (1996-1999) and Daniel Sepulveda (2003-2006) as the only four-time honorees in Baylor history. Pawelek earned first-team honors for the third consecutive season, joining the four-time honorees, Jason Lary (1998-2000), John Martin (2001-2002, 2004), Andrew Obriotti (1998-2000) and Stephen Sepulveda (2002-2004) as the only Baylor student-athletes to earn first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors more than twice.
Baylor’s second-team honorees were cornerback Krys Buerck (sophomore; general studies), free safety Jordan Lake (junior; management), safety Jake La Mar (senior; distribution management), linebacker Sam Shalala (senior; health science studies) and defensive tackle Sam Sledge (junior; entrepreneurship).
Texas led all programs in first-team (17) and overall selections (22). Baylor was fourth in the league behind Nebraska (13, 19) and Texas Tech (12, 18) in both categories. Oklahoma (13) and Kansas (12) were the only other schools with at least 10 total selections. Oklahoma State had nine, followed by Missouri (8), Colorado (6), Iowa State and Kansas State (5 each), and Texas A&M (4).
Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and its media relations offices, the 2008 football academic all-league squad consisted of 91 first-team members and 46 second-team members. First-team members have recorded a 3.20 or better GPA, while second-team members have recorded a GPA between 3.00 and 3.19.
To qualify, a student-athlete must maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 either cumulatively or in the two previous semesters and participate in at least 60 percent of his team’s scheduled games. True freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all criteria except participation percentage also are eligible.
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Nov. 29, concluding its 2008 season at seventh-ranked Texas Tech. Kickoff between the Bears and Red Raiders is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST at Jones AT&T Stadium on the Texas Tech campus. The game will be televised nationally on Versus.