University of Miami senior linebacker Jonathan Vilma named to the Verizon Academic All-America Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America announced Monday. A first-team Verizon honoree in 2002, Vilma was named to the team’s second team this season.
Vilma is a two-time Big East All-Academic Team honoree and was named to the Provost’s Honor Roll in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Vilma, who leads the Hurricanes in tackles with 108 this season, also is a finalist for the Butkus Award and has started at middle linebacker for UM the last three seasons. He was recently named to the 2003 class of National College Football Scholar-Athletes, which represents 15 of the nation’s finest college football student-athletes from all divisions of college football.
Vilma also is a finalist for the Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Miami offensive lineman Joaquin Gonzalez was the winner of the Draddy Award, also known as “The Academic Heisman”, in 2001.
Vilma also has earned several academic honors at UM including: Dean’s List Arthur Ashe Scholar Athlete and the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. On the field, he also was a Freshman All-American by Rivals.com in 2000, led UM in tackles each of the last three seasons and was a first-team All-Big East selection in 2001 and 2002. Vilma is studying finance at UM and will graduate on time in May, 2004.
Also, University of Miami senior linebacker D.J. Williams was named the Big East Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Williams led the Miami defense in the Hurricanes’ 28-14 win at Pittsburgh. The senior linebacker recorded three sacks for 20 yards, while finishing with five tackles for loss. He had nine tackles overall, as UM limited the Panthers to 232 total yards. Williams shared the honor with West Virginia’s Adam Jones. Running back Brian Leonard was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week and return specialist Lance Frazier of West Virginia earned the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
Finally, University of Miami junior tight end Kellen Winslow, Ben Troupe of Florida and Kris Wilson of Pittsburgh are the three finalists for the 2003 John Mackey Award honoring college football’s top tight end, the Nassau County Sports Commission announced. The winner of this season’s John Mackey Award will be announced Tuesday, December 9. The 2003 Mackey Award will be presented to the winner at the NCSC’s Annual Awards Dinner at the Chateau Briand in Carle Place, New York, on April 19, 2004. The John Mackey Award was created by the NCSC under the guidance of board member Don McPherson, a county native and former NFL and Syracuse University All-American quarterback. Mackey, also a Nassau County native, is regarded as one of the best athletes to have played the position of tight end. In addition to being an NFL Hall of Famer, he is also a Super Bowl winner and was the first President of the NFLPA. The John Mackey Award selection committee is composed of national sportswriters, commentators and outstanding NFL players.