University of Wyoming senior free safety Luke Ruff received one of the highest academic honors a college student-athlete can achieve by being named on Thursday to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Division I Football First Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). It is the first time in Ruff’s career that he has earned First Team Academic All-America honors. He is the first Wyoming Cowboy to earn the honor since Trenton Franz in 2004.

A native of Castle Rock, Colo., Ruff has achieved a 3.60 cumulative grade-point average in civil engineering. In November, Ruff was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 7 First Team for the third consecutive year. By earning First Team Academic All-District honors, Ruff became eligible for Academic All-America consideration.

“I’m extremely humbled to be chosen to receive this honor, said Ruff. “I want to thank everyone on the academic side and the football side for the support they’ve provided me through the years, as well as fellow students and teammates who’ve helped me. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my professors, helping me both one-on-one and in the classroom. I am very appreciative of my fellow students, who have helped get me through the times when I’ve been struggling. I’m very grateful to my coaches and the flexibility they’ve provided me to both play football and pursue my engineering studies. Finally, I want to thank my parents and my family. They’ve always been my biggest supporters.”

To put Ruff’s rare accomplishment in perspective, he was one of only 24 football student-athletes playing at the NCAA Division I level to receive First Team Capital One Academic All-America honors this season. The Division I Academic All-America Football Team includes student-athletes from a combined 246 teams across the nation -- 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams and 122 Football Championship Subdivision teams.

“We are extremely happy for and proud of Luke (Ruff) for achieving this tremendous honor,” said Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen. “Luke has been an outstanding representative for our football program and the University of Wyoming throughout his four years. He has worked as hard to achieve his academic goals as he has his athletic goals. Despite having to deal with an injury in the second half of this past season, he maintained his same work ethic and dedication that he has displayed over his entire career. I know that I speak for all of his coaches and his teammates in congratulating him for this honor.”

Ruff was chosen as one of four team captains for the 2012 season. He was a 2012 Preseason First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection by conference media members.

His junior season, Ruff was a Capital One First Team Academic All-District 7 selection. He also earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2011 for his achievements on the football field.

As a sophomore in 2010, Ruff was named First Team Academic All-District 7 for the first time in his college career.

He has earned Academic All-Mountain West Conference honors and MW Scholar-Athlete honors each of the past three seasons, and will qualify for those honors again this season.

Coincidentally, Ruff shares something in common with Wyoming’s last Academic All-American, Trenton Franz, both were civil engineering majors. Ruff is the 15th Wyoming Football student-athlete in history to be named First Team Academic All-American.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must have achieved a minimum 3.30 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.00 scale, must be a starter or significant contributor to his team, must be in his sophomore season athletically and must have completed at least one full academic year at his current institution. Only those individuals who earn First Team Academic All-District honors become eligible for the ballot for Academic All-America consideration.