University of Michigan Football Academic All-Americans
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(Through 2013 Season)

Zoltan Mesko, Punter
2009 Academic All-America (First Team)
Zoltan Mesko became the second punter in school history to earn Academic All-America honors. A finalist for the Ray Guy Award and a second team All-American in 2009, Mesko led the Big Ten and finished eighth nationally in punting with a U-M season-record 44.5-yard average as a senior. He completed his career as Michigan;s all-time leader in career punts (252) and yardage (10,703), and ranks second with a 42.5-yard average. Mesko earned All-Big Ten first team honors his final two seasons (2008-09) and collected Academic All-Big Ten accolades four years (2006-07-08-09). He became the first Wolverine ever named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and Danny Wuerffel Trophy in 2009. Mesko received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the Ross School of Business and completed his master's degree in sports management from the School of Kinesiology.

Jason Avant, Wide Receiver
2005 Academic All-America (Second Team)
Four-year letterman Jason Avant joins Kenneth Higgins (first team, 1986) as the only U-M wide receivers to gain Academic All-America distinction. Avant, voted by his teammates as the 2005 Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player, tied for third in career receptions (161), while placing 10th in receiving yards (2,176) and tied for 12th in touchdown receptions (13) in Michigan's receiving annals. A first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2005, Avant set career highs with 82 catches for 1,007 yards and eight TDs. He earned distinction in the classroom as a three-time U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award recipient (2002-03-04) along with Academic All-Big Ten honors in his final three seasons (2003-04-05). Avant graduated with a general studies degree from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Dick Balzhiser, Fullback
1952 Academic All-America (First Team)
Richard Balzhiser, one of the nation's leading energy and engineering experts, and was a starting fullback for Michigan and the Wolverines' first Academic All-American on the first-ever Academic All-America team. The 1955 engineering graduate was also inducted into CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2002, the 50th anniversary of the first Academic All-America team. His first collegiate touchdown came against Northwestern in 1952. In the spring semester of 1953, he was one of only 17 engineering students to receive straight A's.

Norm Betts, Tight End
1981 Academic All-America (First Team)
A two-time letterman at tight end, Norm Betts started 11 of 12 games for the Wolverines in 1980. He ranked second on the squad in receptions with 17 for 161 yards and one touchdown, and was named "Offensive Hustler" by the coaching staff against Michigan State that year. Betts' dedication to academics was clear as he passed up his final year of eligibility to enter dental school. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and recipient of the Gerald R. Ford Award in 1999. Betts earned second-team Academic All-America honors in 1980.

Bruce Elliott, Defensive Back
1971 Academic All-America (First Team)
The son of former Wolverine standout Pete Elliott, Bruce was a three-time letterman and an Academic All-Big Ten selection. The talented defensive back also earned the team's Frederick Matthaei Award in 1970, given to the junior-to-be who displays achievement in athletics and academics. In 1971 he was recognized as the leading senior scholar on the team with the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award, and in 1972 he received the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor.

Adam Finley, Punter
2004 Academic All-America (Second Team)
A 2004 second-team Academic All-American, Adam Finley completed a successful career as one of the premier punters in U-M history. Finley ranked third in both career punts (190) and total punt yardage (7,953), while listing second in career punting average (41.9) upon graduation. He also achieved much success in the classroom, sharing the 2004 Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award, and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (2002-04). Finley earned first-team Academic All-District honors in 2004 after gaining a second-team nod in 2003. He graduated with a master's degree in biomedical engineering.

Dave Fisher, Fullback
1966 Academic All-America (First Team)
For Dave Fisher, academics and athletics went hand in hand. The All-Big Ten fullback led the Wolverines in rushing as a senior, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His performance in the classroom mirrored his achievement on the field. In 1966, Fisher was chosen as an Academic All-Big Ten selection and in 1967 he was named the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor recipient. Fisher later received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and went on to earn his master's degree in 1971.

Bill Hart, Center
1972 Academic All-America (First Team)
As a center for the Wolverines, Bill Hart contributed on the gridiron as a three-time letterman. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1972 and was a second-team all-conference performer on the field. Hart graduated with an economics degree from Michigan.

Kenneth Higgins, Wide Receiver
1986 Academic All-America (First Team)
As Michigan's leading receiver in 1986, Ken Higgins managed not only to earn Academic All-Big Ten honors, but received a competitive Angell Scholarship. As a student in U-M's highly-ranked Business School, he earned the Toyota Leadership Award, Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award, Big Ten Medal of Honor and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. He went on to attend law school at Harvard University.

Stefan Humphries, Offensive Guard
1982-83 Academic All-America (First Team)
Stefan Humphries epitomized the term student-athlete. The soft-spoken offensive guard was named an NCAA All-American in 1983 and was an All-Big Ten selection in both 1982 and 1983. He was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and won the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor. Humphries was named a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete in 1983 and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1984. After playing in both the Hula and Japan bowls, Humphries played in the NFL briefly, making two Super Bowl appearances, before retiring in 1989 to pursue his interest in medicine. In 1996, he was awarded the Gerald R. Ford Award, the highest honor presented to a former U-M letterman.

Chris Hutchinson, Defensive Line
1992 Academic All-America (Second Team)
Chris Hutchinson's academic and athletic achievements are unparalleled. In 1992 he was named an NCAA All-American as well as Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Hutchinson started 38 of a possible 48 games for the Wolverines, setting a single-season record for sack yardage (99) and earning All-Big Ten honors. He was the recipient of the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award, Academic All-Big Ten honors (1990, 91-92) and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Though Hutchinson was drafted by the NFL's Cleveland Browns, he chose to enter U-M's prestigious Medical School upon graduation.

Jon Jansen, Offensive Tackle
1998 Academic All-America (Second Team)
A first-team All-America offensive tackle in 1998, Jon Jansen also earned Academic All-America honors that year. He set Michigan's school record by starting all 50 games during his four-year playing career at right tackle. He put his talents to good use in the classroom, receiving Michigan's Big Ten Medal of Honor for his academic, athletic and community achievements. He was a two-time captain who led U-M to back-to-back conference championships and the 1997 national title. Jansen earned Academic All-Big Ten honors twice (1997-98) and was named the 1998 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.

Dan Jilek, Defensive End
1975 Academic All-America (First Team)
Though people doubted Dan Jilek's football skills, he made a great impression on the Wolverines. As an All-Big Ten defensive end, the three-year letterman earned All-America honorable mention in his senior season. As a team leader, Jilek won the Meyer Morton and Dr. Arthur D. Robinson awards in 1975. He went on to play professional football with the Buffalo Bills.

Kirk Lewis, Offensive Line
1974 Academic All-America (First Team)
Kirk Lewis was one of 50 students picked out of a pool of 600 for U-M's competitive pre-med school program, Inteflex. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection was a three-year letterwinner on the offensive line, co-captained the 1975 squad and was a tri-captain for the 1976 team. Lewis won the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame's Scholar-Athlete Award, as well as U-M's Frederick Matthaei and Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship awards for academic excellence.

Jim Mandich, Tight End
1969 Academic All-America (First Team)
Jim Mandich, a tenacious and effective blocker at tight end, was a consensus All-American and captained the 1969 squad. As an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, he earned his B.A. in economics and won the Michigan Amateur Athlete of the Year award following his senior year. He also earned All-Big Ten honors and the John F. Maulbetsch Award as Michigan's MVP. After playing in the Hula Bowl in 1970, Mandich enjoyed a professional football career, playing on three Super Bowl championship teams. In 1994, he was inducted into U-M's Hall of Honor. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2004.

Zoltan Mesko, Punter
2009 Academic All-America (First Team)

Marc Milia, Center
1993 Academic All-America (Second Team)
Marc Milia was a talented center accepted into U-M's nationally ranked Medical School and allowed delayed entry to play a fifth year of football. He helped lead the team to four consecutive Big Ten championships (1989-92) and earned All-Big Ten honorable mention in 1993. The Golden Key National Honor Society member was named an Academic All-Big Ten selection three times (1991-93). Milia also won the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award, the Honda Scholar Athlete Award and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Clay Miller, Offensive Line
1985 Academic All-America (First Team)
A rare five-year letterman, Clay Miller started 36 consecutive games on the offensive line. He earned All-Big Ten honors in 1985 and shared the Hugh Rader Jr. Memorial Award as U-M's best lineman with Eric Kattus. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (1984-85), a two-time Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Award winner, and was invited to the East-West Shrine Bowl Game in 1986. The same year he was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Jim Orwig, Offensive Line
1955, 1957 Academic All-America (First Team)
Jim Orwig was a three-year letterman for U-M and captained the 1957 squad. He earned Academic All-Big Ten selection three consecutive years and earned the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor in 1958. That same year, the talented offensive tackle represented the Wolverines in the East-West Shrine Bowl Game.

Rob Renes, Nose Tackle
1999 Academic All-America (First), 1998 Academic All-America (Second Team)
A dominating nose tackle for four years, Rob Renes was equally successful in the classroom. He was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and three-time Academic All-District honoree. Renes earned All-America honors and Academic All-America honors in 1999 after collecting second-team academic accolades in 1998. He was a 1999 recipient of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. After finishing with 151 career tackles, Renes was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.

Phil Seymour, Defensive End
1970 Academic All-America (First Team)
Phil Seymour was a hard worker, both on and off the football field. The defensive end was recognized for his great contribution on the gridiron as a three-time All-Big Ten selection (1968-70), ending his career with 150 tackles. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1970 and went on to graduate from the University of Maryland Law School.

Robert Thompson, Linebacker
1982 Academic All-America (First Team)
Robert Thompson was considered the "most consistent player on defense" by legendary coach Bo Schembechler. As a four-year letterman at linebacker, Thompson earned All-Big Ten honors in 1982. The senior co-captain was named to the 1982 Academic All-Big Ten team and finished his career with 214 tackles, including 39 tackles for loss. He was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1983.

Bob Timberlake, Quarterback
1964 Academic All-America (First Team)
"Timbo" followed in a long line of great quarterbacks for Michigan. Timberlake guided the 1964 team to Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships, earning All-America and All-Big Ten honors. He was the Michigan Student Representative on the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics for two years, was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team, and earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor his senior year. He was also named to the All-American Scholastic team (1963-64), serving as an honorary captain in 1964. He won a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete award and U-M's John F. Maulbetsch award. Timberlake was also awarded the1964 Chicago Tribune Silver Football as MVP of the Big Ten Conference.

Dick Vidmer, Quarterback
1966 Academic All-America (First Team)
As a three-year letterman at quarterback for the Wolverines, Dick Vidmer earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1966 after throwing for 1,609 yards and seven touchdowns. A true scholar, he earned the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award and was named the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor winner in 1968. Vidmer went on to earn his Ph.D. in political science.



Michigan's Academic All-Americans by Year

Year Player, Position Team
1952 Dick Balzhiser, Fullback 1st
1955 Jim Orwig, Offensive Line 1st
1957 Jim Orwig, Offensive Line 1st
1964 Bob Timberlake, Quarterback 1st
1966 Dave Fisher, Fullback 1st
Dick Vidmer, Quarterback 1st
1969 Jim Mandich, Tight End 1st
1970 Phil Seymour, Defensive End 1st
1971 Bruce Elliott, Defensive Back 1st
1972 Bill Hart, Center 1st
1973 Dave Gallagher, Defensive Tackle 2nd
1974 Kirk Lewis, Offensive Line 1st
1975 Dan Jilek, Defensive End 1st
1976 John Anderson, Defensive End 2nd
1977 John Anderson, Defensive End 2nd
1980 Norm Betts, Tight End 2nd
Bubba Paris, Tackle 2nd
John Wangler, Quarterback 2nd
1981 Norm Betts, Tight End 1st
1981 Ed Muransky, Offensive Tackle 2nd
1982 Stefan Humphries, Offensive Line 1st
Robert Thompson, Linebacker 1st
1983 Stefan Humphries, Offensive Line 1st
Tom Dixon, Center 2nd
1984 Clay Miller, Offensive Line 2nd
1985 Clay Miller, Offensive Line 1st
1986 Kenneth Higgins, Wide Receiver 1st
1992 Chris Hutchinson, Defensive Line 2nd
1993 Marc Milia, Center 2nd
1998 Jon Jansen, Offensive Tackle 2nd
Rob Renes, Nose Tackle 2nd
1999 Rob Renes, Nose Tackle 1st
2004 Adam Finley, Punter 2nd
2005 Jason Avant, Wide Receiver 2nd
2008 Zoltan Mesko, Punter 1st


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