The Kentucky football team has a school-record nine nominees for the Academic All-America team sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The nine nominees rank second nationally this year among Division I-A schools, following only Nebraska, which has 11.
To earn a nomination for Academic All-America, a player must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.2 or higher; be a sophomore or higher in academic standing and athletic eligibility; and be a starter or key reserve.
The nine players who qualified for nomination include:
Kicker Taylor Begley, a junior from Danville, has a 3.817 GPA with a major in Electrical Engineering. Hes also having a fine season on the field. Taylor leads the team in scoring with 33 points and is among the Southeastern Conference leaders in field goals
Running back Alexis Bwenge, a junior from St. Apollinaire, Quebec, has a 3.473 GPA with a major in Public Administration. He has rushed for 79 yards and three touchdowns this season. Particularly impressive about Bwenge's academic accomplishments is the fact that he came to Kentucky with English as a second language. His primary language growing up was French.
Offensive guard Matt Huff, a senior from Louisville, has a 3.224 GPA and a major in Foreign Language and International Economics. Huff has started every game but one at right guard.
Cornerback Antoine Huffman, a junior from Jonesboro, Ga., has a 3.450 GPA with a major in Telecommunications. Huffman leads the team in pass breakups with five and also has an interception and fumble recovery this year.
Offensive tackle Hayden Lane, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, Ga., has a 3.958 GPA and has a double major in Anthropology and Classics. He has started every game this season at right tackle. Lane is scheduled to graduate in 2005, needing only three years to earn his diploma. He is considering applying for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Eventually, he would like to combine his interests in Christianity and ancient history and get into the field of Biblical archaeology.
Wide receiver Gerad Parker, a senior from Louisa, Ky., has a perfect 4.000 GPA in his masters program in education and had a 3.205 in his undergraduate program in secondary education. He has caught 12 passes for 126 yards this season.
Punter Anthony Thornton, a senior from Louisville, has a 3.513 GPA in Management. Hes averaged 37 yards per punt this season. The first round of Academic All-America voting is on the district level. The UK players will go on the CoSIDA District IV ballot, comprised of student-athletes from the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. The District IV team will be announced in mid-November. The district winners go on the national ballot and the Academic All-America team will be announced in December.
Mac is Back:
UK inside linebackers coach Ron McBride has returned to work on a limited basis. McBride underwent surgery on Oct. 6 to relieve a blockage in an artery.
Bryant, Bonner to be Honorary Captains:
Honorary captains for the Georgia game are former All-America offensive tackle Warren Bryant (1973-76) and former quarterback Dusty Bonner, who led the Wildcats to the 1999 Music City Bowl.