Stoll lands prestigious national academic honor

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SANDPOINT — University of Montana senior safety Erik Stoll was named to the 2010 All-Big Sky Conference first team on Tuesday, but to proud father Bob Stoll, that honor ran a distant second to another award handed out on the same day.

Stoll, a 6-foot-2, 205 pound safety from Sandpoint, was also named to the 2010 ESPN Academic All-American Football Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. While Stoll’s play on the gridiron has grabbed the attention of NFL scouts, his 3.92 GPA in Biology, essentially pre-med, earned him a spot on a very select and prestigious list.

Stoll becomes the first Grizzly player since 2001 to land a spot on the team, joining a list of just 25 players nationwide from schools like Stanford, Alabama, Penn State, Notre Dame, the Naval Academy and Brown, each student-athlete sporting a robust GPA while also excelling on the field.

Bob Stoll, a veterinarian in Sandpoint who went over for Senior Day last Saturday in Missoula, called the academic honor for his son overwhelming.

“Unbelievable, there is no bigger honor,” said Bob Stoll, who choked up while talking about it. “He did this all on his own.”

Stoll started all 11 games for Montana, registering five interceptions and 82 tackles on a team that finished 7-4 and missed the playoffs. In last week’s 21-16 loss to rival Montana State, Stoll lost more than half an inch off the tip of his left ring finger early in the game, but stayed in and made 12 tackles, including a couple of big hits.

That type of courage, along with excelling in the classroom, earned Stoll the Tony Barbour Award at the team’s recent banquet, given to the player who best exemplifies outstanding practice habits and makes an unselfish contribution to the betterment of the Grizzly football team.

Stoll has the size/speed combination, coupled with a high football-IQ and nose for the ball, that has grabbed the attention of many NFL scouts. Grizzlies head coach Robin Pflugrad had high praise for Stoll at the recent awards banquet, according to Bob Stoll.

“He said ‘This is a special player, you will be seeing him when you turn on your TV’s next year,’” recalled Bob Stoll. “There are a lot of scouts that are hot on Erik.”

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