Gradkowski Named First Team The Sports Network All-American; Earns Third National Citation of Post-Season
December 19, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
PHILADELPHIA -- University of Delaware senior offensive guard Gino Gradkowski (at right) earned his third national honor of the post-season Monday when he was named to The Sports Network All-American first team.
The 6-4, 295 lb native of Pittsburgh, Pa. (Seton-LaSalle HS) has now been honored on three All-American teams this fall, earning first team honors by the American Football Coaches Association and second team laurels from the Associated Press earlier this month.
He becomes the first UD player to be honored on The Sports Network All-American first team since running back Omar Cuff and kicker Jon Striefsky were honored following Delaware’s national runner-up season. Gradkowski is the first Blue Hen offensive lineman to earn first team TSN honors since Jason Nerys led the Hens to the national championship in 2003. Delaware has placed at least one player on an All-American team each of the last 10 seasons under head coach K.C. Keeler.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selected the TSN All-America teams based only on the regular season.
A three-year starter, Gradkowski was one of seven Colonial Athletic Association student-athletes named to The Sports Network teams, joining first team running back Terrance West of Towson, first team linebacker Matt Evans of New Hampshire, first team defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron of Old Dominion, second team running back Jonathan Grimes of William & Mary, second team punter Jonathan Plisco of Old Dominion, and third team wide receiver Tre Gray of Richmond.
A two-time first team All-CAA selection, Gradkowski has solidified his reputation as the top offensive lineman in the league as well as one of the top blockers in the nation this season. He is expected to earn looks from National Football League teams as a potential pick in this spring’s annual draft.
Gradkowski helped lead Keeler’s squad to a 7-4 record this past fall as the Hens barely missed out on a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Gradkowski was also the Hens’ top offensive lineman in 2010 when Delaware went 12-3 and advanced to the national championship game.
A three-year starter after transfering from West Virginia, Gradkowski led a senior-laden offensive line unit that also included All-CAA picks Shea Allard and Rob McDowell. The group opened big holes for 1,000-yard rusher Andrew Pierce while helping the UD offense rank fifth in the CAA in both rushing offense (165.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (25.8 points per game).
Gradkowski, who started all 11 games this season, including eight at guard and three at center, earned first team All-CAA honors back in November, becoming the first UD player to earn back-to-back first team honors since defensive back Charles Graves in 2009 and 2010 and the first UD offensive lineman to accomplish the feat since Conway Hayman in 1968-69.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Sr., or Chris Lum, Lehigh, Sr.; RB - Shakir Bell, Indiana State, So.; Terrance West, Towson, Fr.; FB - Eric Breitenstein, Wofford, Jr.; WR - Aaron Mellette, Elon, Jr.; Nicholas Edwards, Eastern Washington, Jr.; Ryan Spadola, Lehigh, Jr.; TE - Colin Anderson, Furman, Jr.; OT - Chris Crockett, Sam Houston State, Sr.; Brett Moore, Georgia Southern, Sr.; OG - Gino Gradkowski, Delaware, Sr.; Nate Page, Wofford, Sr.; C - Travis Watson, Sam Houston State, Sr.; PK - Zach Brown, Portland State, Sr.; KR - Kevin Fogg, Liberty, Jr.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M, Sr.; Andrew Schaetzke, Georgetown, Sr.; DT - Ronnie Cameron, Old Dominion, Sr.; Brent Russell, Georgia Southern, Jr.; LB - Wes Dothard, Chattanooga, So.; Matt Evans, New Hampshire, Jr.; L.J. Fort, Northern Iowa, Sr.; Caleb McSurdy, Montana, Sr.; CB - Bryce Robertson, Bucknell, Sr.; Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, So.; S - Kejuan Riley, Alabama State, Jr.; Darnell Taylor, Sam Houston State, Jr.; P - David Harrington, Idaho State, Sr.; C.J. Estelle, UT Martin, Sr.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Sr., or Chris Lum, Lehigh, Sr.; RB - Tim Flanders, Sam Houston State, So.; Jonathan Grimes, William & Mary, Sr.; FB - Jake Romanelli, Cal Poly, Sr.; WR - Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech, Sr.; Brian Quick, Appalachian State, Sr.; Rodrick Rumble, Idaho State, Jr.; TE - Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard, Jr.; OT - Paul Cornick, North Dakota State, Sr.; Blake Matthews, Norfolk State, Jr.; OG - D.J. Hall, Texas State, Sr.; J.C. Oram, Weber State, Sr.; C - Bryan Boemer, Southern Illinois, Sr.; PK - Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa, So.; KR - Laron Scott, Georgia Southern, Sr.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman, Sr.; Willie Jefferson, Stephen F. Austin, So.; DT - Ben Boothby, Northern Iowa, Sr.; Zach Minter, Montana State, Jr.; LB - Seth Allison, Central Arkansas, Jr.; Jeremy Kimbrough, Appalachian State, Jr.; Blake Pfeifer, SE Missouri State, So.; Keith Pough, Howard, Jr.; CB - Trumaine Johnson, Montana, Sr.; Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina, Sr.; S - Justin Bethel, Presbyterian, Sr.; Alex Sewall, Indiana State, Sr.; P - Jonathan Plisco, Old Dominion, Jr.; PR - Darius Carey, McNeese State, Jr.
THIRD TEAM OFFENSE: QB - Casey Brockman, Murray State, Jr.; RB - Jordan Brown, Bryant, Jr.; Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook, Jr.; FB - Brock Lough, Indiana State, Sr.; WR - Tre Gray, Richmond, Sr.; Chris Summers, Liberty, Sr.; Patrick Walker, Northern Colorado, Sr.; TE - Renty Rollins, Jackson State, Sr.; OT - Conrad Burbank, Montana State, Sr.; Tom Compton, South Dakota, Sr.; Orry Frye, Appalachian State, Sr.; OG - Joe Faiella, Stony Brook, Sr.; Scott Schweitzer, Tennessee Tech, Sr.; C - Jim Liebler, Lehigh, Sr.; PK - Adrian Mora, Georgia Southern, Sr.; KR - Austin Minefee, Southern Utah, Sr.
THIRD TEAM DEFENSE: DE - Corey Hart, Alabama A&M, Sr.; Ben Obaseki, Indiana State, Jr.; DT - Emory Attig, Eastern Kentucky, Jr.; Josue Ortiz, Harvard, Sr.; LB - Rico Council, Tennessee State, Sr.; Jody Owens, Montana State, Jr.; Alvin Scioneaux, Wofford, Jr.; A.J. Storms, Idaho State, Sr.; CB - Asa Jackson, Cal Poly, Sr.; Ryan Steed, Furman, Sr.; S - Jose Gumbs, Monmouth, Sr.; Serge Kona, Duquesne, Jr.; P - Patrick Murray, Fordham, Jr.; PR - Jabin Sambrano, Montana, Sr.
Note: The order of the first- and second-team All-America quarterbacks will released after the unveiling of the 2011 Walter Payton Award on Jan. 6.