Four Cougars Earn Verizon Academic Honors

Kip Nielsen, who had a season-high two inteceptions against Hawaii, was one of four BYU players to earn Verizon Academic All-District Honors. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Four BYU players have earned 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VIII honors, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The team was voted on by CoSIDA members from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Wide receiver Toby Christensen earned second-team honors with a 3.74 GPA in business marketing. A native of Alpine, Utah, Christensen ranks third on the BYU roster with 28 receptions for 334 yards on the season, including two touchdown receptions.

Offensive lineman Scott Jackson was also selected to the Academic All-District second-team roster with a 3.61 GPA in international studies. Jackson has started every game for the Cougars at center this season. A native of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Jackson is part of an offensive unit that is averaging over 415 yards of total offense per game, including 279.8 yards passing and 136.1 yards rushing.

Defensively, Michael Madsen and Kip Nielsen both earned All-District honors. Madesen, a native of Littleton, Colo., has a 3.41 GPA in exercise Science, while Nielsen, a native of North Ogden, Utah, has a 3.78 average in Spanish. Madsen, who has started eight games at free safety, has 27 tackles on the season, and has been credited with two pass break-ups and one interception. Nielsen has registered 16 tackles in a reserve roll at corner back, and has one sack, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one pass break-up. Nielsen recorded a team season-game high two interceptions against Hawaii.

To be selected for the Verizon Academic All-District team, players must have a 3.0 grade-point average, have reached sophomore status or higher, and must be a significant contributor to a team's overall success.

Currently, BYU has 47 players with a 3.0 grade-point average or higher, including 19 players with a 3.5 average or better.