Division I FCS ADA Academic Scholar-Athlete of the Year Release CLEVELAND, Ohio – Already having accumulated a plethora of academic honors in his four years a Lumberjack football player, recently graduated Stephen F. Austin safety Marlon Walls can add another prestigious award to his name. Walls has been chosen as one of two recipients of the 17th Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolade, the organization announced Wednesday morning. The plaudit comes on the heels of Walls gaining several major national recognitions following the 2017 season. As FCS Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Walls will receive a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship during the Association’s annual Awards Luncheon, held in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C., June 28-30. Walls and University of San Diego nickelback Max Michaels were selected from a group of nine FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team finalists. 2018: Marlon Walls, Defensive Back2017: Marlon Walls, Defensive Back2014: Ryne Chambers, Offensive Lineman2012: Drew Nelson, Punter2011: Drew Nelson, Punter2008: Cory Long, Kicker About the FCS ADA: Now in its 24th year, the FCS ADA’s mission is to enhance FCS football. For more information on the FCS ADA, please visit www.fcsada.com. The FCS ADA is administered by NACDA, which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com. “First of all, it’s a great honor to have received recognition, after-the-fact, for my undergraduate work both on and off the field,” said Walls. “With this scholarship, I will be able to focus all of my time into my research and classes without the potential of a financial burden along the way. In doing so, I will be able to gain an advantage early on within my research group and concentrate on grasping the material in my graduate level courses. In all, I’ll be better equipped to succeed as a grad student and, more importantly, in my profession.” A native of Pearland, Texas (Pearland H.S.), Walls was the Southland’s pick as a 2017 STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award finalist. The safety is also a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team selection and was a nominee for both the 2016 and 2017 Allstate/American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team. Placed on the Southland’s All-Academic Team the past three seasons, Walls was a member of the Southland fall commissioner’s honor roll each year since his freshman campaign in 2014. Named to the SFA President’s List every semester of his career, he was the recipient of the SFA physics department’s Brian Patrick Hanson Memorial Scholarship last year and claimed the Murray Shaw Award for owning the highest GPA of any Lumberjack football player. The only Lumberjack to ever earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® of the Year honors, Walls was tabbed an Academic All-American® First Team selection for the second-straight year in 2017. He became just the third student-athlete in the history of the Southland to attain the title of CoSIDA Academic All-American® of the Year since the inception of the plaudit in 1987 and is the first SFA football player in program history to be named Academic All-American® First Team. In claiming the national honor, which includes both FCS and FBS football student-athletes, Walls joined an illustrious fraternity of Academic All-Americans® of the Year with some of the most notable names in the sport. Previous CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year selections include Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1995 & 1996), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Drew Brees (Purdue, 2000), Alex Smith (Utah, 2004), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2008 & 2009) and Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011). SFA’s first William V. Campbell Trophy® finalist and National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete, Walls’ accomplishments were highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports this past December at the 2017 NFF & College Hall of Fame Annual Awards Dinner in downtown New York City. The prestigious Campbell Trophy® is regarded as the highest scholar-athlete honor in all of college football and the academic equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. With SFA already having a Walter Payton Award winner in former quarterback Jeremy Moses (2010), the ‘Jacks became just the sixth football program in the nation to have both a Walter Payton Award winner and a NFF National Scholar-Athlete. Of those, only five schools have had both a Walter Payton Award winner and a Campbell Trophy® finalist since the Campbell Trophy® began in 1990. Last summer Walls completed an internship at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. While there, he joined other students from institutions such as MIT, Stanford and Yale to assist with the Europa Propulsion Module, a NASA space probe joint project. Walls returned to Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in January and is gaining more work experience before pursuing a graduate degree in mechanical engineering this fall. A special Review Committee of FCS athletics directors were tasked with selecting the all-star team and scholarship finalists. Completing this task were Thorr Bjorn, Rhode Island (chair); Bruce McCutcheon, Lafayette; Bill Smith, Bryant; and Nathan Pine, Holy Cross. Football players from all FCS institutions are eligible for the award. Each of the nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. They must have reached their second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. They must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at his designated position. SFA’s FCS ADA Academic All-Star Recipients On the gridiron, Walls recorded 60 tackles, including 31 solo stops and two tackles for loss, while playing in all 11 games and making 10 starts this season. He registered a career-high 11 total tackles versus 17th-ranked Nicholls on Nov. 11 and posted nine tackles in two other outings. Walls also claimed three pass breakups, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery throughout the year. No Lumberjack on SFA’s current roster played in (46) or started (24) more games than Walls did throughout his four-year career in the purple and white. For the second consecutive year, Walls earned a spot on the FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team in January and was one of just four Southland Conference football players to appear on the 49-man list. In December, Walls attained his bachelor’s degree after posting an unblemished 4.00 grade point average while majoring in engineering physics and minoring in mathematics. A two-time Southland Conference Football Student-Athlete of the Year, Walls completed his undergraduate degree in three and a half years of study in Nacogdoches.