Pendleton earns impressive Big 12 honor

Carl Pendleton's career may be done on the field, but he's still making news off the field.


NORMAN, Okla. -- Carl Pendleton, who announced last fall that he would forgo his senior season of eligibility to care for his 11-year-old stepbrother, was named today as the Male Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year. A media panel selected Pendleton.

Kansas golfer Amanda Costner won the award for females.

The Sportsperson of the Year Award was started in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service during the academic year. The Big 12's recipients are nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.

Pendleton graduated in December with a 3.81 grade point average in sociology with a minor in religious studies. He has entered graduate school as he has adopted 11-year-old Kierstan as a single parent. Pendleton's parenting abilities prompted the child's teacher to ask him to offer advice to parents of other children in the class.

"This is really an honor but I don¹t feel like I have done anything," Pendleton said. "I wanted to make the most of the opportunities I was given by coming to the University of Oklahoma. God blessed me with the ability to play here. This award is more a reflection of the people who are here at OU."

Pendleton credits his approach to the lessons he learned from his mentor, the late Jessee Barnes, Jr., a pastor who Pendleton came in contact with while living in Georgia as a young man.

"I believe everything I have gone through in my life is a building block for what is to come," Pendleton continued. "Pastor Barnes told me that God had a big plan for my life. He told me that if I hadn't been through a storm yet in my life to wait a while and I would go through one. He said the storms make you tougher and after getting through one storm, anything that follows has to be of greater magnitude to have any effect on you. "He was such an influence on my life. He was always saying things in sermons or when we were talking one-to-one that I didn't understand. Now, something will happen and I will hear his voice. I remember what he said and I understand what he meant, it does make sense. I try to live like he did -- he just loved on people and encouraged them to be their best."

The 6-5, 269-pound defensive tackler was selected by OU administration and faculty to serve as the student speaker at the College of Arts and Science 2006 December convocation. Pendleton has been active on OU¹s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as well as Bridge Builders, a network of African-American student-athletes at OU. He served as president of the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter for three years and represented the university at the 2006 NCAA Leadership Conference. Pendleton also served as director of a high school FCA group at Community Christian School in Norman and taught a Sunday School class for third and fourth grade boys for two years, and now teaches a class for fifth and sixth grade boys.

He has been active in FCA Summer Camp programs and served as a volunteer at the Junior Sooner Sports camp as well as volunteering at Children's Hospital and as an elementary school tutor. Pendleton is involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Oklahoma and travels throughout the state speaking to schools, churches and youth groups on a regular basis.

The Sapulpa, Okla., native played in 38 career games for the Sooners with 22 starts, including the 2004 BCS National Championship game. He was selected as a recipient of the prestigious National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award and later added an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Earlier this week, Pendleton was named a 2006-07 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship Winner by the Big 12.

The three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree graduated in 3.5 years and earned the 2006 Bobby Bowden Fellowship of Christian Athletes Award, given annually to the student-athlete who has a minimum grade point average of 3.00 and is a faith model in the community, on the field and in the classroom. Pendleton was a finalist for the 2006 Danny Wuerffel Trophy, the 2007 John Wooden Citizenship Cup, the 2006 FedEx/Football Writers of America Courage Award, the 2006 Draddy Award. He was named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District first team in November 2006. Pendleton was nominated for the 2006 NCAA Fall Top VIII and the 2007 Coca Cola Community All-American awards. He received a 2007 Big 12 Conference Medal and was named an OU Athletics Director¹s Leadership Award winner in April of this year.

Former Sooners Mark Clayton and Lynn McGruder received this award in 2004, the only duo to share the award in conference history. They were honored following their heroic actions in June 2003. After witnessing a fatal three car accident on Interstate 35, the teammates stopped at the scene and began assisting the victims, pulling people from the wreckage and leading this to safety, prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.

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