Dec. 29, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. - Michigan State's Kirk Cousins - the winningest quarterback in school history - has been selected as the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner in the NCAA® Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The announcement and trophy presentation were made Thursday afternoon by Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, prior to the Outback Bowl Team Luncheon.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I FBS coaches, national football media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. 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.
"I'm very honored to be named the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner," said Cousins. "This award represents its namesake - class - and anytime you're associated with something that talks about class, integrity and character, it's very humbling. To even be in the running for this award, with all of the other amazing student-athletes in this country and their impressive accomplishments and credentials, is very special. It goes without saying that our coaching staff, my teammates, and our program in general is a classy organization, and by being around them, it gives me a chance to win an incredible award such as this."
Cousins carries a 3.684 cumulative grade point average and graduated this month with a degree in kinesiology. He is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. The Holland, Mich., native is only the second three-time captain in the 115-year history of Spartan football.
One of Michigan State's most involved student-athletes, Cousins has participated in numerous community initiatives. He has volunteered on the pediatric ward at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, and he has spoken to countless church and youth organizations. He was also a member of the 2010 Allstate Good Works Team as selected by the American Football Coaches Association and was a two-time finalist for the Wuerrfel Trophy, which honors the college football player who combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
"Kirk Cousins is certainly deserving of being named the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner," Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio said. "He represents the ideal scholar-athlete. Throughout his career, Kirk has pursued excellence in the classroom and on the playing field. He's made a tremendous effort to have a positive impact in the community as a whole. In addition, Kirk is a remarkable leader who has become a great ambassador, not only for this university and the Big Ten Conference, but all of college football. He's a winner in all aspects of his life."
Cousins holds school records for passing touchdowns (65) and completions (696). He has completed more than 64 percent of his passes for his career - a mark that is No. 1 in Michigan State history and No. 3 in the Big Ten record books. Heading into the Outback Bowl, Cousins had compiled a 26-12 mark as the starting quarterback, including a 21-5 mark his junior and senior seasons.
"Kirk is a tremendous football player. He's also demonstrated what a great role model a student-athlete can be for young kids," said David Geren, Lowe's vice president of marketing. "His respect for the game and the opportunities it provided him to make an impact on his community have been evident throughout his entire career at Michigan State."
For more information on the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-Americans
Emmanuel Acho, Linebacker, Texas
Jake Bequette, Defensive End, Arkansas
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State
Austin Davis, Quarterback, Southern Mississippi
John Dowd, Guard, Navy
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Second-Team All-Americans
Drew Butler, Punter, Georgia
Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
Dan Persa, Quarterback, Northwestern
Nate Potter, Offensive Tackle, Boise State
Dawson Zimmerman, Punter, Clemson