LSU football team excels in classroom

The LSU football team put together one of its best semesters in the classroom this spring as the Tigers had 44 players record a 3.0 grade point average or better.

Overall, the Tiger football team combined to post a 2.65 grade point average for the spring semester.

Highlighting the semester for the Tigers were 4.0 grade point averages by two players - Rudy Niswanger and Rodney Reed. Reed, who graduated with honors on Friday with a degree in accounting, enters the 2003 season as LSU's starter at offensive tackle.

Niswanger, who played both the center and guard positions last year for the Tigers, has maintained a 4.0 gpa his entire collegiate career. Niswanger is a kinesiology major with emphasis on human movement.

"I'm very proud of what the players were able to accomplish in the classroom this spring," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "(Executive Director) Roger (Grooters) and his staff at the academic center did an outstanding job with the players this semester.

"The Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes is certainly helping our student-athletes achieve success in the classroom. I expect that we will see this type of academic success in all of our sports for years to come now that we have a state-of-the-art academic facility."

LSU head coach Nick Saban with 2003 LSU football graduates Bradie James, Marcus Whitty and Jimmy Courtenay.

The LSU football team also had four players from the 2002 team earn their degrees on Friday. Joining Reed as spring graduates were linebacker Bradie James, offensive lineman Jimmy Courtenay and tight end Marcus Whitty.

James, a First Team All-America selection in 2002 and fourth round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, graduated with a degree in sociology. Whitty graduated in marketing, while Courtenay earned his degree in accounting.

Saban announced on Friday that freshman running back Jason Spadoni did meet academic requirements to be eligible to participate in games in 2003. Saban said Spadoni can practice with the team in 2003.

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