PISCATAWAY, NJ - Senior Nate Jones (Scotch Plains, NJ) is the recipient of the BIG EAST/ Aéropostale Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, and headlines a group of 68 student-athletes named to the 2003 BIG EAST All-Academic Football Team, the league announced. Jones, a cornerback and kick return specialist, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship which may be applied to graduate or professional studies.
Jones is one of five Rutgers players to earn a spot on the BIG EAST’s All-Academic team. He is joined by defensive end Jeremy Campbell (Montclair, NJ), running back Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY), Ray Pilch (Piscataway, NJ) and Marty Pyszczymuka (Sparta, NJ).
A four-year varsity performer, Jones excelled in all aspects at Rutgers. The versatile CB has played in every game for the Scarlet Knights the last two seasons. On defense, he amassed 219 career tackles, including finishing third on the team with 73 stops in 2003. Jones is also among the top kick returners in BIG EAST history, ranking second all-time in returns (82) and returns for touchdowns (3), while placing third with 1,902 yards. He shared BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2002 and was an All-BIG EAST Second Team choice this past season. In 2002, Jones averaged 28.3 yards per return, best in the league and seventh-best nationally, while in 2003, he averaged 25.7 yards per return.
In the classroom and off the field, Jones is even more impressive. A Finance major, he has produced a 3.61 grade-point average heading into his final semester at Rutgers. He was one of only eight players in the country chosen for the National Scholar-Athlete class by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame this season. Jones is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America pick, including first team accolades this past season. Outside the classroom, Jones is involved in many activities at Rutgers, including the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. He has also participated in RU's leadership council, middle school program, Thanksgiving turkey day and student-athlete toy drive.
The BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Awards were established to recognize student-athletes who have achieved success in the classroom and on the field. The BIG EAST Male, Female and Men’s and Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athletes will be announced prior to the BIG EAST Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships in March. Opened in 1987, Aéropostale, Inc. is a fast-growing, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories that targets both men and women.
Thirty-five repeat selections were included on the BIG EAST All-Academic Football
Team. Six players – including the Scarlet Knights’ Pyszczymuka – were
honored for the fourth time. All-time, a total of 30 student athletes have
been named to the BIG EAST’s All-Academic Football Team on four occasions.