Nov. 10, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – – Three members of the University of Iowa football program have been named to the Capital One Academic All-District Six first team. Those players include senior LB Tyler Nielsen, junior QB James Vandenberg and junior DL Steve Bigach. The announcement was made Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Each of the three Hawkeye players will now have their name placed on the national ballot for Capital One Academic All-America honors.
Nielsen, a native of Humboldt, holds a 3.56 GPA and is a marketing major who has already earned his bachelor’s degree. He has earned academic all-Big Ten recognition in each of the past three seasons.
Nielsen has started eight games in 2011, missing the Indiana game due to injury. He has played both the outside and middle linebacker positions. He has recorded 46 tackles, including three for loss and a QB sack. He has forced one fumble and has two fumble recoveries.
Nielsen had a career-best 13 tackles (seven solo) in recent win over 13th-ranked Michigan, including a QB sack, forced and recovered fumble that led to an Iowa field goal. Nielsen was named national Linebacker of the Week by College Sports Madness and earned honorable mention recognition from the College Football Performance Awards for his play in the 24-16 win over Michigan.
Vandenberg is a native of Keokuk who has started all nine games. He carries a 3.34 GPA and is majoring in integrative physiology. Vandenberg earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2010.
Vandenberg has completed 154-246 pass attempts for 2,089 yards and 18 touchdowns, with just four interceptions. He was the Big Ten offensive Player of the Week after leading Iowa’s comeback win over Pittsburgh and has been recognized by the College Football Performance Awards following three of nine games. He had a career-high four touchdown passes in Iowa’s win over Indiana.
Bigach is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He is majoring in integrative physiology and mathematics and has a 3.65 GPA. He also earned academic all-Big Ten honors in 2010.
Bigach has played in eight games, earning three starts at defensive tackle. He has recorded 10 solo tackles and 17 assists, including one tackle for loss and a recovered fumble in Iowa’s home win over Northwestern. He recorded a career-best six tackles in Iowa’s win over Indiana.
In the last 13 seasons, under Coach Kirk Ferentz, 19 Iowa football student-athletes have combined to earn academic all-District and all-America recognition on 34 occasions.