NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior offensive guard Chris Stewart, senior kicker David Ruffer and senior defensive back Barry Gallup Jr. were named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for District 5 on Thursday. Stewart and Gallup are each taking graduate level courses, while Ruffer is an economics major. All three will get placed on the national ballot for the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Team.
Stewart, the only player in Notre Dame's storied football history to tackle football and law school simultaneously, graduated with a degree from the College of Arts and Letters in history. He finished his undergraduate studies in only three and a half years with a 3.536 cumulative grade-point average. Stewart registered a 3.834 GPA in his final semester (2009 spring). He was a 2009 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-District selection. Stewart was a member of the History Honors Program and was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta honor fraternity.
The National Football Foundation has already chosen Stewart as a National Scholar-Athlete. He will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and is one of 16 finalists for the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation and often referred to as "The Academic Heisman."
Stewart has started more career games (31) than any other Irish player on the offensive side of the ball. He also carries a 23-game starting streak into this weekend's contest with Utah. Stewart helped the Irish finish last season as the eighth-best offense in the country, averaging 451.8 yards per game, and is helping the Notre Dame passing attack outgain opponents 288.6-228.6 yards per game this season.
Actively involved in numerous outreach efforts, Stewart journeyed to Haiti during his 2009 spring break to help with the relief efforts following the deadliest earthquake in the nation's history. He volunteered all last summer at the South Bend Youth Center and has participated in a fine arts initiative for area children. Stewart has also visited local children's hospitals and raised funds for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Ruffer has accumulated a 3.90 GPA while studying economics. He has excelled on the field as well. Ruffer has been named a semifinalist for the 2010 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Discover Orange Bowl.
Ruffer has connected on all 13 of his field goal attempts and made 25 of 27 extra-point attempts in 2010. His only two misses were each blocked. Ruffer has actually converted 18 consecutive field goals dating back to the Pittsburgh contest in 2009. The 18 straight field goals is the longest streak in school history and tied with Joe Phillips of Utah for the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Ruffer is also one of only two kickers in the FBS still perfect through at least 13 field goal attempts.
Ruffer recorded a field goal in 11 straight games, each game in which he has served as the Irish place kicker, before the streak ended against Tulsa. The 11 consecutive games with a field goal is tied for the second-longest streak in school history and longest by a Notre Dame kicker since Nicholas Setta set the school record with a field goal in 16 straight games (2000-02).
Ruffer's 50-yard field goal against Pittsburgh earlier this season, which actually bested the previous school record for consecutive field goals, was tied for the sixth-longest field goal in school history. It was the longest field goal by an Irish player since D.J. Fitzpatrick booted a 50-yarder against Syracuse on Dec. 6, 2003. Ruffer became the sixth place kicker in school history to connect on a field goal of 50 yards or longer.
Gallup is one of three fifth-year seniors on the Irish roster joining Stewart and center Dan Wenger. He has appeared in 27 games at Notre Dame, totaled 163 yards on nine kickoff returns in 2009 and three career tackles, including one for loss. Gallup graduated from the Mendoza College of Business with a finance degree in just three years with an undergraduate GPA of 3.465. He was then accepted into Notre Dame's one-year MBA program, but will defer entry until 2010. Gallup is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program.