Dec. 2, 2011
IRVING, Texas - Four graduate students, six seniors, a junior and a sophomore were named to the 2011 Conference USA All-Academic Team, as selected by the league's Sports Information Directors for football. Rice and Tulsa each placed two selections on the All-Academic team, including Hurricane QB G.J. Kinne who is making his third appearance. The all-academic team consists of student-athletes who have earned a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or better and are a starter or key reserve on their team.
Complete All-Academic Team Release in PDF Format
Kinne was named to the C-USA All-Academic Football Team for the third consecutive year as an exercise sports science major. The Gilmer, Texas native led the Golden Hurricane to an 8-4 record this season and ranks second in the conference for total offense, passing yardage and passing efficiency. Kinne also ranks second in TU school history for offensive yards and touchdown passes thrown. He was named the 2010 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. Kinne is joined on the all-academic squad by teammate Alan Dock. The senior linebacker graduated in three years with a degree in accounting and is currently pursuing a master's in business.
Kinne was one of three standout signal callers named to the all-academic team. Houston's Case Keenum also earned recognition for his performance in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA as a sports administration graduate student. Keenum has led the Cougars to a No. 6 national ranking and an appearance in Saturday's C-USA Football Championship game. A native of Abilene, Texas, Keenum has broken every major NCAA passing record during his career, owning all-time marks for passing yardage, total offense, passing touchdowns, total touchdowns and completions. He was named the recipient of the Sammy Baugh Award this week.
Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin was also named to squad with a 3.29 GPA as a management major. The redshirt junior started every game as captain for the Green Wave this season and was named the C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19. Griffin is a two-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and Tulane's 3.0 Club.
Rice placed Matt Nordstrom and Scott Solomon on the all-academic squad. Nordstrom is a civil engineer major with a 3.51 GPA. He is a former walk-on, who earned a scholarship prior to the 2010 season and registered a career-high 25 tackles this season. Solomon is also a member of the Owl defense, leading the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and tied the school record with 24 career sacks. Both are four-time members of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.
UCF's Josh Linam earns his second consecutive all-academic accolade as the Knights' defensive captain this season. Linam was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for the second year in a row. The Tavares, Fla., native maintains a 3.36 GPA as a sports and fitness major as UCF's starting middle linebacker and defensive captain.
Also making a repeat appearance on the all-academic squad is Matt Milner of East Carolina. The defensive lineman is a physics major with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Last season, he won the ECU Football Jerry T. Brooks Academic Achievement and the Merck General Chemistry Achievement Awards. On the field, he has registered 37 tackles as a starting defensive end for the Pirates.
Senior long snapper Creighton Nelms represents No. 23 Southern Miss on the all-academic squad. Nelms maintains a 3.42 GPA as a mathematics major. He has started on both the kick and punt special teams for the Golden Eagles and was a 2010 C-USA honorable mention selection.
Marshall senior Tyson Gale earned his spot with a 3.72 GPA in exercise physiology. The Alva, Okla., native started every game for the Thundering Herd and was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week after his fourth-quarter interception of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to set up the game-winning score in the 17-13 victory over the Cardinals. Gale was also selected to the Capital One Academic All-District Team.
SMU senior Kevin Beachum completed his undergraduate degree and is currently working on a master's in liberal studies. He has started every game for the Mustangs since his arrival in 2008 and is a two-time All-Conference USA selection. Beachum entered the 2011 season on watch lists for both the Outland and Lombardi Awards. He serves as president of SMU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and will lead the Mustangs to their third-straight bowl appearance.
Rounding out the 2011 C-USA Football All-Academic Team is UTEP senior Jeremy Springer. The Miners starting linebacker earned his degree in management and is pursuing a master of education with concentration as an instructional specialist. He led the team with 70 tackles, including five for losses. Springer was credited with his first career interception this season at Tulane. He was also named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team. The UTEP Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vice President of Events has volunteered with YWCA, Providence Hospital and the West Texas Food Bank.
The 2011 C-USA Football Championship between No. 6 Houston and No. 22 Southern Miss will take place Saturday, December 3 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game will be broadcast live on ABC, beginning at Noon EST/11 a.m. CST.
2011 C-USA Football All-Academic Team
NAME - SCHOOL - YEAR - GPA - MAJOR
*Matt Milner - East Carolina - Soph.-RS - 4.00 - Physics
Case Keenum - Houston - Senior - 3.80 - Sports Administration, Masters
Tyson Gale - Marshall - Senior - 3.72 - Exercise Physiology
Matt Nordstrom - Rice - Senior - 3.51 - Civil Engineering
Scott Solomon - Rice - Senior - 3.33 - Political Science
Kelvin Beachum - SMU - Senior - 3.66 - Liberal Studies, Masters
Creighton Nelms - Southern Miss - Senior - 3.42 - Mathematics
Ryan Griffin - Tulane - Junior - 3.29 - Management
Alan Dock - Tulsa - Senior - 3.63 - Business, Masters
**G.J. Kinne - Tulsa - Senior - 3.27 - Exercise & Sports Science
*Josh Linam - UCF - Senior - 3.36 - Sports & Fitness
Jeremy Springer - UTEP - Senior - 3.53 - Instructional Specialist/Education, Masters