CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) - The University of Illinois football team excelled in the classroom during the 2012 summer session, as the Illini recorded a 3.09 team GPA, 19 players posted a perfect 4.0 GPA and 54 of 91 players (59 percent) enrolled in summer classes notched a 3.0 GPA or higher. Senior offensive lineman Tyler Sands and sophomore linebacker Houston Bates each recorded a perfect 4.0 over the summer, giving them consecutive semesters with a 4.0 GPA.
In addition, 20 of the 22 freshman who took summer courses recorded a 3.0 GPA or better, including nine rookies who notched perfect 4.0s. Among upperclassmen, 31 players have a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better.
Two players no longer on the Illini roster finished their bachelor's degrees over the summer, as recent NFL draft picks A.J. Jenkins (San Francisco 49ers) and Tavon Wilson (New England Patriots) each completed an online course to finish their communication degrees while participating in organized team activities and preparing for their first season in the NFL.
A pair of Illini juniors - quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and defensive tackle Akeem Spence - are on pace to finish their bachelor's degrees in December 2012, a span of only three-and-a-half years since they enrolled at Illinois. Ten current seniors already have earned their bachelor's degrees - Tommy Davis (Northern Illinois), Glenn Foster, James Hallendorff, Corey Lewis, Zak Pedersen, Graham Pocic, Sands, Supo Sanni, Justin Staples and Ashante Williams - and are pursuing second bachelor's degrees or master's degrees. Seniors Zach Becker, Jack Ramsey and Eddie Viliunas are scheduled to earn bachelor's degrees in December, while five other seniors will finish their degrees in May 2013.
A pair of Illini had interesting summers, as Sanni was selected to participate in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis and junior defensive back Kaeman Mitchell served an internship with Northwestern Mutual.
Four freshmen entered Illinois with impressive academic credentials, with defensive back V'Angelo Bentley, receiver Justin Hardee and linebacker Mason Monheim all transferring in more than 20 hours of college credit that they took in high school, giving them a leg up on a degree. Freshman long snapper Michael Martin also enters UI as a member of the James Scholar honors program in mechanical engineering.