PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers senior defensive end Ryan Neill (Wayne, NJ) and junior fullback Brian Leonard (Gouverneur, NY) have been named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 2 Football Team, as selected by members of CoSIDA, the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Neill, a 6-3, 265-pound senior, is tied for fourth nationally in tackles for loss (1.90 per game) and tied for 23rd in the nation in sacks (0.80 per game). Named the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in RU’s 38-6 victory against Villanova Sept. 10, Neill has tallied 61 total tackles (22 solo, 39 assisted) this season, including 19 for a total loss of 83 yards. He has added eight sacks for a loss of 57 yards, one fumble forced and a fumble recovered. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection in 2004, Neill was second in the league in sacks (0.73 per game) and fourth in TFLs (1.18 per game) last season.
A communications major, Neill owns a 3.28 grade-point average in his final season with the Scarlet Knights. A tri-captain, Neill was named a finalist for two prestigious national awards -- the Wuerffel Trophy and the Hendricks Award on Nov. 10. Earlier this season, Neill was a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, was a candidate for the National Football Foundation’s Scholar- Athlete Award and was a member of the Lombardi Trophy Watch List.
Leonard, a 6-2, 235-pound junior, is the nation’s leading fullback in all-purpose yardage and has surpassed the 100-yard mark in all-purpose yards in 20 of the last 25 games he has played. In addition to leading the Knights in all-purpose yardage (1,032), he also leads the team in receptions (43) and scoring (78 points), and is second on the team in rushing (615 yards). Leonard is second in Rutgers history in scoring (218 points), third in all-purpose yardage (3,650), and eighth on the RU all-time rushing list (2,227 yards).
Leonard is a labor studies major and has a 3.21 GPA.
All-District honorees are placed on the national ballot for Academic All-American consideration. In 2003, Rutgers cornerback Nate Jones was a First Team Academic All-America selection, the second in program history.
To be eligible for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Football Teams, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. He must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at the institution and completed at least one full academic year at the school.