Three Big 12 football players not only starred on the field this season but also demonstrated high achievement in the classroom.
Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence, Oklahoma junior center Gabe Ikard and senior defensive back Cody Davis of Texas Tech have been named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America first team. For Ikard, it was the second time he has earned Academic All-America honors. He was named to the second team in the 2011 season.
Florence, and economics major with a 3.79 grade point average, led Baylor to a 7-5 season and a spot in the Holiday Bowl, where the Bears will meet UCLA out of the Pac-12. One of the Bears seven wins was a huge 59-24 upset of then-No. 1 Kansas State that knocked the Wildcats out of a chance to play in the BCS National Championship. Florence, who played for three seasons behind Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, led the nation with 387.7 yards of total offense per game in the 2012 regular season, including 4,121 passing yards and 31 touchdowns.
The Baylor quarterback was named this season's Big 12 Football Scholar Athlete of the Year, voted by the conference coaches.
Ikard anchored the Oklahoma offense at center this season, replacing senior All-Big 12 offensive lineman Ben Habern, who was forced to retire from the game because of lingering neck and back injuries. Ikard's play helped contribute to the nation's fifth best passing offense. The Sooners averaged 341 yards passing and finished with a 10-2 record and 8-1 in the Big 12 to gain a share, with Kansas State, of their eighth conference championship.
Davis is currently working on a master's degree in Management Information Systems. His undergraduate degree is in the same field, in which he earned a 3.70 grade point average. He recorded more than 350 tackles in his four-year career at Texas Tech, more than any other Red Raider player in the past decade.
The 24 players named to the Capital One Division I Academic All-America football first team combined for a composite 3.715 G.P.A. Eligibility for the Academic All-America Team is open to a varsity starter or key reserve who maintains a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a 4.00 scale and is nominated by their institution's sports information director.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) is the organization behind the Academic All-America Team, having introduced the concept beginning in 1952. Since that time, more than 16,000 student-athletes have been honored as Academic All-Americans covering all NCAA championship sports.
Follow all Big 12 sports and all 10 conference teams throughout the year at SB Nation Kansas City.
For more information on the College Sports Information Directors of America, visit CoSIDA.com.