PISCATAWAY, NJ - Six members of the Rutgers football team were named to the 2005 BIG EAST Conference All-Academic Football squad, the league office announced on Monday. Junior All-American fullback Brian Leonard (Governeur, NY) headlines the group as one of only four players in the league to earn All-Academic honors for a third time.
Joining Leonard are senior defensive end Ryan Neill (Wayne Hills, NJ), sophomore place kicker Jeremy Ito (Redlands, CA), junior defensive back Brandon Renkart (Piscataway, NJ) and sophomore offensive linemen Jeremy Zuttah (Edison, NJ) and Mike Gilmartin (Estero, FL).
Neill and Leonard were two of 11 student-athletes on the BIG EAST’s All-Academic Football squad to also earn All-BIG EAST accolades on the gridiron in 2005.
Leonard, who majors in labor studies, was named an All-American by Pro Football Weekly. The two-time All-BIG EAST selection rushed for 740 yards and 11 touchdowns, also catching 55 passes for 568yards and six touchdowns in 2005. Neill, a communications major, was named an SI.com All-American after closing out his RU career ranked among the national leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. Both Leonard and Neill were also named to the ESPN The Magazine District 2 Academic All-America Team in 2005.
An engineering major, Renkart sealed the Scarlet Knights’ victory over Pittsburgh with a late interception in his first season in the RU secondary. Ito (undecided major) ranked among the national leaders in field goals. He converted 20-of-27 field goals last season, including all four field goal attempts in the Insight Bowl. Gilmartin (American Studies) and Zuttah (undecided) played integral roles on an offensive line that produced the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 1994.
The All-Academic Team recognizes letterwinners who have posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Student-athletes who have completed a minimum of two semesters of academic work and earned a letter are eligible. It is the 14th consecutive season the BIG EAST has honored its student-athletes with an academic team.
Rutgers finished the 2005 season 7-5 overall, placing third in the BIG EAST with a 4-3 record and appearing in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix, AZ.