Nov. 13, 2003
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Three Northwestern University football players were named to the District V Academic All-District first team, announced today by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Earning first-team honors were senior Jason Wright (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar), junior Luis Castillo (Garfield, N.J./Garfield) and sophomore Jeff Backes (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington). These three players are now eligible for CoSIDA's Academic All-America team, which will be announced Monday, Dec. 1.
To be nominated, the student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his career. No athlete is eligible until he reaches sophomore athletic and academic standing at his institution.
A running back, Wright is Northwestern's fifth all-time leading rusher (2,103 yards) and sixth all-time leading scorer (180 points). Slowed by an ankle injury in recent weeks, he is 134 yards shy of becoming just the third Northwestern player to record successive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Last year, Wright, a Doak Walker Award candidate, earned first-team Academic All-America honors. He carries a 3.20 cumulative GPA in psychology (pre-medicine).
Castillo, who earned second-team academic all-district honors last year, has been a mainstay on Northwestern's defensive line the past two years. This year, he has recorded 53 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss. He also has 2.5 pass sacks and six quarterback hurries. In last week's win over Penn State, Castillo notched six tackles, including a TFL, and a hurry. He carries a 3.51 cumulative GPA in economics.
Backes, in his first year as a starting cornerback, has recorded 35 tackles and five pass breakups. He also has returned kickoffs during his career, including six this year for a 23.8 ypr average. Backes was a 2002 fourth-team Sporting News freshman All-America kick returner. He carries a 3.81 cumulative GPA in psychology (pre-medicine).