Sets Willamette Record with 315 Career Tackles while Majoring in Economics
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University inside linebacker Jack Nelson (Sr., Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) has been selected First Team Capital One Academic All-America in football for NCAA Division III as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Nelson is majoring in Economics and has earned a 3.83 cumulative grade point average.
A total of 25 athletes were named First Team Academic All-America. An additional 24 players earned Second Team All-America honors.
First Team Capital One Academic All-AmericaJack Nelson led the Willamette defense with with 104 total tackles this year, while topping the Bearcats with 63 unassisted tackles and 41 assists. It was the third consecutive season that he led the Bearcats in tackles. He ranked first in the Northwest Conference in tackles for the second year in a row.
"Jack epitomizes what every coach is looking for in a player," Willamette Head Coach Glen Fowles said. "He is a person of character and class that leads from the front."
On his way to earning First Team Academic All-America honors, Nelson was chosen First Team Academic All-District VIII for the second consecutive season. He was named First Team All-NWC for the third year in a row.
He registered at least nine tackles in all nine games this season, including a career-high 17 tackles against University of Puget Sound on Nov. 15. He finished the year with 9.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks. He intercepted one pass and broke up two passes.
Nelson ranked 18th in NCAA Division III with 11.6 total tackles per game. He was 16th in Division III with 7.0 solo tackles per game.
He received NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week honors for his efforts against California Lutheran University on Sept. 20, Lewis & Clark College on Oct. 18 and Linfield College on Nov. 1. He recorded 12 tackles -- all unassisted -- in Willamette' 31-28 win over Linfield. During his career, he was named NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week a total of six times.
Nelson set a Willamette record with 315 career total tackles. He recorded 191 unassisted tackles and achieved 124 assists. His career totals include 25.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, four interceptions, eight pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He played in 35 games overall, including all 28 games the past three years.
He was a Cliff Harris Award finalist in 2013 and has been nominated again this season. The Cliff Harris Award goes to the top small college defensive player in the nation.
In 2013, Nelson accumulated 112 tackles with 67 solo stops and 45 assists. He ranked ninth in NCAA Division III in tackles per game (12.4) and seventh in solo tackles per game (7.4). During the 2012 season, he contributed 72 tackles for the Bearcats with 45 unassisted stops and 27 assists.
"Jack competes in everything he does," Fowles said. "Not only has Jack had one of the most dominant playing careers any football player has ever had in the Northwest Conference, his performance in the classroom has been equally impressive. He is the true definition of 'scholar-athlete.' This honor is truly deserved."
Willamette achieved a 5-4 record this season, including 3-4 in the NWC. Nelson helped the Bearcats limit opponents to 145.0 rushing yards per game and just 3.6 yards per carry. The Bearcats forced 21 turnovers on 11 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.
Academic All-America Requirements
Athletes nominated for the Capital One Academic All-America and Academic All-District teams were starters or key reserves with cumulative grade point averages of 3.3 or higher (4.0 scale). Each athlete was at his current college or university for at least one academic year.
2014 Capital One
NCAA Division III Football
Academic All-America Team