CCU’s Mastromatteo finalist for national academic honor

Niccolo Mastromatteo, a senior on the third-ranked Coastal Carolina football team, is one of 16 student-athletes – from a pool of 171 semifinalists across all NCAA divisions and the NAIA – to receive the National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by Fidelity Investments.

Joining Mastromatteo, who owns a career GPA of 3.94 in philosophy, are Trevor Adams (QB, Northwest Missouri State with a 3.94 in Biology & Psychology), John Arena (S, Johns Hopkins with a 4.0 in Neuroscience), Max Bullough (LB, Michigan State with a 3.56 in Finance), Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State with a 3.47 in Recreation Administration & Leisure Science), Gabe Ikard (OL, Oklahoma with a 4.0 in Multidisciplinary Studies), Spencer Long (OL, Nebraska with a 3.79 in Biological Sciences), Jeff Mathews (QB, Cornell with a 3.45 in Applied Economics & Management), James Morris (LB, Iowa with a 3.84 GPA in Political Science), Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia with a 3.30 in Psychology), Perry Simmons (OL, Duke with a 3.83 in Civic Engineering), Eric Soza (QB, Texas-San Antonio with a 3.96 in Physical Education), John Urschel (OL, Penn State with a 4.0 in Mathematics), Dustin Vaughan (QB, West Texas A&M with a 3.86 in Biology), Tony Washington (WR, Appalachian State with a 3.79 in Architectural Design) and Eric Westerberg (LB, Augustana (Ill.) with a 3.86 in Math & Secondary Education).

Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which includes the induction ceremony of this year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class, at the Waldorf-Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports.

They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the 24th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. The recipient of the Campbell Trophy will also be honored by the NFF Board of Directors.

“We are extremely proud to present the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “With an average GPA of 3.79, these young men have a discernible and unrelenting commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. This class represents all that is right about college football, and the members serve as living examples of our mission to build leaders through football.”

Mastromatteo ranks third on the team with 23 receptions this season and has scored two touchdowns helping Coastal Carolina’s offense rank among the NCAA FCS leaders in numerous categories. He is a four-time All-Big South honoree: first team honors in 2012 as a punt returner, second team honors in 2012 as a wide receiver and second team honors in 2010 and ’11 as a punt returner.

For his career, Mastromatteo is the Big South’s all-time leader in both punt returns (73) and punt return yards (606). In the CCU record book, he ranks fifth in all-purpose yards (2,437), seventh in receptions (71) and receiving yards (809). He additionally has the longest pass play in CCU history – being on the receiving end of an 81-yard touchdown at Gardner-Web in 2012, has the longest punt return in school history – having a 91-yard return versus Charleston Southern in 2010, and tied a CCU single-game record with 10 receptions versus Eastern Kentucky in 2012.

In addition to his on-field success, Mastromatteo is a three-time Big South Presidential Scholar, 2012 Academic All-Big South, 2012 FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star, College Sports Journal FCS All-Academic Team, a four-time CCU President’s List honoree (4.0 for an academic semester) and two-time Dean’s List Honoree (GPA between 3.5-3.99 for an academic semester).

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