On Thursday, Michigan State senior linebacker Max Bullough and junior punter Mike Sadler were named to the 2013 Capital One Division I Academic All-America First Team.
For Sadler, who earned Second Team honors each of the past two season, this year’s accolades make him the first Michigan State football player to achieve the feat of being named Academic All-American three times and the third in the history of the school. For Bullough, this marks his second time being honored, as he was also a Second Team All-American last year.
“Max Bullough and Mike Sadler are committed to pursuing excellence in both the academic and competitive arenas, and both achieved success at the highest levels, earning first-team Academic All-America honors in the classroom and first-team All-Big Ten honors on the playing field,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “Their work ethic and dedication – in both areas – are inspirational.”
To highlight some of their academic achievements, Sadler graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in applied engineering sciences with a 3.97 GPA and is now currently pursuing his Ph.D in economics.
“To graduate with a degree from our College of Engineering for any student is a worthy accomplishment,” Director of Academic Services Todd Edwards said. “Mike did it in three years with remarkable proficiency. He’s obviously very intelligent, but also very engaged in his learning.”
As for his on-the field accolades this season, Sadler was a Ray Guy Award Semi-Finalist and was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches for the second straight year.
Sadler this year averaged 42.4 yards per punt, including pinning his opponents inside the 10 yard line 22 times this season, good enough to lead the FBS, as well as land 29 of his punts inside the 20 (3rd in the FBS).
As for Bullough, a finance major with a 3.56 GPA, in addition to his Academic All-American honors, he has been named to the 2013 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Class and is one of 16 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best scholar athlete in the nation. An $18,000 post-graduate scholarship will be awarded to each finalist at the NFF Awards Dinner, scheduled to be held on December 10 in New York City.
“Max is one of the most intelligent student-athletes I’ve been around in my 25 years of work in college football,” said Edwards. “He’s a very fast learner. He’s also our first ‘legacy’ first-team Academic All-American as his father Shane earned the honor during his time here as a Spartan.”
As for Bullough’s on-the-field accomplishments this season, Bullough is the absolute heart and soul of one of the best defenses in the nation. The senior co-captain who has lead the Spartans in tackles each of his last two seasons, once again ranks at the top with 64 thus far on the season, good enough for third on the team.
Throughout his career at Michigan State, Bullough has recorded 296 tackles in 52 games, including 39 consecutive starts.
“Max and Mike are not only models of excellence for their teammates, they’re also a reflection of them,” Edwards said. ”The team accomplishments and subsequent individual accolades, both on and off the field, are directly attributed to Coach Dantonio and the type of student-athletes he’s bringing in to our program and the high standard that’s expected of them across the board. The culture he’s created – to chase excellence every day – has set up both the program and the individuals engaged in it for success over the long haul.”
Nevertheless, in the midst of all these accolades, the journey most definitely is not over yet, as both Sadler and Bullough will be playing for a shot at a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth Saturday night in Indianapolis against the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes.