ST. LOUIS - South Dakota State placed a league-high 11 players on the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Academic Team, which was announced Wednesday and based on a vote by the conference's 10 sports information directors.
Headlining the team were first-team selections Alex Olinger, Taylor Suess and Zach Zenner. Olinger, a senior offensive lineman, moved to the first team after earning second-team recognition in 2011. The Ames, Iowa, native earned a spot on the 11-player first team with a 3.99 grade-point average while majoring in pharmacy and biology.
Suess, a junior offensive lineman from Columbus, Neb., also moved up to the first team after compiling a 3.95 GPA in mechanical engineering. Zenner, a sophomore running back from Eagan, Minn., completed the first-team honorees for the Jackrabbits with a 3.78 GPA in biology/pre-medicine.
Six other Jackrabbits received second-team recognition, including repeat selection Brandon Hubert. A junior wide receiver from Gretna, Neb., Hubert has posted a 3.61 GPA while majoring in pharmacy.
Seniors Seth Daughters, Tyrel Kool and Ross Shafrath all moved up to the second team after receiving honorable honors a season ago. A tight end from Winner, Daughters has compiled a 3.72 GPA in exercise science, with Kool, a wide receiver from Yankton, has posted a 3.26 GPA while majoring in business economics. Shafrath, a linebacker from Hampton, Iowa, turned in a 3.37 GPA in park and recreation management.
Sophomores Jason Schneider and Nick Purcell rounded out SDSU's second-team selections. A wide receiver from Andover, Minn., Schneider has compiled a 3.98 GPA in pharmacy, while Purcell, an offensive lineman from Rapid City has a perfect 4.0 GPA while majoring in biology and pre-medicine.
Completing the Jackrabbit contingent of honorees were honorable mention picks Bo Helm and Ethan Sawyer. A senior defensive back from Childress, Texas, Helm has a 3.47 GPA in biology. Sawyer, a sophomore punter from Brandon, checked in with a 3.85 GPA in biology/pre-medicine.
To be eligible for the team, nominees must be starters or key reserves with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average on 4.0 scale. Student-athletes must be at least a sophomore in academic and athletic standing and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution. A total of 44 players were honored.