Dec. 5, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior linebacker Max Bullough and junior punter Mike Sadler have been named to the 2013 Capital One Division I Academic All-America First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Sadler, who earned second-team honors in 2011 and 2012, becomes the first player in program history to garner Academic All-America accolades three times and just the third in school history (Chris Hill, men's basketball, 2003, '04, '05; Michelle Carson, women's cross country/track, 2003, '04, '05). It also marks the second Academic All-America honor for Bullough, who was named to the second team last year.
Michigan State is one of two programs with two players listed on the 24-man Capital One Division I Academic All-America First Team. It marks the first time since 1986 that the Spartans have landed two student-athletes on the Academic All-America First Team.
"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.
"We congratulate Max and Mike on their academic and athletic successes."
"Across the country, there are several student-athletes who perform at an elite level on the field and some who achieve at a high level in the classroom, but there are very, very few who excel at the level that Max and Mike do in both areas," said Director of Academic Services Todd Edwards. "With the aptitude that they show in their coursework, it's no coincidence that they are as confident and proficient as they are at their positions on the field. To be named first-team Academic All-American in addition to first-team All-Big Ten on the field is very special, and we are very proud of these two and happy for their families.
"Max and Mike are not only models of excellence for their teammates, they're also a reflection of them. 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."
Bullough, a finance major who maintains a 3.56 grade-point average, becomes just the eighth player in program history to be named an Academic All-American twice. He also 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 an individual as the best scholar-athlete in the nation. Each Campbell Trophy finalist will be presented an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship at the 56th annual NFF Awards Dinner, scheduled for Dec. 10 at the Waldorf=Astoria 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."
A senior co-captain and three-year starting middle linebacker, Bullough ranks among the team's leaders in tackles (third with 64), quarterback hurries (tied for second with 10), tackles for loss (third with 9) and production points (third with 211). The first-team All-Big Ten selection was named one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.
In his last appearance in Spartan Stadium, Bullough recorded nine tackles, including a 2-yard loss, as Michigan State completed its first-ever 8-0 Big Ten season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota. Bullough also compiled nine tackles in the win at Nebraska on Nov. 16.
Bullough was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high 10 tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 win over Purdue, with two resulting in losses including a 7-yard sack that produced a fumble that senior Denicos Allen recovered and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bullough reached double-figure tackles for the seventh time in his career.
Bullough has led the Spartans in tackles the previous two seasons (89 in 2011; career-high 111 in 2012). He was re-elected as team captain and is just the third Spartan to be named a captain at least twice in the Dantonio era (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins, 2009-11).
The Traverse City, Mich., native has 296 career tackles in 52 games, including a team-high 39 consecutive starts. He ranks 11th in MSU history with 30 tackles for loss (100 yards) in his career, including 7.5 sacks (48 yards), and ranks 19th in the school record book in tackles (296). Bullough also has 11 passes defended (three interceptions, eight pass break-ups) and four forced fumbles.
Sadler, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in applied engineering sciences while maintaining a 3.97 grade-point average, is currently pursuing his Ph.D in economics.
"To graduate with a degree from our College of Engineering for any student is a worthy accomplishment," Edwards said. "Mike did it in three years with remarkable proficiency. He's obviously very intelligent, but also very engaged in his learning."
A Ray Guy Award semifinalist, Sadler was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches for a second-straight year. He is the fourth Spartan punter in school history to earn multiple first-team All-Big Ten accolades (Brandon Fields, Greg Montgomery and Ray Stachowicz).
An All-America candidate, Sadler has been a valuable weapon on special teams for the Spartans, as he ranks third in the Big Ten and 37th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in punting with his 42.4-yard average. He leads the FBS with 22 punts downed inside the 10-yard line (34 percent) and ranks tied for third with 29 inside the 20 (45 percent). Sadler also has had eight punts downed inside the 5, including three at the 1-yard line. In addition, he has 12 punts of 50-plus yards and opponents have collected just 94 punt return yards against the Spartans through 12 games.
A three-year starter, Sadler owns a career average of 42.4 yards per punt, which ranks sixth in MSU history. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches as a sophomore in 2012 after leading the conference and ranking 21st in the FBS, averaging 43.3 yards per punt.
Sadler averaged 40.6 yards on seven punts, including four kicks placed inside the 10-yard line, in Michigan State's 41-28 win at Nebraska. His 56-yard punt in the first quarter was fumbled away to the Spartans at the Nebraska 8 and led to MSU's first touchdown. His 35-yard punt in the third quarter was downed by Kurtis Drummond at the Nebraska 1, and Tommy Armstrong Jr. fumbled on the next play, setting up another MSU touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, Sadler ran 3 yards on a fake field goal for a first down to set up Connor Cook's 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery.
In the 29-6 victory over Michigan, Sadler placed three of his five punts inside the 20, including two inside the 10. He dropped his only punt at Illinois, a 54-yarder, on the Illini 8-yard line, and placed three of his seven punts inside the 10 against Purdue.
He was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time in his career and also the College Football Performance Awards' National Punter of the Week after averaging a career-best 59.2 yards on four punts in the win over Indiana, including a season-long 69 yarder in the fourth quarter.
Sadler downed four of his seven punts inside the 20 against South Florida, including a career-high four inside the 10 and three inside the 5. Overall against the Bulls, he totaled seven punts for 319 yards (45.6 average).
In the season opener against Western Michigan, Sadler placed a career-high six punts inside the 20 and tied his career high with 11 punts (38.5 avg.; 423 yards). To be eligible for the Academic All-America Team, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his career. He also must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing.
MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS - MULTIPLE HONOREES
Mike Sadler (2011, 2012, 2013)
Max Bullough (2012, 2013)
Josh Thornhill (2000, 2001)
Steve Wasylk (1992, 1993)
Shane Bullough (1985-86)
Dean Altobelli (1985, 1986)
Allen Brenner (1966, 1968)
Blanche Martin (1957, 1958)
MICHIGAN STATE - THREE-TIME ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
Mike Sadler, football (2011, 2012, 2013)
Chris Hill, men's basketball (2003, 2004, 2005)
Michelle Carson, women's cross country/track (2003, 2004, 2005)