Dec. 15, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa.--A trio of Villanova players has been named to the 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Football Team, as announced today by the Philadelphia Area Sports Information Directors Association. Sophomore offensive lineman Josh Bucci (Beaver, Pa.), sophomore cornerback Craig James (Mays Landing, N.J.) and junior kicker Nick Yako (Cleveland, Ohio) were each selected to the 25-man team, which is based on both athletic and academic achievements.
Bucci started all 11 games at right guard for Villanova this season and has played in every team game during the past two seasons. He helped the Wildcats offense average 295.2 yards per game, including 138.4 rushing yards per contest. Bucci is a Civil Engineering major and carries a 3.315 cumulative grade-point average. He was named to the 2010 CAA Football All-Academic Team.
In his first season as a full-time starter for the Villanova defense James tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 62 total stops from his cornerback position. He made 41 solo tackles and registered 21 assisted stops while also accumulating three pass break-ups. James also tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries on the year. A selection to the 2010 CAA Football All-Academic Team, is a Civil Engineering major and maintains a 3.153 cumulative GPA.
Yako handled all of the Wildcats kickoff duties this season. During the year he took 39 kickoffs and totaled 2,345 yards (60.1 average per kickoff). He averaged 60.0 yards or better in seven of 11 contests during the season. In the classroom Yako is a senior academically with a 3.503 GPA as a Finance major in the Villanova School of Business. He has been a two-time member of the CAA Football All-Academic Team, earning a spot on the squad in both 2009 and 2010.
Each year the sports information directors from 28 area institutions vote on the Academic All-Area Teams for 22 different sports, plus two at-large teams. The teams recognize those student-athletes who are best able to balance athletics with academics, and excel at both. Voting is based on both grades and athletic performance. An overall Performer of the Year is also chosen from each team, as well as a Male Performer of the Year and a Female Performer of the Year at the end of each academic year.
The Academic All-Area program is now in its seventh year. A list of the honorees for each fall sport will appear in the printed edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer at a later date.
The members of the 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Football Team are Bucci, James, Yako, David Abror (Temple), Ryan Alderman (Temple), Pat Boyle (Temple), Tomas Cabrera (Temple), Ryan Calvert (Penn), Justin Gildea (Temple), Eric Gimbar (Delaware Valley), Chad Gravinese (Widener), Scott Lopano (Penn), Brian McDermott (West Chester), Mike McHugh (Delaware Valley), Matt McLaughlin (West Chester), John O'Donnell (West Chester), Gerry Penrose (West Chester), Chris Popper (Rowan), John Robinson (Delaware Valley), Jared Sholly (Penn), Rod Streater (Temple), Martin Wallace (Temple), Tommy Wilczynski (Rowan), Ronell Williams (West Chester) and Joe Wojceichowski (Widener).