Nick DeKraker, a defensive tackle from Youngstown State University and Pat Kelly, a wide receiver from Liberty University, have been chosen as the recipients of the 12th Annual KP Sports Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Each will receive a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship. The duo was selected from a group of six finalists. They will receive their awards during the Association's annual membership meeting being held in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention, being held at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida, June 10-15.
"FCS ADA was once again proud to honor its deserving student-athletes with the Academic All-Star team in early January. The selection of the Postgraduate Scholarship recipients marks the culmination of our annual process and we want to congratulate both Nick and Pat on receiving this year's scholarships," said FCS ADA President Ron Strollo, chair of the FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team Selection Committee and director of athletics at Youngstown State University. "Each year, the committee is tasked with selecting two individuals from a plethora of deserving scholar-athletes, and this year was no different. Nick and Pat are a shining example of the importance of academic success within Division I FCS institutions."
DeKraker, a business major, who owns a 3.93 GPA, led the team in sacks with five, for a total of 22 yards in losses and had sacks in four consecutive games in 2012. He finished the season with 26 total tackles, including 10 solo stops, with a season-high seven tackles against South Dakota State. He was named to the FCS ADA All-Star team and was a 2012 first-team All-Academic Missouri Valley Football Conference selection. After graduation, DeKraker plans to pursue an MBA.
Kelly is working towards an undergraduate degree in exercise science, owning a 4.0 GPA, with plans to enter physical therapy or medical school. On the field, Kelly led the Big South Conference and ranked 11th in the country in receptions per game (7.27). He also fell one reception shy of tying Liberty's single-season record for receptions, and holds the second spot for most receptions in a season in Big South history. Kelly is a two-time Big South all-conference honoree and a three-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll recipient. He was also twice named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District and the FCS ADA Academic All-Star teams.
There were a total of 54 FCS players selected to the Academic All-Star Team in January. Nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. They must have reached their second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. They must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at their designated position.
A special Review Committee of Football Championship Subdivision athletics directors was responsible for selecting the all-star team and scholarship finalists. Completing this task were Strollo, Youngstown State (chair); Ken Beazer, Southern Utah; Charlie Cobb,Appalachian State; Brian Hutchinson, Morehead State; Marilyn McNeil, Monmouth; and Jeff Tingey, Idaho State.