UMass Dartmouth sophomore defensive back Jacob Burkhead was named on Wednesday afternoon to the 2018 Google Cloud National Division III Academic All-America Football team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Burkhead collected second-team Academic All-America accolades and becomes just the second student-athlete in school history to earn the prestigious honor.
A native of Plymouth, Mass. and a graduate of Plymouth North High School, Burkhead has achieved a perfect 4.00 cumulative grade point average as a Political Science major at the University. A two-time Chancellor’s List honoree, Jacob has also been tabbed to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Fall All-Academic team for his performance in the classroom, as he joins former women’s cross country and track & field standout Deanna Bealby ’08 as the only two Corsairs ever to be recognized as Academic All-Americans.
“This is an incredible honor and one that I am very grateful to receive,” said Burkhead. “An award like this is more important than any performance-based honor, as it truly highlights the meaning of the term ‘student-athlete’. I’m very humbled to receive this recognition on behalf of my family, the football program and the University.”
A first team all-MASCAC selection this season after earning the nod as the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017, Burkhead paced UMass Dartmouth with 65 total tackles (49 solo) while leading the team in both interceptions (four) and pass break-ups (seven). One of 59 Division III student-athletes nominated last week for the prestigious Cliff Harris Award presented annually to the nation’s top small college defensive player, Jacob was tabbed as the MASCAC Geico Defensive Player of the Week back on October 22nd after notching a pair of picks, two pass break-ups and three tackles in a 41-27 triumph over Worcester State. In 20 career contests in a Corsair uniform, Burkhead has amassed 130 total stops (93 solo) and nine total pass break-ups to go with his four interceptions.
“We are so proud of what Jacob has been able to accomplish here at UMass Dartmouth in such a short time,” UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud said of Burkhead’s latest achievement. “He has been outstanding both on and off the field, and he is an incredibly unselfish, hard-working young man. His commitment to this University, the classroom, our football program, and his family is unwavering, and I can’t wait to see what he can further accomplish here in the future.”
“Given the intense time commitment and challenges our student-athletes make and face on and off the field, I couldn’t be prouder and happier that Jacob has received this award,” said Corsair Director of Athletics Amanda Van Voorhis. “This national honor for academic prowess makes his story even better, as he epitomizes the traits we desire in our student-athletes. As a department and campus, Jacob has given us yet another reason to celebrate the success of our student-athletes.”
Burkhead is one of 51 Division III student-athletes named to this year’s Google Cloud National Academic All-America team, as he is the lone MASCAC representative and just one of three players from New England institutions (MIT & Springfield) to earn the accolade