Feb. 9, 2012
University of Cincinnati senior linebacker J.K. Schaffer (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) was named the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Thursday.
The selection was made by the conference's Academic Affairs Committee and is presented on the basis of academic credentials and athletic performance.
Schaffer's award marks the third major academic award won by the football team over the past year. UC also won the BIG EAST Football Academic Achievement Award and John Goebel was the 2010 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The honor caps an outstanding academic year for UC that saw the Bearcats' overall team GPA for the fall quarter finish at a 2.73, a significant improvement over the in-season GPA of 2.69 the Bearcats posted in the fall of 2010. Forty-three student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or better while 23 student-athletes earned spots on the Dean's List, with quarter GPAs of 3.4 or above. Twenty-three members of the 2011 team earned spots on the Academic All-BIG EAST squad.
Schaffer, a senior criminal justice major, will receive a $2,000 scholarship, which may be applied to graduate or professional studies. He also earned a spot on the Academic All-BIG EAST team.
Schaffer was a two-year captain during Cincinnati's most prosperous run in program history. He is just the fourth player in BIG EAST history to register at least 100 tackles in three consecutive seasons, culminating in a career-high 114 stops in the 2011 season.
A three-year starter, two-time all-conference player and a member of three BIG EAST Championship teams, Schaffer had 337 career tackles, leading all BIG EAST players who were active in 2011. He finished his career with 27.5 tackles for loss, 15 pass breakups, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors in 2011 after he ranked third in the conference in tackles (8.8 per game), had four sacks and led a Cincinnati unit that led the nation in sacks (8.6 per game) and was sixth nationally in rushing defense (96.2 ypg). He was an All-BIG EAST Second Team choice in 2010.
Schaffer was a key contributor for three BIG EAST championship teams - the 2008 and 2009 squads that won outright titles and played in consecutive Bowl Championship Series games and the 2011 team that won a share of the championship and ended the year with a win in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Schaffer carries a 3.705 grade-point average as a criminal justice major. He is a member of the Sigma Sigma honorary fraternity and a four-time selection to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team. Schaffer earned a 4.00 grade-point average in the fall 2011 semester.
Schaffer has volunteered his time in a number of community service endeavors, including regular visits to local hospitals and schools to motivate Cincinnati-area children. He is a contributor to the Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati.
The honor is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters during the 2011-12 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) will be named as the winners of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships. The conference also names male and female American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athletes Of The Year
2000 RaMon Johnson Boston College Business Administration
2001 Kyle Johnson Syracuse Business Administration
2002 Matt Walters Miami Mechanical Engineering
2003 Nate Jones Rutgers Finance
2004 Vince Crochunis Pittsburgh Administration & Policy Studies
2005 Garin Justice West Virginia Education
2006 Jay Henry West Virginia Finance/Accounting
2007 Brian Brohm Louisville Finance
2008 Conor Lee Pittsburgh Business Administration
2009 Reed Williams West Virginia Finance and Marketing
2010 John Goebel Cincinnati Educational Leadership
2011 JK Schaffer Cincinnati Criminal Justice