NATCHITOCHES – Senior kicker John Shaughnessy was named the Southland Conference Football Student-Athlete of the Year, heading a league-best group of five Demons on the 23-man 2012 Southland All-Academic Football Team announced Wednesday.
Shaughnessy, a two-year All-Southland performer, owns a 3.69 grade point average in biology/pre-med. Joining him on the team were NSU’s Brant Legendre, a junior running back from Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist with a 3.36 GPA in biology; senior defensive end Wade Williams, a Groveton, Texas, graduate student with a 3.67 in psychology; and two sophomore defensive backs, Natchitoches product Chase Collins (3.10 in biology) and Bassfield, Miss., native Wilbur Myers (3.36 in psychology).
League head coaches, academic advisors and sports information directors selected the all-academic team. Faculty athletic representatives from around the conference chose Shaughnessy as the student-athlete of the year.
Northwestern’s representation on the all-academic team was matched by five players from Nicholls State, while Central Arkansas, McNeese State and Sam Houston had three selections, and Lamar and Stephen F. Austin each placed two on the roster.
Shaughnessy, a three-time Southland all-academic pick, was just chosen as one of 54 members of the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team. He was one of eight finalists for the Division I Capital One Academic All-America Team after being elected to the Academic All-District 6 Team stretching from Louisiana to Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.
The Shreveport-Byrd product was 21st nationally in field goals per game as he nailed 14 of 17, including making 7 of 9 from 40 yards or longer. He twice had season longs of 47 yards in 2012. A semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, Shaughnessy last summer did cancer research in an internship with the LSU Health Sciences Center and presented findings to medical school faculty at LSU and Tulane.
He was chosen a permanent team captain by fellow players. Shaughnessy was 28 of 33 on field goals in his last two seasons, including 11 of 13 on 40-yard or longer kicks, and set a school record in 2011 with 12 consecutive makes.