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December 8, 2011EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern senior running back Jacob Schmidt (Rhinelander, Wis./Rhinelander) and junior offensive lineman Patrick Ward (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic) have been voted Capital One Academic All-America? honorees, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Ward was a first-team Academic All-America selection while Schmidt was named to the second team.
Schmidt and Ward are among 52 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players in the country to be honored on the first or second teams. The pair was entered for national consideration after being named Capital One Academic All-District V selections in November.
Ward is an offensive lineman majoring in mechanical engineering and carrying a cumulative grade point average of 3.92. After being one of three true freshmen to see the field in 2009, Ward has remained a fixture at right tackle for the Wildcats, starting 25 consecutive games over the last two seasons.
Schmidt graduated with a degree in human development and psychological services and currently is pursuing a master's degree in higher education administration. He began his NU career as a walk-on and has since established himself as a starter in the backfield. The Rhinelander, Wis., native is Northwestern's second-leading rusher this season with 465 yards, a 4.6-yard per carry average and six touchdowns.
Northwestern football now has 32 Academic All-Americans in its history -- including four since 2008 -- and has had more than one honoree in the same year on eight occasions. NU is one of four Big Ten teams to land a representative on this year's Capital One Academic All-America? teams and is one of two conference programs with multiple honorees.
To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average. The 26 members of the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America? team have an average GPA of 3.82.