June 27, 2011
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Michigan State senior center fielder Brandon Eckerle has been named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America First Team. The announcement was made over the weekend by Lowe's, an official corporate sponsor of the NCAA, at the College World Series.
In April, Eckerle was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I head coaches, national media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I baseball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Pitcher Tyler Wilson of Virginia was named the 2011 winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in baseball.
Eckerle, who was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Detroit, posted one of the best seasons in the 127-year history of Spartan baseball this spring and helped lead Michigan State to its first Big Ten title since 1979. A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, Eckerle won the conference batting crown with his .379 average and set an MSU single-season record with 96 hits in 2011. He is just the second Spartan to win a Big Ten batting title for overall games. Also a dynamic defensive player, Eckerle made countless highlight catches in center field and was voted by his teammates as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Eckerle closed his career as the all-time hits leader in program history with 261. The Durand, Mich., native, who started every game in center field the past three seasons (164 consecutive starts), also ranks second at MSU in runs scored with 158. Off the field, Eckerle was just as successful, as he was named a first-team Academic All-American for his 3.98 GPA in general business administration/pre-law. Eckerle is just the third player in program history to earn Academic All-America honors twice in his career, as he was a third-team selection in 2010. He graduated in May 2011 and plans on attending law school next year.
Highly respected by his teammates, Eckerle was named team captain for the 2011 season. A three-year member of the Michigan State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, he was MSU's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2011. In May, Eckerle was named the 2011 Michigan Male College Athlete of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club, which is presented annually to a student-athlete that performs at a high level athletically and academically, makes an impact in his/her community, and demonstrates leadership and sportsmanlike behavior.
2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America First Team
Brandon Eckerle, Center Field, Michigan State
Clint Ewing, Catcher, Louisiana Tech
Frazier Hall, First Base/Designated Hitter, Southern University
Cory Tilton, Outfield, UNC Charlotte Tyler Wilson, Pitcher, Virginia
2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America Second Team
Chris Dennis, Pitcher, Portland
Cole Green, Pitcher, Texas
Paul Hoilman, First Base, East Tennessee State
Cole Johnson, Pitcher, Notre Dame
Chris Slater, Outfield, Baylor
ABOUT THE AWARD
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Sportscaster Dick Enberg, honorary chair of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men's basketball players leaving school early for the NBA. The award program has expanded from men's and women's basketball to include 10 NCAA Division I sports. The award is sponsored by Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, and is managed by Premier Sports Management.