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Big Rapids, Mich. - Sophomore defensive end Justin Zimmer (Greenville) of the Ferris State University football team has picked up 2013 Captial One Academic All-America efforts for his accomplishments on the field and in the classroom.
Zimmer was named to the Academic All-America Second Team and was one of only four sophomores honored. Earlier this fall, he was previously chosen to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team and was also a first team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) selection at defensive end for the Bulldogs.
The 2013‐14 Capital One Academic All‐America Teams, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, were released to recognize the nation's top student‐athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA's Academic All‐America teams programs since 2011.
This is the second year of the expanded Academic All‐America program as CoSIDA moved from recognizing a University Division (Division I) and a College Division (all non Division I) and has increased the number of scholar‐athletes honored. The expanded teams include NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division Academic All‐America Team combines NAIA, Canadian and two‐year schools.
The Capital One Academic All-America® program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division II national governance structure to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2013-14 Division II Academic All-America® teams program.
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 20,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
Zimmer played a key role on a Bulldog defensive unit that got stronger as the year went on in 2013. A redshirt sophomore, Zimmer led FSU and ranked among the league leaders with both 7.5 sacks (-33 yards) and 10.5 tackles for loss (-41 yards). He ranked fourth among the team leaders with 57 tackles and scored a touchdown on a 20-yard interception return this year. The standout end also had seven quarterback hurries, blocked two kicks and forced two fumbles while starting all 11 games.
Earlier this year, Zimmer claimed National Player of the Week honors for FSU after the Bulldogs' road win at Ashland (Sept. 21) from Beyond Sports Network, D2football.com & USA College Football along with being the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded 10 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the win over the Eagles. His played helped the Bulldog defense limit the Eagles to only seven points as FSU forced three turnovers.
Ferris State finished the 2013 campaign with an 8-3 overall record along with a second-place 8-2 finish in the GLIAC North Division standings. FSU, which finished the year riding a four-game winning streak, narrowly missed receiving the school's first playoff bid in 17 years.
The Bulldogs' eight-win campaign was the school's first since 2006 and only the second in the program's last 16 seasons. FSU's eight league wins were also its most since 1996.