By ERIC TABER
Montana Grizzly football captain and senior defensive end Derek Crittenden has been named to the 2015 Academic All-America® Division I football first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Crittenden, a 2015 Rhodes scholarship finalist who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA in chemistry with minors in mathematics and philosophy, makes a repeat appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America list, after earning a place on the 2014 Academic All-America second team.
It’s the third major academic accolade for the senior from Whitefish so far this season. This coming Sunday, Crittenden will board a plane for New York City where he will attend the award ceremony as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the “Academic Heisman” award for college football.
Fourteen of the 49 members of the 2015 Academic All-America NCAA Division I football teams have at least a 3.90 G.P.A., with Crittenden and three other student-athletes sporting a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. The 26 members of the first-team have an average G.P.A. of 3.81.
One of two team captains, Crittenden has started in every game he’s played for Montana this season, missing one game due to injury, and one game due to his Rhodes scholarship interview. Apart from the two games he’s missed this season, he has seen playing time in every game of his collegiate career.
In the 2015 season, he is the Grizzlies’ seventh leading tackler this season with 51 total take downs, six tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, a quarterback hit, a fumble recovery, and a safety.
Crittenden is also the only defensive lineman who is a returning member of the All-America team.
In addition to being a Rhodes scholarship finalist, Campbell Trophy finalist and a fist team Academic All-American, Crittenden’s impressive resume also includes a place on the 2015 Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team, a four year member of the Big Sky All-Conference Academic Team, a four-time recipient of the University of Montana President’s Award for highest student-athlete G.P.A. and a three year member of the Co-SIDA Div. 1 all-district academic first team.
Outside of athletic awards for academics, Crittenden has also been awarded UM’s Eugene Davis Scholarship for Chemistry, Fessenden Scholarship for Chemistry and Jesse Scholarship as well.
Senior quarterback Carson Wentz of North Dakota State University was selected as the 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for Division I football. A health and physical education major with a 4.0 G.P.A., Wentz also was a first-team Academic All-America choice last year.
Crittenden plans to study organic chemistry in graduate school, and as a Campbell Trophy finalist, earned an $18,000 scholarship to go toward his post-graduate work.