WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team added more academic honors on Thursday when senior linebacker Andrew Rodriguez and junior defensive end Zach Watts were named to the 2011 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team. It is the first time Army has had two players earn first-team Academic All-America honors since Pete Dawkins and James Kernan in 1957.
The selection to the Academic All-America team caps an award-filled week for Rodriguez, who was honored with the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy on Tuesday as the nation's top football scholar-athlete.
The Alexandria, Va., native is a two-time Academic All-District I selection and boasts a 4.14 grade point average as a Mechanical Engineering Major at West Point. He is the third-ranked cadet in the Class of 2012. Rodriguez has been a member of the dean's list five times during his West Point career.
Chosen as one of the Black Knights' three captains by his teammates, Rodriguez is back on the field this season after missing all of 2010 with a back injury. He has started 11 of the Black Knights' 12 games, and ranks third on the team with 55 tackles. Rodriguez has accounted for a team-leading three takeaways, intercepting a pass and recovering a team-high two fumbles. He also is tied for second on the team with three pass breakups.
Watts has posted a 3.46 grade-point average as a Mechanical Engineering major. On the field, he has started all 11 games this season. Watts moved to defensive end after the first game of the season after beginning the 2011 campaign as a linebacker. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native has racked up 21 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss, the second-best total on the team. Watts is tied for the team lead with 3.0 quarterback sacks and has forced a fumble.
Army has produced five Academic All-Americans in the last four seasons, including two in each of the last two years. Rodriguez and Watts are the 10th and 11th Army football players to garner first- or second-team national honors since 1970 and the 18th and 19th Black Knights named an Academic All-America since the program's inception in 1952. In all, those 17 players have copped 19 national citings.
Rodriguez and Watts became eligible for Academic All-America honors after first being chosen to the Academic All-District I squad. With the addition of the duo, 23 Army players have gained district academic honors since 1989. In all, Black Knight players have garnered 31 district citations during that span. The Black Knights have featured at least one representative on the Academic All-America District 1 club in 19 of the last 23 years.
Army is preparing for the annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.