Feb. 17, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A trio of Florida State players, including quarterbacks Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel, and kicker Dustin Hopkins, have been selected to the 42-member All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic football team.
ACC commissioner John Swofford announced the members of the team on Wednesday, marking the 56th season the league has recognized its most outstanding football players who combine academic prowess with on-field excellence. Players must have earned a minimum 3.00 grade point average for the fall semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during their academic careers in order to be eligible for consideration.
Ponder led the ACC in total offense at 321.8 yards per game – the sixth-best season average in league history – and earned honorable mention All-ACC honors despite missing the final four games of the season with a shoulder injury. A repeat selection to the team, he is in the process of completing his MBA this semester, and boasts a 3.659 career gpa entering his final season of athletic eligibility. Ponder earned his undergraduate degree in finance in 2 ½ years.
Manuel, who led the Seminoles to a 3-1 record as Ponder’s replacement in the starting lineup, earned a 3.625 gpa in the fall of his redshirt freshman season as a communications major. He was the MVP of FSU’s Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia and earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors after guiding the Seminoles past Wake Forest in his first career start.
Ponder and Manuel comprised two-thirds of the ACC quarterbacks selected to the team, joining NC State’s Russell Wilson.
Hopkins, a freshman kicker and communications major, posted a 4.00 gpa in his first semester at Florida State. On the field, Hopkins tied for second in the ACC among kickers by averaging 7.5 points per game while leading the league in touchbacks and boasting the longest field goal. Hopkins’ 97 points not only led the Seminoles in scoring, but was the highest output by a freshman kicker in Bobby Bowden’s 34 seasons as FSU’s head coach.
A total of eight Seminoles were nominated by Florida State for All-ACC Academic honors after meeting both the academic and game participation requirements, including: Zach Aronson, Jajuan Harley, Lonnie Pryor, Rodney Smith and Vincent Zann.