Ikard To Receive Prestigious NCAA Award

Thursday, November 20th 2014, 5:48 pm
By: News 9

A group of extraordinary student-athletes will be honored in January as the NCAA Today's Top 10 Award winners, including University of Oklahoma graduate, Gabe Ikard.

Ikard registered a perfect 4.0 GPA in multidisciplinary studies – biological sciences during his tenure with the Sooners. He earned first-team All-America honors as a senior center on the football squad and was also a Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native is currently a member of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2013-14 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration during the NCAA Convention in the Washington, D.C. area.

The NCAA Honors Committee selects the honorees and is comprised of representatives of member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former student-athletes. Ikard is the fifth Oklahoma student-athlete to win this prestigious accolade and the third OU Football student-athlete to be recognized. Three OU student-athletes have been among this elite group of national honorees over the past five years.

University of Oklahoma NCAA Today's Top 10 Winners

1988 Keith Jackson Football

1989 Anthony Phillips Football

2011 Amy Backel Track & Field

2012 Danielle Robinson Basketball

2015 Gabe Ikard Football

Note: The award originated in 1973 and has expanded from five honorees to six selections in 1986 before recognizing eight selections until 2013 when the NCAA Honors Committee then expanded the award to include 10 honorees to recognize the increased number of student-athletes, sports and championship opportunities.

Ikard graduated with his undergraduate degree in May 2012 with a 4.0 GPA and had already begun work on his graduate degree leading into the 2013 football season. Originally signed as a tight end out of Bishop McGuinness

High School, he eventually moved to offensive line where he went on to play in 52 games (50 starts) during his OU career. Ikard was a two-time team captain and anchored an Oklahoma offensive line that helped the Sooners rack up 223.9 rushing yards per game during his senior season which culminated with a win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

A two-time team captain, Ikard was the first Sooner football player to earn Capital One Academic All-America honors three times and became the first Sooner to be named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for football. In 2013, the Big 12 recognized him as the 2013 Scholar Athlete of the Year in football, and later he was named the 2014 Big 12 Conference Medal recipient. For his academic success, Ikard earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in the fall 2013 cycle and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award and scholarship.

Ikard also demonstrated outstanding leadership off the field, volunteering in tornado relief work in 2013 and on a mission trip to Haiti in 2012. He was named the 2013-14 Big 12 Male Sportsman of the Year for his extraordinary display of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. Ikard also won the 2013 Wuerffel Award and the 2013 Selmon Spirit Award, each recognizing his excellence in academics, athletics and community service. He is the son of Jim and Becky Ikard.

The other 2015 Today's Top 10 awardees are:

Lauren Battista

School: Bentley University

Conference: Northeast-10

Majors: Marketing, Liberal Studies

GPA: 3.96

Sport: Women's Basketball

Abbey D'Agostino

School: Dartmouth College

Conference: Ivy League

Major: Psychology

GPA: 3.75

Sports: Women's Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Joe Fletcher

School: Loyola University Maryland

Conference: Patriot League

Major: Accounting

GPA: 3.83

Sport: Men's Lacrosse

Kristen Hixson

School: Grand Valley State University

Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Major: Finance

GPA: 3.97

Sports: Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Kim Jacob

School: University of Alabama

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Major: Exercise Science

GPA: 4.0

Sport: Women's Gymnastics

Megan Light

School: Emory University

Conference: University Athletic Association

Majors: Anthropology, Human Biology

GPA: 3.95

Sport: Softball

Nicole Michmerhuizen

School: Calvin College

Conference: Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Majors: Biochemistry, Engineering

GPA: 3.99

Sports: Women's Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Mark Thomas

School: Livingstone College

Conference: Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Major: Business Administration

GPA: 3.71

Sport: Men's Basketball

Shannon Vreeland

School: University of Georgia

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Majors: Economics, International Affairs

GPA: 3.85

Sport: Women's Swimming and Diving