Jefferson, Baxter, Schepler and Sterling earn honors
Four members of the Northern Illinois Huskie football team have been named to the Capital One Academic All-District V first team in voting by the College Sports Information Directors of America and will advance to the Capital One Academic All-America ballot for 2012.
Defensive end Alan Baxter (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove HS), noseguard Nabal Jefferson (Chicago, Ill./Marist HS), tight end Jason Schepler (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore HS) and fullback Rob Sterling (Lansing, Ill./T.F. South HS) gave the Huskies four selections to the Academic All-District V first team for the first time since 2004. Nationally, Northern Illinois joined Penn State, Nebraska and Duke to lead the country in number of Academic All-District selections.
Riding a nine-game winning streak and a 20-game winning streak at Huskie Stadium, Northern Illinois is 9-1 on the season and 6-0 in the Mid-American Conference.
The Huskies take on Toledo (8-2, 5-1) in a key Mid-American Conference game Wednesday night on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m. (CT).
Tickets for the Senior Day game – which has also been designated as the Huskies’ annual “Blackout” game are on sale in advance through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 and online. Fans can also make a cash or canned food donation to the Salvation Army at the game and receive a coupon good for a $10 ticket.
Baxter, who owns a 3.61 GPA in finance, has played in 48 games over his Northern Illinois career while starting at defensive end in the last two seasons. As a senior, he has made 47 tackles to rank fifth on the team and first among NIU defensive linemen.
With a career-high 7.5 quarterback sacks this season, he ranks third in the MAC and 32nd in the country. He is second on the team and ninth in the MAC with nine tackles for loss and has a team-leading four quarterback hurries on the year.
Jefferson will play in his 50th game for the Huskies Wednesday night versus Toledo and has been NIU’s starter at noseguard in each of the last two seasons.
An accountancy major with a 3.78 GPA, Jefferson has already earned an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation as one of 15 NFF Scholar-Athletes across all divisions of college football, for 2012. He will represent NIU in New York this December at the NFF Awards Banquet. The senior has made 41 stops this season with 4.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback sack.
One of the leaders of the Huskie offense, senior tight end Schepler has been a “difference-maker” for NIU in 2012 since returning from offseason knee surgery.
The electrical engineering major carries a 3.86 GPA and was one of 30 nominees for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award. He leads Northern Illinois in “pancake” blocks with 40 and has two catches for 42 yards and a touchdown on the season.
A sophomore, Sterling is an accountancy major with a 3.64 GPA. In addition to his blocking duties as Northern Illinois’ fullback, he contributes as a member of several of NIU’s special teams units. Northern Illinois ranks 10th in the nation in rushing offense and NIU is 20th in total offense and ninth in scoring offense with a 40.6 scoring average.
In order to be nominated for the Capital One Academic All-America program, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve, possess a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or above and be at least a sophomore in eligibility.
The Academic All-District teams are selected for eight geographic districts across the United States with NIU’s district encompassing Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Capital One Academic All-America Team will be announced later this month.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.