ABILENE — Abilene Christian football Monday claimed two Academic All-Americas during the same postseason for the first time in 30 years with the announcement that linebacker Jack Gibbens was voted First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America, while wide receiver Josh Fink received second team honors.
Gibbens is a first-time honoree and Fink was a First Team awardee at the conclusion of the 2018. Fink is the first Wildcat football player to receive this honor in consecutive years since defensive Bill Clayton won his third prize in 1989. Wide receiver Sean Grady also received a spot on the second team that same year.
Additional multiple winners include offensive linemen Don Harrison, Greg Stirman and Bill Curbo, and defensive lineman Paul Wells.
“I’m extremely proud of both these young men,” said head coach Adam Dorrel. “They were leaders for us all season long as team captains, setting a great example from day one for all their teammates on the field and in the classroom. I’m also very impressed with their overall level of accountability and time management because it’s for sure difficult to find enough hours in the day to handle the athletic and academic demands that come with each semester, let alone personal time for socializing and proper rest.
“This award also needs to be shared with their professors and academic advisors and counselors, because their GPAs and athletic accomplishments are putting them right on the same line as guys from Navy, Princeton, Harvard, Oregon and Ohio State. This is a tremendous accomplishment, which should never be overlooked or taken for granted.”
Gibbens, a native of Bulverde, Texas and accounting major with a 4.0 grade-point average was one of three first team linebackers along with Bucknell’s Rick Mottram and Nevada’s Lucas Weber.
Here’s a quick sampling of Gibbens’ season highlights:
92 tackles (41 unassisted) with 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and five pass breakups.
Ranks eighth in the Southland Conference (48th FCS) with 8.4 tackles per game.
Recorded five games with double-digit tackles vs. McNeese (13), UIW (10), Lamar (13), SFA (13) and Sam Houston St. (10).
Returned an interception 25 yards vs. Central Arkansas; credited with two QB hurries at North Texas; three breakups at SFA.
Picked off a pass and had an 11-yard sack at Incarnate Word.
Fink, a native of Coppell, Texas and finance major will be graduating this Friday, was one of only four wide receivers nationwide named Academic All-America along wide first-team picks Brandon Arconado (Washington State) and Andrew Griffin (Princeton), and fellow second-team honoree Bryce Nunnelly (Chattanooga).
Fink leaves ACU with 2,323 career receiving yards on 188 receptions and 14 touchdowns. He ranks seventh all-time at ACU in receiving yardage and third behind Jerale Badon (235) and Taylor Gabriel (215) in catches. His season highlights from 2019 include the following:
Top-10 Southland Conference receiver with 822 receiving yards, 74.7 receiving yards per game, and 5.7 receptions per game. Averaged 13.05 yards per reception with five receiving touchdowns.
Voted Southland Conference Off. Player of the Week on Oct. 14 after catching 12 passes for 112 yards and TD vs. HBU.
Collected 12 receptions in back-to-back games vs. HBU and Stephen F. Austin, totaling 222 yards and a TD.
Had two of the Southland Conference’s longest receptions of the season: 64 yards at North Texas; 62 vs. Southeastern.
Recorded a season-high 123 receiving yards on nine catches vs. McNeese.
The 2019 Academic All-America Division I Football Team selected by CoSIDA features 21 members with a 4.0 GPA and 36 members with at least a 3.90 GPA as either undergraduate or graduate student-athletes. The 25 members on the first team have an average GPA of 3.95.
The Academic All-America® Division I Football Team has 13 repeat selections overall with Herbert, Jacob Bacon (Drake University), Adam Holtorf (Kansas State University), Jacob Marnin (Southern Illinois University), Blake Gillikin (Pennsylvania State University), Blake Best (University of Kentucky), Josh Fink (Abilene Christian University), Jordan Fuller (Ohio State University), Brad Sznajder (Butler University), Dakota Wilson (Idaho State University), Sam Renner (University of Minnesota) and Tiger Garcia (UC Davis). Tom Flacco (Towson University) was an Academic All-America® baseball second team selection in 2019.
University of Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert repeated as the Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year. Herbert is the first repeat Division I Football Academic All-America Team Member of the Year since former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow earned the honor in 2009 and 2010.