Dec. 2, 2011
Rice senior defensive end Scott Solomon, who tied the school career record for sacks, and senior linebacker Matt Nordstrom, who came to Rice as a walk-on but earned a scholarship with his play on the field, are among 12 student-athletes named to the 2011 C-USA Football All-Academic team, as selected in a vote of the league's Sports Information Directors.
The Owls and Tulsa were the only schools to place more than one student-athlete on this year's team. East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, UCF and UTEP each placed on player on the team. The all-academic team consists of student-athletes who have earned a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or better and are a starter or key reserve on their team. Normally, the team consists of 11 members, but this year's team is made up of 12 after a tie in the vote totals.
Solomon will graduate from Rice with a 3.3 GPA in Political Science. He returned to action this fall after missing the 2010 season after suffering a broken bone in his foot the week before the start of the season and reached career highs in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (13.5), while tying the school career sack record with 24. He closed his career ranked among the top five active players in sacks (24), solo sacks (22), tackles for loss (43.5) and solo tackles for loss (37). He was one of 19 players named to the final watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, which honors the nation's top defensive end.
Nordstrom, who compiled a 3.51 GPA in Civil Engineering, recorded a career-best 25 tackles as standout on special teams and as regular in the linebacker rotation all season. He finished second on the team with nine special teams tackles. He was nominated for the 2011 Bulsworth Trophy, which is presented to the top walk-on player in the country.